What an interesting week it’s been. The taxi wars in Vrygrond escalated this pass week; the people were rioting and looting the local businesses, which resulted in police involvement. Entrances of the township were blocked, which prevented locals from going in or out. The result for us was being unable to visit our schools, but also lots of downtime to reflect and to learn about what and why things are happening. In a way it feels like little has happened since we’ve haven’t been in the creches. However, in taking a step back and removing our personal connection to the situation, there’s a lot of political factors and socio-economic issues that the locals are facing and we’re attempting to understand.
It’s an interesting time to be here in Cape Town, especially as we’re beginning to experience life inside the townships and gain insights on the daily lives of the people living here. Shireen shared that the taxi wars and political climate is a result of the people being oppressed. Many individuals depend on taxi rides as their means of support and income. When their way of living is jeopardized, the people need to find a way to make their voices heard. In many ways, these challenges are similar to what we are experiencing back at home. Poverty is a real issue, and when the government is unresponsive to the needs of the people, eventually they will push back. I hope that there is a resolution that will give space to address some of these issues.
A little over a month has passed since I’ve arrived in Cape Town. As the days go by, I still find myself at awe in the beauty and wonder of all that Cape Town has to offer. I found myself beginning to wonder what I’m bringing to Cape Town and the creches, especially since we’ve been absent for a whole week. I spoke with my cousin at home and she gave me some advice: “Trust in the people and the process. Not everything is in your hands and that’s okay. Focus on what you can do, like making your interactions with the children, teachers, and principals count. Everything else will eventually fall into place and work themselves out.” I think I entered this experience with ideas of all the great changes and work we were going to do in the eight weeks. With three weeks left, my visions of our impact have changed. Much of what’s happened is out of our control, but instead of focusing on what we haven’t been able to accomplish, we can focus on what we have and can do. That includes building and strengthening relationships within our creches, with one another, and in the daily interactions of the people we meet.