End of a Long Season: Bye Bye Cape Town

This is the hardest blog I have ever had to write, and that says a lot for a guy who wrote blogs while he was homeless! But part of who I am and how I’ve “worked” over the years has been by sharing both my joys and sorrows, victories and defeats; certain pieces of my life in South Africa, if not huge chunks, have been lived publicly, so in many ways I feel I owe the “public” an update of what’s going on. It’s hard to know where to start…

I’ve lived and worked amongst the “youth at risk” of Cape Town for the past ten years, ever since I met the kids living on the streets of downtown Cape Town way back in 1999 during my first ever visit to South Africa. I cannot even begin to explain how wonderful my time here has been, what a privilege it has been to do the things I’ve done, be in the places I have been, and make family with the people I have grown to love so, so incredibly much; really, no words could ever do it justice. I know I have gotten way more from this place and its people than I could have ever given, and I’m cool with that.

On a personal level (totally un-“work” related), the past three years have been the most difficult years of my life. I’m left feeling pretty drained, dead, and lacking passion for life in general, much less my purpose, calling and “work”. I am healing, and trying to pick up the pieces and put them back together but I know it’s not going to be a quick process. It will take time, but I know with that time, healing will come, along with a rediscovery of the “me” I can’t seem to find right now, or at least a new and improved version of me.

All these years in Cape Town I have worked as a “volunteer”, depending off support from whoever found it in their hearts to give. I have seen God provide, through people, in ways that would blow your mind. I’m talking random people, I have still never met to this day, contacting me out of the blue asking if I “would mind” if they gave me large sums of money. But that’s another story for another day. For many different reasons, that support has dwindled in the past few years and pretty much come down to close family. I’m in the place where I’d like to just “get a job” (doing pretty much anything) for a season, but I can’t do that here in South Africa because, believe it or not after ten years, I am still not a permanent resident.

Along with that, my current three-year visa runs out on 30 November, along with the lease on my flat the very same day, and I was planning a trip to the States around that very time anyways. So, all of that to say, in late November I will be leaving South Africa for an indefinite period of time. It brings tears to my eyes to even type that, and I’m still working it out in my soul, but all arrows point me in this direction at that moment. I may do what I need to do in three months and return, or I may never live here again, the latter being pretty scary for me.

They say home is where the heart is, and for now my heart is still in Cape Town. But something that is more difficult than leaving here is actually being here without truly “living”. And that’s what I’m needing to sort out. Now, I’m definitely not writing this for you to feel sorry for me or something like that. But as I said, I have been here for a while, I love this place and all my wonderful family here, and I did not want to leave without saying a proper goodbye. I don’t know what the future holds but I know these last ten years have been a journey and a half! I want to thank you all for all the many, many, many wonderful years of laughter, pain, joy, sorrow, guns, knives, gangsters, adventures, smiles, hugs, tears, gifts, and memories!

I also just wanted to let you Cape Town people know so we could have enough time to meet up for a coffee, gatsby, or whatever before I go. I would appreciate your thoughts and prayers in this time too, if you have some thoughts and prayers to spare…

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5 Responses to End of a Long Season: Bye Bye Cape Town

  1. Dad says:

    Your mission field may be changing for a time but not your mission. I love you! DAD

  2. Dave says:

    You will be sorely missed. I have so appreciated every interaction I have had with you over the years. Your life has been a challenge to me. You have lived simply and provocatively. Joey says that she will miss you too….in the recesses of her deepest dreams she still remembers you…fondly. I so hope we see you again….but until then…..
    Dave

  3. Laura says:

    Perhaps you can come round to the School of Hope in the new term to give us one more dose of Brown inspiration before you go. We’d love to say goodbye properly or, as the Afrikaans say it : totsiens – or see you again! I’ll give you a tinkle.

  4. Virginia Mann says:

    Looking forward to seeing you in your other home in the states. Have a safe trip home.
    Aunt Stoney

  5. […] dramatic as it sounds, I felt like that little boy when I left Cape Town in late November of 2010. Leaving South Africa for an indefinite period was one of the most […]

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