I've done so much in my life already, some good, some bad and all challenging but this must of been the hardest thing I have ever done and actually accomplished. The first 4 days were amazing, fun, school like camp, brought back memories of when I was sweet and innocent. Childlike games and lights out, cold showers and food that you question if it's edible. Then we were dropped off in townships, all ready to make a difference and carry on the fun and games. That came to a halt almost instantly, and I hated every minute being there, I thought I wouldn't get through it, I wanted to give up so many times and at points I thought I was going to actually die. You had to really on the people around you and most of them I didn't even know. You had to really on God because only something bigger than us could get us through.
The first dreadful incident was my first toilet use or lack of toilet use. I expected a long drop but not like this, wooden seat (imagine the germs) and a door, well the illusion of one, there i am squatting wondering why theres a pile of newspaper next to it (haha jokes on me) and this man with a wheel barrow walks past a looks right at me through the 20cm gap between door and structure. As badly as I needed to pee nothing was coming out.
We were in the squatta's, no electricity - you realise the luxury of swithcing on a kettle and having coffee in 2 minutes, we got so deperate for a cup we used the bolied water we just cooked our eggs in. It took hours to cook oats and sometimes a Peanut butter & Jelly sandwich was better than the trouble. No running water - you had to fetch buckets of water to use and were scared to drink it but had no choice, and only cold water. You had to boil water to wash your dishes, you washed you hands in freezing water, you bathed in a bucket or like me didn't bath for 4 days, brush your teeth outside in the freezing cold. The cold - last week must of been the coldest week in Joburg so far, 0 degrees for two days with the coldest wind, we got so cold you actually are in pain, we cried from the cold and there was no appropriate shelter to keep warm, the coal ovens create warmth but you have to be right on it to feel it and with 11 people in a shack 2 by maybe 4 meters this is a hopeless task. There's mounds of trash everywhere, poverty surrounds you, hopelessness is the main ingredient. You realize things you take as basic needs and things you just use to survive are a luxury these people will never know and some actually watch you have them, they clean your house, fix your garden work to the bone for a pathetic amount of money. Then go home, trek to fetch water, cut wood to keep warm, take hours to cook a meal and get into a frozen bed, never know the feeling of a bubble bath, or a toilet seat with a door or whether there'll be food on the table the next day.
Even though they have nothing and they know we have everything, they welcomed us with open arms, the children loved us and just wanted to be near us. They made us snacks for our arrival and warm water to wash our hands. We never felt in danger and they showed us there culture. I never felt "white", I never felt unwelcome and they tried there best to accomadate us with more than they had just so we felt we were at home. I was humbled and realised I have no problems, I have no needs only wants, I realised I can change lives with the amount I have. I realised we live in a selfish world and nobody deserves to live in such conditions, were going to the toilet can be deadly to your health.