It amazes me how quickly I’ve gotten used to Cape Town. I’ve been here three weeks and no longer worry for my safety on the train, mainly because I know where I’m going and wouldn’t dare take it at night.(save the minor panic attack I had when I thought I was on the wrong train to meet up with other volunteers for a potjii social)
I’m also kind of amazed at myself that I take the train regularly and have a good idea of which routes go where.
On Tuesday June 16th we had a social for a South African public holiday called Youth Day. It is a day that commemorates the beginning of the Soweto riots when youth protested against teaching Afrikaans in black schools, and aprox. 500 people were killed.
To remember this day, we had a true South African cook-off, potjii style. A potjii is a big black pot with three legs that you use to make stew. We made two different types, one including a whole wack of fish; snoek, (the traditional South African fish that is sold everywhere, (I’ve seen it selling on the streets in townships for R20 for a huge fish!) calamari and crab, as well as a chicken one. It took forever to cook them, we started making the fire at around 10:30 or 11, and didn’t eat until around 3. But it was worth the wait! They were so tasty, filled with flavours of all different vegetables and meats.
Some days at the office there is a lot to do, and some days I am left with absolutely nothing.
If I could browse the Internet normally, time might not drag on forever, but I have no patience when it comes to these computers.
I’ve decided that I’m going to stick it out here, I can contribute a lot, and today, June 23, I had four stories published. Two of them were a co-op article that I contributed to, but my contributions are what made the headlines based on thoroughly researching and developing knowledge in a subject that I previously knew nothing about.
The story I’m proud of was about the use of tik (meth) in black communities, as opposed to the majority of use in coloured communities. I spoke to professional researchers as well as social workers, but couldn’t find the township angle (due lack of contacts as well as inability to speak the language, isxhosa) which is the reason for the co-operation with another reporter.
The editor-in-chief loves my show (as Andrew would say… God I miss him!), I had a talk with him the other day and he said that it seemed like I’m fitting in here quite well. I explained some of the problems that I was having. He told me to be honest, and while I held back some of my bigger concerns, (the actual integrity of the paper) I made sure to tell him how hard it was for me to find work to do, except being assigned work.
That’s aside from “my” front page, where I went out on assignment and tried talking to people to get information, but everyone spoke isxhosa. (“kosa” and yeah, that’s the one with the clicks, it actually sounds REALLY cool). I also got the contact information and made sure that the traffic communications officer sent a media release to us to verify what happened.There were 105 kids and eight adults in a taxi (a mini-bus meant for 26 adults, including the driver). It was a front page, as well as a spread.
I’ve started keeping a journal. Maybe not everyday, but once in a while I just sit down and collect my thoughts, mainly what I was hoping to do in my blog, but that will be my completely uncensored version of my personal feelings and thoughts.
And let me tell you, working here requires a little bit of an uncensored outlet.