A quick update and a few thoughts
We have had a very busy past week here in SA - on Sunday we picked up a hire car and drove to Pilanesburg Game Reserve where we camped for two nights snd spent a lot of time driving around the park. We then spent two nights staying with my Aunty Anne and her husband Joe at their farm - the beautiful Salem Guesthouse - not too far out of Rustenburg. We were able to enjoy the local sights, see animals and spent a great day up the Hartebeespoort Cableway, seeing the Dam and out at Glen Africa Elephant Sanctuary walking with their three Elephants.
Looking forward, there is just one week until Helen and Casey's wedding (so excited) and unfortunately ten days before Danny heads off to Germany - in the meantime we are just about to head down for a week in Cape Town to see everything there.
Research-wise I have organised a few interviews in June and although I am loving the holiday time I am also really looking forward to getting down to work (and getting a chance to do some painting!).
I always find South Africa enchanting, and so full of rich experiences (and rich food). It is also incredibly confronting. As put by a new friend we met on the cableway yesterday "there is such a strong divide between the have's and the have-not's". There is so much more to it than that - but particularly coming from New Zealand where our (still very real and very serious) poverty line is at a much different level I really do still struggle with the beggars at traffic lights, the hawkers and the people just trying to get by. Where do these people sleep at night? What do they eat? How do they survive?
The greater question is of course a selfish one - how does this relate to my own idea of myself as a person? It feels inhuman to insist on distance but I am not sure what one can do on a personal level to help people in this kind of situation? How do my actions in walking past and/or interacting with people either validate or tear down the values that I like to think of as my own. Where does wariness out of concern for personal safety start and end?
This wasn't where I was planning on going with this post...but there we go, sometimes words just happen like that. It feels strange because my life at home is not one of great prosperity but I am happy and have everything I need, and if things go pear shaped I have people I can call to help. This security, and privilege is something I am so acutely conscious of here - is it really just a matter of your circumstances of birth as to whether we are the person on the street corner or the person driving past - and if so, what is our cumulative and individual social responsibility to change this?
So many questions.