Why have some people more money than others? Why are some people from countries where the social standard is high enough that they don’t have to worry about anything?
Why do some people „swim“ in food and others don’t even have enough for their basic needs?
During the Pangaea Geberit school project in Port Elizabeth this July I’ve often asked myself these or similar questions. Sometimes life just seems to be so unfair. The kids from this township didn’t have any choice where they wanted to be born and now they have to cope with the situation.
It’s more or less luck in which personal background you’re raised but it makes me really sad that some people have more than they will ever need and others are struggling to survive.
But surprisingly it’s the people who have almost nothing that are willing to give you the little they have. These people are mostly more welcoming and open than rich people who would have enough to give to poorer ones.
The value of materialistic things seems to be way more important to the ones who have a lot than to the ones who’ve never experienced wealth.
It’s hard to make a child extraordinarily happy that lives in a big house with garden, attends a great school, plays soccer in a club, has all the toys it desires and is loved by its parents. Sure, you can make it a present and give them the latest game for its Xbox and it will make it extraordinarily happy for a few seconds, normally happy for hours but after a while the game gets boring.
That’s completely different with the kids we got to know during the project. They don’t have much to laugh about in their daily life, some only get something to eat through the school’s feeding program, get abused, might be infected with HIV and miss a relationship of love to their parents at home where they live in a small shanty with eight other people. In some families the circumstances are so bad that they even have to sleep in shifts because there’s not enough space for everybody…
And again there’s a BUT: it’s so easy to add a little bit of joy to their life, to make them smile and give them an unforgettable experience they will often remember.
Just show them a bit of attention, show them that you’re interested in their life, show them that you care. Just listen to them, play with them and give them the hugs they don’t get at home.
It’s such a magical feeling to see these kids smile and laugh all over their face and knowing that at least for a few minutes they could forget about their daily worries.
- Date: July 2012
- Location: Port Elizabeth, South Africa
- YEPs involved: Rebecca Berker, Lani van Niekerk, Simon Straetker, Leni Gründl, Stefan Oosthuizen, Robyn Lighton, Theresa Kaiser, Livio Knöri, Constantin Vogt