Saturday evening, it was not the first time that I took a taxi (= minibus) from Cape Town Central Station to make my way home to Gugs. So I know by now which one to take. Tiny problem this time, the placement person put me in the wrong taxi going to NY1 instead of NY108. I only asked twice…
The problem was now that I was going to NY108 while my host mum was sending someone to pick me up to NY1. Remember: I have been strongly advised not to walk alone in this area.
When I realised that the taxi was going the wrong way, a slight panic came up. I got of at the usual stop but nobody else, so nobody to walk with. Only solution coming to my mind: going right to the police station, which is at the next intersection. Thought, done. While walking, a called the daughter of my host mum who told me to ask the police to give me a lift. And since I had no better idea that was exactly what I did.
Now, imagine you the following picture: a white girl (to be more precise: this one white girl being crazy enough to come to this place) walking in to the police station explaining her problem. The policemen first would not even believe her that she is really, truly living in this area and even working here.
Finally, they agreed to give me a lift because it is too dangerous for me to walk alone (statement of a police constable). For the first time in my life, I have been brought home in a car with four police men, two of them armed with MGs.
We discussed about the areas here (Gugulethu – black township, Manenberg – coloured township, Thambo village – just in between where I stay), the crime, the violence, crazy European volunteers working and living there and sport.
They invited me to come over one evening and to observe their work. Seriously, if I had more time left, I would like to do this. It must be a challenging experience. But so, I just thanked them and I am glad to know that in case of any problems (and may it just be transport), I can address the next police/security officer. Very, very reassuring. No kidding.