April month saw the Boeber Runners going back to our roots to where it all began, on the streets of Cape Town.
Meeting place was “The Rock” at Rondebosch Common where the runners within the group completed 2 loops of the common whilst the rest of the Boeber Run family made up hampers for our guests. Hampers included a punnet of food, a fruit packet, sandwich, half a loaf of bread and 5l of water. Ladies each received a pack of sanitary towels, and ladies and men received condoms. A huge thank you goes out to the Tamil community for their donation of much needed fresh water. Your help, support and generosity is greatly appreciated.
Once the vehicles were loaded, we headed off to feed our first group of guests around the Osmans area. From there we proceeded to Broad Road in Wynberg, followed by visits to District Six and the Grand Parade. Sadly, we were not able to visit our guests in Pine Road Woodstock as the camp was devastated by fire and the area cordoned off.
Having visited informal settlements mostly over the last several months, visiting the streets was a reminder to the challenges faced by those sleeping on the streets. It is easy to label them all as dropouts or misfits and condemning them for loitering. Taking the time out to get to know the individuals have taught us that most do not want to be there. Some have lost jobs and cannot find work. We met a young man who ran away from home because he was being molested by his uncle. He was to afraid to let the family know out of fear that they would kill his uncle.
You hear stories of how alcohol and drugs are the only way to numb the pain on the cold wet nights. Night shelters are not always the answer as they are not always allowed to take all of their possessions with them as they often get stolen while the owners are asleep. We have even witnessed a situation where our friends from Melomed offered to take a sick person to hospital for treatment but the offer was declined – she could not take her only possessions with her which was just a bag full of clothes. It would not be allowed at hospital.
Our challenge to you is to be more compassionate the next time you see a beggar on the street. The assumption that they are a loser is an easy one to make. You do not have to give them money… give them that half empty bottle of water in the car, a sandwich or fruit. If you do not have, then give them a smile and treat them with dignity and respect. You do not know what challenges they are facing.
“Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.” – Isaac Asimov