The Bridge

There is a bridge that crosses over the First River in Stellenbosch, South Africa. I can see it from my house. People walk and drive over it everyday, going to their jobs, going out to eat or going home. But under the bridge, there are people who don’t have anywhere to go. They are homeless. They are hungry. They live there.

I have met so many people who are homeless. One person I met is Martin. He had open sores all over his hands and arms and was very, very skinny. His face looked sad, sweaty and tired. He told my mom that he had AIDS and was in so much pain. He asked for money because he needed treatment. My mom doesn’t normally give money, just food, but Martin started crying and said that he was dying. 

My mom asked him how much he needed. He said 200 rand ($20) for transportation and treatment. My mom gave him the money because you could see his pain. The next time we saw Martin, his sores had healed and he thanked us profusely. He told my mom he loved her. That time we didn’t give him money, but we gave him food.

Another person I met was a boy who is only a year older than I. His name is Donovan. Donovan looked so skinny, tired and dirty. He asked us for something to eat. He begged and said, “Please, I’m so hungry.” It’s not fair that someone who is 12 has to beg for food by himself. I will never forget the smile on his face when we gave him food.

The South Africans we know say that the need is so great that it is not possible to help every person they meet. I wish the government would put more money into food and housing programs, and create more jobs too for their citizens.

South Africa has soup kitchens or homeless shelters but because of apartheid there are many poor people. People have to beg. It’s so hard to walk around in town and see the people in need everywhere. I wish they had more soup kitchens and shelters here because lots of people need help.

I know there are homeless people that live in the United States too. When I get home I want to try and get involved in helping people in need.

I believe that everyone should have a right to food, shelter and other basic needs. South Africa’s constitution has those rights but lots of people don’t have those things. It’s really unfair that people should have to suffer because they don’t have jobs or money to get what they need. What did they do to deserve to live this way? 

Audrey Ray is a fifth-grader at Bay Middle School currently living abroad in South Africa.

Audrey Ray

Audrey Ray is a fifth-grader at Bay Middle School currently living abroad in South Africa.

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Volume 5, Issue 10, Posted 10:21 AM, 05.14.2013