Create Belonging

Giving and receiving help, including others, and honoring yourself are ways to create belonging. Creating belonging is an antidote to alienation. What are the ways we can share our unique gifts unsparingly, while calling out the gifts of others?
An excerpt from my book when I first arrived to the village that took me in: “A woman sits down on a log and calls to me with her song. I know without a doubt in my heart that her song is a prayer to every living thing for miles around. She is saying, “I see you,” to every bush, monkey in the tree, mouse in the ground, and me. I am included in her song. Her song is linking me to every living thing. My lower lip starts to tremble uncontrollably. I can no longer maintain my expressionless face and I break into tears. I am utterly exhausted from surviving on my own. I move closer to her. When I look in her eyes and see a loving mother I collapse in her arms. That night I sleep inside a hut next to her. I hold onto the fabric of her dress so I know she is within reach. I am no longer lost, I have been found.” 

This is a group picture after I received the blessing by members of the community to share my experience with the people here during the Rhodesian Bush War. I arrived in Rhodesia in June 1977 after being abducted from the U.S. by an American man. After about a week he abandoned me in this rural area.   Photo credit Vanessa Bristow  

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