August 23, 2012
Four days upon my return from South Africa, I have come back to an indifferent or overwhelmingly self-centered community. No one has taken genuine interest in hearing about the efforts made during the trip.
Friends have been pestering me to deliver gifts, or share stories of parties and night life I experienced in South Africa.
I have explain to them that I did not go on a lavish vacation; rather I went to develop a forum in an orphanage. The idea of volunteering while unemployed has caused my friends to question my logic and reasoning. I have thought about the real reason behind my commitment to South Africa, specifically Nkosi’s Haven. Subconsciously, I believe that Nksosi’s Haven has provided me with the sense of purpose and belonging I have been longing for all these years. I have started to reflect, I have identified many influential factors that have shaped me into the person you all know.
My enormous commitment to service comes from feelings of frustration in societal structures and systematic injustice. From my departure of my home country, the Democratic Republic of Congo, until my arrival in America, honest and genuine support has been scarce. Family friends, and family members alike deceived both me and my family time and time again. Those unfortunate events inspired me to always stand up for those in dire situations and be the honest and genuine support they need. Be an advocate without personal motives.
At a young age, I lost faith in the goodness of man, humanity, and I have worked hard to eliminate the oppressive feeling of doubt. I am not deeming myself a martyr, I simply want to confront and make you all aware of what inspires me. It would be foolish for me to believe that there is a profound or angelic reason I participate in service. There really isn’t one aside from me wanting to correct all of the wrong impressions made from my childhood;
Which leads me to the next point, while at the Haven, I was troubled and frustrated with how much resistance I and the forum members suffered from certain staff members simply because of our cause. It is understandable that people hate to see others progress or the notion of change being daunting, but what seemed most shocking to me was that these people committed to a vocation such as caring for orphaned and battered/AIDS infected women seemed to be as destructive to the kids and community as the oppressive situations they had left behind.
Some of the children’s discouragement to be involved in the forum is nothing more than a testimony of the severity of the intimidation they are experiencing from adults in the community. These destructive acts must be exposed and quickly dealt with. I have been a victim of intimidation by my own caregivers when I lived in Johannesburg Children’s Home, and have suffered greatly and quietly, and my isolated and never reported oppression have only resulted in self destructive behaviors. So I call on those in positions to affect real change to address this issue at Nkosi’s Haven now. Ignorance cannot be an excuse for inaction.
As a forum founder and leader, I am inspired and confident that with Gail Johnson’s leadership, the changes we as forum participants are looking to achieve will be made a reality in time. We are looking to improve the community a young and brave boy envisioned before his death, and in his honor, we vow to fight for justice for all, as he has for those on the fringes of South Africa’s society. I feel absolutely responsible to carry on the struggle young Nkosi Johnson embarked with his resilient mother, Gail Johnson. Just like the two bravely faced adversity for the greater good of many, I too am ready and willing to withstand whatever challenges that may come with this responsibility and engagement.