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My South African Family

by Seth Stroupe
study abroad south africa

Last Updated on December 17, 2018 by Cat Rogliano


This is a family photo. It might not look like it, but believe me, it is. There isn’t much of a family resemblance among our members, but that doesn’t matter to us. I wish that everyone had a chance to know every single one of these individuals, but that’s just not possible. I don’t have words for what a sincere honor it is to have had all of them fall into my life at once. You should count yourself lucky to know just one.

I could tell you all of their stories, but I wouldn’t do any of them justice. I could tell you all of their stories, but they don’t belong to me. They were borrowed, temporarily entrusted into my care by friends. They are all so beautiful and all so different. When you listen to the stories of others, it reveals a lot about human nature. Deep down, all we really want is to connect with each other- to laugh and love and cry and comfort and share life with one another.

When you meet a genuine person, they demand your attention. They stand out and alter the entire trajectory of your day. When you meet 20 genuine people all at once, it will change your life forever. I’m not speaking for the group, but only for myself.

Have you ever thought about the first time you meet a friend? Do you remember what you talked about or how you felt or what you initial impression was? I do. That’s an important moment for me. The awkward run in that leads to a best friend. The polite conversation that soon evolves into deep discussion or a discovery of a shared sense of humor. I remember meeting all of these people and thinking that I initiated these moments with them. I thought it was me that was drawn to something special inside of them when honestly they were looking for me. Not just me, but everyone. Authentic people look for authentic relationships. That was what made them special, they were all looking to engage with people in the most honest and sincere way they knew how.

IMG_0619I am not meaning to sound boastful about our little family. Most of them would reflect this sort of praise back to someone else. Why? Because they all have their own uncertainties and humilities and they honestly don’t think that they are doing anything special. I’m not writing this to place them on a pedestal or inflate egos or any of that nonsense. They are not the only genuine people I have met here, far from it. There are so many people I would like to acknowledge and thank in my writings before I leave, but today, I am feeling grateful for this specific group and I wanted them all to know.




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