The same as the weather is a standard topic of conversation in the UK, crime is always an area of common ground when making small talk in South Africa. It is rife and you don’t have to go 6 degrees of separation to find a person who has been a victim, almost everyone you talk to has either been a victim of it themselves or has a close friend who has.
Even so, when my domestic goddess Cordelia arrived at work on Tuesday morning and told me that she had been hit on the weekend it still wrenches your gut. Cord is a very religious devout Christian. She goes to church on Saturday evening and her daughter who is 17 is afraid to stay on her own in the shack. So she goes to stay with a friend when her Mom is out. Luckily she was at her friend this weekend as they had their front door to their shack pried open with a crowbar and everything they own smashed to bits. They stole their television and DVD player, and took her daughters suitcase where she stores all of her clothes. The timing could not have been worse as both Caitlin and Lily had cleaned out their closets and given Cord 2 big black bags full of cute clothes they did not want any more. Cord’s daughter had been so excited. I had even given her 2 lovely down insulated jackets to keep her warm on a school trip – and everything including her school uniforms was taken.
The criminals broke all of her chest where she keeps her belongings and trashed the shack. They even stole the meat she had in the fridge for their Sunday dinner.
I was so upset about it so I posted on Facebook about what happened. I then started getting people sending me messages to say they have some clothes, can they drop them off? Lily went back through her cupboard again and found a few more things to pass on as well. I gave Cord enough money to buy her daughter a school uniform as she cannot go to school without it and I did not want her to miss any more school. I hated the thought that Cordelia would have to spend most of her weeks wages to replace the uniform.
Then a miraculous thing happened, a friend who had left SA to move to the UK asked if he could send some pounds sterling via PayPal. I found a friend willing to let me use his account and then another friend sent some Australian dollars to the PayPal account.
I have been so touched by the kindness of strangers willing to reach out to help another stranger. I have not told Cordelia about any of it yet, she did get the cash for the uniforms and 2 bags of clothes yesterday from Lily and my friend Dawn, but the cash from my friends overseas and the other clothes will be given to her on Friday. I am just so grateful that people have responded so kindheartedly.
I am trying to focus on the positivity of the people helping rather than the anger directed towards the animals who did the criminal activity. Karma will have to deal with them and I will choose to stay focused on the positive.