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Instinct

I have lost my instinct. When it comes to my personal safety, I do not know anymore when I can walk alone and when I do better to stay in the house. In France or Germany I knew most of the time when and where I was safe, I knew which places to avoid by which time of the day and which routes to take in order to keep away from trouble. Here, I’ve been told more than once that white people in the townships are more seen as dollars on feed than human beings and that you better take care not to walk around alone. On the other hand, I feel quite safe in the neighbourhood but can I really walk alone? I feel silly when I always ask for somebody to accompany me but I cannot evaluate the danger…

Frustration

One of my weaknesses is certainly the lack of patience and one very good advice I got before I came here was: Be patient. But, it is not easy to cope with frustration, when friends do not show up and when thinks do not work as I want them to work. What do you do with yourself if you have to stay in the house even if it is a beautiful day but there is nobody to go out with… What do you do if you have to stay in the house because the two options of going out reveal themselves as not very reliable persons? Of course, you could iron some clothes, watch TV or cook but the only thing you really want is to go out…

Challenges

As a matter of fact I have to admit that one thing I failed to learn here is Xhosa. The grammar of Xhosa is entirely different to any European grammar I know so far. But whenever I spent some time with an African family or community I cannot avoid noticing that you do not belong to a society as long as you do not speak the dominating language. I realised how hard it must be for immigrants coming to Germany or France without any knowledge of the language. And even if you can use perhaps English as working language, in the families, between friends, on TV, etc. you can be quite lost. I do not mind not to understand sometimes. It is fine with me and I just let my mind drift away. But sometimes, when you meet people in the street, and they speak to the person accompanying you, I would love to understand without an interpreter…

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