Friday 28 March 2014

How to make bunting

There is loads of scrap material donated to Kungwini Welfare Organisation and as usual I found myself at the sewing machine making as much bunting as I could muster the energy to make. Over the last 2 years I must have made nearly 4kms of the stuff. Every year someone asks to buy it and new stuff has to be made to decorate the Nickel Xmas market the following years.

Having made the bunting for the market, I decided to make some to sell also and if you want to buy some it costs £5 for 3 meters and is pot luck which colour/pattern you get. Contact me on twitter @chickenruby or on my blog to place an order, send me your UK postal address and I'll send you my bank account details. All money raised will be used to purchase Educational supplies.
 Steps to make your own bunting
Use a template to cut out an equal number of pieces. I used a sheet of A4 paper and drew a diagonal line from the centre to the corners. For 3 meters you will need 9 flags, that's 18 cut outs.

Place 2 pieces right side in, sew the 2 long lengths and turn the right way round.
I used binding ribbon that costs around 35p per meter, approx 3 cm wide, fold the ribbon in half and sew the flags into the centre, creating a nice, neat hem.

I opted to sew the flags close to one another and some of them having buttons sewn between each flag.

If you want to order a specific colour and or length, I will need to quote you as I will need to buy material. Get your orders in quick as I'm in the UK 7th April and will need to make it before I leave or I can send it over in September or ready in time for Christmas.

Thursday 27 March 2014

Upcycling scrap material to make scarves

There are lots of off cuts of material donated to Kungwini Welfare Org and no real use for them other than patch work.
My Mother loves scarves, last count, I think she had over 50. A few years ago she knitted me a scarf in every colour and every type of wool, so I decided it was pay back time and I'd make her one for her birthday in June.

It was very simple and involved scrap material, a Sophia and a Suzanne and the use of an overlocker and we were off.

Suzanne cut the lengths, Sophia threaded the over locker and I did the sewing, straight up and straight down and sew together.

I will be selling the scarves back in the UK for £3 each. All funds will go towards purchasing thread, needles and other items needed in the workshop. Tweet me or contact me on my blog. I need your address and I'll provide you with my bank details, the scarf you receive will be pot luck, but all the same quality.

Wednesday 26 March 2014

Bob and I go camping and share our camping tips.

Just had an amazing few day at Magalies Sleepy River Campsite  an hours drive out of Pretoria into the middle of nowhere. To be more precise The Cradle of Humankind.

It was wonderful not to be surrounded by security fences, in open space, with a river and plenty of room for Bob to run around and explore.

I arrived Thursday afternoon, set the tent up, then had 2 guys help me move it as I had failed to check how long my electric cable was, it was a common mistake repeated by many. Hubby and friends joined Bob and I Friday till Sunday as it was a public holiday, Human Rights Day and we chilled out, sleeping, reading, looking for Bob and a fab meal at The Black Horse, with a micro brewery a few miles away and they were dog friendly and Bob enjoyed stretching out on the terrace soaking up the sun.

I decided to leave on the Monday as the last tent was packed away and there is no phone reception at the bottom of the field, a little worried if I had an accident it could be a long time before i could get help. As it turned out the accident happened when I got home and was unloading the car. A metal camping table slid out and dropped on my foot, nothing broken but I'm on crutches for the rest of the week.

The facilities were perfect, toilets, showers and baths with hot water, they were fixing up additional braai pits to ensure there were enough for everyone, a swimming pool that is well maintained and plenty of space for everyone.

As per usual there were the selfish campers, the ones who let their dogs run freely and the ones with kids who told them to play anywhere but at their own tents and I did have a word with a couple of parents along the lines of 'your kids, you entertain and stop them running round my tent at 6.30am'

After everyone went on Sunday lunchtime, Bob and I spent our time walking, him swimming in the river, me swimming in the pool. I sat and read my book while Bob happily chased after monkeys and barked at them in the trees.

I will be going back, as often as I can, so close, yet felt like a million miles from the security in Pretoria.

Bob and I have a few tips we'd like to share.

