There’s moments, few and far between, where I observe some spectacle of unrivaled beauty and wish I could share it, right then and there, with those closest to me.
This weekend, in Cape Town, it happened four times. I was simply, totally, awestruck.
I now can tell why South Africa’s unofficial title is “The Rainbow Nation”, for the diversity of its people (11 official languages) parallels with the schizophrenia of its landscape. A 630am flight from somewhat chilly (well, unless you’re still in Michigan) Jo’burg — on an airline called 1Time [Allie’s quote: “Oh, so they expect you to fly them only one time? Sounds encouraging!”] which ended up being quite a pleasant experience [maybe I’ll fly ’em twice!]. On my right were two Afrikaaners, behind me sat a young couple speaking Xhosa, and my Taiwanese teammate and I talked about how to say “beautiful” in Mandarin.
I know this offers a fascinating contrast to what I typed a few days ago; it seems as if the country is fully aware of its rainbow, yet the colors seem to reveal themselves in more of a Kaleidoscopic form — you never know which two will end up next to one another; their movements are unpredictable without some form of heavy calculation; not all the colors end up in the same palette at one time. Oh, but these people are quite self-deprecating — this morning’s newspaper included a tongue-in-cheek column that would likely be either censored or passed off as incredulous in the States due to its (socially-permissible) use of broad stereotypes.
Anyway, three of these jaw-dropping experiences were brought on by geography; I’ll save the juicy details and let you experience them on your own. 🙂 But the fourth happened tonight after disembarking from our 2time flight and heading to the terminal: an elderly blind man was escorted onto the shuttle and sat down next to another passenger. The two differed in color — clearly. I personally expected the two to barely converse (you can tell that I’ve become a little jaded), but the elderly man immediately struck up dialogue, only to be rebuffed by the other’s lack of English skills.
“Oh, would you like me to speak in French, then?” the man, with nary a hint of sarcasm, kindly asked. And so began a brief, yet beautiful dialogue that put a smile on my face I wish the blind man could have seen.
On this Easter, a day my faith asks of me to reflect upon, a day in which I’ve found myself in such a Kaleidoscope of emotions over the years, a blind man offered me a slice of hope for this country, as small as it may have been. A better script couldn’t have been written.