The month is almost over. In a way it’s gone fast but in another sense it feels like we’ve been here for a very long time.
Here are some of the highs and lows of the last week.
1). Our weekend street party. The wonderful meeting of two worlds. A true feeling of embracing our rainbow nation. Sharing this experience with some of our friends and family from home and about 150 community members
2). I’m in Mamelodi alone tonight. Julian is away for a work trip and the children are having their first sleepover at their grandparents house. Before coming here, I would have been terribly afraid of spending a night on my own but I am really not in the least bit scared. As usual I am in bed early but I know I am surrounded by a loving and caring community. It is wonderful when fear is replaced by understanding and a small sense of belonging.
3). Buying sugar cane from one of the shacks here (several people have sugar cane growing in their back yards) and munching it happily with Julian and the children. A treat after a month with no snacks or sweets.
4). Anticipation of that hot shower I only have to wait a few more days for. It’s going to be bittersweet leaving but I am really starting to look forward to home. Counting down sleeps.
5). The turn of season. It is no longer so cold at night or in the early mornings.
6). Our health. We’ve managed to make it through the month with only a bout of flu right at the beginning. Otherwise been strong and healthy.
7). The children have really formed some wonderful friendships with the local children and have both grown in confidence and independence this month. They love going to the spaza shop in our street on their own to go ‘shopping’ for us.
And the lows.
1). Late one night over the weekend we ‘experienced’/ overheard one of our first township fights. We were in bed already but woke up to a huge racket near our shack with screaming, shouting and revving of a car. One guy wanted to hit another with a brick, everyone was shouting and it was fueled by alcohol. I’m not a fan of fights and even though we were locked safely inside our shack and it had nothing to do with us I did not like it one bit.
2). This week it seemed like the clothes washing was never ending. The children constantly dirtied their clothes then put on a new set and I spent hours hand washing. My hand washing skills are still not quite up to scratch and a few times I’d hang something up and when it dried would realize it was still dirty.
3). Getting tired of eating oats for breakfast everyday and too many beans, lentils and pilchards
4). The socio economic burden this month has placed on our hearts. Now we know. Feeling overwhelmed by the needs of the community.
5). Jessica throwing a temper tantrum in a taxi: ‘I don’t want to go to Mamelodi’ (luckily some kind lady had a sweet she gave Jess who ate it and promptly fell asleep thereafter avoiding a full blown melt down)
6). Passing some of the nyaope guys in the street twirling a beautiful diamond studded wedding band on their fingers. Feeling for the person it was stolen from (I’ve been a victim of an armed robbery in the past and it scars you) Angry at the drug/crime link and the fact that the police aren’t doing more about it.