Sunday, February 17, 2008

Stealing a Dream

It's been a slow week. That's to say, it was just like they're supposed to be. Three days at the clinic, with nothing eventful happening. Two days at the Centre, with no visitors and no "emergencies" to deal with. I actually got tasks done on my projects and had time to rest a bit on Friday. I'm sure the remaining two weeks will be busier, if only because we have visitors this coming week (a big group from Minneapolis) and I need to start saying good-bye to folks.

This post's title comes from some follow-up events from last week's posting about Nancy. She's the woman living in Barcelona who wants desperately to move out of there. Well, she managed to find a place that she really loved. We took a drive to see it last Sunday. It's still in Barcelona, but just on the edge, about 50 yards from one of Guguletu's streets. It has its own toilet (well, an outhouse that sits within what's fenced off as her yard) and an electricity box (no more paying a neighbor and running an illegal wire to her shack). The house itself has five rooms, albeit with cardboard walls and exterior walls that aren't exactly plumb. It also has a number, which means she can get onto a waiting list for a proper house (which might become available in 2020, since the City is still working on the 1997 list).

The problem? The owner wants R10,000. That's about R9,999 more than Nancy can afford and R7,000 more than I was offering. So, on Monday I had to break the news to her that I wouldn't sponsor the full amount. As you can guess, she was disappointed. But, as we talked about the house's size (especially for just two people) and price, and my limited funds (especially now that I've planning to leave), she understood that it was probably not a good idea. She told me she was very worried that she wouldn't find anything now, or if she did it would be too late for me to help. I said that I had committed to help her, and I was fully prepared to do that. So, she agreed to keep looking.

I felt truly sad about the situation. She could have lived like a queen in that big house, and had room for Howard to stay, too (they are apparently dating now). But, the money is a big deal, even if it's a small amount in dollar terms. Nancy recognized that I could help 3 or 4 people for that amount, people just like her.

The good news? I got a call this afternoon that she found a place for R3000. It's one room, but it also has its own electricity box. I don't know where it is but we have plans to see it tomorrow. I'm hoping this one works out.

It's now roughly two weeks until L-Day (leaving day). I have nearly everything ready, just some last-minute items mementos to buy. We'll see how quickly the days go.

And, in case you're interested, I think I have my flea problem under control now. I have some special soap that I use twice a day and it seems to have killed the fleas I had on me. I also washed all my "intimates" and hopefully that will prevent a reinfestation. Of course, I say that knowing that I got six more bites today but I haven't been able to figure out if it's from my shoes or socks. Oh well, the end is in sight.

More to come.

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