Monday, 18 June 2012

This is the story of a strong heart

This story tells of  a woman.
She lives in a shack in Langa with her three kids.

Though I have no idea neither how her life begun, nor how it is going to end, one thing is certain; just knowing a piece in the middle, makes a difference.

Her tale is rough and shivery, brutal even.

She has a daughter with cerebral palsy. She is 11 and cannot move, not eat, not talk.
She has a son, called "Angel-face". He is 5 years old now and so damaged inside he every now and then looses contact with reality. Gone, just like that.
She has another daughter. A tiny little troll. She is a bit more than a year now.
 
She was poor. Very, very poor. Her severely disabled daughter can only drink "special nutritious milk" from the hospital due to her condition. It is expensive. Too expensive at times.
Her shack has holes in the roof. It rains both outside and inside in wintertime. Tape. Pieces of plastic. Whatever she can get her hands on to seal. Mold.
At night her kids are freezing. Her disabled daughter with weak immune defense starts coughing more and more and eventually gets pneumonia.
Emergency room. The doctors cannot fully explain how that little girl can still be alive.
A new winter ends and another one begins. The same story.

Somewhere, years ago, she met a man and fell in love. He was one of the bad ones. The aggressive, abusive kind, whenever there was some alcohol in the system. And he drank. Often and a lot.
He beat her bloody, in front of her children. Angel-face tried to stop him at times, screaming to let go off his mom. He abused him too.
He made her pregnant. He tried to kill her, stabbing her, when she was expecting his child. She survived, but the scars of that knife never go away.
She left him, but he still came around at night, threatening to kill her and all of her children.

Around this time she came in contact with PPG. She got a job at the center.
The way she approaches, handles and loves kids is amazing to see. She just "has it". They all, staff and trolls, fell in love with her. PPG became her family. She eventually started smiling.
The staff often went to see her. Trying to do whatever they could to lend her a helping hand.
Observing, suspicious eyes watching her getting "white visits" at her shack.
Gossip. Malarkey. Jealousy.

We embraced each other when I saw her again.
"Thank you... For coming back to us."
A sincere faint smile. Her eyes were filled with tears. A deeply touched gratitude.

The other day she told of the new lodgers (a woman and her child) she just took in at her shack. "They have nowhere to go", she explained. "I can share what I have with them, they have nothing".
She has nothing, but the will to share everything.

Yesterday she cried. A neighbor ballyragged, yelled.
She did not ask for permission to "borrow the common clothes-line".
The jealousy. Again. She is constantly bullied by the people in Langa. Treated like dirt, because she "is clearly privileged, since whites are seen at her shack".
She asked someone to come fetch her kids. "I do not want them to see me cry. They are sensitive".
All alone, she sat down inside, letting the tears fall from her broken heart.

Evening came.
It was time now. Time to pull herself together.
Time to get the kids. School tomorrow.
Time to see another day.

One cannot measure the dimension of the content of someone's heart.
One cannot judge the worth of the strength of someone's inside.

One can only wonder what this woman is made of.
The strongest heart I ever came across.

The end of her story is still unwritten.
It should be a "happily ever after".

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