I finally got to meet all of the new volunteers, as in they all arrived over the weekend and we had orientation together Monday morning. There are 13 of us in total, which is a pretty good-sized group if you ask me. We met up, did the legality stuff, and then got going on our trip to the township we will be working in as well as Cape Town. Capricorn is the townships name, and it would be hard to even explain what exactly it is like – aluminum grates propped up against one another, using the walls of one to be the wall of another, with scrap metal and wood pieced together to make some kind of a deterrent. Stray dogs just wander around mindlessly, skinny as can be. People roam the streets, as others peer over the walls watching them. There are corner stores and barbershops, but they are extremely protected with grate metal. They obviously don’t want to be vulnerable to any theft or injustice, which is apparently commonplace here, as desperate people will do desperate things. Just from looking around I can tell there is a fight to provide food, and more so a fight to stay alive.
We walk into some childcare centers where a couple of our people will be stationed. They are hidden within the walls of these homes, with long passageways to some of them. But as soon as I approach the center, I can hear the children’s’ cries and laughter. Oh what a joyful noise it is. They are incredibly jubilant and excited to see all of our new faces. They hug each and every one of us. Who would of ever though this happy place is so deep within the walls of this community? The volunteers are shocked, some come to tears, and all I know to do is act as normal as I can and immediately jump into playing with them. They love me - I’m like a jungle gym to them. The kids climb all over me and up my arms, at some point I think I’m holding about 6 of them. Whatever they are saying is incoherent to me, but the laughter is understandable – there is tons of it. It’s hard to walk out of the place when the children are so incredibly welcoming.
It really makes me wonder how simple the joy of life really is. These kids have nothing, that’s why they are at these childcare centers that we volunteer at, yet they are as happy as can be. They come here because they know they can get food, rather their parents know they can, and a meal a day is quite a treat. But you would never know there are issues with the world while you are here, because they are oblivious to what they actually live in. This is what the world is for them, and they make the best of it. At such a young age they are still innocent, they haven’t had to fight the fight yet. I’ve noticed that the older children are very different; they mature quickly because they have to. The older ones already have battle scars, they are already adapting to the fighter lifestyle. They almost lack a consciousness because they are programed to be without one, as a good consciousness is like giving up on life. This is definitely a third world country for anybody still wondering.
I’m glad that I came here. I know that I may not have a huge impact on the kids, but I am at least a piece of the puzzle – there is a big picture to be seen here. I’ll do my best to mentor the older children, to show and educate them of a better way of life than thieving and deceiving. Its all love from me, so here’s an opportunity to spread that around – let’s just hope it carries on.