Sunday, 20 April 2014

Day 43 - Abandoned Children make Good PR

Johannesburg - Gauteng traffic police believe a 16-month-old toddler was purposely abandoned alongside the N1 near Grasmere on Thursday night. 

This was after the child narrowly missed being hit by a truck travelling along the route. The truck driver noticed the little boy walking alone on the dark road at about 7pm. 

“We suspect the child was dropped off on the freeway as there are no houses around there from which he could have walked out of,” traffic police spokesman Obed Sibasa said on Thursday morning.
“Traffic police patrolling the area noticed the truck swerving and trying to avoid killing the poor innocent soul. When officers got to the child, he looked panicked and unsure of where he was.”
Sibasa said the child looked unkempt, and officers couldn’t be sure if his nappy had been changed.
“It was indeed disturbing – the child probably cried and cried until there were no more tears left and he was just wandering around, confused.” 

The child was taken to a place of safety on Thursday night. 

The case is being investigated by the police and Sibasa said traffic authorities would keep tabs on it too. 

“Police are busy with investigations and will try to trace the mother; as long as she is still alive, we will find her.” 

The Gauteng Department of Social Development would make sure the child was cared for until his parents could be traced. 

“When we have such situations where a child is abandoned, the child is transferred to us. We then get a court order from a magistrate to enable us to place the child at an NGO or in foster care,” a spokesman said. 

According to the Gauteng Department of Health, 89 babies were abandoned between January and August last year. In 2012, 135 babies were abandoned and 136 in 2011. 

Welfare organisations said while the department had noticed a decline in babies abandoned at hospitals, the number abandoned at social welfare institutions was on the increase.

 What I see when I read this article is how much the police spokesperson is trying to uplift the importance of the system of taking care of orphans and how well the system works instead of using this point to reveal and correct the points that force people to abandon their children out of fear of not being able to take care of them.

From my perspective, many of the children that are abandoned in South Africa are because the parents are unable to care for them and think that they will be taken care of by the system. Many of the children that go into the foster system end up being abused in some form or another as the people use them as a way to get money from the government and many will be used as slaves.

The other problem that I see is that the parents might be excessive drinkers – as is common in places like SA – which would cause them to either accidently or purposefully leave behind their child while they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A lot of people that get addicted to drugs and alcohol are struggling to cope with the reality of theirs lives that mainly consist of terrible jobs with horrible salary and then having to come home to care for their own families.
The reality of suffering and pain that most of the world consists of is a lot to bear and the responsibility – financially, physically and emotionally – of taking care of a child on top of the struggle of life can become overwhelming. We have all had experience of what happens when we feel like our cup is going to overflow, which is to remove something – either by getting rid of certain responsibilities or by running as fast and as far as we can to get away from the lives we deem ourselves incapable of supporting.

I see it as everyone’s responsibility to correct as many of these problems as possible to make the world a better and safer place to live in for everyone.

I do not understand why it is seen as normal for the government to use the suffering of the people they claim to take responsibility for, to use the suffering of those people to increase their public relations in campaigning and never deliver on their promises. The people that have been looking the other way while the world crumbles around them need to force themselves to realise that it is their world too and that what is best for all includes them.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Day 42 - Fear is the Life Killer

I had to cut one of the dog’s nails today and she really doesn’t enjoy it, actually she gets so terrified that she throws herself free while being completely oblivious to any harm she does to herself or to the people around her. Every time we cut her nails she freaks out like this and makes it very difficult and dangerous for us to do the cutting. She doesn’t intentionally try to hurt anyone she only tries to push, flop and wriggle her way free, but when it is a very large dog like she is it can be dangerous as she can easily scratch or whack you very hard.

Usually when I do the nail cut I hold her as still as possible while the other person does the cutting, but if she jerks while you are cutting you can hurt her by cutting too much, so it can be quite a tricky thing to accomplish.

What I did this time is to decide to push her to push through this fear by holding her until she is completely relaxed and “fake” cut the nails over and over until she relaxed enough for me to do the real cut. She fought for a long time and whacked me around for a while till she relaxed and it did work. The reaction that she had to go through was so extensive and I do not want to have to push her through her fear and make her realize that I am not hurting her in any way.

I am amazed by how much fear she had to push through before she finally started letting go. I have tried to slowly push her through the fear before but it never went away and she was unwilling to let me assist her in removing it. When you work with animals the communication barriers that are in place are extremely difficult to work around and most of the time you have to end up showing them that what you are doing is in the best interest of all as the benefit much outweigh the cost of pushing through fear. In this case it is a matter of ‘if I do not cut your nail, it will grow so long that it will break and cause you massive amounts of pain and by cutting it we avoid that outcome’.

I realised while I was assisting her that this principle of sucking it up and pushing until you can stand and not allow yourself to be buried under the weight that fear brings into our daily lives is the only way that we are able to let go of fear and see all that is going on around us without hiding behind a wall of excuses and justifications.

There is a saying that I see as very assisting in terms of working with fear:

Fear is the mind killer, I will face my fear and I will let it pass through me, once the fear is gone there will be nothing, only I will remain.

Fear is momentary and if you stand and breathe the fear will pass as it is only what you think is going to happen to you not what is really going on around you, if you do not allow yourself to get sucked into the projections then you will realise that it is only a cloud of “what ifs” meant to haze your eyes so as to make you blind to reality.

Have you ever looked at yourself and your life without only seeing the “what ifs” that blind you? Do it and you will suddenly see that the problems you face are in fact simple to correct you have only been too scared to see the answer.