Kathleen Rauch




Kathleen Rauch is a part-time assistant to Leslie in South Africa and part-time volunteer for Seeds of Light, CoreLight’s humanitarian arm, which supports AIDS orphans and marginalized communities in rural South Africa:

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I’m four months into my African experience and am discovering the truth of the adage, “Wherever you go, there you are.” I packed up my life in the US in mid-July and took a big leap. I arrived with baggage that matched my body weight. I’ve been curious to see what parts of my previous life would catch up with me across oceans and continents. Here’s what is showing up.

Home is wherever I cook. If I can’t cook, I’m not home. I like to cook, chop, simmer, steam, boil, ferment, grill, soak and roast. I find cooking meditative and grounding. I organize the refrigerator for efficiency and visual appeal. I like doing dishes by hand. Plunging my hands into hot, soapy water and running a sponge over the dishes to clean them gives me great pleasure.

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Drinking tea in bed starts my day off right. I have a very specific tea making/drinking ritual which involves a specially designated thermos. My children tease me about this. I am very attached to my thermos. It is marked, “Tea” so that I can distinguish it from my other, otherwise identical thermos. It would be defiled by any other liquid other than black tea.

Morning pages and tea go together. I diligently write three pages every morning while I drink my tea. I meet myself in the writing. I find out what is really happening in my life as I put pen to paper. I love doing my morning pages. I discover the trends and thoughts and inspirations and hopes and heartbreaks. I am often surprised at what shows up. I just write. I almost never re-read my writing.

Cycling is my preferred method of transportation. I’d rather ride my bike than drive. I gain energy by riding. I connect to the landscape when I ride. I learn every bump and curve in the road or on the trail. I can usually (but not always) figure out where I am when I am on a bike. I travel at a human speed. I see things I would miss otherwise. I meet people. I feel strong and fluid and at ease on my bicycle. Sometimes I feel as though I am flying, only I am touching the earth. My bicycle feels like an extension of my body. I love my current bicycle, but I am not particular. I think I could love any bicycle.

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I love people. I love meeting people from all walks of life. I love the intimacy of being human and connecting with people. I love the warmth of the smiles that I am experiencing in South Africa. I love the stories. I love the creativity of human expression.

Sometimes I get exhausted and need to retreat. I can get worn out by my own mind and sometimes social interactions. Time in silence helps me to recover. Writing, cooking, cycling, bathing, swimming and spending time in nature are wonderfully restorative for me.

Medicinal plants capture my imagination. I am beginning to learn the medicinal plants where I live. Centella asiatica, gotu kola grows as a groundcover here. Every day, I nibble a leaf. It has a pungent taste and I make a face. But I like it. I am getting to know Centella asiatica in my body. I haven’t dreamt about it yet. I imagine I will, but that takes time and true knowing. Usually I only dream a plant when someone needs it as medicine.

I continue to be fascinated by human sexuality. I love the anatomy and biology of human reproduction. I am intrigued with the expression of this vital, creative, life force energy that is our birthright. I am curious about what people don’t speak about. I am awed that I get to have conversations about this sensitive topic as part of my work here in South Africa.