November 3rd, 2018

Beauty and danger. Sun and rain. War and peace. Love and losses. Stars and black holes. Hope and despair. Live or die. God or nothing. There is no place on earth more brutally honest than the incredible continent of Africa.

XS4ALL came to Ritchie in the North Cape to help people get a better live. By teaching them how to use the internet, so that they can find new ways to earn a living and to educate themselves.

Last night I explained Elbé, her visiting sister and Lia what the internet is. “It is a very big library where people from all over the world leave their knowledge, so that others can look it up and learn from it”, I said. But then we don’t need schools anymore, that will be a lot less costs to us, was one reaction. “But how do we know what to look for?”, was another comment? Yes, you still need a teacher for this in the beginning. And Google. And with that, within minutes of talking about the internet, I delivered more new customers to Google’s frontdoor (portaal in Afrikaans). With great awe and expectations, we left to have a peaceful diner. Thanking God for the internet.

Lia, Elbé’s caretaker, wants to learn about the internet. Lia is married and lives in a place that feels unsafe. Always. Lia has two children, of which one still lives. Her youngest died at the age of four, but the docter was not able to explain to Lia why she died. “A virus that was around the toilets in school”, that’s all she knows of the cause of death. Her other daughter is now 31 and has two children. These children live with “grandmother” Lia. Lia’s daughter is now with a boyfriend who is not the father of her children. And if the man of the house is not the father of the children, “bad things can happen”. So Lia is taking care of the grandchildren who are now young teens. Her husband is in construction, but one day he noticed he could not open his hands after mixing cement. They don’t know what disease that is, but Lia said he better find something else. Her husband is at home now.

Lia works 2 days and 2 nights as a caretaker for Elbé to earn a living for their family of 4. Lia speaks good English and was in school until the 8th grade, but never got her diploma. Lia wants to learn about the internet.


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