Does seem to be a strange place…
I live in South Africa. Land of squabbles and poverty and moronic, power-hungry politicians, racism, apartheid.
Not quite the land of opportunity as lauded by illegal African immigrants everywhere, but mostly those already in South Africa.
They come to South Africa in droves. Literally. They live in squalor anyplace they can get. Xenophobia is rife because the foreigners are prepared to work harder, with less moaning, for less money than the locals. As it is these people do anything they can to make a living.
This morning, as I left my home to go to the job that I’m really thankful for, there was a woman across the road. Could see she was a foreign national – they are usually darker than our local nationals and their faces somehow look different – can’t quite pinpoint it, but there are differences without hearing them speak. Then it becomes clear.
Anyhow. Young woman. Scavenging in the dustbins put out for collection later today. Baby on the back. I only put my bin out when it’s full to bursting with dogshit and actual rubbish – hate it when they go through my stuff!!! It’s only rubbish, but if you want to dig in it, go do it on the dump. Not on my pavement. Yes, I am indeed a bad person. If you really wanted to recycle, come to me, and I will gladly separate the plastic from the glass and tins. Give it to you in a bag and you can happily go off to sell it. Don’t dig in my rubbish for it.
Anyhow. I was looking at this woman. Feeling sorry for her, but at the same time thinking to myself – you are young. In a strange country. You have no job. Things are so bad that you have to dig through things other people throw away – for food or usable items, whatever. But you have a baby on your back.
Why? Why bring a child into your world when you have no hope of giving that child anything but what you have? Why have a baby if you have no real hope of even feeding it? How does a child born into squalor see the world? How can he ever see the beauty that surrounds him if he’s born looking into a rubbish bin? If the only thing he sees while growing up is the back of his mother’s head because she’s too busy ekeing out an existence to spend time with him, teaching him about the world? All she knows is the misery of her daily existence. And that’s all she’s teaching him. That’s all he will ever know of the world.
Did you get the baby just to qualify for the child grant this government in it’s infinite stupidity made available to all and sundry? Did you get the child to prove to the man that you work?
I don’t know. Maybe I’m trying to force my European way of thinking onto people from Africa. Maybe it’s wrong of me to want kids to know more than their parents do. To be able to do more, be more, go further than their parents could or did. Maybe her life works for her. Possibly she’s content with her lot in life, never worrying about the day of tomorrow, never thinking that it could be better. Never resenting others for having a better life…
I’m not going to be facetious and wish her all the best or some crap like that.
She will have the life she’s used to. And she will live it as she always has. Regardless of what I say or do.