From the train

by sandy on April 7, 2010

What a place to pause and reflect. A purple train hurtling through the endless scrub of the Karoo Desert. We woke early to a grey dawn, having finally fallen asleep after much excitement and a pyrotechnic display of lightening on the horizon, the night before.

Tea is delivered in pots and as Ronda’s compartment was next to ours it was the perfect opportunity to sit on our bunks – on the pristine starched white sheets and talk about KAS and it’s future.

From time to time the train sped past small shacks seemingly in the middle of nowhere, or at least miles and miles from any known town. We saw many small children playing in the red dust and spatterings of their chatter would momentarily hang in the air. I would wonder if if they too had been orphaned, and so, was grateful when catching a glimpse of a potential mother or father person in their lives.

Poverty regardless is immense. The shacks seem to cling to each other for dear life fashioned out of rusted corrugated sheeting, plywood and plastic sheets or anything else that can be found. Amazingly from the train you could see a kind of order in as much as pathways could clearly be discerned. And always the ubiquitous clothing line.

I continue to marvel at how clean everyone looks regardless of their living circumstances. It seems to embody the spirit of these resilient people and in, and of itself, a measure of hope for their future.

Politically South Africa is awash with troubling issues. The world’s spotlight will soon be on the country for the 2010 Soccer World Cup and let’s hope that too will bring to the forefront the plight of its children.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Sally Goldenbaum April 8, 2010 at 18:09

Sandy, your beautiful, lyrically written journal entries are a gift to all of us. Thank you for sharing this amazing journey.

Enid Shaw April 8, 2010 at 18:41

oh how I agree with your last sentence, Sandy!!! thankyou for the updates, much appreciated.

Jeanne Haessler April 8, 2010 at 22:13

Yes, I’ve been hearing abit about South Africa’s troubles. I appreciate seeing the shack towns, it makes me SO grateful for the small house I have, it’s a palace compared to these. This also inspires me to keep going, to reach out to these wonderful people. Thank you.

Elizabeth April 9, 2010 at 00:48

Wow Sandy – those photos of the tin shacks reminded me of the short time I spent in India. Such poverty, and just so many people crammed in.

Enjoy your time with you family, and do make sure that you have some non KAS conversations, too.

Can’t wait to hear all your stories when you get back.

kyla April 12, 2010 at 00:47

Dear Ronda,

you may need to invest in a second house, so that the KAS items can take over the first one and you can live in the second one. Do you remember what colour your walls and floors are? Have you seen the couch at all recently? lost any pets or relatives yet?

and, even though I had very little to do with this challenge, I would like to point out that there will be soon be 630 hats, go-overs and vests coming your way in the next few months. I give you the head’s up so you can start to build an additional story on your house so you still have room to move.

check out these numbers – they are still trickling in.

Zanny May 7, 2010 at 01:21

Good thinking Kyla!

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