Many Europeans (and some Americans) tell me this isn’t “real” Africa. Apparently South Africa is too urbanized with big cities and night life to be considered a part of “real” Africa. Let’s not forget about the strong European cultural influence that thrives through the Cape Town streets. I am not too sure what “real Africa” is, but I’m guessing since I haven’t seen a lion walk by me on the street, or I am not living in a hut, South Africa isn’t “real” enough. If critics would open their eyes and closed minds, they would see the unimaginable living conditions that some people endure. Cape Town has two of the largest townships (hood) in South Africa. The abject poverty is apparent. If these critics open their eyes, they would see people begging on the street at every robot (Traffic Light) in order to survive.
Last week the staff members were at a training to improve the ways things are accomplished at Christine Revel Orphanage. In this training, they discussed how the children in the orphanage are actually being spoiled and are living better than the average child. They noticed when a child is released back to their parents, they struggle with the adjustment and actually run away from their regular home life and return back to the orphanage. At the home, the children receive two snacks, juice/water and three full healthy meals throughout the day. This is considered growing up privileged. My heart sank when I heard this because for me eating three meals a day with snacks was not considered growing up privileged. While growing up I never had to wonder when my next meal was or where I would be sleeping. The fear of not knowing sends these kids into a panic of just wanting to be back where things are consistent. I realize that many families in America have struggles with poverty, homelessness and providing food for their children to eat. It is difficult to see the reality of some people’s lives.
Whether you think it is “real” Africa, South Africa is Africa. Many people with jobs are struggling to provide for their families. Even if South Africa isn’t “real” enough, “my kids” are growing up without a family or a loving home. They don’t get to hug their parents good night, kiss them good bye, or snuggle up under their mom when they are having a bad day. These are all things I have taken for granted. “My kids” are given the best atmosphere that the orphanage can provide, but it still is not a family. I guess once I have a pet lion, I will finally be in the “real” Africa.
Until next time.