Chido Murambiwa, Grade 11
UWC Waterford Kamhlaba
I was never one to get homesick easily, especially when considering the wave of homesickness that came years after I had joined the school. It wasn’t a flood of emotions, but it was slow and it built up. I remember it first started when I saw a photo of my mom eating traditional food. Her smile, the happiness I felt at that moment whilst seeing her eat made a warmth grow in my chest, but immediately afterwards a sadness that I wasn’t familiar with came over me, then slowly I kept being reminded of home. Maybe the smell of the food in the cafeteria that day triggered a memory or the few moments I had to speak my home language I savoured every moment. These slow pent-up memories caught up to me. I ended up muffling my crying in the middle of the night when the huge realization finally occurred to me that I was far from home and I felt overwhelmed by loneliness. My Kenyan friend walked in and like any normal person was shocked to see me crying on the floor. I remember her bending over and asking what was wrong. After explaining to her, she left with no word and I was stunned. She returned with a traditional snack from her country and gave it to me to eat. It was so random that I did not know how to react. I just opened the food and ate as she stared at me hopefully. She smiled and said, “you just needed something from home”. Even though I was from Southern Africa and she was East African we understood each other. Home wasn’t necessarily our countries but what connected our countries. Despite us being so different I felt like she understood everything I missed and needed at that moment. That moment made me realize what the UWC community really was.