The university was quieter because it was a Saturday, and the feeling of Serenity wrapped around the room. The beautiful African songs that start our day added to the peaceful feeling. I played Carol King's You've Got a Friend and some of us quietly sang along. Many of us wrote about friendship and shared our pieces. We have been together for over a week, and we are a community of writers. One of our blog readers, Kalpana has asked if we might share some of our journals in the blog. What a wonderful idea, and I'll ask the teachers if they would like to share some of their work here. For today, here's my journal:
You've got a friend.
Four simple words, yet they mean so much. You've got a friend to rely on, to care about, who will be with you in good times and in bad. You've got a friend.
This workshop is about friendship to me. It's about bridging two oceans and two countries and navigating through multiple cultures and languages. It's about reaching out and making new friends and caring, truly caring for each other.
You've got a friend. I am here for you and I want the best for you. I will share all I have to offer and support you as you learn and acquire new skills. I have learned so much from my time with you and I promise that I will never forget your kindness. During this workshop we have laughed together and cried together. We have sung together and danced together. We have shared our writing and in so doing, we have opened up the deepest parts of our hearts. When I return to my side of the ocean, I will be changed because I have a friend.
We also had a discussion about what writing does for us, how it opens up our eyes and heals old wounds. I talked about how writing and reading should be every child's right, that it is part of the heritage of being a human being. We also discussed the power of writing response groups when we enter the I-Thou relationship that Martin Buber has written about.
Our two demos had us thinking about vegetable gardens in Mokadi Lekota's lesson, and working with freewritng in Sehume's lesson. At the end of the day, we Skyped my Mother to wish her a Happy Birthday. She was completely surprised and excited when she realized that all the teachers were on Skype and singing Happy Birthday to her! Both she and my Dad were amazed. "I can't believe you are over 12,000 miles away," he said. " It seems like you are next door." My Mother said that this was the best birthday of her life.