  • pack insect repellant and after bite
  • make sure you have a very long piece of rope to allow your dog freedom to move but not bother other campers
  • take your own toilet paper, although well maintained, on busy weekends they're bound to run out, esp at night
  • before pitching your tent, check your electricity cable will reach the plug sockets
  • secure a braai the second you arrive
  • when packing your car, make sure your tent is the last piece of equipment that goes in. Too many people have to unpack their entire car, before getting to their tent
  • pack a sweeping brush, esp when it's dry, there's nothing worse than grass everywhere, esp when it transfers from you to the bed
  • string and a sealable box-tie your fridge/foodbox up securley when you go out. Monkeys are persistent buggers and ants will find their way in anywhere
  • sunshade for the car for Bob
  • food cover to keep the flies off when preparing a meal
  • 1st aid kit for you and your dog- I used alcohol wipes on Bob when he returned from chasing monkeys and was covered in cuts and grazes from the undergrowth
  • buy dog shampoo/tick powder/pack a brush, lord knows what's in that river, I washed him daily
  • load a star gazer app fro your phone, I've never seen so many stars
Looking for monkeys to chase

Plenty of space to spread out in

Bob is in the river all day if you let him

Plenty of R&R time

Car packed and ready to go home :-(

So much land for Bob to run free in

Monday 24 March 2014

When does an assumption become racism?

As a visitor in South Africa, despite being in my 4th year of living here, there are many things I still do not understand.

I understand racism; I spent 2 years working for The FA in Child Welfare and on the RESPECT campaign. I dealt with issues of racism on a professional level.

I’ve been at the receiving end of racist abuse; I ended up with a cut forehead as a result. I was British, he was an Afrikaner. He objected to me being in his country, because I was British. We were both white, we both lived in the same estate.

But what is racism? Is it an assumption? Is it the use of the word ALL? Is it when you call someone black/white/coloured/foreign/immigrant? Or is it when those words and many more are used to describe something negative?

If anyone wants to challenge me on this blog post, please feel free to do so, but nicely. I can reference this if you want, but it’s a blog post NOT an essay.

There are many assumptions I’ve heard since I’ve been in SA, let me list you a few, but please understand, these are not my views. These are assumptions I’ve heard from South Africans white and black, South Africans living in the UK and people from other countries.

All black people will rob/rape/hijack/murder you

All black people are uneducated

All black people live in poverty

All black people work in the service industry.

All black people live in shacks

All black government officials are corrupt

All white people live in security estates

All white people are rich

All white people live in fear of being robbed/raped/hijacked/murdered

All white people if they own a dog will set it on a black person

All Afrikaners hate the English

It makes me sad to hear these things being said, it makes me sad that people have such a view of South Africa.

Maybe some of these assumptions are correct in the minds of some people through personal experiences, from experiences of family and friends. But if you are hijacked by a black person, what right do you have to say ‘ALL BLACK’ if you are unable to express a want to a black person because the language you speak isn’t understood, what right do you have to assume all black people are thick and therefore uneducated.

We live in a security estate. The house at the bottom of the garden, to the left is owned by a black family. Two years ago he was murdered in a hijacking.

The house a few doors down was robbed at gunpoint by a white man.

A black man at a place I volunteer at held a gun to the head of another black man during an armed robbery.

We had a white maid when we first moved here; the cost of a cleaner was included in the rent.

There are white people serving in restaurants, white people begging on the sides of the roads, white people living in areas I volunteer in, in townships.

Today I visited Maropeng at The Cradle of Humankind. I asked at the security, a black man, if I could bring my dog in with me I just wanted to have a coffee and use the toilet. I was told it was OK to go in. As I walked into the open space with Bob on a short lead, black people scattered, quite literally. I tied Bob to a pole and ordered coffee; people were looking at him and me. As I drank my coffee a white woman, who was visiting, petted Bob a white child said ‘look doggy’ After a few minutes a black man who introduced himself as Head of Operations told me there was some concern over my dog being there and I would have to leave. I told him that I’d already checked with security and that when I finished my coffee I would leave. I was watched the entire time, Bob sat quietly, no visitor complained, no visitor looked at me any differently. I was openly watched the entire time and made to feel very uncomfortable.

