DELEEN & KATRIN . a friendship which lasts for decades on different continents
In the beginning of the Nineties when I was a teen, I stumbled upon some colourful pieces of paper decorated with a multitude of country flags from all corners of the world. They were application forms for international penfriendships. I got curious: Wouldn´t it be interesting to communicate with youth from all over the world and find out what life is for a girl of my age in South Africa? Some letters were exchanged in English, one single contact lasted until well after I finished school.
Fast Forward to 2003: Thanks to the Cape Town–Aachen partnership and in cooperation with my university, I received a scholarship for some months of research for a study in Cape Town. Finally we were able to organize a real meeting with my penfriend in person! And not just once, we met regularly during weekends, when Deleen`s husband was able to drive his small family from the suburb into town where I shared a flat with other students. While I was still studying, my friend Deleen had already married her big love, changed her religious beliefs plus her first name and family name, and was already mother of a little girl. Our life couldn`t have been more different at this stage.
Even though we hadn‘t met in person before, we felt never as strangers. We had shared our heartache when we were 15 and we knew so many details about each other, that in fact there were more things that connected us than things that could separate us – even though this seemed impossible from the outside.
Our families kept on meeting also after graduation from university, whenever we spent our holidays in Cape Town. A few years ago Deleen`s husband died suddenly and unexpectedly and only left behind his business as an auto-electrician. My brave friend worked hard to provide for her dutiful and intelligent girl and subsequently she graduated from high-school. We were there for them whenever times were especially rough.
We will continue to follow each other‘s path through life and we know we can always rely on our friendship.