1.14.2012

8 Struggles

Hurray for the weekend! 

Just a boring update on my comings and goings this past week: 
Shawnti had to come down to the doctors so I got to spend lots of time with her and Jared came over to my house for a few nights! It was 40 degree weather all week so I pretty much died and it was great hanging out with them. Than yesterday we went down to Durban back to Shawnti's house for the night- and we watched Adele (one of her concerts)- o my word I'm so in love with her and her music even more!!! I have a few hours now (Saturday) and a million things I want to do but I'm spending tonight having a much needed girls night with some friends from church. So excited for that and than on Monday I move back into the boarding house! 

Okay now the reason I'm blogging. I am taking a Field Studies class for my degree in PACS at University of Waterloo. One of the requirements this year is that I keep a journal of the issues that I am wrestling with and things that relate to peace and justice. I won't share them all with you because they are long but I want to give a quick little paragraphs about 8 things I've really wrestled with while being here. I hope this helps you experience a little bit more of what I am going through. If any of them particularly stand out to you, you can email me (my email is in my "contact" section) and I have no problem sending you more!

1) Crime- this is a massive issue in South Africa. Everyone person I meet has a story of something being stolen, someone breaking in. Being held at knife point or gunshot is common here. Coming back to work this past week we shared stories about our Christmas. The same roads I walk through in the daytime people are getting shot for no reason only a few hours later at night. A question I've really wrestled with is the history of crime in South Africa- where does it come from? From personal experience when I had my laptop stolen I went through a phase of feeling helpless- they would shoot me if I didn't give them my laptop. Obviously my life is more important than a computer so I wouldn't fight back because people kill someone here for $3.00 but what power do I have than? Doesn't that give birth to a society that if you have a gun/knife you just get what you want? It's been an interesting thought process. 

2) Contradictions: This is mostly between South African/Lesotho/Swaziland culture vs. North American lifestyles. The biggest one I am dealing with is the weight gain. You are healthy if you have hips and curves and extra weight on you but they tell you to your face. It is such an insult and you are consider rude if you ever tell someone they are fat or make remarks about their clothes not fitting. Another major difference about weight is there are so many people here who don't know what excess food is and yet in NA our culture is cosmued with weight loss and excess food. Just imagine with me if we didn't have all the magazines about how to loose weight, all the diet pills etc etc because we just couldn't get enough food for one day. Another difference was tanning over New Years. People want lighter skin while I wanted to be darker... it was actually very funny trying to find shade and sun

3) a)Marriage: still defines a women- with my feminist side.. this is the last thing woman should be defined by.
    b)Marriage: Zulu culture it is too expensive now for most people to get married. A man that works with me had to take out loans and wait 3 years to save up to pay for the wedding. In my NA upbringing I think we should be so past this by now. Paying cows and so much to the bride and her family, knowing that couples want to marry but can't. It's something I've really struggled with about what I believe and how important tradition, customs and cultures are. 

4) The fact that my freedom has gone to be out once it's dark. Go for an evening walk?- that's asking to be raped, abused, shot, stolen from... just don't go there. So once it hits 6:30 I am in my house for the night.. 

5)Jail: This may lead back to a reason why crime is high. People enjoy going to jail- they get fed and a place that is safe

6) HIV/AIDS: this can link to jail and crime. When you know you are dying from a disease- you can justify it better to steal and kill because you are going to die anyways. 47% of my province is HIV positive. With all the education out there today why does the numbers keep increasing? In a country where you can see the effects of AIDS killing a generation of people and leaving so many children with no parents. How much pain will people have to see before change can occur? What needs to be done to change this? 

7)BBBEE- black empowerment in South Africa. They are kicking out white people and refusing to hire white people any more because the government wants to employ more black people. However in a lot of cases they aren't as qualified and they haven't worked their way up. What frustrates me the most is that this is racism. The country is now discriminating against white people. Hmmm...

8) Schools: the education system is something that I have had to deal with since being here. They have condone passed where the children is just too old to stay in that grade. This year for grade 12 600 000 students enrolled. That same grade in grade R there was 1.6 million- where did a million children go to- every year? The pass rate is 30% here in most cases. It has been an incredible experience looking at this type of education system. What also struck me is South Africa has a "good" education system. I really don't understand just how blessed I am to have lived in Canada.


Have a blessed week:)
xo



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