Why my heart is sad…

South Africa is on a 21 day lockdown. It began at midnight on Thursday night.

To be completely honest, I doubted our countries ability to follow through with this. But in my area, they’re being really strict about it. A friend went to buy bread yesterday, and was stopped by the police – questioned as to why he was out, and then his registration number was taken down. He was warned that he was not allowed out again yesterday – and that he needed to be quick about his bread trip. I’m sort of impressed.
They’ve limited all movement – you may not walk your dog, the beaches are closed, you may not leave your house for any form of physical exercise, even if you’re wearing a mask.

Unfortunately, I woke up yesterday to confirmed reports in my area of eleven house break ins between midnight and 5am – that’s a lot for an area where there are only about 9000 of us living (total population is about 13 000, but the balance reside in an informal settlement.)
As I suspected, despite these strict measures in place, crime is on the rise.

Because we’re a people where the majority live below the poverty line. Our unemployment rate is higher than anywhere else. Many don’t have access to social media or television. They didn’t know about the proposed lock down until they got to work on Tuesday. There are a lot of casual labourers who now have no income whatsoever – and were living hand to mouth anyway on the days they were able to work. It’s heartbreaking. In a place where people are already hungry, and struggling to survive, this was like a death sentence.
There will be no government assistance for individuals or small businesses.
Us self employed people? You just gotta make it work.

Domestic abuse and child rape is alarmingly high here. I feel ill about the 21 day lock down.

Then the government announced on Thursday morning that Thursday would be the last day you could purchase cigarettes and alcohol for this lock down period. And my little area went wild. Alcohol is a big coping mechanism around here – and although I have never been one to turn to it, for some reason I get it.
But here’s where things got nasty.
Because suddenly, instead of buying food to see them through, way too many spent their wages or the stipend they received on stocking up on alcohol to see them through. When you’re an individual, then sure, that’s your choice. When you have a family? They’re paying a price I don’t even want to think about.
Then my mind wandered to the alcoholics with families who just didn’t have the money to stock up at all. What happens when they go cold turkey?

And all these things? They pretty much knocked the wind out of my sails yesterday.

I know these are not MY decisions or choices.
I know I am not responsible for any of it.
I know that ‘carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders’ is a very heavy burden that I should not be trying to bear.
I know that this has nothing to do with me personally. (I may still be affected by the rise in crime, but I am safer than most.)

My heart aches anyway. And I cry despite that knowledge. And I still wish I could do something to change it all.

But all I can do is stay at home, and pray really hard, for my fellow man out there – despite his/her skin colour, sexual orientation, poor life choices etc etc etc.

I know that this is not a very encouraging post to read. I know that this is a little bit unlike me. However, I also know that being honest about the impacts of the virus and not just the virus itself can also lead to an increase in awareness of those around us, and the need to pray, for those who do.

Please do check back tomorrow – my feelings will still be the same, but I promise that I will write something more uplifting ❤

Impacts

Yesterday morning was a difficult one.

Sometimes something will happen, and suddenly a whole new perspective and level of concern is opened up as you fully realise the impact of a situation to the lives around you.

My heart just started to hurt. And I cried. And as much as I wanted to suddenly reach out and help everyone all at once, I couldn’t. So I just did what I could.

During the course of the day, I was again shocked at how much selfishness is out there… but there was a light at the end of the tunnel as someone revealed to me that I need not lose hope in all of humanity. The kindness shown to me healed a small part of my hurting heart – and restored my faith, knowing that that person will be part of the chain reaction of kindness and assistance for my fellow human beings.

Because we all need to do our part, however small, with whatever we have, at a time like this. This virus outbreak has taught me many important lessons – one of them being that ‘a little truly does go a long way’. 

I woke up this morning, and I was overwhelmed by the things that have occurred in my suburb in the eight hours that I slept.
(My town is divided into suburbs – there are approximately 300 000 people living in my town – but in my area (suburb) there are only about 13 000 of us.)

And I was overwhelmed in a bad way.

It’s not even the virus itself. As bad as it is, and as much as it is affecting the world.

It’s the repercussions of the virus – the way lock down is now impacting us.

I spent an hour writing blog posts in my head – to reveal what we are now dealing with, to make people aware, to help you understand where I am coming from.

But it’s all just too negative. And we have enough of that to deal with right now.

I will share at a later stage… but I’m still a bit raw from it all… and finding the right words is going to take a little bit of time.

So instead I am going to ask you to keep us in your thoughts – and prayers, if it’s something you do. But not just me and my kids – my country as a whole.

And to please remember to be part of the chain reaction of kindness – doing whatever you can with whatever you have, even if you can only positively impact one person a day. 

I’m okay. My kids are okay. And I am grateful.

Be a light in the darkness when and where you can.

May you all continue to remain safe, and sane. ❤

 

Hearts Cry

A lengthy post.. but worth a read. Not all sunshine and happiness – sorry! I’ll do better next post!

 

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I sure am trying… but yesterday, my morning wake up didn’t even allow for time to smell the coffee. Because there wasn’t any. For four hours. No electricity, and no water.

Further to Monday’s post, let me add this :

There is a schedule for loadshedding. Provided to us in an attempt to help us plan ahead. The electricity cuts fall into different stages. So for example, if Stage 2 has been implemented, you can check the schedule for your area and plan around the hours that you will be without electricity. It’s great – if and when it works.

Yesterday – Tuesday, (in case I don’t get this posted today) they jumped between stages without advising anyone, until after they had switched the electricity off. There was no time to prepare for it. So yesterday, in a space of 14 hours, we were without electricity for 8 of them!

