Two weeks ago, I put my parents on a plane and sent them back to the States. I did fairly well with that goodbye until I told my mom to hug my sister, brother-in-law and nephew for me. That’s when the tears started flowing.
Not including air travel, my parents were in South Africa for about nine days. And it was a great nine days.
When they arrived at the airport, we all broke down into tears at the sight of each other. Sixteen months. It was the longest by far that we had ever been apart. Thus, the scene we made was fairly predictable.
But there was only nine days. The first six was a whirlwind tour through the Western side of South Africa—The Drakensburgs followed by Durban followed by St. Lucia and Imfolozi Game Park. Then we came back through Pretoria and on for the last few days in Mmametlhake.
Those first few days were great, but I’ll let the pictures do the talking for those days. The most special to me, and I think to all of us, were the days that we spent with my community.
There are many stories that I could share with you of those few days but here’s some of the highlights:
My host brother receiving his t-shirt from the States—he’s worn it at least three times a week since they left. Pastor Bethuel greeting them, sharing tea and sharing stories about how my organization came to be. Local children running wild with excitement at the site of the camera. My host mother preparing lunch for my parents and inviting the neighbors and the immediate family to join us. Visiting the chief at his house. Having my parents see, touch, experience the people and places that have become such an important part of my life.
I don’t think that Mmametlhake will ever forget the day my parents came to visit. They are now asked after regularly, everyone wanting to know they are well and thanking me for bringing them. It was an honor to them to have Mom and Dad come, and it was an honor to me to have them here.
I greatly look forward to visiting over the Christmas holiday. Getting to hug those of my family who couldn’t come and to hold my sister’s second child for the first time. It was a sweet, sweet time.