I have blogged before about the disparity between the various socio-economic groups in South Africa, it is a part of our every day lives but sometimes it rises up and slaps you so hard in the face that your head reverberates with the force of it.
It’s been a busy week, work is still long hours and stressful days. Even so, Caitlin shopped for us so I have actually cooked much of the week. We are so rubbish at making a menu for the week and shopping accordingly. This means I have to plan on the fly.
We had Mexican Tuesday night, I made cheese quesadillas and refried beans and fried onions. We had salsa and sour cream but our avos were not quite ripe unfortunately. Wednesday I made a yummy pasta with bacon and mushrooms in a creamy sauce which everyone seemed to enjoy. It was nice having home made food even though I was dead on my feet after we finished.
Thursday was our Hout Bay Women’s Gin Bunnies get together. We had it at Spiro’s in Hout Bay and there was a big turn out, I estimate about 30 women turned up. Spiro served us delicious platters of various bits of meze, crunchy fried calamari heads, grilled little calamari tubes, spicy peri-peri chicken livers, galicky Naxos potatoes fried in onions and covered in parmesan, bruschetta topped with tomato and feta, warm pita bread wedges accompanied by 3 different dips, spanakopita which is a spinach, feta and phyllo pastry dish, cauliflower fritters in a creamy dill sauce, stuffed calamari tubes oozing with prawns and pesto, and chicken wings. It was all delicious and plentiful – we all paid 100 rand per head.
The speaker this month was Bronwyn from Community Cohesion who spoke to us about the work that they do and the challenges they face trying to do that work. It was a very inspiring speech which gave those of us hope who are living in an environment which is immersed in fear and surrounded by stories of violence and chaos. I live with a man who is a responder for the local Neighbourhood Watch so we have the radio on all the time, we see the crime on social media, we hear it in conversation. It’s easy to feel hopeless about the future of South Africa.
Bronwyn gave me hope. Hope that with a common push towards trying to support some of the people who are part of the crime before that happens and to try and approach some of the ‘criminals’ with love and understanding and a desire towards exactly what the organization is called – cohesion in a community torn apart by crime and poverty. Many of the crimes committed are by children, children being called ‘feral children’. Some of these children have no home, or have such poor living conditions due to parental inability to parent, either due to drug addiction or alcoholism or just despair at the huge challenge to get out of their dire living situation.
It breaks my heart to think of homeless children sleeping out in the cold and rain, of children with no food in their bellies for days. Of children with no love. We all need food to survive and develop strong muscles and bones, but we need love to develop humanity. If you have never had a loving hug or felt safe and secure, how can you have empathy for your potential victims?
The weather on Friday was hectic with torrential rain pour, howling winds and freezing cold temperatures. We have a warm home, a warm gas heater, yet we spent the evening wrapped in blankets and our warm furry robes. What must it have been like for those with no home?
We would have stayed in that evening but for it being Norman’s birthday on Friday. He never wants a fuss so the girls and I just took him for burgers at Ragafellows one of our fave restaurants.
I had the Baylock (as always) at R85. It’s made up of aged cheddar in a thick beef patty, topped with bacon, jalapeno, pickles, and BBQ sauce. Lily had the Bertram which is a burger with a beef patty, chorizo pulled pork, basil pesto, rocket, tomato and Norm had the Mortimer, a beef patty topped with red wine beef short rib, blue cheese crumbs, onions. I adore their burgers.
We had to order dessert as it was Norm’s birthday and Norm is a big dessert fan. The staff all came out to sing when they served the complimentary Berry pavlova of delicious berries and meringue.
Norm had ordered the chocolate ice cream sandwich which he enjoyed despite the cold weather.
The girls and I all shared the very rich and delicious, Warm Chocolate Cake which is really a chocolate fondant with Salted caramel anglaise & sesame seed Biscuit. It’s on at R50.
We came home and Norm opened all of his presents.
Today Norm and I got up early and headed to the V & A Waterfront for Body Reactivation treatments. I went first and felt much better after. While Norm was having his I went in search of breakfast. Directly downstairs from the Wellness Center is a little place I’ve walked by a million times, today I decided to give them a try. It is called Cooked and serves middle eastern food.
The egg was perfectly cooked, the white solid and the center still runny. The bacon was nicely cooked but not too dry, I hate gelatinous floppy bacon but no one wants to break a tooth on a bit of leathery bacon either. The potato latke was similar to a hash brown. I really enjoyed it.
After Norm finished with David we headed to Mop Hair on Bree Street so I could get my hair coloured. The lady who assists my hairdresser lives in Hout Bay too and I just casually mentioned the storm last night and how miserable it was. She preceded to tell me that the shack she lives in with her mother and 3 children had caught light last week and had lost the roof from the blaze. It was covered in a piece of plastic until this week and she said the new roof was not nailed down yet so it banged and slammed and the wind whistled in.
To us who have always had a proper house around us, who go to bed warm and dry and with a full stomach, we really cannot comprehend what the lives of those in the informal settlements must be like. All we can do is help who we can where we can and try not to carry the weight of that guilt about the differences in our lives with us.