‘The sacrifice of a dog’

‘Do you have sun flowers in the Netherlands?’ my colleague asked me this morning. His question came after we had run into a dog that jumped in front of the car out of the dark. We couldn’t break, there were three cars behind us. When we went back, worried it might still be hurt and alive, we discovered it really had lost its live. We were more or less relieved. We saw a policeman at the side of the road and stopped. The policeman had lost his number plate as he had hit the same dog, now lying in the middle of the road. We asked him rather flustered: ‘Did you also kill the dog?’

We wanted to talk about something positive after that, but it was hard to focus. And we went back to a previous topic, the book I was reading on how good people turn evil (and hoping in the meantime the dog hadn’t suffered much). We were both still on edge when the next accident happened. I was still rambling on, when my colleague said, ‘hey there’s a taxi bus being hit by a car’ and the next thing I hear is: bonk, bonk, bonk. Much louder than the dog hitting the car. I looked around and a truck was jack knifed on the road taking along a number of other cars. Later on the news I read that 11 vehicles had collided and 5 people got injured. I don’t know how badly, but in my opinion that was a mere miracle. It could have been much worse and we both felt extremely glad we had escaped being part of the collision (much due to the excellent driving skills of my colleague!). Of course, I really hope the injured will recover well!

When we arrived finally at the café Frangipani where we were meeting up with our colleague, we asked whether they served whiskey. It was 8 am in the morning. They had no license to pour alcohol. ‘Shame man!’ as South African’s like to say. The only option was to talk to our colleague to get rid of the shaky feeling in our nerves and giggle.

We were there for a meeting that should have taken place 1,5 weeks ago. Remember ‘Thursdays are always bad’. Indeed that Thursday was, as the Department of Health had canceled our appointment at the time. Now it seemed Mondays were definitely worse. I stated: ‘They’d better hand us the money, otherwise this trip into Cape Town certainly wasn’t worth it.’ We went into the meeting and I started giving the presentation, supported by my colleagues. I’m still not sure how we managed, as our counterpart interrupted quite a few times and made me lose my thread. Also due to the shaken nerves. They confirmed the money by the Government of Monaco was there and we will be able to set up 2 more clinics for male wellness in Khayelitsha and build on the success of the one already in existence.

What was supposed to be a moment of excitement and something we had worked towards for weeks, became a moment of quiet reflection (and some more giggling). I’m happy these clinics will be realised, but I think I was simply glad I was alive, alive to be able to hear anything. And let’s hope that the soul of this dog is the only real thing that will be sacrificed in the development process of the new clinics. Then we’ll promise to pour our live souls (and not whiskey) into helping achieve male wellness in Khayelitsha.

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