I need to tally the miles

27 Oct

I wonder how far I have travelled? I am going to do a map and add it up. It is miles and miles and miles around this amazing country I call home.

The people …. this country is because of the people. They are friendly and welcoming. I have been hugged so many times I can’t count. I will share my stories over time but one got me, in particular.

We were in Cape Town and we stopped at Woodstock Station. A hard living area where more often than not people live hard, drugs are prevlanet, gang life is pretty hectic here too !

I met an amazing man, full of tattoos and thought wow I would love to photograph him but to be honest was too scared to simply aim and shoot ! So I resisted. He headed over to me, walking with a lilt, looking cool, no shirt and jeans but with a look in his eyes that reassured my heart that it really didn’t need to beat quite that fast.

He told me how he had been beaten by police, how he had lived on the street since he was 8. He hadn’t seen his mother or father since then. His lip quivered as he told me all this. I wanted to hug the guy. That’s all he wanted. A mom to hug him, to let him weep, to say it’s gonna be ok, to tell him she was there, to show him how to live, to show him this was not the only way.

He said people judge him by his cover, his tattoos, man I felt I couldn’t say now “cool tatts please let me photograph you ” , there he is putting his heart on his non-existant sleeve and I do EXACTLY what he says. So I pushed down the urge and decided to listen.

I thought of my own son. The son I nurtured and loved and was oh so proud of. The same son I went to every single soccer match, the same son I fed and worked hard for to make sure he had the cricket kit and the soccer trips and the best education I could offer. The same son that still loves a hugs and kiss even though he is 6ft4. My heart bled for this guy.

He just wanted a job, he didn’t care how much it paid – even R10 – R20 a day ( $1 – $2) – but I could see what would happen though and I told him. I said you say you want a job, but would you go ? you can’t go today and then not tomorrow. People can’t have workers like that. He said he knew and he would try.

He asked me for a loose skyf (a single cigarette) and I don’t smoke so I couldn’t do that. I offered him money, a R10 ( my heart wanted to give him more, but I knew it would just buy drugs or booze) I hung on to the one end as he had the other. I said ” look me in the eyes”, tell me you are going to buy food with this. He said “I promise”, I watched him walk from my car to the hawker down the road and he bought fruit that would at least fill his tummy for the day.

You know we all feel life isn’t fair sometimes, maybe when we don’t get the job we bid for or the best car on the block or the overseas holiday. Just think again….

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3 Responses to “I need to tally the miles”

  1. mugsbigsis 27 October, 2008 at 2:39 pm #

    I feel like we are more connected than anyone can know. Here’s a quote for you:
    There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best
    of us, that it ill behaves any of us to find fault with the rest of us. -Adams, James Truslow
    Wonderful photos, Sam. Just beautiful.

  2. voodoo vixen 28 October, 2008 at 8:35 am #

    So maybe you need to just look at the photos for a while… not categorize, or sort or choose the best, not think at all… maybe your brain needs your eyes just to see them… and when its ready, and you aren’t tired, your body has had a rest… then you will be able to view them with a sharp brain and inteliigent wit.

    Its going to be an amazing book…. I hope you point me in the direction of it when its printed so I can get a copy!!

  3. Debi 29 October, 2008 at 8:22 pm #

    You rock. Have I told you that before? 🙂

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