Saturday, March 24

Heartbreaking Africa

Well tonight was my first night out in about 5 months, I was so looking forward to doing grownup stuff again. Having a few getting dresses up, doing my hair. Having a couple of drinks, chatting listenting to a friend of mine's pals playing in a band at a trendy bar/side walk cafe in a very trendy part of town.
I enjoyed myself for the first half hour & then I started to look around me at the people walking by on the street and thats when it hit me like a ton of bricks and my heart broke and the fun night was over ... Africa along with all its beauty comes the abject poverty & desperation. Not 5 meters from where we were sitting there was a young african mother with her little boy about 10 months old making their nights home on the pavement with one thread bare blanket. The awful thing is she was one of many. Then as she was falling asleep trying to get her child to lie still on the cold concrete floor, the bar managment chased her away & now she had to find somewhere else out of the rain for the two of them.
I have become so insulated and yes isolated, in my little world of Miguel, Chris & my house (I have no car so I dont get out very much) that I had forgotten what was out there. God forgive me for forgetting and for taking what I had for granted. I sit here crying feeling the worlds weight on my shoulders asking myself how do I make a difference, is my contribution, raising my son to be a good man, a compasionate man, a giving & caring man - is that enough? How do I even begin to make a dent in the pain & desolation of this country? I love this country so much, but I have forgotten.
In south Africa we have over 44 million people, our unemployment rate is 25.5% (2006 est.). Population below poverty line: 50%. Did you know that our infant mortality rate is 60.66 deaths/1,000 live births !! That life expectancy is 42 years!! Thats insane! To put it in to perspective these are the stats for the USA ...
  • Infant mortality rate: 6.43 deaths/1,000 live births
  • Life expectancy at birth: 77.85 years
  • Unemployment rate: 4.8% (2006 est.)
  • Population below poverty line: 12%
We have a president who is more inteseted in buying private jets amd Armani suits, a minister of health who releases a press release stating that anti-retrol viral drugs will not be given to HIV positive people, because beetroot & garlic will cure them!
You all know how much I love this country, but how do I keep living here and bring up my child in this ?? I just feel so despondent. Will I too feel like I have no option but to leave . . . like so many before me? Im sorry .. i keep telling you about how wonderful my country is & that you should all come here, but unfortunatly there is a sad truth to the beauty here. I just had to get it of my chest. Im off to give Chris & my beautiful baby boy a hug & kiss, then im off (even though im not a particularly religious person) to thank God for everything I have & to ask him for forgivness for my blinkers, also to ask him for guidence on how to make a difference. And please God help her ...
i love you all

1 comment:

Scraps of Bev said...

Gosh Kat that made for some very thoughtful reading and I really don't know how to answer you..

Sadly what is happening in your country is world wide although it is of course much worst in some countries than others and yes SA has got area's of its life very bad.

How can you do anything about it I don't know except maybe ensure that you always reamin aware of the issue's and if anything does arise where you can vote, help etc than do so.

Do not let this get to you too much just take a moment to reflex on it and also look for the good things about living in SA and I'm sure there are some it is after all your home!

I think it was a good and brave thing Cleo to have written this all down and I'm sorry that your evening was spoilt by what happened. Perhaps the next time you go out to enjoy yourself with your friends you will be ready for maybe something like this to happen again and will be able to cope with it, not accept it but cope with it!!

Take care
Love Bev