“The way of the African”

My thoughts in the past few weeks have been concerningly leaning on ” The way of the African”. What does this mean? Well, it means that I have been looking at many situations with my South African lens more than before. Offcourse, it comes naturally and so it is hard to explain what I mean by this. I will give a few examples.

A number of us have been having issues with the food situation, in specific the food that is offered for dinner by a local institution that has previously been providing us with dinner. The food simply isn’t up to scractch. Perhaps our tastebuds are in even more of a position to be dissatisfied by the dinners because our lunches are amazing. However, the quest for the solution was long and varied. In the end we all decided to get our allocated money for the dinners that remain (16 to be exact). The idea was to then form smaller groups that buy food together, shop together, cook together and eat together. I was content with this arrangement. In all honesty, there was a little exclusive dark spot in me that was rooting for this option, I knew inside myself that it would mean that I could eat all the meat I wanted to eat, and all the spicy food my soul so deeply craves, it also meant that I didn’t have to care about anyone else besides my close friends. A strange and inexplicable turning of my back to what I knew felt right.

It appears, I could not silence my inner “African” – who indeed is an integral part of my being. The part of me that acts from a deep deep (almost inherited knowledge and truth). Also know as my internal compass and emotional pilot. I decided to take it upon myself to cook for everyone that did not want the aweful dinners. Why, well; in no particular order:

  • It didn’t feel right to be splitting up and eating separately, it felt it had become more of a comfort-and-luxury-based decison rather than one based on the original reason.
  • There is something so beautiful about sharing a meal together with the people I live with. It is a time to reflect, to re-connect, to relax, appreciate the meal laid before me, to acknowledge all the people, time, effort, love has gone into it.
  • It was incredibly ironic to have had an entire 4 weeks focusing on sustainability only to turn around and each put on stoves to cook different meals, all wash our dishes separately (a complete waste of water – a huge pet peeve of mine), and all take the time and effort to buy those ingredients, to cook them and then eat them and clean up after ourselves – the economy of effort is a real commodity you know! It just didn’t make any sense.
  • There was an inexplicable pull to say something at that point in the unfolding of the solution. It was strong and it was kicking me from the inside, begging to be released. And so I did, I knew I would carry a bag of guilt had I not.

Below are some images of a dinner we all shared at the beginning or last week as part of the course 2 weeks ago (whose weekly update will follow soon):

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The communal dinners have been a delight so far, I have been personally responsible for the tummies (and therefore hearts) of 16 Yippies. We all sit together at a common space and share a meal. It is a beautiful feeling. On the more practical side, we hav managed to cut costs by ordering in bulk and stricking a deal with a local farmer. Bliss. In addition, those that have chosen to stay having their dinners at the same place we have been, have been getting much more delicious meals because they can now get the leftover food from the restaurant.

Everyone wins 🙂

Another example of this newly named tendency which I am temporarily naming “The way of the African”, is somewhat of an outburts during the course we had last week – Introduction to Permaculture. I became overwhelmingly frustrated with the contributor as well as the course-content, more than the content itself I was annoyed with the way it was being presented.  What bothered me was:

  • That entire concept of Permaculture in itself is based on all things that we inherently know and believe and act from. “People Care”, “Earth Care”, “Fair Share”. Those are not new ideas. What they are is a way of labelling the obvious in order for it to be receivable by those that need it to be received in that way. It bothers me that we have drifted so far from our inherent belief system and way of life that we need to pick it apart and re-learn it in a stiff text-book format. That bothers me deeply.
  • I hate graphs and statistics as a learning format. I understand that they convey a message in a different and clear way. However, they are hard and cold and I really find it hard to see statistics and graphs explaining something as complex as how we are damaging this earth and how disconnected we have become, how can we measure the yield of a tree? It is impossible, because for anyone to measure the visual benefit of a blossoming tree to any person is impossible, to measure the joy or memories which the smell of that tree brings to any one person is impossible. I could even go as far as calling the entire practice arrogant and narrow-minded.

Offcourse I have taken some new learnings from the course, however I was deeply aggitated. I ended up having a talk with the contributor to explain my dissatisfaction. It was a wonderful talk in which I strongly feel that we both benefitted. He walked away thanking me for being honest and expressing what my thoughts as well as my irritation. It was needed.

The above remind me that my internal compass is not as out of balance as I often think it is. Because I am wired to doubt myself. But one thing is for sure; it is getting stronger and stronger and is enabling me to act from an authentic place with more confidence although tough at times, mainly due to the reality that being a truth-bearer is no easy task.

To be totally honest I believe that we are all truth-bearers. Because the truth resides within all of us although it may look different, it is the truth. A version of it at least. All it needs is a little activation and inspiration to emerge.

I apologise for the dry nature of this post – it is 2:25am and I am running low on energy and patience.

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