Kiarra McCain & Amanda Wittkopp
January 4, 2011
"Lights camera actuality..."
Lights camera actuality...
Flashing lights contrasting the beam of sun.
No body noticed.
No body seen the souls behind the lens smiling with scars
No body seen the sores in front of their hearts bandaged with hellos.
No body seen
Lights camera actuality....
Focusing on the forgotten, forgetting to forget.
No body went deeper then brown eyes, no body seen pass the hospitality.
Confronting this community with cameras was chaotic.
Snapping shots for frames,
Capturing human frames, leaving their souls behind, leaving their stories behind
But we walk away the same
that's a shame.
Lights camera actuality
Flashing lights contrasting the beam of sun
No body noticed with notices on their doors.
Today we did something that wasn't already planned for the day. It was a sort of impromptu experience we otherwise would not have had. We met a good friend of Nate's who he previously worked with and who has lived in the Mandela Park township. When we arrived we saw thousands of shacks made from various materials. Paved streets ran past the houses with street lights marking the way. Large, ugly electrical boxes that stood above the homes, connecting them to a main power source. Garbage was strewn everywhere. Random dogs ran around the streets licking up waste water. Many residents sat outside their homes in the hot morning heat. Nate ran into a woman he used to know named "Mama" and was able to briefly catch up. She waved and greeted our group. This was a most uncommon reaction, as most of the townspeople stared and spoke amongst themselves. A woman and her family, who Nate's friend knows, spoke with us and invited us into her home. It was a small, 3-room home. We noted that most of their belongings were basic, but they also had a television and stereo system. There are convenience-type stores, countless barber shops and cell phone repair shops throughout. Most all of them are shacks, like the homes, with handmade signs designating their purpose. It was a community unlike any most of us had not only ever seen but actually walked through.
Later we stopped off in a marina with souvenir vendors and places to eat. Some ate lunch, some shopped. It was a bit of mindless activity, considering where we had just come from.
Our last major plan for the day was to visit the MaAfrika Tikkun site in the township of Delft, where we will be doing our service-learning. Delft has mostly government housing, so the homes are constructed from cement and have actual shingles on the roofs. The drive to Delft was interesting for part of the group, as our van stalled on the road en route to the site. Thankfully, one of the other vans came back for us and we proceeded on our way. The entire way we passed other major townships and squatter camps. Horses grazed freely near the side of the road. Children swam in a pond lined with garbage. Graffiti creations decorated walls -- one of note said: Those who have suffered understand suffering and therefore extend their hand. (A Patti Smith quote)
At MaAfrika, we were orientated by Anthea Jansen, the head of the program. She told us about the wide variety of activities and services they offer to the people of Delft. We still do not know what we will individually or collectively be assigned to do when we start tomorrow. It could be anything from playing games, to working a soup kitchen, to gardening. No matter what, we are willing, available, able and ready.
Poetry by Kiarra
Narrative by Amanda