I am an extremely sensitive person.
I am deeply affected by the harsh realities of the world. It’s why I chose my life in Social Development in the first place. I felt like I could contribute. I felt like it was my duty. When I first started working in schools in disadvantaged areas in Cape Town, I would come home and cry regularly.
The children I worked with had no shoes, no food, no parents, no stability. They came to school, walking through a rain of bullets. They sat there, starving. Trying to get through the day without knowing if they will eat before they go to sleep. Or if they will get home alive at all.
There were times I cried because these little people, no older than 7 would tell stories, without tears. Stories of parents being slaughtered in gang fights. Slaughtered in front of them while walking down the street.
One Monday, a little boy walked into class, he wasn’t wearing his uniform. His uncle had been shot in a gang war and his mother went off to the hospital. He was 7 years old and left home alone for the weekend. On Monday morning, he woke up, dressed himself for school in the only clothing he could find and brought himself to school.
Another little boy, in another school, caused chaos in his class for years until finally, his teacher started inviting him to her house for meals. She paid to get his hair cut, she washed his clothes. The result, a new person. A boy with pride in himself, in his work and a new work ethic. His work changed, he changed. After only a little bit of love.
We walk by in our lives, daily. We think we suffer and we struggle. We are upset because we don’t have the latest phone, the nicest pair of jeans. We know nothing of suffering. Our suffering is nothing compared to these children.
Instead, we sit on our computers and we share images of death. Of the slaughtered and the slain because it makes us feel like we are contributing to a better a world. Like we are warriors. Keyboard warriors who fight battles from the comfort of our sofas. It makes no difference. We achieve nothing. We try our hand at shock value but in a world where we are hardened by the countless images that pass before our eyes daily, we feel nothing. We don’t react.
We click share and think about making dinner.