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Reisverslag Real life, real topic.
12 april 2016
Real life, real topic.
I warned you in my previous blog that I was going to write more about ‘real’ topics, rather than talking about my day-to-day life. Let’s talk about the day-to-day lives of the people here, instead of mine. During the first months I mostly spoke about my great adventures and kept you occupied with my figurative language. I am in need of a change, so the next few months I am concentrating on the dark side of this adventure. Let’s talk about others instead of ourselves.
Some days I hear myself whistle while I am walking on Lion’s Head or notice myself dancing on the beach with the setting sun in the distance. And other days I crave for an evening alone, while the others are partying downstairs. I guess I am not as proficient in the whole “letting it all go” situation as I hoped.
Two weeks ago I was walking through the forest, thinking about all the situations I have faced while living in South Africa, and I didn’t know what to do with it all. Then I figured I should write it down, because situations that leave me speechless are always easier to write down. And you guys are lucky, because I will share this with you.
Besides the sunny beaches and beautiful mountains, there is a dark side of Cape Town. And I guess I didn’t prepare myself as rigorously as I thought. But how can one prepare herself for townships, screaming people, crying mothers and children with rotten teeth.
This blog focuses on one of the children at my internship. Since this child doesn’t need to get famous, I will call him Mike. And no, this is not his real name. Mike is not a particularly South African name. Just to be sure.
I am not going to explain what Mike’s disabilities are, since this is not a school paper and I don’t want to intrude on your visual of Mike with labels. Neither am I going to talk about the problems in his family in detail; I will give my personal view only. Talking about others can have it downfalls, but here I only provide my opinion, no judgements.
Mike’s head moves around all day. This movement can be a result of an overload of impulses, or a result of the toxic parts of his digestive system, since his mother’s milk is poisoned with her inhaled drugs. Mike doesn’t listen well in class, I observe a lack of attention and a lack of stimulation as the cause, the care worker observes a child that makes her desperate.
I observe a lonely child.
Mike’s mother and father do live together, but they are not in love anymore. Actually, they don’t seem to like each other at all. The father is the problem because he psychically abuses her and the mother is the problem because she abuses drugs. In the mean time, they seem to forget to look at the mental abuse they are both causing.
Mike doesn’t eat, Mother is desperate, Father is concerned. We observe rotten teeth, but Mother is too high and Father is too drunk. Mike is getting skinnier and skinnier, not only are his teeth rotting away, his body is following.
They told me to do homevisits and parent talks with Mike’s parents to make sure they take Mike to the dentist. The first home visit I did made me mentally unstable for the rest of the day and I wrote this short story—or poem, however you want to phrase it—about it.
A screeching neighbor,
the feeling of something toxic running down my throat.
The sun is shining, but it feels like dark clouds are gathering above my head.
With one tear in my eye,
the unconquerable feeling to go inside.
A stifling heat,
a repulsive, penetrating smell,
a mother on a different planet.
Again the toxic feeling.
Who treats her children like this?
What happened to cause such low self-respect?
Where did it go?
Evaporated among the rest of your poisonous smoke?
Father and mother blaming each other,
children observe with care-needing eyes,
these needs are not there to be seen,
although it is the shadows who failed to execute them.
They are overshadowing sunlight of care and freedom.
I am glad,
that you think Mike is your sweetest and easiest child,
but it also pulls me back into melancholia,
To know it is because of neglect.
A child is like hope,
a feeling you catch,
but without the right amount of love, perseverance and responsibility,
Mama killed hope,
father lost hope,
Mike lost his future.
13 april 2016 19:18 | Door: alda
Very moving and impressive my love. Thanks for writing it all down and sharing it with us.
14 april 2016 15:50 | Door: Caclap
Prachtig, vervoerend geschreven Doris!
14 april 2016 21:24 | Door: oma
bedankt doris hier kan ik niks mee.