(Inspired by Liana Hilliard and Christna Steyn Human)
“It’s all very well that we in Rolbos treat each other kindly,” Gertruida looks at Boggel as she speaks, “but sadly, this is where it stops. The rest of the country simply doesn’t care. The world, for that matter, doesn’t care. In Syria they are murdering people, banks are collapsing all over the show, and London is worried about terrorism. No matter where you go, people are at each other’s throats. It’s only here you find people actually caring for each other.”
“Where’s Syria?” Kleinpiet has never been beyond Ceres. “Is it near Johannesburg?”
If you have to explain geography to Kleinpiet, you have to use the word ‘elsewhere’ often. It’s easier that way. Gertruida now tells him it’s there.
Kleinpiet puts on his clever face. “As long as it happens elsewhere, it’s okay.” He sighs contently. “Imagine the bank in Upington going broke. Or people fighting in Grootdrink. That would be terrible, I think.”
“I get what you’re saying, Gertruida.” Vetfaan signals for another beer. “And that is the problem everywhere – people don’t care as long as the bad things happen far away. It’s like Oudoom preached the other Sunday – you only pray when you’re in trouble.”
Kleinpiet doesn’t understand. “How do you connect Elsewhere with praying? There’s no connection?”
“Look what happened when those aeroplanes crashed into the Twin Towers. All of a sudden church attendance rose dramatically, all over America.” Gertruida hesitates for a moment, then explains. “It’s part of Elsewhere, Kleinpiet.” She waits for him to nod, before going on. “The people over there were united by tragedy. For a while they cared. But, I suspect, they are back to their old ways by now again.”
“But we don’t have tragedies over here? According to you, caring and tragedies are connected – so if we care, where’s our disaster?” Although his knowledge of Elsewhere may be sketchy, there’s nothing wrong with Kleinpiet’s logic.
“Exactly.” Gertruida lifts her hands in a gesture of victory. They are starting to understand what she is trying to say. “Our calamity is that we are isolated. Nobody knows about us. The people in Elsewhere do not know the value of kindness. As longs as Elsewhere’s calamities occur far away, they go on lying, crooking and killing in mad power-games called politics and economics. Now, if we can tell them there is a different way of living, we can change the world. But they don’t know about us. They don’t care.”
Servaas has been listening carefully to the discussion. He waits for Gertruida to run out of steam before he tells them about the orchestra in Spain. He read about them in the Upington Post and the story brought tears to his eyes..
“We must do that. Start small, I mean. You don’t need much to remind people how powerful kindness can be. If we can each tell one person the value of caring, the impact of Rolbos will slowly spread. It’ll even reach Elsewhere.”
“But how, Servaas … nobody knows about us.”
“I’ve got it!” Precilla suddenly has a brilliant idea. “I have a dear family member and she has the most wonderful project. If we all contribute, people will start to understand. ”
And so Rolbos joined the drive to make WWKP Agulhas a resounding success. It’s almost like Servaas’ story about the orchestra: start small, dream big – and be prepared to be pleasantly surprised. With a bit of hope and faith, the people of Elsewhere might even start caring for each other.
Check out Christna’s project at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/WWKiP-Agulhas-where-2-oceans-meet-at-tip-of-Africa/316070788486778