We All Share “The Human Spirit”

By on June 5, 2014
Carole Eglash-Kosoff

By Jennifer D. Le –

At nineteen years old, I was completely perplexed at how life was panning out. Devastated over a loss, the pain led me to venturing out of the country for the first time. With a suitcase, a “Guide to Speaking Spanish” handbook, a weak heart, but good intentions, I found myself on a flight to Colombia and into the halls of a classroom teaching English to a group of Colombian students. The results were groundbreaking because it was here that I encountered people who were given so little, but had hearts that were so big. I came to Colombia with the intent to change lives, but what I experienced changed me.

Exactly one year later, I came across a remarkable woman who helped remind me that resilience is difficult to achieve, but it makes the journey worthwhile. Her name is Carole Eglash-Kosoff. She is three times my age, but had a life changing experience much like mine.

In 2006, Carole lost her husband, mother, and brother within the same month. In a state of devastation, she volunteered to teach in the townships of South Africa, which is where she met a group of woman called the “Mamas.” These women devoted their efforts to providing assistance to the disadvantaged and those neglected during Apartheid. Carole’s encounter transpired into a compilation of stories, which would later form her book, “The Human Spirit – Apartheid’s Unheralded Heroes,” and now it has been adapted for stage, premiering at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. I asked Carole a little bit about her journey:

What was going through your head as you packed to go to South Africa for the first trip?

Carole: Panic!  Had I really made a rational decision to leave the comfort of my surroundings, to go halfway round the world?

Would you share with readers, the most important lesson that you learned while volunteering in South Africa?

Carole: People are the same wherever you are in the world. They have the same needs, the same love of children and family, and the same desire for respect. People can and will work together regardless of race, if you let them.

Any particular moment that was an eye opener for you while volunteering? Perhaps an anecdote you can share?

Carole: Actually, there were two. First, just serving beans and eating at the Senior Center with all of us joking about who was older and doing stretching exercises together. Second, visiting in the home of a young girl named Bongiwi. She was an 8 year old and the chess champion of her class. She and her parents were so proud.

What can audiences expect to experience from this play?

Carole: A message of hope. Perhaps they will leave with a better awareness of a terrible tragedy that happened elsewhere in the world. It is a beacon of hope, that racism can be overcome.

What advice would you give to someone who is interested in making a difference in this world, like you did?

Carole: Find a purpose that is personal to you and never rationalize that you can’t make a real difference. None of us will change the world but we can each improve a small corner of it.

Segoati Reeves Dobbyn- THSTHE HUMAN SPIRIT is a compelling and inspirational true story that tells of something that we can all relate to: loss, devastation, heartbreak, but it serves as a reminder of something that we can all achieve: recovery, resilience, and making an impact on others. Nobody expects to be thrown a curveball without any form of notice or forewarning. Oh, but life is wickedly mischievous sometimes, and wonderfully resilient. Carole starts the next chapter of her life as a playwright.

The World Premiere of THE HUMAN SPIRIT opens Saturday, June 7th with performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, and Sundays at 3pm through June 29, 2014. The Odyssey Theatre is located at 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025. Tickets are $30 at http://www.plays411.com/human or 323-960-4412. Facebook: www.facebook.com/humanspirit2014 and Twitter: @humanspirit2014

 

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We All Share “The Human Spirit”