If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one

Jasmyne has been so excited about starting school in a few days time. I made her a little countdown calendar and she has been crossing off the days with great enthusiasm. She insisted on getting a bag with wheels which meant us walking up and down Cresta for a good hour just to find the right bag! Jazz has decided that her favorite colour is green. Which fantastic when you coming out of a pink obsession not so wonderful when you are looking for pretty lunch boxes that are the right shape for those woolies cooler bags. We were having a conversation about her uniform which is blue. The horror on her face! I thought Jasmyne was about to pass out in shock. It was rather weird as she has been to school for the introduction day and she did see everyone wearing blue! After a long discussion about how nicely blue and green complement each other and a promise that when her room was redone this year it would be blue and green I managed to get her to calm her down. *sigh*

This afternoon I had planned a beautiful picnic lunch with Vaughn and the girls. I had managed to get as far as packing our picnic lunch and putting Abigail in the pool to cool down before I received THE CALL. I made a mad dash to the door only managing to kiss everyone goodbye and give a brief outline of what was going on. While speeding along, hoping to get there in time I wondered to myself if going would make any difference. I had made a promise to a young girl that if she ever needed my help, all she had to do was call me and I would go at the drop of a hat.

What I was walking into was a scene that had played out so many times in this little girls life before. Only this time I vowed that we would put an end to this. Today we would change her life and things would be better. After collecting her we made it to the police station where I hoped we could lay a charge of domestic violence against the man that had taken pleasure in bulling her all these years. What I did not know, what I should have known was mind blowing. In South Africa if you would like to assist a minor lay a domestic assault charge you should advise them to make sure the perpetrator physically attacks them BEFORE they call for help. If they at any point attempt to preempt this attack and decide to lay a charge of verbal assault the case will remain a charge until the next time.

After we had collected our case number I walked out of the police station feeling numb. This had to be a dream, why would anyone let this happen? How was I going to explain to this child that she had done the right thing but that she did not have a strong enough case? In order for us to be granted a protection order we need to have a guardian sign the order and then take the perpetrator to court. So not only will she have no place to live but she will have to have a guardian stand by her. I wondered how people who were supposed to be in a position to help could come across as being so disinterested in what was going on! I recall asking them for the exact requirements to have this man picked up and simply told that her mother would need to come in. While we were leaving another family walked in, they had the same problem, the father was threatening to kill all the children and had his fire arms loaded. The woman on duty gave them a tight lipped smile and asked them to fill out the form. She slid the form over counter and waited as the distraught mother of three attempted to controll her shaking hand inorder to fill it out.

I arrived home feeling as though I had let everyone down. I had promised the children a day in the park, I had promised this child that next time we would make sure it never happened again and I had upset Vaughn by running out of the house and not considering my own safety. So today did not go as planned and truth be told I am rather disillusioned by the South African police and by my own dreams of changing the world. When I got home, Abigail was asleep and Jasmyne was playing quietly in her room. The rain had already started so there was not much hope in salvaging what was left of the afternoon.

After the rain had stopped, I let the girls play in the pool while I wondered what would make a parent ever tell their children that they are worthless gutter trash followed by a bunch of names I wont even bother repeating. It breaks my heart to think there are more children out there who live through this daily and there is not a single thing they can do to change it.

The day did take a slight turn thanks to my little family. Abigail was in a lovely mood and Jasmyne insisted on starting a debate that she ended up winning hands down. Vaughn managed to sort out the much needed wiring problem we had in the lounge.

Our debate started off discussing Jasmynes favorite book, The first of Octember. I said, oh that’s one of your Dr. Seuss books, to which she replied No its not. The debate raged on for the entire afternoon as I attempted to prove that it was. I showed her the rhyming patters and the illustrations, I pointed out the pictures on the front and back of the book but she kept saying I was wrong. Eventually after story time I asked her why she kept saying that I was wrong! She looked at me and then pointed to the book … she said, if this book (pointing to cat in the hat) says Dr. Seuss why does this other book have these letters. I moved my eyes over to the other book in disbelief, she was right! The other book said, by Theo LeSieg!!! All that and Jazz was right after all.

Looking back now I think today was about realizing that changing the world does not mean changing lives. Its about taking a minute to let someone know that if you are needed you will be there, and if they need to talk you just need to be there to listen. I am going to admit this but never say it again … sometimes your five year old can be right!


One Response to “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one”

  1. WOW…thats all I can say.

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