rural lifestyles

2 09 2010

I am always fascinated when reading various newsletters at the amazing things people are doing in the world and can’t help but think it must make such a difference. Then you hear of the tragedy or disaster in that region!

What is there in the human psyche that makes us experience upliftment only to comfortably hold on to what we know?

Working among the Ndebele, Venda and Pedi peoples in the old homeland of Kwandabele I am touched by the hardships experienced and lack of what we would call everyday appliances.  Where to drink a glass of water does not involve simply opening a tap and you can even choose hot or cold! To have a drink of water someone would have walked 8 kilometers to the water point (we have recently placed a borehole so it is on site in Dindela now) collect 15 liters of water and walk 8 kilometers back with the water on the head.

To shower or bath is therefore out of the question! The shower is a basin of water and a cloth while if you prefer hot water you would have to start a fire to warm your water. That is after you have walked to find the wood and chopped it and brought it back! Nothing is as easy as you may imagine.

Yet, …You seldom find someone who is moping or miserable about the conditions they are living in. When asked about this, the common answer is that it would not change the circumstances so why be miserable about it!

It is not that the differences are not known as I have had visitors stay over at my house and noticed the stress they experience as they are not comfortable with the modern day appliances. Things like dishwashers are seen as completely unnecessary. Our lifestyle is seen as wasteful and complicated although they would never say that as it would not be polite. The value they have for one another and the acceptance of difference between persons teach us a humbling lesson.

That brings me back to my previous blog on what worth is wealth.  In this environment it is nothing as all share what they have as I’ve noticed when visiting Raymond and bringing various foodstuff. You can see the effect when as soon as my car is recognized it is within minutes they arrive at Raymond’s house and help remove goods from the car. Be careful your personal goods are clearly packed aside and they are made aware this is yours or it disappears as wellJ There is no bickering or arguing as they sort through clothing and food and all seem to be more than content with what they get.

I can just imagine a western world environment where everyone jostles for the best deal and like at a Macy’s sale be willing to fight for what you believe should be yours!  

The more we civilize the more animal we become.

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