Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Journey With Injustice, Part II

When we moved to South Africa, it was a combination of several things - our desire to make the most of our lives, a sense of God's leading/calling, and our love for the different peoples and cultures of the world. We knew this was a big decision and would affect our children, but we largely imagined that it would affect them positively. We anticipated the challenges of moving half a world away... for us, but not for our children.

I have muddled my way through culture shock, navigated bureaucracy, been robbed and had things stolen more times than I want to recall, and felt generally overwhelmed and confused. I have eaten sheep eyeballs, brains, mopani worms, fermented milk and intestines. I have been lost, run off the road by taxi drivers, and bribed by policeman multiple times (and no, I never gave in). But if you mess with my kids, that's a whole different game!

The "mother hen" in me wanted to protect my daughter from the injustice she was suffering at school. I wanted to fight on her behalf, take this matter up with the headmaster, and change the world for the better (but let's be honest - I wanted to change the world for her benefit). And then I looked around me... and saw injustice everywhere.

My bubble was burst. I was humbled. I was ashamed. I realised how much the American values of safety, security and entitlement were ingrained into my mindset, and how they clashed with the South African values of hierarchy, family and relationships over individual preferences, and survival.

So what now? How do I bridge the culture gap, help my child, and deal with my own feelings? It's not always so easy...

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