It has been a while since I last posted, I apologize for not updating. No excuses, I just didn't. Let's see, last Saturday, February 9, we participated in the 27 for freedom walk/run that I posted about in our previous blog. You can read info here . We boarded a bus with over 100 kids, it was quite the experience :) As we were running, there were children passing us barefoot! Just that morning I was worried about what type of workout pants I should wear, as I had brought several; these kids ran in what they had, I saw some girls in torn up clothes and many were barefoot. It wasn't a typical 5k, we ran mostly in sand which was right in the
middle of what seemed like a farm. We passed cows!
It was just amazing to be there and participate in an event that is so important here, to honor one of their heroes. At the finish line we got a cup of coke! hahaha only in South Africa I tell ya..
Since we were (and still are) waiting on the school to give us the students & schedule for our teaching, we decided to help Minnie out around the community. I joined the ladies on their house to house visits in the township(poorer area) The work they do is amazing. There are so many young mothers here, and/or women who didn't have any guidance growing up and now they have their own children and do not even know the basics about taking care of children. We went house to house(they visit 2x/month, they do this every day, so there are a lot of families they help) and their focus of the week was Safety. They explained to the mothers the dangers of electrical outlets, cords, every day items that could be harmful if not put away, and so forth. These are women from the community that grew up there and know firsthand what it is like to grow up there and not know a thing about raising a family. I loved that i was just shadowing and supporting them, they have a great program and I was just assisting :)
Kopo and I also spent some time in the pool, as i am still training him to be an instructor- it was a lot of fun! Valentine's day was great, we ate out and ended the night at the local theatre. Unfortunately I got very sick, mainly because I didn't see a doctor at the first signs, so i went to the doctor on Friday, got an injection in my arm and some antibiotics. Stayed in bed all day Saturday, and Sunday i was feeling much much better. We decided to check out a local church that is only a few minutes away. It was fabulous! It was a much needed time of spiritual refreshment. Very sweet people, we enjoyed ourselves very much! We decided to go back for the evening service and we are so happy we did. We were able to talk to the Pastor and find out his story & hear his heart which was nice.
We also met an American who has been living here since 2007, what a treat! She offered to give us a ride home and we ended up taking her out to dinner and talking for hours, we were all thrilled to be with fellow Americans :) We had really good talk about living here and the whole situation with the blacks, whites and coloureds, it is so mind boggling to us. *I just want to make something clear, that is how people are referred to here, it is not a racist remark or meant to be offensive, here, people are either Black, White or Coloured.* It sounded weird to us at first, but it was made clear that it is not rude, it is how people are referred to. The crazy thing about living here is segregation was so recent here, only 19 years since Apartheid. People stare at us, they can't figure out what we are, but they know for sure we are not from here. One of the biggest things I noticed was how the blacks and coloureds look at us, it is as if they aren't sure how to approach us, or even if they should. Once I started looking them in the eye and smiling, their face would change and they would greet us. As I explained this to Heather, the American, she offered more insight on this. She said that coloured people, especially kids, do not have the confidence that we do, so seeing someone that is not white walk around with their head held high is very intriguing to them. She bets if we gathered a group of coloured kids we'd have their undivided attention, it would be a great way to build their confidence. She lives in an all black community and works at a black school. She said it is crazy how the white schools here have everything: beautiful pools, tennis courts, courts and fields for every sport, the list is endless. The school she works at barely has desks if they are lucky, there are over 100 kids in a classroom, and there is not one field! She explained that technically the black kids are allowed to go to white schools but the fees(all public schools have fees here) are kept so high that there is no way a black family would be able to afford the fees without a scholarship.I was shocked and angry, it's so hard to know what is going on when we are in this little town that is very wealthy and thrives on tourism. I don't feel the racism to the extent that Heather was describing, but I get glimpses of it.We told her about the little girl from the squatter camp who was killed(see our previous post) and she was so upset, but she could see how it could go unnoticed if it was a white man who killed her. She said the sad reality is that unless someone of a lighter color is advocating for them, nothing will happen. The black voices fall on deaf ears here, it's sad, it's wrong, but it is the reality of life here. My heart sank.We talked a lot about racism, social justice, government policies, and much more. I am still processing it all and will update later as I still have so many feelings swarming around in my head and my heart. I had a terrible dream having to do with social justice and woman who was being denied a marriage certificate by her husband's family, she risked death if she challenged it. I woke up with a heavy heart and will spend some time today processing and praying and journaling. I feel like my thoughts are everywhere and so is this post, I'm trying!
We are beginning to see that God had more than the pool and swimming in mind when bringing us here, and we are determined to seek Him out on this. We can't change the world. We can't change a city or town, but we can make a difference one life at a time, and that is what we want to do.