Alexandra Haass
Alexandra Haass
South Africa 2012-2013
"The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion." - Thomas Paine (1737-1809) Read More About Alexandra →

We all share roots

I began my journey to South Africa six days ago... I began attempting to write this blog post six days ago. Literally, I have tried to sit down countless times hoping that inspiration would immediately begin to flow through my figure tips, presenting you with a little taste of South Africa that would make you excited to continue reading (and possibly even a little envious). Clearly that was not the case, and I wonder why? I sit. I reflect. I still wonder, why?

Fast forward.

Today I was walking home from work. Focused on getting it right this time, as I got lost yesterday, while still trying to look confident and like I knew where I was going. 1 block, 2 blocks, right turn... doing good... 3 blocks, 4 blocks, 5 blocks... I love this city... 6 blocks, 7 blocks....Madam, madam, please. Lady please...Keep walking...Change lady,please. Anything please... Keep walking, but now there are two. The begging echoes, and they pull on my clothes.Please lady, we don’t want money, take us to the store, we need milk for our baby, we sleep on sidewalk, PLEASE. I break 4 blocks later. They light up, shake my hand, tell me I am beautiful and that they love the USA. I’m a bit nervous, but it is rush hour. I calm down and enjoy conversation with the man (the woman disappeared) while we wait in line for 25 minutes to buy the largest tin of baby formula he could find. It is obvious what I am doing because I am the only white person in a sea of poor black people buying their I learned was payday. We talk of how beautiful his 8 month old daughter is.

Important Quotations:
1) “Today is payday. I sometimes have work washing cars, windows, buildings... no luck this month. But I try not to steal!” and “You have a thick voice!”
2) “We are almost through the line lady. I promise. You looked worried when we came. Where are you going? I will get you back.”
3) The woman appears as we leave the store, “Thank you. I will think of your face every time my baby eats.”

I know where I am, because this area is where I got lost the day before. We part ways. I make it back to my flat safely and undisturbed, but as my mind spins it finally hits me like a slap in the face-I am in Cape Town, South Africa! Different than anywhere I have ever been before. My needed inspiration hit me. Clearly, I am a foreigner here (refer to quote #2), so I was reminded why I am here and what I am really doing. I am here to learn from the people of South Africa.

All of them.


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