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Friday, July 26, 2013

Wrap-up: You should Dance around the Altar

Hello everyone,

It’s currently 8:15am South African time. I know this because my body decided to wake up right now, even though I am 7 time zones over.

I’ll pause and let that sink in :)

Yes, friends, my year in South Africa has come to a close. I am back in the state of Texas, enjoy mexican food, barbecue, fast internet, and a few other things I missed out on over the past 12 months.

I’ll start with last week and work my way forward.

July 15th was the first day of school following a 3-week break. Even though this was my last full week in South Africa, it was still full of first-time moments, such as when our monastic canine snuck into the school playground. “Soccer” quickly became “Let’s kick the ball, watch Molly pounce on it, then kick it again and follow her.” 
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From what I heard, this picture has been shared with virtually every Holy Cross Monk on the planet.

A funny thing happened on Friday: Molly snuck in again, and she brought a few monks with her. This quickly evolved into one of the most fun playtimes I’ve ever experienced. Holy Cross children shine in the presence of guests; call it good behavior, extra excitement, or simply loving having more people to interact with, we have a blast when new faces are around. A few of the adults, myself included, felt adventurous and let the children use our cameras. Somewhere between the ‘new’ faces to play with, the rare treat of using a camera (and not one, but three!!!), and knowing it was my and Stephen’s last day (and the first day of a new face! More on this later :)), our mid-day playtime evolved into a care-free, heaven-on-earth paradise of laughter and enjoyment. In hindsight, I’m pretty sure this is what God had in mind when he invented play.

IMG_1589-2013-07-25-01-15.JPGI shamelessly overloaded this with pictures. Enjoy :)IMG_1586-2013-07-25-01-15.JPGIMG_1593-2013-07-25-01-15.JPGIMG_1594-2013-07-25-01-15.JPGIMG_1609-2013-07-25-01-15.JPGIMG_1613-2013-07-25-01-15.JPG
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 We transitioned to the assembly hall, where students and monks put on a surprise celebration for me and Stephen.
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Before we knew it, time was up and the kids were heading home. It still isn’t fully clicking that I won’t see the kids again, at least for awhile.

Thus began a weekend of farewells and nice food.
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A few other farewells passed without photographic evidence, including a master braai by Br. Daniel himself. Sunday morning (a few hours before said braai) I decided to record the last song of the worship service. Turns out that was a great choice for creating keepsakes, as Nomhamhase (our resident mama Africa, who cleans at the school and raises lots of children with little help) pulled me and Stephen up to dance around the altar. Friends, children, and parishioners of all ages joined in. I don’t have to words to express it yet (or this year overall, for that matter), but I can tell you dancing around the altar should go on everybody’s bucket list.

There are many moments to be thankful for over the past 12+ months. From first hearing of YASC through my friends at Trinity Episcopal (shout out to Molly Carr and Travis Shields for kickstarting this journey), to the application process, to discernment weekend, to the fundraising/excitement of preparation, to the orientation in Toronto, to the travel and subsequent madness that is life in South Africa, to now. This journey is certainly not over, and I look forward to how it shapes me in the future. For now, thank you very much for following along. I don’t know if this is the last blog post or not, but I can say I will gladly talk to you in person if you want to learn more. 

Stephen (right) and Maurice (left)
I would also like to introduce you to my successor, Maurice Dyer! He is already in his 9th day of living in Grahamstown. Maurice, Stephen, and I had 5 days of overlap in SA, and I am quite happy to see him serving at Holy Cross School. If you would like to see another person's perspective on life as a YASCer, check out his blog!

That's all for now, folks. If you see me someday, let’s talk and enjoy each other’s company. For now, take care, and God bless.

In Christ,
-Cameron