Prosperity and Poverty

– Virginia

Thursday we visited Sandton and Alexandra Township. These are two cities right across the bridge from each other that could not be more different.  Sandton is located in the richest square mile in all of Africa, and it shows.  There are skyscrapers, beautiful buildings, high-end fixtures, and it is super clean.  Just a short drive to Alex shows the opposite.  As far as you can see, people live in houses made scrap metal leaning against poles with rocks holding down a blanket for the roof.  There is trash and barbed wire everywhere and no running water or electricity.

At first, I was scared to get out of the bus, but when we arrived to the Thouso Youth Center, everyone was so nice and the kids were adorable.  It was really humbling to see such a different background and now I can see why there is an appeal of communism for some people.  The kids literally surrounded our bus begging for something to eat. Some of them even succeeded in getting on!

While at the youth center, we also heard from a woman who was a victim of human trafficking.  She was tricked into thinking she was being a given a working opportunity, but ended up in Iran as property of drug smugglers.  She spent 7 years in prison in Iran after undergoing serious operations without any pain medicine or anesthesia.  For 7 years, she ate dry rice, one hard-boiled egg, and one little potato each day.  When she finally made it out, she was so happy to be back home in Alex.  It was really moving and powerful and I can’t even imaging what she had to go through and her strength to survive.