25 July 2011

the community speaks

It seems these days as if Zandspruit is famous.

Lately, Billy will mention the community we love so deeply, and people from all walks of life will say "Oh, Zandspruit? I saw them on the news! That's a really dangerous place!"

This video, posted by TimesLive was taken in March during some rioting that took place while my parents were visiting. It was a bad day - a rough day, true. But this isn't the whole story of Zandspruit. Not even close. This is 200 people out of thousands.

In late June/early July - a day of "striking" once again drove everyone inside their homes for fear of being caught up in the violence of the few. Police don't tend to stop and ask if you were on the streets to visit the toilet or get food for your family, they just shoot rubber bullets or tear gas at anyone they see out of their shacks. We had to cancel Thursday's holiday club with the kids at GoLang Education Center (where I was busy working on art projects with the kids) and early on Friday morning, some unhappy residents petrol bombed the computer center in the local primary school, burning it completly down.

Now, why, if your main complaint is that there aren't good services, education, homes, ways to grow, would you go and destroy your children's opportunities to learn? But, that's not my question to ask here. The rioting was on the news. The petrol bombing was on the news. GoLang went ahead with it's scheduled 10th birthday party celebration, and the police made their rounds making certain the (much less than normal) crowd of GoLang partners and friends were safe despite the hot tempers in the community.

This is all sad and unfortunate, not that the protestors don't have valid hurts and complaints - but the violence that continues to rack this community is really perpetrated by a small percentage of the community at large. Yet, they say the speak for the entire community.

On Saturday this past week - another part of the community spoke.
"This far and no further. We value our community. "

About 40 volunteers arrived on the campus of the local primary school with brooms and brushes and hoses and ladders and buckets & buckets of paint - and by the end of the day, the school that had just been burned a few weeks ago was shining and new.

The media was called and told about the restoration. They were invited. They were asked " please come and share the rest of the story of the people of Zandspruit".

They didn't come.

But we were there - and we know the truth about the people of Zandspruit - so much more than the media wants to show. Zandspruit is filled with thousands of amazing people, beautiful people, make the world a better place people. And we are privledged to know them - to celebrate life with them and to be loved in Zandspruit.

photos of the restoration following in another post -

you are invited to celebrate Zandspruit with us.

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