Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Poverty is Everywhere

Today I visited a white squatter camp. This is a community occupied by white people. They hire blacks to do their laundry and to clean their houses. These people live each day as a community with each person having their own role. Peter, one of the farmers says he enjoys where the farm is located. To him it's far enough from the city but close enough for them to be able to get supplies. Peter helps to plant spinach, strawberries and just about anything else that grows. His house, only one room is enough for a bed, and a table with a tv. Give or take some storage space. This life for him, is perfect. The inhabitants of this farm pay R150 (a little less than $20 a month) to live in this camp. Those that pay rent are only required to work from 8-11 while the few people who can't pay rent are required to work in the camp from 8-1. Peter works all day because he has nothing better to do and it keeps him busy, he likes keeping busy.

This camp was a sight. It by no means looked poor, but more simple. It seemed to be very organized in terms of dividing up tasks and everyone seems to be content with their contribution to the community. Don't get me wrong, this isn't perfect harmony either. I say this because Peter did mention there was some sort of disagreement the previous day and one of the inhabitants involved hadn't been seen at all today. I'll be sure to post photos once I get them converted to jpegs, which is my goal this evening.

Simplicity is what I like about South African life. No one seems to let the daily routines completely dictate their lives. They take there time as if never to be rushed. Being at the squatter camp, life is still rough because they don't make much from the vegetables they sell and the money they do make is used to pay rent and buy groceries. But in a community where everyone eats and prays together where can one go wrong?

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