As I left with Bob on a short lead, close I passed near a black woman who was at least 10ft from me and not in the direction I was walking, swung her legs round to the other side of the bench and said ‘you won’t let your dog bite me will you?’ the car park attendant ran back into his hut and I returned to my car, very upset that people could have these thoughts about me and my dog, think that’d a) I’d take a dangerous dog out in public and b) think I’d let him lose on them and order him to attack.

This isn’t the first time I’ve had this reaction, it occurs almost every time I walk Bob around the estate especially in the mornings or going home time for the maids and the gardeners.

So can I make the assumption that ALL black people are afraid of dogs? Or is it that ALL black people assume that ALL white people will set their dogs on black people?

Our gardener is black; he isn’t frightened of the dog. Our ironing guy is black; he walks the dog and feeds him if we are away overnight. The Gardener is from Zambia; the ironing guy is from Malawi. The black woman on the campsite with her caravan and Toyota Fortuner said ‘your baby came looking for you, I gave him a biscuit, while you were in the toilet, such a lovely dog’

My friends here are black/white/English/Afrikaners. We are friends because we share common interests/experiences/views/beliefs. Not because of where they come from, not because the colour of their skin.

What do you think? Do you have experience of racism, based on the previous actions of others that now put you in a category where you must be feared?

Wednesday 19 March 2014

Getting blood from a stone

I wrote about volunteer fatigue a week or so ago and took some time off, I was taking on too much. I decided to clear a back log on my 'to do' list which now had sub lists, which was making me feel overwhelmed. Most of my lists involved follow ups with companies and organisations that i had contacted either in person, by email or over the phone. Some were from cold calling but most were recommendations from friends in both the real world and on twitter.

There is only so many times I'm prepared to have the door closed on me before I give up and that's what I've done. I can't get blood out of a stone. there are too many people here asking for donations, money and time, as there are so many causes to support. rape crisis, education, feeding scheme, abandoned babies and the list goes on. I do beg on a regular basis and am quite successful at relocating unwanted items from people, clothes, unused stationery, but what I can't get is a cash injection to fund things properly. I've applied for nearly every grant going. the small companies support their staff's interests, the larger companies have an application you must apply to, with a response that usually reads 'sorry applications for this year are now closed' It's so frustrating.
I've approached companies for product reviews, toys, toiletries, but it seems they don't want their brands associated with townships and poverty.

Companies and organisations want more than a few tweets, RTs and a blog post, despite the fact I get 9000 hits a month. The big companies invest in the big charities, not in the likes of me, the one actually on the ground, the one making changes in peoples lives on a daily basis, the one who actually sees and witnesses the devistation of how an armed robbery victim looks or the amazing transformation to someones life from giving away a pair of shoes or providing a disabled child with a pushchair or seeing the excitement on a Childs face when you give them their first ever christmas present.

I just need a foot in the door, I can't do anymore than what I'm doing now without a bit of investment.

If anyone has any suggestions, I'd be grateful.

Tuesday 18 March 2014

Tips for camping with a dog in South Africa

If you haven't met Bob yet he's a rescue dog from the SPCA that has been in our family for almost a year.

Since we've had him, we've been on holiday twice, the first time on a farewell trip around SA with the 19yo before he returned to the UK to Durban, Port Elizabeth, Cape Town and back to Pretoria and we employed a house sitter for the 3 week duration and then a week to Dubai when a friend and neighbour fed the dog and cat.

We've 'done' the tourist stuff here, the safari's, the markets etc and we've been looking for a different type of holiday now it's just hubby and I since the kids left home.

We've been camping many times with the kids, most of the UK over the years and 10 days in Oregon a few years ago and we've taken the kids camping here at water parks and a week in Kruger.

