Living and Seeing Both Sides

Nava by Nava October 19, 2017

Check out this informative essay about seeing and understanding life in South Africa, from one of our youths, Christine C!

Here’s how it is: everyone has something that makes them a little bit different from everyone else. It can be a big something or a small something. Whether it is an interest, hobby, or talent, it can make that person a little unique and perhaps feel special. My special something-something that has changed me as a person in many ways—happens to be a 1,219,912 km2 chunk of land home to 43,997,828 people. It is called South Africa.

You see, South Africa has become a good friend of mine. We first met when I was an infant at six months. We clicked right away and South Africa became one of my biggest influences growing up. To cut a long story (five-generations long) short, my parents were born and raised in South Africa and I was meant to be as well, but my parents decided to immigrate to Canada, thinking it would be better for me and my brother’s safety and education. The rest of my family still lives in South Africa and we go and visit them as often as we can. And no, there are not random giraffes and elephants roaming the streets like many people think. What there is on the streets and elsewhere is poverty—poverty, and lots of crime. Can you imagine living in a house made of cardboard? Can you imagine putting your life at risk anytime you walk down the street? Well, that’s how many South Africans live—a life that we cannot even imagine.

Unemployment is high, AIDS is rife, and many thousands of people do not know where their next meal will come from. I feel guilty when I say this, but although I myself have never experienced the poverty and desperation that makes up the lives of so many people, I have gained something by witnessing this poverty. Seeing this poverty in the world has changed me for the better. By knowing about these issues, I am able to help understand the causes and become more sensitive toward them. I am now in a better position to help fight the situation and promote awareness of the subject.

Although there are many difficulties, the people seem very resourceful and strong. Despite all of these problems, life in South Africa is wonderful for many. On my holidays, I go surfing on beautiful beaches, go on safaris, and hang out with my cousins on my uncle’s beautiful crocodile farm. I not only gain experience about what the world is like outside of Canada, but I am exposed to the natural beauty of Africa. That’s why South Africa is one of my “special somethings” I care so much about. Enough about me, what’s your special something?

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