Friday, October 28, 2011

Cracked, broken and bare. . .

I live in a third world country. South Africa to be exact.
No, elephants do not roam our streets and we do not eat lion, to name some MAJOR misconceptions the rest of the world has about living in Africa.

There is something else though, something else that roams our streets. Poor people.

There is no such thing as a second world country, but I classify my country as one. We have incredible and beautiful cities with grand homes and quaint suburbs. We have five star hotels, restaurants and amazing schools with all their learners buttoned up in their blazers and briefs.
There is also immense poverty. Shacks line the outskirts of most main cities and with the instability of some of our neighbouring countries, refugees have poured in in the millions. Unemployment is a huge problem and government schools have hundreds and thousands failing per year.
Why do I chose to write on this today? Well, something I saw a few weeks ago hit a note for me and I've decided to share the pain of what I saw.

I am part of the privileged elite in my country. I go to a brilliant school, have enough food on the table every day and I have a proper home with my own room and a bed to sleep in every night. Nothing terrible has ever really happened to me, and what I saw that day kicked me the face with how amazingly blessed I am.

I was on the way back from an orchestra rehearsal and was looking out of the window when I saw a man begging for money in between the cars waiting for the robot to turn green. This was not an unusual sight to me as almost every robot has some kind of beggar asking for either food, work or money. I've seen children as young as 8 years old asking for food or money while their mother, holding her new born baby, leaned against the robot post. But this beggar had something else that was very distinctive about him.

He wasn't wearing any shoes.

He was a man of colour, but his feet were white from dryness and I could see the cracks in his heels as he walked over the stubbly tar towards the next car that refused to give him some sort of aide. I reluctantly looked down at my black school shoes and long blue socks, and to perfectly honest, I wanted to rip the them right off my feet and hand them to him through the window. I don't know if he would've accepted them, but I guess I'll never know. At this very moment in time - which happens to be at night - there is a huge storm over the whole city. My prayers are with that man and every other person in the same situation who is out there right now.

My dear readers, I want you to look at you shoes. Look at them closely, and think of them how a person with barely a shirt to cover their body with would. Think of them as the one way to stop the eternal pain that throbs upwards from your cracked, broken and bare feet. Look at your shoes, and never stop feeling grateful that they're there.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

(Not) Dancing in the rain. . .

Wow, last night was... wow... it was something alright. It definitely won't make my list of best evenings but I'm in the mood for a telling a story, so here it goes:

I'd heard about the event called On the Night for a few days but wasn't sure if I was going, until a friend told me all about it and, well, I was hooked. This was the event of the year and there were going to be fireworks and a live band playing. I'd gone shopping that day and had gotten this really nice vintage denim dress.
I decided to wear a long sleeve black top underneath, a gorgeous peach scarf and pair of peep-toe black wedges. I finished the look off with straighting my hair. Big mistake #1.

We arrived at the venue late afternoon and were just walking around. This was the event of the year so I didn't think any of it when I spotted someone I knew from the orchestra I play in. 
I'm a violinist, by the way.
Nevertheless, I didn't really know the person I saw so I continued to chat away, until I caught a glimpse of this guy I also know from orchestra. Just between you and me, I think he's a really great guy and again, just between you me, he has the most incredible smile I've ever seen. Of course it didn't take too long for him spot me as well, but sadly we didn't talk or see each other again that night.
The fireworks were about to begin and we all sat down on the stands of the big field we were on, waiting for the show to begin.

Holy mackerel! What a fireworks show! There were some incredible effects and that part of the night was one to remember.
It was already dark and my friends and I were all very hungry, but we decided to hand around on the stands a little longer. Big mistake #2.
It began to drizzle. We all thought it would be over in just a few minutes and then we could go get some food. Nope. 

Unfortunately Mother Nature had different plans in mind and decided to give us harder rain with a dash of a gail force winds. We tried to take cover underneath the food stalls, but to our despair all 2000 other people at the show had had the same idea. The rain was REALLY coming down now and of course, I didn't bring an umbrella. Big mistake #3.
The friend that I had come to the show with shouted over the noise and told me that her mother was on her way to pick us up, but we had to get to the entrance. The entrance was two very open rugby fields away and I was wearing very airy 3 inch wedges. We decided to run. Big mistake #4.

The rain felt like someone had opened fire on us with an AK 47 from above. Ouch.
We were drenched from head to toe. There went my perfectly straightened hair, lol. I definitely did not look like Allie in The Notebook when she and Noah were in the rain. I didn't even want to picture how my mascara was running down my cheeks. Oh, and did I mention that this rain was not warm?
I felt like I was dying from hypothermia and I was shivering and shaking like someone had poured 10 jars of red ants down my back.

We eventually got to the car, but before we got in, my friend's mother took one good look at the pre-sopping wet Anthea and Giorgia leather seats and then allowed us to scramble in. No she didn't turn on the heater for us, but to my drenched self's delight she had dropped everything in the middle of dinner to pick us up and she'd even stolen one of the waitress's very dry - and thankfully, very clean - dish towels to give us to dry our faces. 
So in the end I arrived home sopping from head to toe, wearing a vintage dress, holding my pair of black wedges and with crazy wavy hair.
I don't have any immediate plans for returning next year and here are some photo's that can sort of help you to picture the night:

Gorgeous Fireworks!

What I didn't look like.

Mascara running. . .

Picture this without the umbrella,and
instead of a guy and a girl, just two girls.