Christmas is a time for giving…
So we're told.
I've been blessed to have put 70 Christmas's under my belt. Most of them surrounded by loved ones & an overabundance of gifts, food & booze.
I really didn't think of anyone else, except those around me…
As long as WE were alright, fully stocked,
nothing else mattered…
Quite arrogant actually.
Then things changed…
Aaah, be sure about it, things always do change.
I found myself alone…
Out of the mainstream of Christmas.
Well, Christmas as I'd become accustomed to celebrating it anyway.
Albert Einstein's credited with saying, "In the midst of disaster, lies opportunity".
Okay, so here was an opportunity to dip my toes into Christmas at the other end of the pool.
I arranged to spend the day as Santa at a home for orphans & abused children.
"Doing good work", I thought.
Well, guess what ?
You don't miss what you've never had.
Unless it's one square meal a day.
I don't miss Ramadan or Yom Kippur.
Oh ja, the kids loved it…
Some old guy, wearing a red hat & coat, handing out presents…
They'd never seen anything like it.
Material gifts… Stuff… No love though.
"What're you bringing for us tomorrow, Oom" ?
"Fuck all kid, you're on your own 'till next year".
What the wonderful people who run these places NEED is a consistent supply of the BASICS to feed, clothe & educate their children… Every day…
Not a glut on one day a year…
Do Gooders (like me) massaging their egos.
We redistributed dozens of crates of perishable, exotic food to other shelters all over Durban that Christmas.
Nice… What about next week ?
Eish… I'd missed the point again.
Luderitz's lucky to have Pastor Tony.
I was privileged to meet Tony, & he showed me some of the 67 orphans he & his wife work with in the location here.
His "Empowerment Centre for Vulnerable Children" cares for & feeds them… when they can… 3 or 4 times a week !!
He gets no help whatsoever from the location residents. ECVC's dependent on food donations from businesses in town.
Nyati caused quite a stir delivering the load of staple foodstuff we bought.
Rice, Pasta, Maize meal, Flower, Sugar, Cooking oil & Oros.
Yeah, it's not party time, but Tony was thrilled…
These "groceries" will help to fill some of those missing days until Luderitz's businesses open in the new year, & he can squeeze more donations.
This "Christmas gift" will help here, far more than any amount of flash masquerading in a sweaty old Santa suit, handing out cheap toys, ever could.
I don't know why, but it seems to be true that there's always going to be poor people.
Here, in Africa, many're beyond poor, they're starving Man.
In townships everywhere, it's the same old problem.
Nyati's food parcel only addresses the symptom, the cause lies elsewhere.
It's the people themselves, I think.
There're plenty of fancy cars driving around the townships, DSTV skottles, taverns, hair & beauty salons spilling out of containers, onto the roads.
But what I noticed mostly were all the pregnant Women carrying one on the back, with 2 or 3 or more straggling behind, playing in the filth & squalor.
Rubbish, open drains…
Raggedy, feral children running everywhere, like fleas on a dog's back…
Not lekker… Not lekker at all.
As a community, they seem unwilling to nurture their hoards of unwanted, children…
Even to take responsibility for them…
They don't try.
Why should they ?
It's just not part of their basic instincts.
They simply don't seem to care.
What're these little creatures learning ?
What example are the adults setting ?
What the hell's going on ?
Is it only a different culture ?
Is it a different species ?
I find no compassion in these people.
If Nyati's had a positive effect on anyone, anyone at all…
We'll never know…
It would be wonderful though.