Vrygrond “free ground”

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Last week we were not able to work in our creches due to the taxi strikes and protest for accessibility to schools, clinics, and other basic necessities. During the strikes this last week people reacted by burning tires, cars, and preventing people to go in or out of Vrygrond. So people were not able to work and no one outside of Vrygrond were allowed in.

Although our volunteer team is not directly affected by these strikes or protest our hearts were heavy for the people in this community because working with the teachers and children, we understand that they are directly affected. Not being able to fully comprehend or relate, and able to know the best way to assist the people in this beautiful community has been difficult for me to process.

Vrygrond strikes 2017.jpegThankfully we were able to go into our creches this week, and it was really good to see the teachers again as well as the children. For the last couple of days at my two different creches locations, the teachers shared a little bit of their experiences during last week’s strikes. At my Monday creche Ma, the cook, expressed how hectic the situation was for her because she couldn’t go grocery shopping at the closest Pick-n-Pay for an entire week, but some how she was able to get food delivered to her. Though she was smiling as she was explaining her situation, the sound of her voice was agitated or frustrated at the fact that she didn’t have the freedom to leave her own community to do some simple grocery shopping. At my Tuesday/Thursday creche site, the taxi location is very close to the teacher’s creche. Although the taxi strike was close to her location, her creche remained opened and she felt it was necessary for the families she serves incase some of them were able to go to work.

Though things seem calm in the community of Vrygrond currently, I have been able to witness how strong the people in this community and other similar communities are. They keep pushing, moving forward, and standing up for basic necessities this community needs for the young and the old by remaining true to what they believe in, which is to have same opportunities as their more affluent neighbors.

-Cynthia Romero

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