I mentioned in an earlier post that I would expand on the details of my living situation here in Jo-burg, so here it is.
I live on a lovely little street called Main Street (don’t be fooled, as it is anything but the main street of the city). Just north of me is the real main street of Jo-burg, known as Commissioner Street, which turns into Roberts Ave about halfway through, and is two-way until you reach the Central Business District, where it becomes a one-way street. This has given me no end of directional hell.
The house I live in contains two bedrooms and a bathroom (don’t be fooled, as it isn’t really a house). When the hot water and electricity work, it can feel just like home. On the days they don’t, I typically have to either man-up and pretend that I live in the cold harsh land of Antarctica in an attempt to convince myself that the water is indeed warm, or clutch my stuffed animal Patrick closer to me and do my best to convince myself why it would be a very bad idea to get up that day.
The property I live on is adorned with an electric fence on all sides, an alarm system in the main house, and a security gate that can only be opened with a buzzer — in case you haven’t figured out the theme of this particular post, I have complete faith that you’re about to — but don’t be fooled, because despite all the security around me, I don’t feel more secure, I feel less safe.
Having security fences and gates and alarms around me doesn’t make me feel any safer, neither does the street I live on, which has no streetlights and is known for its “opportunistic” crime (muggings). If anything, having all of this around me all the time reminds me that I am particularly unsafe.
Even living just down the road from the Central Business District (the closest thing to a city center in Jo-burg) doesn’t make me feel excited to be a part of all the excitement. In truth, living so close to the CBD of Jo-burg, which is known for its car-jackings, muggings, and crime, reminds me more and more that I am clearly not safe.
For the first few months I was here, it was extremely difficult to cope with. It’s difficult to go to sleep some nights when I hear people banging on our back door, yelling at us to let them in or scratching against the walls.
It’s difficult coming in from the street at night, as I know there could be a burglar or prowler lurking about, waiting to make his or her move.
More than anything, it is difficult to feel safe.
Despite this, I’ve found that the odd thing about being in a situation where fear is as frequent as the infestation of rats that have taken up occupancy in the walls of our office is that eventually, you get used to it.
When you have all the precautions in mind, and you keep them in mind constantly, they eventually become a part of you. I don’t know if this is a good or bad thing, but I’ve found myself laughing at the circumstances of my humble abode recently, which means that I must be used to it.
Or maybe I’m slowly going insane. Who knows.