Response-ibility

Rachel Germann

Rachel Germann is teacher from Switzerland who spent two weeks serving with Yebo Life in November 2014. Check out the photos of Rachel spending time with her South African family, working at a local boys' high school, serving with Yebo Life, and touring South Africa with her boyfriend Michael at the end of this blog. Thank you, Rachel, for your time, energy, and thoughts!


We always want more—more love, more attention, more success... but not more responsibility.

This condition (the one of not wanting to take responsibility) began in man's early days. Most of you know the story about Adam and how he shifted the responsibility of his sin to Eve. And Eve? Well, she claimed that the snake seduced her, so it's him (the Enemy) who is to blame for her disobedience! The decisions made by Adam and Eve were fatal. The consequence? Their (and our) separation from God.

I believe that many of the problems we face today are rooted in our refusal to take responsibility. Allow me to explain.

It’s been a couple of months since I left Cape Town, a city that left a huge impression on me. I'm a teacher in Switzerland, and as a part of my post-graduate education, I was offered an opportunity to intern at a boys’ high school in Cape Town for a term. I have family who live in the city, so I gladly accepted the offer. Halfway through my stay, I was introduced to Tony and Julie by a mutual friend.

My internship ended before I was due back in Switzerland, and initially, I planned to use the extra time to travel the country. But after hearing about Yebo Life, I reached out to Tony and Julie and ended up serving with them for two weeks instead. (Don't worry, I still got to do a bit of traveling when my boyfriend joined me in late November!)

During my time serving with Yebo Life, I couldn’t get this question out of my head: "Why do people refuse to take responsibility for the city they live in?"

The question surfaced when I told my colleagues and relatives in South Africa that I planned to serve in the townships for a couple of weeks. The majority of them was worried. They openly admitted that they would never do what I was going to do... and I was irritated. Irritated that they'd never been in a township, or at least wanted to see what people in their own city go through on a daily basis. I concluded that if they'd seen, they would've felt responsible. And if they felt responsible for something, they'd have to act.

Check out this Brooke Fraser video, Albertine , a song she wrote after meeting a Rwandan orphan named Albertine in 2005.

I don’t blame Capetonians for being irresponsible. Irresponsibility is a phenomenon that happens, in my opinion, all around the world. But here's where many people go wrong: Accepting responsibility for your city doesn't necessarily mean you have to give up your entire way of life. It doesn't mean you have go live with people in need. It doesn't mean you have to become a teacher, a pastor, or a vegetarian even (unless you're called to).

Responsibility can be: not littering, greeting people on the bus or when crossing the street, voting, recycling, eating meat five times a week instead of seven, saying "thank you" to people who serve you, buying seasonal food, donating money instead of buying another pair of shoes, or spending time with elderly people and children without expecting to get paid.

If you don’t feel responsible for what’s going on around you, you're refusing to respond (response-ibility) to the physical place that God has called you to. By not taking responsibility for your city, you're refusing to take ownership of a huge piece of God's will for your life.

Here are three take-aways and three questions to ask yourself:

  1. Open your eyes to your environment. What are my city's needs?
  2. Find a cause that you can play a part in. What aligns with my heart and calling?
  3. Get involved in your local community. How can I take responsibility?