It’s been a busy couple of weeks. We thought that a weekly ‘highs and lows’ post would be good just to give some insight into some of our daily challenges and joys so here goes:
The highs this week have been
1). Afternoon strolls. Meeting people, hearing their stories and discovering some really beautiful gardens outside some of the shacks here in ext 6
2). The municipal park. The kids love playing there and it has served well as a school holiday outing change from home.
3). The positive response we have received from a lot of members of the public on our blog. It’s been very encouraging and much needed when things are tough
4). My parents arriving back in South Africa after 4 years abroad. Being able to show them where we are staying and spending an evening with them (I also had my first bath and shower this month while with them which was AMAZING)
5). Being taught the techniques behind successful hand washing of clothes by my friendly neighbours who clearly thought my clothes didn’t look clean enough after my attempts at hand washing
6). Getting used to sleeping on the thin mattresses on the floor and the cold and actually having a few really good nights of sleep
7). Julia befriending the lovely ladies at the spaza shop near us and spending many hours there getting her hair braided or just chilling with the girls.
And some of the lows
1). The all permeating smell of paraffin. Our shack smells of it. Our clothes smell of it and I’m sure the hacking cough I have is partly as a result if it
2). Bucket baths. Washing hair and bodies in a bucket with one kettle hot water and some cold water does not do it for me. I miss my shower
3). Hearing the very sad story of a lady a few shacks down from us who was arrested for selling dagga (marijuana) earlier this week leaving behind a 4year old who now lives in the shack alone with only the Nyaope guys as company at night. (Update: the department of social services has taken the girl so she’s not alone. Good news. )
4). Feeling completely overwhelmed by the media interest our month has generated. Torn between talking to people to generate much needed conversation in this country and telling the media to go away and leave us in peace
5). Leaving my parents to return to Mamelodi when we would have loved to spend more time with them.
6). Julian’s 4am wakeup to catch the metro-rail only to have to wait 45 mins in the cold for a delayed train