Do you ever feel like you live in a bubble or raising your children in one? This is a comfortable space where the challenges of the world don’t affect you. This bubble does not mean you aren’t confronted with challenges. It just means all you have to deal with are YOUR challenges. This is a safe space where you don’t necessarily have to make your children go through what you possibly went through as a child.
As I write this, I feel like I exist in a bubble. It breaks my heart and I cannot help but break down and cry. It hit home because I know how it is like to be poor and desperate.
I remember wandering around the streets of White City Soweto with my mother one night. Both of us were hungry and I guess she was walking around to devise a plan of what to do. All of a sudden, I came across a shiny little coin on the ground. I still don’t know how I saw that because it was very dark at that point. I picked it up and it was an R2 coin. I remember the joy me and mom felt in that very moment.
We immediately rushed to the nearest spaza shop and bought 20 10c biscuits. My kasi people know which ones I am talking about. The chocolate and ginger biscuits. Mom let me eat most of them and we had water after that and that was our meal for the day.
That’s what I mean when I say I know how it feels like to have nothing.
I appreciate every single experience I had because they groomed me. I am the woman I am today because of those very experienced. I always swore to myself that I would never let my children go through anything similar to what I did. I want to protect them at all costs. In the same breath, I do not want to raise them in a bubble. I need them to be aware of how fortunate and blessed they are to have a roof over their heads and food in their tummies. Hell, they need to be damn grateful for the toys they play with.
Today, I comfortably write this very piece sitting on a very comfortable bed, in a house the bank says I own. My fridge is stocked up with food to last my family for the entire month.
Millions of Africans are not this lucky.
My nanny, Mercy, always tells me the saddest stories about families in Zimbabwe that are raising so many children from a single pack of mealie meal, that’s if they are fortunate enough to get their hands on it.
See, I’m heartbroken today because I thought I would the kind of woman that would never forget where she came from. But today, I realized that I sadly have.
I am in a bubble that has seen me forget that some moms and daughters are probably roaming around the streets of White City in Soweto hoping to come across an R2 coin. This bubble has made me forget that there are millions of moms desperately trying to feed their children. There are millions of starving kids, probably in my backyard, that is at the verge of dying due to hunger.
Do you know hunger pains?
The hunger pain you feel when you are purposely starving yourself to lose weight and the hunger pain you feel from not having eaten for a few days is different. The latter hits a bit harder because you still have no idea where your next meal is going to come from.
Poverty is not only about food.
· Children are often wrapped in old blankets because their mothers cannot afford to buy them clothes.
· Some children are walking to school bare feet because their school shoes are worn out.
· Homeless women squat during their periods because they cannot afford sanitary pads.
· Girl children are still missing out on school because of not being able to afford sanitary pads.
It’s a domino effect. We hope education can be our children’s savior but these same kids are too hungry to go to school. Have you ever tried to focus on something whilst hungry? It never works.
Today, I pledge to burst my bubble and do my best in touching people’s lives in significant ways. Our children learn through observation. If I stick to my pledge, surely my daughter would know nothing else but being charitable.
It is not only about money. I see how my nanny’s face lights up when I give her clothes she can send to Zimbabwe for her family that’s still there.
You might think some things are unworthy to you, but they might mean the world to somebody else.
I am committing myself to play my part and teaching my children that we, with the little that we do, can touch people’s lives in the most significant way.
Karabo Motsiri is a first-time mom, over-sharer, lover of life, chronic napper and married to her best friend. She loves a good party because the dance floor is her happy place. She enjoys good food, good conversations, laughs a little too hard, and cries during every episode of Grey’s Anatomy. She started her blogging journey because she wanted to share all the ups and downs of being a young modern mama in South Africa. Her blog Black Mom Chronicles has been featured on Ayana Magazine & SA Mom Blog. She has enjoyed airtime on Power FM and frequently writes for the parenting section of Saturday Citizen. She also works with MamaMagic on their Product Awards, Milestones Magazine, Heart to Heart blog, and the Baby Expo, which is South Africa’s biggest parenting expo.