Tag Archives: alternativesolutions

Seat X

22:55. 27/06.
The plane takes off from Cape Town to Frankfurt. A plane originally meant to depart at 17.40. This is no ordinary flight. It was given the green light by the South African government in cooperation with the German Embassy and Consulate to fly. During Coronavirus Level 3 Lockdown 2020 where international borders in SA remain closed. Willy Wonka’s Golden Ticket back to Germany has now left the country, on board are 350 nationals and approximately 150 residents or transitting passengers. Why is the plane so late? Something to do with software, a glitch in the system, Lufthansa’s online check-in being an absolute riot. Nothing worked. Gathered on the 2nd floor of the International Airport; foreigners banded together. Laughing, eating granola bars and eventually even getting a hold of a beer or two. Seat X was designated for all nonGerman nationals who were not permitted to fly this evening. Boarding passes were fashioned from scraps of paper with names and flight numbers. After waiting for seven hours we are finally let through the gates. Allowed to board and have free choice from the available seats. This handful of passengers rallied together; British, South African, Russian and Czech alike. Bonded by their differences. Keeping spirits up the abandoned eerie airport space was transformed into a place of humor & mutual understanding. A place of support. The Lufthansa team worked hours straight to get the system back on board. Although not efficient or organised, everyone made it into their seats and the plane safely in the air. A good job in the end. The experience of flying COVID-19 has lived up to its promise. Eventful, nightmarish ending with social distancing out the window. Passengers turned back to the human condition. Joking & working together to overcome the trials and tribulations.

Racing Against The Sun

It is a cloudy day in Durban, June 2020 when the flight took off. A seat empty between strangers. One metre distance. COVID-19 continues to affect South Africa. As the country enters winter we see small changes being made to try get back to normal. Still the empty airport parking lot, the quiet relaxed airport atmosphere is a confusing conclusion for the pandemic. Germany awaits. From a distance news has kept us informed that countries went down like dominoes. China, France, Germany, Italy, Britain and the US all knocked over. By July, the rules and walls which they created during the pandemic are beginning to crumble. Just in time for summer. The tourism & hospitality industries- equally victims of the virus- may have a chance to recuperate their losses. What of South Africa? They have faced an economic shutdown and fear civil unrest in the future. The fallout could see many unemployed, children uneducated and families lives forever changed. Loss of stable jobs sees a turn toward informal trading. Cigarettes are the HOTTEST item on the market, still banned today. Paying up to R90 for a bad quality carton continues to be the funniest and biggest frustration. Importing illegal tobacco over the Mozambique border has proved to be a lucrative business. In the South African communities we saw a food crisis emerge in March, with NGOs taking the initiative to plug the hole created by the lockdown. This short term fix provided a measure of relief during the worst point of the crisis. As the aid begins to lessen with the lockdown easing we need to begin thinking about the next step. Government initiatives, businesses as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility or Farmers Associations could see this as an opportunity to provide skills development programs for many citizens. Projects such as these which arguably should have been launched back in 1994. For the rest of the year, keep an eye on SA as we may be surprised with how the country responds after the lockdown. Will it hit an economic slump? Or revive?

Find below videos from our work with Underberg Farmers Association, providing food relief during the COVID-19 Lockdown in South African communities.
Supported by organizations such as SANI COMMUNITY FORUM and ROUNDTABLE.

 

 

 

 

Spaces

Two meters between you and I. The space of a trolley dividing us in the grocery store, our only weekly trip. The thrill of fresh fruit becomes a highlight. It’s come down to the simplest of joys. So we become used to spaces between us. Agree this space is for safety, to protect us, to prevent the spread of the virus. Still the spaces seem to grow bigger. Dividing more than people, dividing politicians and countries too. There are now large spaces between borders. Once an invisible line you could jump rope with, these borders are now chasms which we cannot cross. These spaces grow as we are asked not to socialise and to keep our distance, for safety. We are being tested. A patience game. Waiting out the storm. After the storm what will happen to the spaces we’ve created? That which separates us. Then we will have to relearn how to close the distance and stand beside one another once again.

