Here I was, alone in the USA, a brand new beginning, and my life sucked. I was so incredibly lonely and isolated that it felt as if I was on another planet. I could not tell any one back home, how helpless I felt, I knew it would worry them.
I tried my best making friends with other South Africans online but I got the impression that everyone was fighting their own battle of survival and also fighting other South Africans online.
How I wished that there was someone that I could ask for advice, tips, do’s & don’ts like you would ask a big sister (but without my people in South Africa seeing it.)In my mind’s eye, I had this huge gathering hall, with lots of SAFFA ladies, who had something like a tea party going. No men. Just a girls group, where they could vent and share tips and ideas like only women can do.
The idea of a Facebook group came to mind. It needed to be as diverse as our country. I thought about a name for weeks. Nearly decided on SAGITU (SA girls in the USA) then SAWINA (SA women in North America) and then finally SAWITU. SAWITU grew on me. I created this virtual space but decided that I needed to fill it with beautiful things, before I invited anyone into the virtual space. I added recipes, memes and just about anything I thought they would like.
So at first, I was all alone in SAWITU, but after a few days I started adding South African ladies living in the USA and asked all of them to invite their SA lady friends too. Soon, I was getting private messages from SA women in Canada asking me why they were excluded, it was the Americas after all. We decided to expand to include Canada too.
Our Canadian SAFFA sisters sometimes are the voice of reason when things get heated between the USA based members in the group. We thank you for that!
SAWITU grew into a sisterhood that sometimes leaves me speechless and in awe. Each one of us, brings something different to the table, like a huge buffet of personalities and traits.
Remember that people can not get to know you, or your traditions if you do not share them. The thing about opening up is, it makes us vulnerable, but we are here to build each other up, to empower one another!
SAWITU is a special place because of everyone of YOU! The recipes, the health gurus, the jokers, the clever ones, even the one or two that complain. Like that family wedding, where you see it all and can only shake your head, but also smile because it is YOUR tribe.
They just get you.
It is so much more, than what it started out as. We help each other, we comfort one another, and ladies, BIG things are coming! We are busy developing a program that would help those of us in need. Also, a SAWITU website for those that are not on Facebook that often. The SAWITU Essentials magazine is something special that will bring us together too, and share YOUR stories. The ups and the downs, the tears, and the joys!
A special thanks, to the admins of SAWITU who dedicate their time, effort, patience, and financial resources to make this group work: Lauren O’Reilly, Yvonne Curtis Moore, Joanne Vos, Bets Wilson, Yolandie Els, Donna Ogle, Yolande McDonald, Anna Brits, Marisa Malan, Gaynore Green. You are diamonds that shine under pressure!
I am humbled to call all of you my sister, let’s all work together and make things better, help one another ever if it is just with a kind word.