For the first time ever (loadshedding has been happening on and off for many years now), there has been a stage 6 implemented. Things just got serious. Stage 6 means that 8 hours of the day without electricity needs to be expected.

What needs to be understood is this : the tension and total failure in this country is already at dangerous levels – loadshedding is adding to an already highly sensitive situation, and things are looking more than grim.

I always giggle when ‘foreigners’ are not aware of the state of things here. I don’t expect any of you to be. Speaking with family in the UK, and my ‘sister’ in the US, I am well aware that a lot of the time there is a media blackout of sorts with regards to most issues. And who wants to sit and troll through the awful crime and failures of government in other countries when their own areas are enough to deal with.

The other reason I am so ‘well educated’ with regards to other countries (other than the having family and a best friend living overseas) is that I do a lot of homework and research because if I ever get out of this country, I need to be well aware of where we are going, for my children’s sake.

I made a comment on someone else’s blog post, that I think is fitting to share here, and now. Please understand that I am under NO illusion that ‘the grass is greener on the other side’. EVERY country has its issues and nowhere is paradise – unless humans have never found it. But I will say that the severity of our issues is a lot less than what my family and friends overseas face. And this is factual – not just based on hearsay. The countries and places I have investigated are numerous – of course I always start with crime statistics and the types of crime committed. But I also do lengthy research in the form of reading their local online newspapers. It’s not all stored in my head…but I know where we wouldn’t go 😛

Getting back to that grass….

I saw a sign the other day, and I had to laugh. (Although it’s sad when you think of it…but there’s definitely a funny side to it.)
The sign said, “The grass is only greener where you water it.”
I didn’t laugh at the sign as such… I laughed because at the time I didn’t have any water in my taps. How am I supposed to water the grass? Another thought popped into my head… our water is contaminated a lot of the time and municipal advisories are to not drink the tap water in my area – so if there is water and I water the grass? Pfft.

As much as I research other places to live, I avoid our own news. I no longer watch it, and I refuse to buy a newspaper. Our local paper was giving away free copies a month back, and my son got one – and dumped it in the trash after the first three pages. His comment? “Not one good thing. And now I’m more scared.”
I have Facebook – and our local community page is enough to upset and anger me. But I can’t stick my head completely in the sand – I need to know what is happening around me for our safety. Especially considering that most of the things never make actual news.  Every now and then, the radio news catches me. I listen with one ear, but sometimes have to mute it. I know my daughter did the same the other day when they were reporting on yet another baby that had been raped and she said, “Sorry, but I just can’t listen to this stuff anymore.” (My cousin runs a safehouse/children’s home, and we have held and poured love out onto a nine month old baby who required extensive reconstructive surgery due to this very thing, and will have a colostomy bag for the rest of her life…so it hits very close to home for us every time we hear reports of this happening.) 😥

Yesterday, I heard an economist speaking about loadshedding and its impact on us, and this morning I had a look at what he said in a broader light – ie. I went to look at some financial reporting.
Basically our economy is facing its second recession in two years. Mines have had to shut down. Everyone is already financially drained – businesses that are not corporate cannot afford generators and so no electricity means a halt in productivity, which means an inability to generate income, which means difficulty paying staff – forget about business running costs. A local man, someone I am acquainted with, committed suicide last week due to the financial pressures. He’s not the first this year, and I think that the way things are going, even though the year is nearly up, he won’t be the last 😦

Please forgive me for feeling despondent and frustrated and sad. And angry. All of which are emotions that are ridiculous when you take into consideration that they are all because of things that are completely not within my control. But I’m feeling them anyway. And I’m struggling a bit.

It hasn’t robbed me of my joy completely. And I am very grateful that for now the children and I have what we need and we woke up this morning, safe. So I know the negative emotions are a contradiction… but I can’t help feeling them. 😦
And yes, I have been a victim of crime – but the angels were working overtime and my protection was in place. I’ve been stabbed and robbed on a beach walk – saved from worse by fishermen nearby who heard my screams. My home has been broken into – and I live in the centre of a secure complex (a gated community with electric fencing all around). I am grateful we were not harmed – the stuff they can have. I don’t have much anyway.

I’ve never been a material person. In fact, it’s always been a standing joke : Show Meg a brochure without prices and she’ll still somehow love the cheapest things in it. That even applies to jewelry. It’s hilarious. I guess I don’t have expensive taste 😛 But what I really want most in all the world is the most expensive thing – strange huh? I want out of my country.

Whatever you believe, here’s my hearts cry almost every day…..

Dear God,

I know it’s all about timing, but I am asking anyway… and I know that nowhere is ideal… but please can we move overseas? Please make a way where it is completely impossible and unattainable for us. Please.

I want my children’s education to MEAN something – I want them to have a future.

We want jobs that will provide for us.

I want our lives to mean something.

We don’t want to live in fear anymore.

We don’t want to be where human life has so little value – where petty theft is no longer just that.
Where people are killed for the few coins they have on them.
Where rape and murder are everyday occurrences.
Where even the ‘good and previously safe areas’ are areas of violent crime.
Where the sexual violence rate is one of the highest in the world.
Where babies are raped due to a ‘virgin cleansing myth’ that this will cure men of AIDS.
Where a house break in when people are home almost always involves rape, torture and murder.

That’s what we want. The timing may not be right. I get that.
Thank you for your complete protection this far. If this is where we have to be, please continue to provide and protect. Please.

And please help my heart to stay filled with joy. Please help me to continue to be kind to those around me.

Amen

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