It's been a year since I moved back to the USA after 20 years. Over the many years on the African continent, I've often been asked why so long and if I would ever come back home to America. It was time to come back to my native land and Atlanta chose me rather than California or Washington, DC. When I first moved to Atlanta, I didn't know what to expect and at the same time what I would do.
A year ago, I boarded an eight hour flight from Johannesburg to Dubai and caught a sixteen hour connecting flight there to Washington, DC. It was a very long and crowded flight back to the USA. I stayed a few days in D.C. to just rest and see friends there before renting a car and driving 10 hours down to Atlanta with my Godknows my spouse and best friend - JP. When we arrived to our new home, I thought the summer would allow me to finally get started on the memoir of the African journey, but I felt great periods of alienation and shock of what was transpiring in the US; the church shootings in Charleston, the vast number of police killings of citizens, the Black Lives Matter movement, the debate over the Confederate Flag and the political battles between the White House and Congress whereby more Americans were moving from comfortable middle-class lifestyles into dire levels of poverty across the country.
At the same time, getting use to the heat and humidity of Atlanta, a new beginning and deciding how to apply my African knowledge and experiences back home also kept me from writing the Memoir. JP's mom was also in and out of hospital due to cancer and she finally lost the fight in August. Miriam was like a second mum to me and over the years inspired me to hang in there with the orphaned children and grannies in Soweto. She also came several times to volunteer and support the dreams of the children. Moreover, she stayed in touch with all of us over the years and gave of herself selflessly. She was there to prep me for my TEDx Talk and was very excited to see the ABC Nightline interview. The community of Teboho Trust and Soweto honoured her in February last year to thank her for her +30 years of serving the African continent and during her retirement continued efforts to support Teboho Trust and the grannies.
Miriam's memorial service was held in Washington, DC and I was happy to learn of all the other lives she touched, motivated and unconditionally loved as her own children.
At the end of August 2015, I started working at the Georgia Center for Nonprofits.
The summer was a bit turbulent yet filled with optimism and curiosity of a new chapter in life..
Reflection: A Year Back in America - Part 1 The Summer of 2015