Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Soweto Blues (Or So It Would Seem..)
“The living conditions… well, I have never seen anything like this before. Families crammed in one-room shacks - living their lives below tin roofs with rocks stacked on them to keep from blowing off during violent storms. Some folks don’t even have a roof at all to keep them dry. For those families, a bright blue tarp will have to do.
As I stepped out of the vehicle and looked around, all I could see were dirt roads and row after row of these shacks... just five feet from each other.”
And the families who lived there were the lucky ones... because “they” had shacks!"
It’s estimated that almost 5 Million people call Soweto – home, whether they live in a house, a shack or on the street.
“I gathered myself and began to pass out donations. But, as it turned out, I wasn’t just giving them out to just children.. I ended up handing out donations to moms, dads… children.. to everyone. The toddlers were so grateful for the simplest of gifts. Their eyes lit up to receive a pen, a pencil, a toy or a T-shirt."
We just don’t know how good we have it.
"I watched a woman roll up pieces of wet coal to form bricks, so she could sell them – hoping make enough money to feed her family. And all she asked me for, was an American pin for her baby. As I placed the American pin on the child’s tiny, filthy shirt.. I said to the mom, “Do you know what this is?” She answered, “ Yes, it means peace!” And on went the American pin, right next to a 60’s peace sign the child was already wearing. “Thank you, Good Man… God will bless you, “ said the mother. Then she asked me to take a picture with her. I obliged, as I fought back tears over the irony of this unusual, yet somewhat symbolic moment. “
Here I was, an American with so much, having overcome my own personal trials as an orphan, in a village a world away… where many families don’t have running water. Women walk a block to fetch clean drinking and cooking water from a community spicket. Their bathroom? – A port-a-potty. I was floored, but, I was about to learn an important lesson!“
(Content by Sydney Harrison/TN)