The Bloggess pointed out that today is Blog Action Day 08, which means that I should be doing my part to write about poverty. I didn't know about this until about 45 seconds ago, and in those 45 seconds, I have failed to become inspired. Now I'm sure that while I'm lying in bed tonight thinking about my day I'll think of approximately 27 really touching and moving and awesome things to say and therefore to write, but at this precise second, I've got nothin', and TODAY is Blog Action Day, not tomorrow. So, um.
When I was 20 I went to South Africa for the summer, because traveling to South Africa was extremely related to the years I had spend studying Spanish, Italian and Russian. Except that it wasn't at all. But I went anyways.
On account of South Africa being somewhat VOLATILE and also not always very safe, most of the traveling we did had a lot to do with body guards and guided tours. When we were in Durban, we weren't allowed to leave the hotel without a security guard escort, which was annoying, but we were a bunch of brassy loud white people, so it may also have been warranted.
The most eye-opening, heart-wrenching, life-changing aspects of the whole trip were the days that we spent in the townships, and, particularly for its historical importance, Soweto. I have seen poverty in the United States. I spent 6 months receiving public assistance, and I spent that time interacting with a lot of hard-up people. I suppose I was even one of those hard-up people, despite my wont to make a distinction. But. I have never seen poverty like what I saw in South Africa. Starving people, with their homes made out of boxes, their babes tied on their backs with rags, no job, no hope for a job, no hope at all.
Sometimes I find myself saying all those things I always thought I would never say about how children are starving in Africa so you should finish your dinner because you should be grateful. Only I sort of mean it.