We really struggled to find a 'dog friendly' camp site in South Africa, when you google 'dog or pet friendly' don't get too excited and please phone them before you make a booking. What most campsite owners mean by 'dog or pet friendly' in reality is small sized dogs that I refer to as handbag sized and usually of the yappy variety. 'dog or pet friendly' does not refer to dogs like Bob, medium sized.

Bob is very well behaved, but he does have a tendency to get excited and not exactly run off, but more of 'I will return when I'm ready' which usually isn't too much of a problem because we're not rushing home to kids to feed them and we're happy just to be outside, enjoying the view and the walk.

We booked 2 nights at Dragon Peaks in Drakensberg. It was a 5 hour drive and we needed plenty of stops for stretching legs and drinks, but again without kids, the journey was rather pleasant, apart from the dog farting nearly all the way. It was also very noisy in the car as we had the windows open for Bob, as even with the air con on full, he was panting heavily. I will be buying a sun shade like the one you use for children, for the next trip.

The dog didn't settle too well in the tent, we took his bed from home, but with all the rain, it got damp and a little smelly, so we left it behind rather than stink the car out. There is an old air strip which he loved bombing up and down off lead and swimming in the river after the canoeists and tubers had passed by. The furthest he's travelled in a car prior to this trip was from the SPCA about 30 minutes.

We're off again on Thursday till Monday to Magalies Sleepy River Caravan Park with friends and if that's a success we'll go further afield to the coast when the youngest visits in August.

The facilities at Dragons Peak were fantastic, charging points available, even though all pitches had electrical hook ups. The restaurant was dog friendly and the food was amazing and very well priced.

The scenery was beautiful and so remote, seeing people going about their daily business outside of the townships was good to see.

The only downside was all the rain and although the tent stayed dry inside, the seal on the sunroof failed so we drove home in a soggy car and it took 3 days to dry the tent back home.

Top 6 tips

  • Pack water bowl and bottle IN the car with the dog, not in the boot. 
  • I don't chain my dog, but a long piece of rope came in very handy to stop him wandering off and annoying other campers.
  • Take a couple of old towels for drying the dog with that you don't mind throwing away.
  • Take a blanket or the dogs bed for them to sleep on, the ground can get very cold at night, especially when it's been raining.
  • Pack a brush and tick powder.
  • Sunshade

Wednesday 12 March 2014

Dealing with empty nest syndrome

Well I thought my heart would break when my 14 year old left home to return to boarding school in the UK last August after having him at home for 3 years and again in January this year when my 19 year old left home to join the British Marines. My recovery from my eldest leaving home in 2010 was quick as we moved to South Africa within 3 months.

It's March now and I'll admit I'm enjoying being a SAH, it's meant I'm adapting to another identity change in my life as back in 2010 I had the kids at home, was a part time student with a full time career, then within 3 months I was a SAHM to 2 kids, with no studies, no career, no friends, you see I became an expat.

So when faced with my 'golden years' ahead of me, no responsibilities, my ability to choose to work, should we choose to move to Dubai next year, my ability to finish off some studies in preparation for the move, I just crumbled, I was lost, I cried, what about MY life? what was I to do? Changes all the time and I wasn't coping.

But the last few weeks I've been so busy, I've hardly noticed the kids aren't here and when I stopped and thought about it, I felt guilty for NOT missing them. But I now realise it's ok to feel this way.

I've been able to focus 100% on my volunteering and almost burnt out. I've been able to have numerous projects on the go without having to tidy stuff away before the kids get home from school. I do still get a bit lonely in the day and often call my son to help me with something then realise he's not here. I get to eat what I want, when I want, including ice cream for breakfast. I enjoy the fact there is still ice cream in the freezer, I watch what I want, when I want on the TV and meal times with hubby have become a pleasure, we cook what we want and often eat late at night, on the sofa in front of the TV. (the dining room table is full of photographs, I'm half attempting to sort.

I used to dream of 'ME time' and then always felt I'd wasted it, there was ironing or cleaning I could've done, now if I want to spend the day in my pjs feeling sorry for myself watching crap TV, I just embrace it.

