This month our lives are being invaded by our 'interns' Alison and Doug. They have LOTS to do around here, but along the way I have invited them to 'Look, listen, and love' those in Ocean View. This is a way to truly step into this community and engage in a new way.
Last week their task was to 'look.' Here are their profound thoughts:
This past week we were given the task to look around at our surroundings and really try to absorb as much about Ocean View as possible. There were a couple of patterns that really stuck out to me about this place. The first thing is that the polychromatic stereotype about Africa is definitely true here. Time is a very vague concept and relationships are a much higher priority than getting everything on the to-do list done in the day or making it to a meeting on time. Going along with this concept, many people seem to lack motivation or work ethic. A lot of this seems to come from the mentality from apartheid. Rather than taking responsibility for one’s own actions, its common for a lot of people to blame others for their circumstances without looking for ways they can change their situation. The youth and men of the community seem to have the hardest time with this. Some of the women, especially the older women, are the ones that are carrying this community. They are the ones that are working to provide for their families, taking care of all of the household chores, and parenting their children and grandchildren. The mentality that the man needs to provide for the family and really be the leader seems to be lacking here. The last thing that I noticed is that people seem to be more spiritual. They are more comfortable talking about God and spiritual realms and are faster to attribute things to God and show their dependence on Him than most people back home seem to be. Overall, I think I’ve just started to scratch the surface of the lives of those who live here, but I’m really looking forward to getting to know them better and learning more about their lives.
When I walk through Ocean View and look around, I have a mixture of emotions. From what I've heard, Ocean View is a pretty poor and helpless place. But since I've been here, I have found that it doesn't fit that description soundly. Yes, Ocean View is "poorer" than Cape Town. Yes, Ocean View does not have the best looking houses or flats. Yes, there is poverty. But overall, the people here aren't too poor, if you consider that running water, food, and a place to stay at night isn't a description of poverty. When I walk the streets, I see a lot of independence, and it saddens me because some families aren't tied together as they should. The streets here are filled with teens and adults who seem to "waste" their time and are comfortable with doing nothing productive. They may not like where they are living, but most people or families don't do much about it to change.
When I walk through Ocean View, I see a community that knows each other but shares the same bad situations and doesn't help each other break of of these situations. I see individuals. Individuals who are stuck in their position or lifestyle because of lack of community that lifts each other up and delivers each other out of the situations that strikes every family. As a result, when I think of sharing the gospel here, I don't think of a community uprising that is willing to stand for a cause or change for the better. I see an individual change. A change that needs to strike one individual that affects him or her enough to change, then personally pursue a relationship with another to see a change in their life. Ocean View needs leaders. Leaders who are motivated. Leaders who are accepted. Leaders who want a change. Leaders who will not settle for less. Leaders who, most importantly, are willing to truly live for the
Gospel and give their life to something thats more than themselves