© This work is subject to copyright (31.03.2020)

All rights are that arise from this work are reserved for, and are the property of the author JC Delport

Bonsai

 

Have you ever seen the sunlight filter through the leaves?

As a young boy his mother would tell him how the light which danced between the gaps were really fairies who had come to show off their dazzling beauty. He thought of those fairies often nowadays and Will knew it, she could sense that longing flow outward from her father. Perhaps it was pity or sympathy which had allowed for the idea to take root in her mind, the idea of such a trip which so few had the time or energy to make though everyone spoke about it. They spoke about the trees as though they were dinosaurs now. Spoke about oaks which had once stroked the sky with their green fingertips, oaks which had once been so large it would take over a dozen people holding hands to encircle it. Such trees had become part of myth and legend. Schoolchildren could be found at the museums gazing up at old fashioned photographs of their great-grandmothers and great-grandfathers standing beneath entire canopies of trees! Teachers would explain how the trees had once been the skyscrapers of the world, they had stood just as proudly with twisting arms and dark skin. Teachers would speak of the numerous species of trees, all of which were unique standing this way or that. They would speak of the proud pine and its sharp needles, how it represented a time of Christmas and how people would decorate the pine with tinsel and silver. They speak about the willow and its relaxed mood, swinging side to side in rhythm to the reggae beat that seemed to drift through the air whenever one was in the presence of the willow tree. The blue gum who would shed its skin and when damp appeared as though it were a Van Gogh painting with such a diversity of color.

The history lessons of fast growing populations and an unquenchable thirst for natural resources. Her father had told her most of those. He had told her how the world swallowed itself whole. The bonsai tree is often prayed to, preached to and its symbol restores faith throughout the world. Thousands of bonsai trees can be seen to line the windows of every building they pass by, each gnarled and stunted in height they standing slightly crouched over yet with an attention to detail that is captivating. Its petite leaves dangle from slender branches, moss keeps its feet warm in the winter and in spring miniature blossoms can be seen blooming. There are one hundred bonsai’s for each singular person. The bonsai’s are their breath, absorbing the smallest particles of carbon dioxide and releasing minute oxygen in return. Her father could often be found glaring or frowning at the bonsai’s, speaking of how they were poor imitations of the real thing. A child that never had the chance to grow up, he would mutter. Each person was taught from young how to curate and nurture the tiny trees, to ensure their survival was to ensure humanity’s survival. Will had loved her bonsai’s and to this day felt the thrill of watching one grow its first leaves, her favorite being the maple whose leaves portrayed spectacular flecks of gold in the autumn. Will feared this trip would change her view of the bonsai’s. 

The car smelled stale, litter could be found beside feet and under chairs. Cups and takeaway Styrofoam boxes with remnants of food probably three days old. What had possessed her to take such a drive? Will could no longer answer that question and the need for a bed had become unbearably loud. Her father slept in a fetal position in the passenger seat and his body was so frail at this point he could be mistaken for a child. At over a hundred years of age his childhood was long behind him and there was only one thing left in this world for him to do. Death was an old friend who visited in his dreams and made sweet promises. Before he accepted her hand, there was one last thing on this great earth he wanted to see. Will had lamented. As they drove the final distance a silhouette appeared on the horizon. At first she believed them to be buildings of a strange architecture. As the drive drew on, the last forest came into view. From a distance they looked like a line of bonsai’s growing somehow naturally but as the car drew nearer the trees grew larger. Their presence in the world spoke of times long forgotten and their leaves were maps of a world that once was. Charlie seemed to get out of the car before the wheels had stopped moving, he was six years old again playing with his brothers outside.The trees had been grand mansions once, entire worlds for them to climb. His legs did not ache as they moved toward the lush forest which seemed just out of reach. Stretching out his fingertips the distance between him and the trees finally closed. Charlie felt the gross beauty and imperfection of its rough bark. An energy ran through the tree making his fingertips hum with its vibration. 

“I am home.” 

By J.C. Delport 

©   This work is subject to copyright (14.02.2019)

All rights are that arise from this work are reserved for, and are the property of the author JC Delport