I am a coffee addict and started the day realising I’d left my special coffee cup maker in Sodwana Bay where I stayed when I was interviewing doctors at Mseleni hospital nearby. I felt jittery and panicked and being without filter coffee in the morning seemed like a big deal. My coffee cup is like a tea strainer so I worked out how to make filter coffee with a sieve. (It’s not like I can buy a plunger here)- It worked.
Then I heard here that politicians were in town so off I go looking for them. I found the school with the ANC meeting on some dirt road, a few turns off the main tarred one. I was amazed that I found the ANC event on some gravel road in the middle of nowhere. Kids greet me, “hello umlungu”. Yes, it’s odd to see a white person randomly driving rural roads.
The premier had just left (sigh) so off I went to Jozini, an hour away, to find him and the next rally.
What’s a journalist to do at local election time but hunt for politicians?
Well, I got to Jozini but the meeting was in tent off a dirt road that no one could explain to me how to get to, no road signs here, so I never found it. I drove up and down for an hour and then thought enough – I am going to have a cappucino at the 5 star hotel in this filthy ugly town. Jozini looks ‘like a trash heap- it’s awful. Some Zulu towns are great but not Jozini
So I am in this five star hotel overlooking the beautiful Jozini dam when the thin, sick-looking waitress tells me the cappucino machine is broken. I was so disappointed. “I haven’t had a cappucino in weeks,” I say desolately. I was polite but gutted that I would have to wait for Durban – where I will be in five days time – to get a cappucino.
I left all downcast and homesick. After five minutes I started thinking about the waitress and how sick she looked. There is enough Aids around here that one can often see it in people’s faces. They get sunken cheekbones so it’s quite noticeable.
There I was moaning ‘cause I couldn’t get a cappucino and there she was looking sick with AIDS – most likely –
and probably feeling terrible and working. I felt humbled.
So I go back home and I hit a pothole too hard and puncture my tyre badly. Ruined tyre rim – wrecked wheel – I was upset.
I get it changed at the garage and ask the policemen who were filling up with petrol to stay with me till its changed ‘cause I was at a deserted garage in a tiny ‘town’ called Bambanana with all the malnourished-looking kids and drunk men. I really don’t feel safe in Bambanana.
I get home upset about the cost of wrecking my entire tyre and rim and the fact I missed the Premier twice. It is not going to be cheap to get a new rim and I missed a story.
Then I remember there was a woman that I picked up today and gave a lift too who didn’t know how to put on a seatbelt. Her friend and I had to help her get it on and when she got out, she couldn’t open it. Humbling. She will never be upset about a tyre rim – ever.
So here I am sulking about wrecking my wheel and I get two calls from these teenage school girls (twins) that I picked up the other day. School kids hitch home ‘cause most kids walk 8- 10 km to school and back. They giggled the whole way home and then asked for my bottled water and my number and I gave it to them. I have been feeling annoyed ‘cause they keep calling and I know they want help and I can’t help them.
This is the sms Percevia sent me:
Have a fantastic night I luv you you are just like my mom I didn’t have parents I’m an orphan have a lovely dream.
It left me speechless. I don’t even know what real problems are.