well it has been over a month since any of us in our household have slept properly – well except for my 4-year-old who could sleep through an earthquake it seems!

it has taken me a while to come to terms with my feelings towards ‘the burglary’ but more so it has taken a lot of thought / analysing / digging deep to try to come to terms with people’s reactions towards what happened.

the day after the burglary i put on a brave face, i dropped my son off at school (important to keep everything as normal as possible for little ones) having said that my appearance was that of a rabbit caught in the headlights pulled through a bush backwards….. a few times…. so i am sure my son was onto something, but anyhow i dropped him off & decided to head off to my favourite coffee shop for a much-needed ‘feel good mocha’ to try & lift my very low, trampled spirits. truth was that i planned to race in & race out with my mocha as whilst i don’t mind the ‘pulled through a bush backwards’ look, i was still pretty shell-shocked by it all & felt the need to quarantine myself for a while. thing is our friend had apparently popped in earlier & told a few people what happened so when i walked in they eyed me out warily (perhaps expecting histrionics (wow, i didn’t even realise there was actually such a word!) & pretty much did wide berths…. one of the braver one’s approached me & announced that she was really sorry to hear about what happened & would i like to come to her birthday party that night!!!!!????? another then joined in & said well you’re lucky ‘at least no-one was hurt’ (this, i realise would soon become the mantra for most people who i spoke to!!!!) but the one that got to me the most was a friend who walked in, wrapped her arms around me & said ‘sorry to hear about the incident’, then stepped back & said ‘well, you want to live here, crime is part of living here, so you just have to deal with it’ & off she walked……

heaven’s alive man!!!!!!!!!!!!!

i promptly exited, speed walked to my car, locked the door & burst into tears. i couldn’t believe what i had just been through, it seemed incredulous. i felt like my world was about to end & here i was being told by the first 3 people i came into contact with to pretty much dry my eyes, be grateful i’m still alive & get on with it. what a terribly frightening state of affairs!

all i can say is that thank heavens one of my oldest & dearest friends who lives in cape town but is from the uk happened to have heard what had happened & called me immediately knowing that i would not be in a great way. he was perfect. he just knew all the right things to say & well slowly i started to breath again. i just found it so over-whelming the way people reacted to what had happened. how almost dismissive they were of it… (one of the moms at my child’s school even implied that quite clearly we didn’t have enough security…. she shut-up very quickly when i let her know we have an alarm, beams & burglar bars on all our windows!!!!) my friend just slowly calmed me down. finally here was someone who like me had lived ‘another life’, who totally got the idea that actually there is another ‘way’ to live out there. sure we can come back to the old adage that south african’s love to throw at you… ‘there is crime everywhere’…. yes, there is, but not violent crime, not crime where there is a very good chance that you could be raped & killed, sure we weren’t but as the head seargent said to us, my friend was very lucky not to have been injured & had we have had guns in our house there is a good chance we would have been shot (this from the head seargent – not me!!!!). he added that if someone is planning to break in to a house they will definitely be armed.

i decided to pop over to my neighbours on either side just to let them know what happened & to see if they heard / saw anything…. what i got was a total freak out! so my one neighbour after getting over the shock that our house was burgled (she didn’t hear a thing) then proceeded to tell me that 3 years ago she was attacked by 4 coloured men armed with ‘big guns’ at 10.30am in the morning. they caught her unawares in the shower (!!!!), tied her up & held her hostage for 3 hours whilst they cleared the house out….. but once again how ‘lucky’ she was they didn’t harm her except for the binds cutting into her ankles & wrists….. by the way my neighbour must be in her seventies!!!! i actually physically felt myself getting ready to pass out on her doorstep….. wtf????? then onto our other neighbour who proceeded to enlighten me on their 3 robberies… one actually apparently orchestrated by their then maid & gardener!!!!! all in a days work then!?

thing is, as i started talking about the burglary so i realised people saw it as an opportunity to ‘share’ their experiences… almost like some kind of therapy…. just i am probably the LAST person you want to be sharing this shit with…. what i need to keep repeating is that the size of the areas i am talking about are tiny & when you hear the statistics of what has happened in any given month crime wise it really is beyond frightening.

still, i hear the ‘naysayers’ waxing lyrical about how there isn’t really crime here….. perhaps my ‘negative energy’ brought it on myself blah blah blah, crime happens everywhere blah blah blah, you were just ‘unlucky’ blah, blah, blah….. one of my colleagues is on the board for tbk (tamboerskloof neighbourhood watch), upon hearing my story he proceeded to tell me about a man who had 4 guys jump over the back of his property in leeukloof drive (arguably the best street in tamboerskloof) the perpetrators (actually far too good a word to use for them – more like low-life fucking scumbags) proceeded to play russian roulette with him & when he was too lucky in the game they beat him to a pulp & left him for dead….. he has been hospitalised & is selling his house…. yes, yes, my friends, this happened last month in our neighbourhood….. walking distance from our house…. tell me all you ‘this happens all over the world’….. where the fuck have you heard this happening?????? most people i know wouldn’t be able to invent this shit up!! but the scariest part of it all….. try google the incident…. you get nothing….. a big fat NOTHING!!!! in fact even the tbk newsletter only listed it as a ‘serious burglary’….

thing is…. if you give yourself time & you listen to enough stories & you give it enough thought you actually realise that people might come across as being dismissive but in actual fact they are right in a sense…. they have to be right….. it’s the only way they can go on living here…. truthfully i’m willing to put money down that there is, if only a small bit in every one of them, that knows what i say is true…. but for whatever reason they HAVE to choose to ignore it. not everyone can just pack up & leave, some don’t even have that option, many have all their friends & family here who they cannot leave, others have never lived elsewhere so don’t understand the idea of being truly free & feeling safe, so this is all they know & that’s fine with them. i have learnt over time to respect that. each to their own. and let’s face it…. there is no doubt that you can live extremely well in this country…. i mean i am now up to 2 maids & dream about a night nurse!!!!! where else in the world will i be able to live like this….. truthfully…. NOWHERE…. but there you have it….. those that know me, know i was born to be a princess & here i have it at my fingertips….. yet there is something far more precious to me than all of this & that’s freedom.

REAL FREEDOM

freedom for me & most importantly freedom for my kids

freedom to live in safety

freedom to live without fear

and sure, i have no doubt our paths will be crossed with some sort of ‘crime’ in the future…. but crime that we can learn from, not crime that we risk paying the ultimate price for

so for us…. we have handed our notice in & are now moving into a security complex with biometrics & 24 hour guards whilst we count the days…..

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