Friday, August 6, 2010

Doing Their Best, But Am I?

One theme that I've noticed since being in South Africa, is that, "South Africa does its best." So very true. It's a  tenacious, resilient country. They've endured so much already yet there's so much to overcome. Our first afternoon we went to an after school kids' club in a township called Ocean View. Ocean View is a 'better off' coloured community. I say better off because part of the community has been provided permanent dwellings by the government. Most have electricity and public bathrooms.

I say coloured because that is there official name, it is not a racial slur. The coloured community falls between the white South Africans and the black South Africans, who, in this community are largely Xhosa.  There is understandable resentment in Ocean View because it was part of the Group Relocation Act of the Apartheid Era, where people were forcibly removed from their homes. Ocean View looks similar to an American project. There are about 30,000 people living here.  Read a short history of Ocen View here.

The after school kids club runs four days a week, all year long. It's longer during holiday. Although the majority of the kids speak Afrikaans, they can understand and speak English. Today, the kids were doing a craft and having a meal. For some kids, it is the only nutritious meal they will have that day. Meal=sandwich and a piece of fruit.
There was no tables, no chairs, no fancy paper. Just a pile of broken crayons dumped on the floor. Can you imagine the outcry if this was your craft for Sunday School? Unthinkable! Yet, Living Hope does what it can. Meeting in a one room abandoned Catholic Church, with teachers who are willing to donate time each day will make a difference in someones life. I think it was mine.

No comments: