The Coaster Continues
While Tenele had dropped out of school and didn’t even come to tell me, she did send me a letter. My spirit was partly renewed by receiving her letter, but also still crushed because it almost seemed like she was saying goodbye, or giving up.
To translate a little here…”make wami” means “my mother.”
On the other side, Tenele wrote about her step-sister Winile who had also dropped out of school after Tenele left. Again, to translate what she said…Tenele’s step-mom tried to force Winile to sleep with men like she did to Tenele, so Winile also ran away. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen Winile (or Tenele) since.
The first line of Tenele’s letter says, “Sorry for that my friend. I have a problem to my mind.” I was encouraged that she appologized, and moved that she understand that she has a problem in her mind. But what she doesn’t know is that the problem is actually a spiritual blindness, but we will get to that later. I was just glad that she acknowledges that she wants to go to school but for some reason won’t let herself commit.
But during the rest of the letter, I couldn’t help but feel sad because she wrote as if she were saying goodbye(without acutally saying it). She kept saying “make wami, shem” which means “my mother,” and shem is a word they use all the time to show emotion. She asked for me to print off some pictures of us and a few pictures of me that she liked and wanted to keep. She asked me to give them to Khanyisile as if I were not going to see Tenele again. Also, she wrote that she had left Mangwaneni and was living in Ngwane Park. I found out a few days later that she had lied and actually was still at Mangwaneni but didn’t want me to come looking for her there. 🙁
By this point, I had already decided I wasn’t going to chase her anymore. I had done all I could possibly think for that girl. I was crushed and slightly angry at the whole situation. I wanted to find her and talk to her, but I knew the chasing was over. She clearly didn’t want to be found. So, I sent a letter back to her through Khanyisile that told her how much I still loved her and that I will stop chasing her but will always be here whenever she decides to come. I told her that I realized she wasn’t ready for my help, but when she is, I am always offering it.
Then, last Sunday, I went to Mangwaneni with Johannes and Pununu. I went to find Khanyisile because I had heard that she wasn’t at school for the past few days. (More on her in the next blog.) When I went through Mangwaneni, people immediatly asked, “Are you looking for Tenele?”
“No,” I politely responded. And they were taken off guard when I told them it was Khanyi I was looking for. We ran into Ayanda on the way through the squatter camp and she rushed off to change out of her dazzling white Sunday gear to come hang out with us. On the way, she ran into Tenele and told her I was here. Tenele told Ayanda to lie about where her and Khanyisile were so I wouldn’t see them.
And lie to me Ayanda did. I was quite upset later when I found out Ayanda lied but she told me that they said they would beat her if she told me the truth. I was so disheartened. Not only because of Tenele and the lies, but because of Khanyisile. Angry and sick of them “playing games,” I returned home in a huff of emotion and frustration. I was fed up. “I’m done,” I said to myself and my housemats. “I’m done trying. It’s not a game. And I’m sick of it.” I had been so worn out lately and I was at the end of my rope. Until…
I got a lovely card in the mail from my friend Hannah. While she wrote wonderful things inside there were two simple words she said that changed my heart. She had encouraged me to continue to pursue Tenele without even knowing all of this that has been going on. And she simply said, “LOVE WINS.”
She is so right. Love wins. Christ is the victor. It’s my job to keep reinforcing this truth, no matter how long or how many times it takes to stop the rollercoaster ride.