A second miracle has taken place. Yesterday we (John my husband, Vanessa our host, Future an area game scout and our fabulous translator, and Maemu) found the location of my first village from 40 years ago. My friend Brianna helped me find words for what took place inside me with this quote. “We need to be able to define our past completely to know it does not define us completely” In these pictures I am standing at the location of some of the best and worst events of my young life. Here I was taken in, loved, and mothered in a way I had never known before. At eight years old I thought this was my new life with a family that cherished me.
We don’t know the exact timing of the following events but we have confirmed a battle happened on the other side of the hill from this village. I was shot and the bullet grazed the top of my head. I began to die of blood loss and shock and had a Near Death Experience. I was saved by one of the women of the family who was like a mother to me. Some short time later (around 2 days) the village was attacked. Maemu recounts that the people in the village were killed (she and her family were in a village further north). If there were any other survivors besides me they would have fled to South Africa by crossing the river bed.
I bowed down on the land to pray to the people I lost. I then felt something rush up into my chest from the land as if many people were greeting me. I felt whole and complete. A sense of fullness moved into my hands. It felt like another life force was in my hands in addition to my life force. I took this as a gift from the women who mothered me. I wondered if it was the power of healing I felt in their hands when they touched my head wound. I was weeping, and feeling gratitude beyond what I can express in words. I had one second of hearing them again. I heard the singing and the calling out to each other. For just a flash I could see the activity and the huts that are now gone. My body knew this place and what happened here. My history now has place. I no longer have to carry this history inside me as if my body and mind were a museum holding these events so they would not be forgotten. I can let it rest in this field.
I found these remaining walls. It was valuable for me to find something to touch, to hold on to, so ultimately I could let go.
John and I stayed and explored for several more hours. The banks of the river have changed so much over 40 years. The exact spot where I was shot has been washed away. As my sense of completion was deepening, catalyzing change in my hidden beliefs, I said out loud to John that I don’t owe it to those who died to feel bereft that I lived and they did not. My love and honoring of them is enough. My body no longer needs to be the museum to keep these memories held.
What happened next amazed me. We saw a rainbow across the river. A sign of completion and hope. The land knows what happened here. The Ancestors know what happened here. Creator knows what happened here. I can be free now.