Agnes, as usually known at Home of Hope, spent some months at the Centre but went back to Poland just after the New Year. She is sending touching words about her experience with the street children of Lusaka. We wish her to enjoy her new life back home hoping to see her again among us, here in her second home…of hope.
Kitek is gazing suspiciously all the time, as if with disbelief – she’s back. He’s sniffing, observing, recognizing. He’s spending all his time sitting on a suitcase abandoned in the middle of the room, in case of another sudden departure into the unknown.
My Zambian life came to an end. One hundred and fifty days of incredible wandering – with people, with culture, with my own head – all of it over once I got on the board of a plane. It was my second encounter with Home of Hope. I went back there after a year out of longing and out of conviction that this is the way it is supposed to be. I roamed with them regardless of my mood. I roamed my new world with curiosity, fear, anger and fascination. I learnt a lot even though I’d gone to teach there.
It was a wise encounter. I didn’t live a sheltered life. I lived next to, close, within reach. This astonishment and irritation of mine. Meeting another culture, colour, and other people – always a challenge for them and for you… I didn’t hide under a blanket of romantic Africa-in-the-sunset illusions. I saw a lot, heard a lot, experienced a lot. I came up against my own wall along the way, right next to my head… It’s a price and gain at the same time. I found balance between something beautiful, ephemeral, good and something dirty, pissed-on and bad. I experienced openness, love, care and unconditional being.
Quotidian life, built of ordinary getting-ups and ordinary falling-asleeps. The stories of children, of the street… this wandering never seemed to end. All I had to do was wait, and sit; a man and man meet.
But everything times two. This adventure is like that – two-sided.
I experienced being the other one, the one from the West or the East? Never mind, a stranger. Being not at home, not in my right place, being only an unintelligible White. I experienced what it’s like when everyone wants a bit of you and you’re falling apart into small pieces, only making sure that the head is where it should be. You’re looking for legs and arms – check, shaking a bit but they are still there. You’re making sure once again – yep, they are there. I was looking for my own boundaries, whether they weren’t full of holes, whether, by chance, they didn’t need mending… where was this crack which fear and sadness were leaking through?
But you keep on wandering, as the inner compass points at your direction and goal. It makes sense, this wandering, this step-taking, this building……
What’s good and what’s bad always forms us, only if we want to give it a chance.
Final note from the author:
Those were good 150 days. I thank the people who took me in, my White Fathers for faith and the joy of shared lives. The boys for the fun of passing time together. I thank Jacek for being, for standing by and for constant help in unravelling the tangle of my own misunderstandings and questions. I thank the people who met me halfway through this little journey and struggle of mine.
See other link: