On my last night in the village we had a cake from Taposa. Emma, the woman MmaDiapo has hired to help with things around the house, won R1,000 in a women's running competition and used R50 of it to get a "Goodbye Mmapula" cake. While sipping juice and eating tons of icing, Maite came over to sit with me, said she wanted to tell me a story. Earlier in the week, while they were all sitting on their back stoop, Karabo crossed her legs and was genuinely confused when the family seemed to be amused. "Karabo! Where did you learn such a thing? Are you a lekgowa (white person)? Only white people sit with their legs crossed, we Africans sit with our legs straight in front of us." "I'm not a lekgowa! I saw Mmapula sit like this! I'm just sitting like Mmapula." "Mmapula is a lekgowa, she is white." "No, no, Mmapula is just like me, she is just like you." Maite said she and Margaret were so excited that Karabo would think such a thing... think that I was no different than her in any way, that I was one of the family. That was the perfect end to my chapter in Metz. I know there were a lot of things I wanted to accomplish when I found myself in Peace Corps and in my village, but those things were constantly changing during my service. Now that it's the end, I see that I was pretty successful with my service and am most proud of all the relationships I made and cultivated during my time here. I have friends, family, and a place for life in a little, rural, South African Village.
I left good ol' Metz 3 days ago and it's been a whirlwind of activity ever since.
I'm not sure what all is going to come in the future, what directions I will turn and take, but I'm really, really glad I did this and stuck it out until the very end. There are new adventures ahead. New people to know. Old friends and family to keep in touch with. Food to eat. Bowling and dancing to do. Beautiful places to see. Thank you for this life.
This is Mmapula Phokungwane signing off in Metz Village and South Africa for the last time. Stay tuned for updates on the adventure of transition back to America!