Monday, July 13, 2009

Informal Shacks... Do they get Mail?

FYI... for the most part there is no mail that is delivered to the informal settlements (Shanty Town Shacks) if you ask a resident where their house is, they'll tell you ' the fourth one down the 3rd row next to shack with the yellow door'. I'd imagine that would be a postmans worst nightmare. The townships do have police stations, however sometimes they are slow to respond. What happens, is that the residents tend to rely on 'street justice'. Residents have taken matters into their own hands (ie crime)--which may not be best way, but it's made Langa safer. The flip-side, 'street justice' in Langa has brought the community together, grouping the community together against criminals. Other community buildings within townships are clinics (to assist in the HIV/AIDS problem in SA) as well as rec centers.
Some shacks have electricity only because it's wired and shared/spliced from shack to shack.--Look similar to a Maypole with electrical cords for ribbons. The ceilings leak and you have to go to down the street for bathrooms. Some of the richer residents have 'houses' i.e. brick walls and they have primitive kitchens and in house plumbed bathrooms. The past week the weather has been really nice, but the last day and night (12-13) there was a storm that came through... violent winds whipped about and rain poured from the skies. I couldn't help but think (as I take shelter within my hotel) that some South Africans may come home to find their shack washed away, their beds wet, and the inability to dry their clothes out until the next sunny day...

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