Now I've experienced the kids leaving home I can tell you it's not actually that bad. Just like all changes in your life it takes a bit of time to adapt to, it's not something I looked forward to, but now I've finished with the crying I'm embracing my freedom and now found opportunities.

Monday 10 March 2014

Does it rain in South Africa?

Yes and lots of, but usually every few days for a couple of hours, which dries up very quickly, before the humidity builds back up for another thunder and lightening storm.

But it started raining here on the weekend and apart from a couple of hours relief, it's still raining.

So what? I hear you say, you should've been in the UK the last few weeks/months where people have been made homeless and lost everything to the floods.

Before you start on me, I'm from the UK, I lived there for 39 years and was there in 2007 when the floods hit the South West, we weren't flooded but we had a 4 hour journey from Malvern to Tewkesbury to collect our disabled daughter from her care home as they had no electricity or water and bring her home for a week to look after her.

There has been a lot of flash flooding and the force of the river took out the security fence last week, the golf course has been closed and I have to drive round the estate rather than through it as the bridge is closed. My car is getting mud splattered, I'm delayed and inconvienced. My washing hasn't dried and smells a bit musty and I'll have to re do it. Pot holes have appeared and despite having a 4x4 I can do an awful lot of damage if I hit one of them at speed.

But where am I going with this blog post?

Last week I drove to Mamelodi, the river has flooded, the hillsides are teaming with running water. It took me over an hour to travel a few kms as there weren't exactly pot holes in the road, there was no road and everyone had to drive on the mud outside peoples homes and shops, making the streets even worse. People's houses have been literally washed through and in some cases have been demolished, OK these people don't have a lot to lose in terms of people flooded in the UK, but what they do lose is EVERYTHING.

There are no journalists and reporters on the case (they're all in Pretoria, a few miles away, covering the Oscar Pistorius case) There is no military presence and no government representatives. There are no offers to temporally rehouse these people, why, they don't even live in a brick house anyway, no government handouts, financially or otherwise, no insurance payout and no one from neighbouring areas to make donations or raise funds to help them. No one is aware and no one is caring, they are on their own.

Until the water recedes these people are unable to get to work, send their children to school or buy provisions and when the waters recede and they go back to work (if they still have a job) they will have to work longer and harder to recover the money they lost when they couldn't get there.

Children unable to get to school

 Pot holes are everywhere
 Roads are un drivable due to the pot holes
 Unable to cross the river to get to work

Thursday 6 March 2014

Volunteer fatigue

I was feeling overwhelmed this week, even my 'to do' lists had sub lists. After blogging about it a friend at one of the places I volunteer at, suggested I take some time off before I start suffering with the all too common 'volunteers fatigue'

I've taken on too much, but in reality all I actually do is go to Viva once a week to train teachers, attend Kungwini twice a week to support disabled adults in the workshop and educational activities in the Children's home and tutor a grade 7 child two afternoons a week. Apart from swimming most mornings, daily dog walks and food shopping and coffees out, there's no real reason why I should be over doing things, especially since the kids left home in January.

Volunteering costs money, almost a full time wage some months. I can't teach without resources and although I have plenty of stuff left over from my the days when I had a career, it needs adapting, updating. I've already donated the stuff the kids left behind that they no longer wanted, such as clothes, toys and stationery. I'm also very imaginative and creative with making my own resources but it's become very time consuming. Do you know how long it takes to draw/write 46 worksheets or colouring in pictures? I make and sell buntings and bags to raise funds and blog to raise awareness.

But what happens is I see something, get an idea and run with it. This involves raising funds, phone calls, emails, writing proposals, visiting people, cold calling. I used to make medical rep appointments with Doctor's surgeries and hospitals so I'm not easily deterred.

The last 3 nights I've been burning the candle at both ends, up till gone midnight working on several projects, researching, contacting other charities, writing sponsorship proposals. It's almost become a full time job and I could do with hiring a PA.

What I really need to do is focus though on what I can do and do well. Pick a subject, a project, a facility and run with that and that alone.

