I never aced it! For the English language I was never more than a ‘C’ student with the exception of one oral for which I cracked a record ‘A.’ It was a monologue style oral that we could be ‘anyone’ and speak about ‘anything.’ The character I chose for my monologue back in 1996 was the ‘leader’ of a deadly virus outbreak, one that targeted humanity and strived for absolute destruction. In this monologue, I plotted, I planned and I spoke openly of my demented attack on the human population and how I was determined to defeat it at whatever cost, so long as I won. Other than that fleeting moment of glory of receiving a grand ‘A,’ I was generally as average as it comes in the way of language!
And yet here I am. I choose to write. I choose language as a way to express myself and a means of sharing with you what I learn along the way on this new journey called Rosie Goes.
I am not choosing any language, I am choosing one that we all speak, understand and identify with: our humanity – the most powerful language of all languages because of its ability to connect us and help us understand each other despite our immense differences. I believe in this language and I am going to bring you stories that speak of our humanity. I am going to take you on a journey that you will meet people from all walks of life. Their stories will resonate with you and evoke empathy and compassion even though their lives are so completely different to yours and seemingly, so foreign.
A couple a months ago, I felt like I had hit a brick wall. I was struggling to focus on my agricultural photography – which is critical in the way of paying bills and the soon-to be exorbitant high school fees that start next year! (South African’s will know what I am talking about!) And yet at the same time, I have made a huge life change to do what I am absolutely passionate about doing and to do what I believe in and what I believe will be successful because of what it is and what the intention is.
For a while, I had been feeling ‘stuck’ and conflicted, as if I was in a tug of war between focusing on what feels true versus focusing on my fear of not being able to pay the bills that keep on coming! I realized that I needed to face my fears and to trust in the process. I needed to ‘commit’ to what I have started, to take a big leap of faith and dive head first into Rosie Goes, and just start swimming! It was also around that time that I put it ‘out there’ that I want the right connections, those aligned with Rosie Goes and our universal language, to cross my path and to help me kickstart this journey.
I started with Jene Frost’s story, a story about a woman who was paralyzed at the age of 15 years old and her experience of surrendering to what is so that she could move forward. Jene’s story is the perfect story for the ‘surrender theme’ I am exploring right now. I am in awe of how her positive and strong mindset, bound together with a deep sense of acceptance and endless loving support from the people in her life, has enabled her to move forward in great big strides.
I am also about to dive head first into something else, something quite unexpected and what initially felt quite terrifying! As it happened, I was checking Facebook when my friend Daniel Nove’s post popped up. Daniel is an old friend of mine who I met when I lived in Mozambique for 12 years and who now lives in Germany. The Facebook post was of a picture of Daniel standing next to a lady who was travelling with a ‘ton’ of cat boxes with cats in them. Intrigued, I read his post. I discovered that Daniel and friend Patrik, have started a Go Fund me account for Ukrainian refugees in the Western Ukraine city of Chop. Every two weeks they stock up with food supplies and essentials with the donated funds from the likes of you and I and drive to Ukraine to deliver the supplies to the city council. These supplies go towards feeding and helping the thousands of Ukrainians who have escaped the ‘terror’ happening in the East of Ukraine and in Kyiv and who are seeking safety and shelter during this unpredictable and volatile time. It was a picture of one of the many Ukrainians that Daniel and Patrik have assisted since starting this initiative. I pressed the ‘Heart’ button and casually commented on the post, something along the lines of, ‘Wow, I would love to get involved with something like this, well done!’
Daniel replied, ‘Really?’
Casually, I replied ‘Yes,’ not thinking too much about what I was actually saying ‘yes’ to.
Truthfully, Ukraine felt so foreign to me, so far away. I empathized with the Ukrainians because of the obvious terror we can see they are experiencing through the media, and because in a very small way, I understand a little bit of what they are experiencing…of being threatened and needing to leave our home very quickly because of a death threat and crossing the border into a neighboring country. I remember the fear I felt, especially for my children and I remember the support we had from friends during this frightening time. Both were equally powerful. But it still felt like just another heartbreaking news story, another attack on humanity happening on the other side of the world, so far away and something that did not feel like it really impacted my life other than the escalating fuel price!
There was a long pause – a few days that the ‘thread’ went quiet and ‘everyday’ life continued.
Then I got another message from Daniel. “Hey, how serious were you when you said you would like to get involved? We have a space for you in the minivan. Would you like to join us?”
I thought about it and all the things that scared me. The fear of the unknown, the volatility and unpredictable nature of war, the potential dangers, not knowing the language, knowing very little about Ukraine itself like its geography, its history, its economy and then of course, there is the issue of my own finances! How on earth can I afford this anyway?! I thought of a thousand reasons why I should not do this. But I also thought of the two reasons why I should do this. Firstly, I asked for it and this is what is showing up. If I am going to live by what I believe, then I should pay attention to what comes up and trust the process. If things flow, then it is meant to be. And secondly, could there be a better way than going somewhere I know little about in the way of language and culture and to meet and interview people with a very different way of life to that of mine here in Africa, by going somewhere that I will need to rely on what we have in common – our humanity – and connect with the people I meet on that level and with that approach? I think this is exactly what I will do.
I surrendered and went with the flow. I will go to Ukraine if it’s meant to be.
And this is the extraordinary thing so far, everything is flowing!!!! The most impossible things are falling into place. From getting an official invite from the Ukraine government, from visa’s, to some very unexpected and appreciated financial help, to receiving the information I needed exactly when I needed it, to finding a kick-ars independent travel agent, from having incredible support from family and friends and with no need to convince them, to meeting the Ukrainians that I have met since committing to Ukraine. How they gave me their time and their stories and how they spoke the language I know and understand, one of humanity. How I learned so much about Ukraine through these peoples honest and vulnerable account of what is happening to their ‘home’ and to the people in Ukraine. How what they are experiencing is often the brutal absence of humanity but in the absence of humanity also comes the spirit of humanity, with magnificent accounts of love, kindness, generosity, support from strangers and unity.
I am not going to go to Ukraine to give you a news report. I am going to go to Ukraine with the intention of taking you on a very honest journey. An intimate journey that you will come to know the people as individuals and not just as a distant country with a lot of people going through something traumatic. I am going to show you connection, resilience, love, support – the incredible spirit of our humanity.
Let’s begin with me sharing Daniel and Patrik’s Go fund me account details. Their next trip is in a few days time.
Click here for the Go Fund me Page – Transport and supplies for Refugees in Ukraine
If you are interested in Ukraine and want to know more than just what is happening there, but meet some of the people experiencing this and follow their stories, Please follow Rosie Goes. I have no idea how this will unfold, but I do know how I will approach it. You can also follow Rosie Goes on Facebook and Instagram as well as through email and be notified when a post is published. Most importantly, please help and Daniel and Patrik fill up the mini van for the next trip which is scheduled for the 22 – 24 of April and make a donation you can afford. I look forward to showing you exactly to who these donations are going to and the incredible human spirit of the Ukrainians.