May 28

‘I haven’t felt this at home & content in 3 years’

Barbara van der Walt and her family returned to South Africa after living in Wisconsin for three years. She shares her homecoming experience.

We packed up our lives for the second time in a little over 3 years. We left our 2-bedroom townhouse in Cedarburg, Wisconsin on March 16th, 2019 (we lived there since Feb 18th, 2016). I was literally getting rashes from the stress now that I had 2 children to fend for (8 months and 3.5-year-old boys). I was scared beyond belief, talking to people that just emigrated, watching the news and of course getting everyone’s opinions (without asking for them).

We love being back. Our children get excited seeing their ouma and oupa. Our boys have been outside every day all day since we’ve been back. Our eldest got a trampoline and plays with his cars in the backyard like it’s all new every time he wakes up. (He forgets we even have a television). We’ve been back in nature swimming in nature reserves ice cold rivers, hunting and taking in its beautiful views!

There is an entrepreneurial spirit I can’t remember ever being here. So many people are doing something to survive, very few are just blaming BEE sitting at home feeling sorry for themselves.

Now let me say this, the system is broken, people are seriously negative, they see every little bad thing there is! We spent a lot of time at home affairs to get our US born baby registered and sitting there made me realize how horrible everyone is to the people working for the system. Their computers are shot and when they go offline or experience load shedding, it’s like everyone treats them as if it’s their fault.

There is crime. Just this weekend, I was on my sister’s farm and they had criminal activity, guns and security came in play, but I didn’t have an ounce of fear because of how prepared/organized they were for this type of situation. We’ve also been on other family and friends’ farms and NO ONE is acting as afraid as the people we met in the US telling us “the current state of things in SA”. The general discussion here is that their lives and faith will not be determined by fear of something that might not even affect them. They are prepared, they have action plans and they sleep fine at night.

I’ll end it here since there is so much I could share! Yes, there’s a lot that needs fixing but not every inch of the country is burning or crime-riddled! The diversity and beauty that South Africa offers make me want to stay, I haven’t felt this at home and content in 3 years! Sending you all blessings and love out of sunny SA!