On Tuesday

On Tuesday: a reflection on Cape Town, South Africa

Some days I’m head-over-heels in love with this country, but other days there are too many hardships and not enough solutions and I feel so helpless in dealing with what I see.  

Like when I have to ignore countless people who approach me on the street pleading for cash with which to buy something to eat because they are so hungry- because the money is more than likely used for drugs, not food and if not I still can’t try to feed everyone on the block.

Like when the sister at the clinic can’t take a blood pressure on her patient because she has a burn wound on her left arm and two stab wounds on her right arm and the poor woman is so thin and has two kids in foster care, is living with drug addicts and is only a year older than me.

Like when the café staff run out of the kitchen, yelling and scolding in Afrikaans, the two young, hungry boys who are asking me if I’m planning on finishing my cake, and when they won’t give up and leave, the cook comes out with a curtain rod with which to chase them away.

Like when our cab driver gets out and yells at the rival cabdriver in front of us who is blocking the path “You asshole! You fucking blacks are all the same!” And I sit in confusion trying to determine why he would insult his fellow countryman when I realize our driver is considered “coloured” and the other is categorized “black” and therefore they will remain a world apart due to the arbitrary rules set by some white man in high court a hundred years before. 

Like when I slip out from my professional demeanor at the children’s hospital and can’t help but whisper “I love you” to the 2 year old boy who only just learned how to walk, abandoned by his family due to the tuberculosis that has infected his spine. And he looks up at me with his dark brown eyes and practices this brand new phrase, “I love you,” back to me.

I love this beautiful country, but I can’t always ignore these things I see. 

20/11/12 

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