Some people will give up right away. Others may wonder where they’ll end up. Of course you get scared. Even if you are brave and determined enough to get on, you will still find yourself praying that everything goes well. My first week using the train in Cape Town, there are many emotions running through my head. Despite being an experienced commuter back home in Rome, I feel completely out of my depth facing Metrorail in South Africa.
While President Jacob Zuma is in town for yesterday’s annual State of the Nation Address (SONA), my colleagues and I decided to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and head to Vrygrond, a township near Muizenberg beach, on the False Bay coast, about 20km away from Cape Town central.
As my time winds down to these last few days, the separation between my house back in Tennessee and my home here in Cape Town doesn’t seem so far away. I have such mixed feelings about leaving this place and going back to everything familiar. I have a new familiar now, and a reformed idea of normal – I can’t un-remember these things. But, I cannot stop my mind from returning to thoughts of the beginning, and how those initial thoughts have changed in undulating motions since I’ve been here – washing away preconceptions, bringing new perspectives each time.
Sunrise Special Care Centre also has classes for children and young adults who are not able to speak and most of them are unfortunately wheelchair bound, whilst another class accommodates children who suffer from severe intellectual disabilities. Many of the children suffer from physical disabilities like scoliosis or paralysis.
Cape Town has been more than welcoming and more than worth her status as The Mother City. Warm and hospitable, she has taken me under her matriarchal wing with aplomb, greeting me with wonderful weather and an amazingly convivial atmosphere.
It’s far too easy to heap praise upon praise, and I know for a fact that thousands of other volunteers, visitors and tourists would be saying exactly the same thing as I have just said. Instead I would rather make a comparison with my home town of Loughborough.
I have always been a little bit jealous of people who have a dream. Ever since I finished middle school, friends and classmates always had such strong and defined wishes of what they wanted to do with their lives. They want to be movie stars, lawyers, dentists, police officers, diplomats, engineers, world champions and the list goes on. I have never had that dream, the one about becoming as good as possible in that one thing that interests me the most. What my dream is, is to have a dream.
I don’t always see myself as a ‘people’s person’. I love it when I’ve gotten to know wonderful new people, but the process leading to that moment for me is exhausting. I am in desperate need of my alone time, and I hate to be in someone’s way.Nevertheless, I decided: ‘What is life for if you don’t step out of your comfort zone once in a while, and what better way of getting to know a culture than living in the middle of it.’ So off I went to South Africa.
I am definitely not the hiking kind of girl. Sure, I appreciate a calming Sunday walk with a nice view, but the adventurous stuff I am happy to leave for others more suited to thrills. Nevertheless, I heard that climbing Table Mountain is kind of obligatory if you’re staying in Cape Town for a long period of time, and if so many had done it before me, why wouldn’t I be able to?
If global capitalism had a human face, it would not be that of the corporate CEO swirling a glass of overpriced brandy behind a mahogany desk, but that of the countless multitudes whose poverty and dispossession make possible his extravagant quality of life. I saw many of these faces during my visit to the Vrygrond and Capricorn townships last Friday.