Posted on December 14, 2011 by Stephanie Frerk
My chair is right next to the balcony door where I have a view over the small open space in front of our building. It is a glass door joining the window and being on the first floor it gives one quite a nice view. I am watching the rain, falling much softer now and enjoying the coolness of this beautiful morning. The birds seem to be noisier almost as if they are celebrating a secret we will never know about. It must have something to do with the rain I’m sure… The cat is lying in his basket on top of the PC desk with his nose in the air. Twitching and smelling and stretching his neck he also appears to be enjoying and testing out the fresh smell in the breeze coming through the open window. The trees are dancing in the wind drinking every drop of moisture being poured over their leaves. How beautiful! Enjoying this opera only nature can provide I begin to wonder…
The beauty of nature. The dancing trees. The symphony of the birds… Is that what my colleagues in the squatter camp are experiencing right now? I doubt it! It is more like everyone running around finding buckets to catch the water pouring through the leaks in roof. Clutching her lower abdomen mom ignores the demands from her bladder. No time to conquer the mud pool to the hole in the ground outside serving as a toilet. She begins scraping the water and mud out of the shack with the piece of cardboard from the box she picked up on the rubbish dump a few meters away from their dwelling. I can hear her shouting to the children to strip the blankets of the makeshift beds and wrap themselves in it so that they could dodge the water siphoning through the cracks and joints of the pieces of scrap building materials they used to build the shack with. Thank goodness the schools are closed or the children would be facing some institutionalised disciplinarian for being late.
As soon as the rain stops mom takes stock of the damage. The maize meal will have to be thrown into a bowl of some sort to dry out in the sun if and when it comes out. The packet it was in is drenched and ripped by the rats taking advantage of the situation as always. No money for containers… the price of one container could feed the family for a day. The boxes under the bed storing the clothes are also drenched so it will all have to be rewashed and dried on the roof of the shack. Washing lines are for the more fortunate and those who have jobs. The white church blouse now looks like an explosion of colours… who can afford colour fast clothing?
“Food… I must find food; the children have to eat…”