This is the second in a series of posts written by the SEED community chronicling their journey into the rural heartland of Limpopo, South Africa with 25 girls who are a part of the SEED program. The trip was a part of the urban/rural exchange filmed to capture the voice of young women of South Africa. The journey was documented through journal entries by SEED staff and each Friday for 5 weeks Girls’ Globe will publish a new entry. Read the first post in the series here.
The heavens have opened! The rain is torrential, another blessing in the eyes of the Venda people. We are not so sure and arrive at the hall with the uncertainty of who will come back today. Slowly as the rain dissipates, the hall fills once more, the girls are chatty and eager to begin. Song fills the room, girls break into traditional dance, the atmosphere is electric. Music is their redemption and takes on a power that touches the soul.
As the group discussions get under way, the local girls seem to have found their voice and the individual stories of rape, abuse, teenage pregnancies abound. The room pervades an overwhelming sadness and at the same time there is a certain relief as the stories have been met with such open understanding. So many of the girls share similar stories they are able to unite in their sadness and provide each other with the security, they are not alone.
Our interviews are an intimate reflection of the mood inside the hall. Despite the enormous challenges girls face, the silence they have been encouraged to keep for the reputation of their families; they continue to hold their heads high, as they feel with God’s grace, this is the life they were meant to lead.
It has been a long day and we all go home to our families, deeply grateful to be here together.
The day begins early and the girls are all keen to get into their discussions. Today each group will spend time giving expression to the topics they have been discussing. The sun has returned, everyone moves outside and once more song fills the air from all corners of the playground.
We will be spending most of our time interviewing both girls from SEED and from the local community. They have decided to come forward to share their story and for some of the girls, it will be for the first time. As the stories unfold we are left speechless at the unforgiving intensity of these girls lives. Rape, violence, and teenage pregnancies are a common thread woven into each of their lives. But faith, courage and hope are also deeply woven into their tapestry and every girl considers their life to hold possibilities to fulfil their goals. They are able to share their stories for they are no longer bound by them, rather they belong to their history and they will not allow them to determine their future. These are the voices that need to be heard, for despite the enormous challenges these young women have faced, they have such strength, wisdom and determination to make their world a better place, not only for themselves but also for their children.