Ubuntu: An Introduction

oǒ’boǒntoō: I am what I am because of who we all are.

The world has been weighing heavy on my heart (see herehere, herehere, and here, for starters). I find myself grieving over people I have never met, places I’ve never seen, and fretting over insignificant things that are merely blips in the overall grandness of life. The news depresses me, so I don’t watch– wishfully thinking that if I close my eyes, it would protect my heart.

News flash: that doesn’t work.

I have been blessed beyond measure, (check out a brief version of my story in the video below), and as cliché as it sounds, I want to do good and share goodness in this world the best way I can: teaching. So when deciding my “next steps in life” (à la the typical mid-to-late-20’s breakdown), the word PEACE came to mind. So…

I joined the Peace Corps.

Yes, while the majority of my friends are settl(ing/ed) into their careers, relationships, and routines, I’ve joined the Peace Corps as a Primary Education Literacy Resource Teacher in beautiful Samoa with a departure date of October 1st, 2017, InshaAllah (God Willing).

Not exactly where I would have pictured myself five years ago, interning at National Geographic and wrapping up a degree in journalism…  But elhamdolilah (Thank God) I am learning to accept that His plan for me is the best–and only– plan.

It has been a roller coaster of events, which I will share in another post, but I applied to the program in January 2017 prior to graduating with my Master of Arts in Teaching in May. I was praying for the love and goodness of the people of the world to outweigh and outshine the hatred and for God to show me a way of how I could play a small role to help. I prayed for a way to calm my restless and hopeful heart; share my knowledge; learn even more about the interconnectedness of this world; and find the best way to serve God and promote goodness.

*Cue reading about ubuntu*

“Ubuntu is very difficult to render into a Western language. It speaks of the very essence of being human. [Y]ou are generous, you are hospitable, you are friendly and caring and compassionate. You share what you have. It is to say, ‘My humanity is inextricably bound up in yours.We belong in a bundle of life.”

– Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu

Am I scared? BIG TIME. Not going to lie. I’m terrified to think that I won’t remember any of my Girl Scouts training from many years ago–I do remember that, ironically, Samoas (and Thin Mints) are my favorite cookies– or that watching Moana twelve times (at least) won’t really count as “research” (although it HAS given me ample opportunity to memorize the soundtrack).  I’m afraid of feeling homesick. I’m sad I won’t see my family and friends for two years and that their lives will be moving on without me. I am extremely afraid that I’ll forget to pack something important (like deodorant), or that things will go wrong. Really, my worries are endless, but I’m crazy excited, too. For all the things I will learn along the way, the culture I will be engulfed in, the new people I will meet and the memories I will make and cherish forever. This will be hard, but worth it!

We are made for goodness. We are made for love. We are made for friendliness. We are made for togetherness. We are made for all of the beautiful things that you and I know. We are made to tell the world that there are no outsiders. All are welcome: black, white, red, yellow, rich, poor, educated, not educated, male, female, gay, straight, all, all, all. We all belong to this family, this human family, God’s family.

– Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu

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