Mavis is who I will think about when I think of South Africa!

Posted by Carrie on Saturday, April 1st, 2006
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Today is my last day in South Africa - my flight leaves at 11:20 pm. These two weeks have gone by too quickly and again - I am sad to leave. I hope to return to both Tanzania and South Africa someday!

We were up very early this morning and headed to Khayelitsha. We planned to meet with Mavis for breakfast and to learn a little more about her life. What a wonderful time we had! We arrived and she and two little ones- her son and the son of her sister- sat having coffee while watching TV- although it was early- there was so much going on in Khayelitsh- the place was alive and moving! There is a “well” /running water in front of Mavis’s house to there are always people coming to fill up their buckets for the day - for cooking, for washing clothes, etc. Mavis always has visitors and today was no different. When we arrived women were already hanging up laundry to dry- kids were running around playing and watching us. Men offered to wash our van as we parked, the streets were full. Now, in the neighborhoods the streets are of sand and dirt- there are no lawns, there are no sidewalks, there are simply sand trails - leading to various houses. We talked with Mavis and then Dominic and Joel simply filmed her as she went about her morning with the boys. Meanwhile Carrie and I waited out front and watch the active streets- we also played with the incredibly cute kids who were so curious and friendly - in fact everyone in the area is friendly.

Because we arrived so early-we decided to take Mavis to the grocery store to buy breakfast food- she literally has nothing in the house- not one thing! Seriously there is not one piece of food in the house and she has no money. We brought her to the local Khayelitsha super market and it was so much fun! Initially she did not realize that we wanted her to buy anything and everything she wanted - not for this morning- but enough to hold her for a while- when she realized this, I wish you could have seen her face- and she gave Carrie the most amazing hug! I was jealous! What a hug! And, so Mavis did just that- she bought things she has not been able to - staples, and fruits, ane meats, and juice- everything!

We returned to her home and she made breakfast for us! She is amazing - we talked to her more and Dominic asked her wonderful questions- where does her spirit come from? What does she want people to know about Khayelitsha? What does she want for her boys? What does she want for herself? What is her life like living in Khayelitsha being HIV positive. I wish you all could have heard her - she is someone I will never forget and I hope to continue our relationship! She is so inspiring- she talked of how it doesn’t matter what one comes from- weather rich or poor- we should all be proud of where we come from and we should all be who we are! We are all one family and we all need to look out for each other - she talked of how in her neighborhood people come to her for advice and for love - she said she can’t give money, she can’t give medicine- but she can give a shoulder and her heart! She invited a man, Ali, to live with her until he found his own place- he stayed with her for 6 months- she gave him her bed and she slept on the floor- did I tell you what an amazing woman she is. She tells people she is HIV positive- she is single, she doesn’t depend on a man, she teaches her boys the importance of education and to stay away from crime, and drugs. She is living her life! She is not waiting for anything!

I love this woman - she inspires me.

Mavis is who I will think about when I think of South Africa!

I’m glad you could share some of my experiences!


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