My first few days of living in South Africa and I feel an overwhelming sense of peace. It has been a long, tough road to get to this point in my life and being here feels so right. I have finally found the lifestyle and work that lets me, quite simply, be ME. I have tried to fit in, tried to bend to others expectations in the past and I have never felt like I quite belong. Something was missing and I often felt restless and ill at ease with my life. Yet being here is like putting an old slipper on my foot; the perfect fit that meets all of my needs and brings me comfort and warmth. I didn’t know such a slipper existed, I only knew something wasn’t right. I assumed we all felt that way; it was normal and I should just get over it and forget my dreams.
The grass wouldn’t be greener anywhere else would it?
It is early days and I recognise there will be tough moments but they are worth it. I have this deep sense of knowing I am on the right path for me; where I would like my future to take me and who I wish to have by my side. It is already opening my eyes to a different way of living my life. I love my work – am I really being paid to do this?? I have less income than I have had in many years but so much happiness in my heart.
I met a man called Prince at the beachside yesterday, whilst I walked and pondered this newfound peace. He is from Zimbabwe and he makes wire and beads animals to sell on the high street here. He has very little income or possessions and the animals he makes are his livelihood. We sat and talked about life and happiness and how broken our world is due to the cruelty of those in charge and the importance placed on wealth. He can’t go back to Zimbabwe due to the troubles there and he misses his home. It makes Prince deeply sad that the people of Zimbabwe are intelligent, motivated people yet there is no opportunity for them to grow, to earn a living and find a safe place to be. He moves from place to place and all he asks is to be left alone; to have peace. He told me of the bad times he has experienced at the hands of other men yet he still smiled as we shared happy stories. He was content that, on the day we met, the sun was shining and the sea was his company whilst he worked.
It struck me that we come from such different backgrounds and experiences yet we are all the same. We have the same fears and wishes for one another, we all have a heart that can be hurt or healed and we can do something to make a positive change. As Prince finished his work and packed up to go, he gave me a beautiful bead rhinoceros. I tried to argue that he couldn’t give me his work for free but he refused. He has so little, yet in his words ‘the joy is in the creation, in seeing others smile’.