Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Corrective measures

Yes, there are some horrifying things going on all the time in South Africa, and no, there is not much one person can do to change things. Or is there?

How can I make this place better?

In Mexico I volunteered, which I loved, but in the end as usual I got myself so involved in the whole operation, and actually took the lead (I hate being bossed around, even if leading will give me an ulcer) that it was very hard to finally extricate myself, as our move came closer. There are still certain babies' faces I prefer not to remember, because remembering would mean finding out what happened to the souls behind the faces. And what happened is not always a positive in a society like Mexico.  

However, I'm getting more and more ready to throw myself in the game again, as days stuck with the, now extremely frustrating, presence of my maid seem longer and longer by the minute. I know, I know I should just be happy someone saves me almost daily from drowning in filth, but...

I have been researching some volunteering opportunities in Gauteng, and as I'm ruling out all clearly (and sometimes overly) religious instances, here are the potentials:

Ikholwa Children's home. They take care of children infected or affected by AIDS. (And, I met the founder at a fundraiser and he seemed like a good guy)

Tshwane Place of Safety. They take care of babies and toddlers in distress.

Global Crisis Solutions. They promote human rights through practice and policy.

Mohau Centre. They provide care and support to orphaned, abused, abandoned, neglected and terminally ill children and their families who are infected or affected by HIV/AIDS.

SOS Children's villages. They take care of orphaned and abandoned children.

These all seem like very good possibilities, and I'm anxiously awaiting the arrival of our second car, so I can get out of the house every once in a while and maybe change a diaper or two, or if I'm lucky a policy or too. But, seeing as I have plenty of diaper-related experience from Mexico, and no sense of policy or politics, I'll most likely end up doing the former. I can't believe I'm actually looking forward to feces in sticky paste form. I must be bored indeed.

I'm also trying to recycle, which surprisingly has been made nigh impossible in this country. So far I'm the official empty-bottle pack mule of our bunch, and thus am always storing empty wine bottles in various ingenious places (taking my cue from the queen of weird, yet spacious hiding places, the maid). This I do, since there actually is a glass bank only kilometers from where we live and driving there once a month must be the least we can do. Still, the 'recycling' we do here in SA is nothing like what comes almost naturally (or under threat of a fine) in Northern Europe, or even in Mexico. 

We just have to keep trying, I guess. However, before the nation's attitudes and awareness about environmental issues change, the task ahead is hard. In the US people who drive vehicles (since simple cars they are NOT) that could fit their entire extended family in the back and still have room for some neighbors as well, are generally at least aware of how much their gas-guzzlers are hurting the environment, and are just choosing to be A-holes. Here so far the major concern seems to be financial, and environmental concerns don't even come into the picture. The same goes for using electricity, water, etc. I can't honestly say which option is worse.

I seem to have ranted some again. Well, I hope I have made you feel guilty enough to go and do this.

No comments: