I’ve phoned Avela to find out whether the 25litre buckets are at the community centre for collection. Usually we transfer the soup or veg stew into large pots at the centre (from where they are further distributed) and take them back to refill for the next day, but yesterday was a bit chaotic for other reasons, and it didnt happen that way. So I’m collecting today before someone delivers again. I arrive there and Asanda is working on a laptop, getting organised. 2 of the 4 buckets are there, but he is going to come with me because the other buckets are somewhere in the community, or at Overcome Heights. We drive deeper into Vryground, stopping right at the shacks on the outskirts, which boarder the landfill site. I think I’ll wait in the car, but Asanda invites me in, so I go inside. After a chat with a few of the ladies who are cooking in this one of 20 soup kitchens recently set up, I manage to let it be known that the yellow bucket being cleaned is not ours. So we walk a bit further in, through a gate and right to the edge, where I know another soup station is being set up, from another visit I had here a few days ago. I have a chat with one of the men who also wants my photo with him outside his shack. Asanda is sourcing the other buckets. I am feeling a bit embarassed at having my photo taken so ask why. He is telling me about connecting our communities, and how it is important to show that someone like me (white) is coming into his community. He wears a necklace around his neck. He looks strong to me, he is sweet and gracious, and he is very poor.

Asanda takes me further down a very narrow alleyway to where the next bucket has been located. It’s actually with his ex-sister-in-law, I later discover. She is managing some of the kitchens, but tells me that she can’t keep the ingredients in her shack. Aside from being very small, whenever she has something of any value, it gets stolen. So if she is not there, she can’t look after what is there. Therefore, all the food and valubles are stored somewhere else, nearby, where there are always people around. We are three walking back towards the car again, and I just cant think what to say. What do you say in response to that?

So we are heading to the next place now to collect the last bucket. It’s taking longer than I thought, but it’s different here. Not such a rush as I am more used to. We wind our way around to Overcome Heights, and I get out with Asanda, even though I want it to be a quickstop, as I need to get the buckets back now! This looks a bit like a childrens classroom, where we go. There is a bit of a discussion happening in the room, which we join for a bit first. I can’t catch it all, but there is some stuff that needs to be sorted out still. There is an issue I know about, and realise at some point, it’s connected to that. I’m getting messages on my phone to come back with what I’ve got, and I reply soon soon, but I’m wondering that is might be a bit longer still. But we don’t stay too long. I listen for a little longer, and then Asanda confirms we can go. We discuss a bit on the way to where I drop him off, about what was going on there, and I like what he is saying, and how he is thinking and I am so glad it is this group with whom I am participating and to some small extent, helping.

We would like to invite you all to share thoughts of your own. They can be long, short, with images, without images, poems, artworks – expressions really, of what these times are bringing to your surface.If you would like to contribute, please email amavaoluntu@gmail.com

Noleen Read

About Noleen Read

One Comment

  • Catherine says:

    Thank you Fundisani, Kevin, Noleen and Paul for painting these vivid word pictures. Much food for thought.

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