I have now been in South Africa for three weeks, though it feels like I have been here longer (in a good way). But because I have only been here for such a short time I am afraid that I do not have many stories to share, especially those from work.
I have now been in South Africa for three weeks, though it feels like I have been here longer (in a good way). But because I have only been here for such a short time I am afraid that I do not have many stories to share, especially those from work. My timing in coming here has actually worked out rather perfect, because the librarian decided to retire at the end of January, which gave her two weeks to teach me everything I need to know about running the Theological Education by Extension College (TEEC) Library. In working in the library I will be able to interact much more with the students, though, because classes have not really begun yet, I have not had the pleasure to meet many students yet. There is one student who is in here quite frequently and boy is he such a pleasure, but unfortunately the story I am about to relate revolves around him.
This particular student came into the Library the other day and casually proceeds to tell me that he was mugged last week. As he is telling me the story he acts as if it was no big deal and is something that would normally come up in everyday conversations. He had been at the library earlier that day before heading to work. I believe he pumps gas at a nearby gas station. After he got off work he went home and just as he was about to unlock his gate, he was attacked. They took his earnings for the day, his cell phone and his college certificate (I’m still not sure exactly what that is). But he did not just let it happen he fought back and in doing so, received a bruise on his forehead.
The story itself is all too common here in Johannesburg, but the casual tone that he and other people use to talk about incidents such as muggings and suicides will never cease to amaze me. It has unfortunately become a part of life here. But even with the gloom, the spirit of the people is amazing. They are open and friendly and have made me feel more welcome than I could have ever imagined. And for those who look for it, there is hope and surprisingly the inauguration of President Obama has increased the amount of that hope. I am looking forward to getting to know the people of South Africa better in the months ahead.
Emily Christmas serves as a Global Mission Intern with the Theological Education by Extension College (TEEC) in Johannesburg, South Africa. Her ministry is made possible by funds provided by Week of Compassion of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). She serves as an Administrative Assistant in the Academic Department and Library.