It was a beautiful Cape Town Summer day and I walked for hours and hours along the shoreline marveling at the beauty around me. At first it was in an attempt to process my own thoughts, but soon it became something much more than that.
Surrounded by Cape Town's finest real estate, foreign accents to be heard from all angles with the best clothing, shoes, baby strollers, gadgets and cars as far as the eyes could see. I found myself walking among some of the grandest infrastructure and wealthiest people in South Africa.
What could possibly be wrong with such a perfect picture?
Countless homeless people. Everywhere.
I bought 3 loaves of bread and 2 bags of apples and just sat with person after person - mostly men, but some women too. . I know we are told not to feed these people and I now understand that there are shelters that open at nigh, but the food was well received regardless and consumed in record time. What these people wanted even more than food was for someone to see and hear them. I listened to each person with very few words from my side. I chose to take off my dark glasses even though it was tempting to hide behind them and I deliberately gazed deeply into each persons eyes.
These people might not be potential consumers and we as business owners often try to eliminate them as if they don't count from our reach when we advertise - but they are by no means less precious than those beautiful bronze bodies on the beach with their designer swimsuits.
The last man I came across was Reuben. He came to Cape Town from Johannesburg via bus to start a job but was mugged and stabbed 3 weeks ago. He showed me his ID book, bus ticket, stab wounds and clinic card. He carried a bag full of drugs issued by a Cape Town hospital. Because of his injuries he couldn't work and so someone else got the job. Once he was discharged from hospital - he had no where to go. He's been sleeping next to the Soccer Stadium in Green Point ever since. He doesn't sleep at night because he's afraid that he will be attacked again.
I found Reuben sitting watching some Seagulls - we both stared at them together for a long time. Seagulls are such interesting creatures, they usually hang out in groups and share their food. Reuben and I both like watching them. I left Reuben with the Seagulls and had nothing to give him except for a hug. I want to do more. I feel like I have to - it's my duty. For me, that's what my cycle is about. I reached a point where my own pain and the pain of observing others suffering just got too much and I had to do something. It might seem random and non-related, but this is me doing something.