Khayelitsha is an informal Township outside of Cape Town. One of the locals near my hotel tells me it’s not the worst, there are actually worse places in South Africa, and he names a few off the top of his head. I try to wrap my head around how it could be any worse. Recalling our visit there today, my heart breaks that any human beings must live in such desperate and impoverished conditions. Trash piles and waste border every dirt pathway through make shift, one room homes. A one year old sits in the road and dips a plastic spoon in a used, smashed soda bottle caked in dirt. A pack of slightly better dressed, teenage boys take on a threatening gaze as we pass by, the innocence of their childhood long gone. 500,000 urban poor crowd Khayelitsha. We met with the Social Justice Coalition to learn about the problems of sanitation in this Township. The SJC is made of volunteers and many come right from this community. They are trying to make headway with the local and state governments to get a plan for the toilets in this settlement. People were moved here under Apartheid to desperate blacks out of the city. 50 years later, and even under democracy, little has changed.
I left with a broken heart and thoughts for how I could help. The truth is, when I arrive back in South Bend, Indiana, I don’t need to look far to find Khayelitsha in my own back yard.
People need help here. People need our love and attention at home as well. My heart is softened and engaged from this trip to live the calling to help and heal where The Lord has planted me.