It’s the Greater Turfloop area at six o’clock in the evening and the day is almost over. People are closing their shops and businesses from a heavy day of traffic and commerce and are eager to go home. You are standing in line to buy groceries at a local grocery store, where you find yourself in the thought process of getting a taxi to your home, which including stops, is about a 45 minute drive away. Hunger dominates your whole character, as the last time you ate was a small lunch that consisted of rice and vegetables at around 11 o’clock am. “It’s getting dark and I want to get home to eat some stinkin’ delicious food!” you think to yourself. Indeed, any food at the moment would be delicious.
Instead, what fills you is the frustration of not being able to sit down and eat right at that moment. The line is long and your stomach grumbles continuously. All else escapes you as you finish through the checkout line, grab your bag from the parcel check-in, and turn to hustle in the direction of the taxi rink. All the while being looked at with a curiosity by locals as you pass person after person on the sidewalk. Patience is not a top priority in comparison to the needs of your hunger.
Adjacent to the street are food vendors busy fulfilling the orders of hungry customers with the booming of “House” music in the background. You cannot include yourself in the celebration of eating chicken because you are in a hurry. Wafting to your nose the scent of pap, a local starch made from corn meal, and grilled spiced chicken isn’t helping with the stomach grumbling. Distracting thoughts feed your angst, no pun intended, as you think, “If only I could have the time to buy some of that chicken. I really, really want some of that chicken. Wow, that chicken smells good.” Despite such temptations, however, you know that the taxis leave shortly, so you need to get there quickly.
Far off, the taxi rink comes into view with much anticipation as you think, “All right carrots, red pepper, onion, tomato, rice, here I come! Custard and biscuits, your next!”
Despite your hasty walk to the rink, you can’t help but notice the magic and beauty of the place and your curiosity wanders. Accompanied just above the sighting of the taxi rink, you notice the innumerable shades of reds, pinks, oranges, yellows, blues, purples, and deep violets of the dazzling sunset. Streaks of clouds are highlighted in shades of pink by the waning sun against the backdrop of such inspiring color. Sights of unimaginable beauty bring your thinking to the present and most beautiful moment.
Such a sight halts your nagging hunger and you are reminded, once again, of the worldly and cultural beauty that surrounds you. Within a single moment, your incessant hunger turns to wonder. You turn around to the street behind you to view all that you so hurriedly ignored.
What you have taken for granted due to your trivial hunger pains is a historical cross-section of one of the most complicated and inspiring countries in the world. The intermingling of western and traditional cultural values makes this place a unique manifestation of social formation. From now on, you vow to never take this unique and precious place for granted.
What I do at the crèche:
Some days I do the sweeping…
Other days I carry water…
Or maybe some cooking?
Don’t forget the gardening!
And some days we just celebrate…
Until next time,