Walking In South Africa

I among others in the western world am accustomed to hopping in the car and driving to the store every day. Do I need groceries? Get in the car. Oh I forgot the flour…get in the car.

What if you don’t have a car? What if public transportation is unreliable or not there at all? You can hitch a ride, call a friend or you can walk. In Africa, people walk. They don’t just walk around the corner, they walk a long ways. Sometimes they walk with babies on their backs. Other times they are carrying huge amounts of whatever on their heads. And they push wheelbarrows. The wheelbarrows are seldom empty. It appears that they walk with their supplies for work in the wheelbarrows. Today I saw a man walking with a garbage can that had wheels on it, all his supplies were inside.

When school is out, it is not unusual to meet up with groups of waving, uniformed children as they walk up and down hill, for a distance, to get home in the afternoon. How did they arrive at school? I believe they walked.

Rarely do you see any of these people walking alone. They walk with one or more. I imagine the conversations help them move along. Once in a while they put out their hand for a passing car. The car doesn’t stop, just keep walking.

I am not exaggerating when I tell you that I have been in the middle of extremely rural Africa and there will be someone walking along the road.

They are dressed for winter. They are bundled up. If the wind is blowing and the temperatures are chilly the women are wrapped in blankets walking down the street. Their arms might be free but the colorful blankets are wrapped around their torso or waist, keeping them warm on chilly mornings.

 

They walk to work. They walk to the market. They walk to the medical clinics. And, often they walk to an unknown destination. I have said to my friend Phyllis, that a day would not be complete without seeing someone walking down the road. Every day we have seen someone walking. I kid  you not.

Today Phyllis and I decided to join in and walked to town.

 

A Morning At The Beach

Crystal Pier, Pacific Beach

This morning, Saturday, I went to the beach. If we were in town, Jim always met up with his running buddies at the beach. I usually would join them about once a month and while they ran I walked. Saturdays were a time of bonding with some of his closest friends. Brian, Henry & Barbara were highly valued by Jim.

Jim. Barbara. Henry, Brian & Karen (Brian's Sister)

Jim. Barbara. Henry, Brian & Karen (Brian’s Sister)

Now I look forward to seeing them on Saturday mornings about once a month. Today I arrived at the beach and no one came. That is OK. It was a beautiful morning, the surf was strong and I enjoyed walking The Pacific Beach Pier to stare at the waves breaking underneath me, the surfers and the day. It was  a lovely morning. I had time to think about these three people and how they have affected my life.

Barbara & HenryBarbara and Henry have just continued to love and support me. I look forward to seeing them and know that they are my friends. I know that I can call and ask them for help if I needed it and they would be there in whatever capacity they could at that moment in time. (I have not done that yet) They are both warm and generous people and have helped me to remember those Saturdays when Jim was running with them. It is a good memory. Any time I think of Jim I see the two of them. He cared about them unconditionally and so do I. They are good people and I am honored to have them in my circle of  friends.

Brian, HenryBrian was Jim’s closest friend in San Diego. I don’t know what they talked about but they certainly were a good sounding board for each other. They ran, hiked and went to the movies together. Every year they made the annual trek to the San Diego Car Show. I think it is very important in all of our lives to have one person who you can share your inner most thoughts with, yes even guys. I am glad that Jim had a good male friend. I hope Brian knows how important he was in Jim’s life.

Brian was a great support to me in the months after Jim’s death.  Shortly after Jim died Brian told me that if there was anything I ever needed, I could call him. Do I take advantage of that offer? No, yet it is good to know that if I needed to, I could call. Why don’t I take him up on this offer, you may ask? I have been discovering that I am quite the handy person and I like figuring out things on my own. I also know that Brian is a busy person and I feel that when someone offers this that I should appreciate and respect the offer and treat it gently and with care. Everyone’s life is so busy and full.

There are others that would join all of us at the beach for the Saturday morning run or walk and I value each one of their places in my life. These three along with Jim, however were the core of  the Saturday morning run. I hope they know how much Jim valued their friendship. When we started to plan our move to Colorado the first he said was I am going to miss, Henry, Brian and Barbara. I now know and understand what he meant. I am glad I had a moment alone this morning to value these three people’s place in my life.

Today I am thankful and grateful for Barbara, Henry and Brian.

Jim, Barbara, Henry, Brian – Smoothies