I have realised this blog is quite long....got on a bit of a roll haha. So grabbing a drink or a snack now, before you start is probably best :)
Generally my dreams involve a few random places I've been in my life, warped with unnatural colours where processed food grows on trees or there's a baddy chasing after me and for some reason there is almost ALWAYS a bunny rabbit (maybe it's because i gave my bunny to a better home a few months ago? Moo vengeance...) But a few weeks ago i had a different dream. It wasn't one that left me utterly confused with myself when I woke up or one that evaporated when I tried to read into it more - this dream was flipping awesome.
In Mali, we visited an area where World Vision had just started helping out (were still assessing what can be done). We drove from the capital city, Bamako, for about five hours (three on tar sealed roads, and two on where-is-the-road-I-only-see-potholes) to reach a small village called Kog'noumami. This was the village where reality smacked me in the face, and the way I saw Mali changed from a photo I looked at and thought "Flip! That's sad!" to an actual place, with actual people who laugh, dance and sing... and are stressed over not having enough food to survive on.
It all sunk in when we were sitting in the crop harvest of Donki's family.
Donki is a girl who we met in this village who has corn-braids, the cutest dimple you'll ever see, one dangly earring with a red star on it, and Donki is a live-wire. She taught me how to pull up water from the well, or attempt this anyway. I pulled the rope up again and again, getting slower as the pulling got more tiring while Donki clapped her hands and shouted African encouragements at me, "Yawa, Yawa!", till she was satisfied that I had conquered the well. Then in true Mali style we carried the buckets of water on our heads to the women who were washing their clothes... in true gump style I managed to slop the water all over Donki and onto the ground where red dust splashed all over my peach skirt....ah...success. Once again I earned a laugh from the onlookers, and from Donki.
I think it was spending that time with Donki, doing simple things, playing games and chatting that meant my view on African people changed. I had always subconsciously alienated them, to that picture we often see of children with flies on their faces, helpless. Donki absolutely shattered the mould, her energy and liveliness made me realise she is not only human, but she is a fighter!
This is what made the crop harvest so hard, as we sat in the circle of millet, Donki's dad Guano told us straight up, how there is not enough food for them to live on. There were nine months till the next harvest in mid December, and they had two months of food left. This was the place where my heart absolutely broke for Mali and for Donki. This amazing girl who would go far in New Zealand with her drive for life is stunted by living just to survive. That is all her life is about.
As we left the crop circle, I ran up to Donki and picked her up, it was that moment when I realised how protective I felt over her. Again, it's cheesy, but man I love Donki!
This is how my dream ties in, in my dream I was walking around Parachute music festival (which had morphed into a trailer park and boat shop too), then I turned around the corner and all of a sudden I was back in the crop harvest with Donki. That moment when I ran to pick her up played out again, but instead of me picking her up, she picked me up. This scrawny little twelve year old, lifted me right above her head! The same feelings I felt when I had picked her up in Mali came back, but this time, you could tell Donki felt them too.
This dream has been on my mind sooo much since it happened and it's made me realise that not only do I love the people in Mali, which is why I do the famine and raise money for the projects over there, but man! They love us too! It's not a one-way, separated event where we give and give to a void, an organisation, a cause. We are giving to people, who are real, and when we give a gift to them, they know we love them, and they love us back. We're all on the same plane really, Donki's needs are just different to mine at this time. It's simply that!