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  • Isabella Naiduki

33 With Love

I turned 33 today. Nothing special, just 3 and a bit decades of being alive on this earth, I don't feel the need to have a celebration for it as much as I did in my twenties, so my family usually keep it lowkey... Probably out of fear of being told birthdays are Mother Nature's way of reminding us that we are indeed a year closer to our death.

This year is a little special though, as we have our trip in the summer to Poland that we are preparing ourselves for - Both financially and emotionally. Ever since we decided to make the trip to the Auschwitz-Birkeneau Camp Memorial with our children, I've tried to incorporate daily lessons or engage them in conversation with regards to what happened. One of the activities we do is, a day in history during the period of WW2. Today's daily history find (thanks to google) was a little confronting for both my school age girls and I. Today 74 years ago (6th of March, 1943) the arrival of a transport carrying 665 Jews (183 men and 482 women) from Berlin was noted in the records of Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp. After the "selection" undergone by the transport, only 153 men and 65 women were accepted in the camp as prisoners and given their numbers, the remaining 447 people (30 men and 417 women) were killed shortly after in the gas chambers in the Birkenau camp. It was a reality check for me in the sense, it put my worrying about menial things at home into perspective - in that they were exactly as I described them to be - menial and not so life-consuming as I make them out to be.

These daily history finds for our WW2 history lessons about the Holocaust is hard going for all of us, as it is exposing the privileged lifestyle that I have become accustomed to and therefore making me take life for granted. It's making me appreciate the little things in life and also allowing me to no longer feel the need to confine myself to the ambits of existing within the walls that society deems I must. It's giving me the freedom to express my thoughts and ask hard questions about how we treat others and how that reflects on our own shortcomings and unfounded fears. It's allowing me to ensure that my children are being raised to not have the benchmark of achievement as only that of academic success but also to have empathy for the plight of those less fortunate, those who are facing discrimination and those who do not have the privilege of having a voice to speak out and against the mistreatment they may be facing. If they can grow up to be adults who can relate and help those who need help, then my work as a parent has been a success and I can enjoy whatever old age I may be blessed with knowing that I birthed some decent human beings after all.

33 is a perfect number for me, as will 34 and 35 and so on. One glaringly obvious lesson I've learnt from our home edu