I've decided that my 'thing' is education. Without education the other issues in South Africa can't be addressed, it's not just about educating the children in the townships in school, it's about educating their parents also.

Without education the issues of poverty, crime, AIDS, rape, homelessness, child abuse and exploration cannot be addressed. Throwing money and donations of food at people does not help in the long run, the more you give the less people do for themselves, the more they rely on handouts.

People need to learn to help themselves, it's evident after a visit to Mamelodi this week that no one helps these people and no one helps them to help themselves. The river flooded a week ago, there is no way to cross it, it has left people stranded, unable to buy food, get to work and earn money and for children to get to school, missing even more of their education.

I'm up to date now with my 'to do' list and I'm just waiting responses for my proposals, but in the meantime I'm going away for a few days this weekend to switch off and relax.

Wednesday 5 March 2014

Feeling overwhelmed

I love lists. I creat lists. I add to them even after I've done something so when I look at my list I can see what I've achieved.

I also use lists as a way of not doing things.

I've about a million and one projects on the go right now.

Currently there are these lists on the go. Yes more than one.

Stuff to do in the home
1) sort photos
2) sort crafts then do some
3) finish sewing bunting and scarves

Stuff to do outside the home
1) visit stores/businesses with sponsorship proposals
2) general food ship and supplies (that has it's own list)
3) get dogs claws clipped

Stuff to do online in no particular order
1) book campsite
2) copy writing
3) comic relief proposal
4) blog posts (there's a seperate list for that also
5) link sponsored posts to companies on twitter and Facebook 
6) book Apple Mac tutorial
7) write up charity blogs for a kungwini and Viva
8) investigate move to Dubai and transportation of pets
9) finish watching Inspector Lynley series on you tube

I was just about coping with all of this and was on top of things until my stressful drive to Mamelodi this morning in the rain, with hidden craters/potholes and idiots driving without lights when I stopped for a take out coffee and was told the machine wasn't working.

Tuesday 4 March 2014

Sun Cream in Africa

For the last few days we've had nothing but rain, which suits me and it's also given my skin a break from using sun creams, that I find are quite greasy, take an age to dry and often stain clothes. It has been nice to shower, dress and do hair under 15 minutes rather than spending up to 45 minutes (depending on which sun creams I use) waiting for the sun cream to dry.

Every day is tiresome, but it's not only cancer I'm protecting myself against it's the ageing process that is sped up from the sun, so many people here have that leathery skin look from the out door life having not used sun cream.

Even in the rain I still use factor 50 sun cream on my face daily as a moisturiser under my foundation. I use the one from Boots in the No 7 range as it's none greasy, drys well and isn't shiny.

I just need to find a sun cream that I can use daily on the rest of my body, one that dries quickly, is none greasy and doesn't stain my clothes. it's ok when you're on holiday, hanging around waiting 30+ minutes for it to dry, but not every day, when you've places to go and thinks to do.

I've tried the big branded names and the supermarket own brands, but it's too expensive to keep trying new products so I was hoping you'd be able to recommend products I could buy, that offer not only the sun factor protection, the higher the better, it reaches 30c here in the summer and is around 20c in the day time in the winter, are reasonably priced and most importantly don't take ages to dry, aren't greasy or stain clothes.

Monday 3 March 2014

Oscar Pistorius and gun crime in South Africa

One of the main items the South African journalists are talking about in the Oscar Pistorius case is understanding the fear of crime that South Africans live with, the fear of having a gun pulled on you in the street, at lights whilst driving, in malls, the work place and in your own home. The reality is you don't have to live in a bad area, you don't have to be involved with drugs or crime, you don't even have to be rich to face a realistic risk of having a gun pulled on you at anytime.

The average daily salary here is R170, just under £10 so if someone can steal your phone/laptop/car easily, because you'll assume they have a gun even if they haven't pulled it already, then they will. A friend had his laptop stolen, they caught the guy, he'd sold it for R50.

There are plenty of view points on whether he is guilty of murder or self defence and he has never denied actually pulling the trigger and killing Reeva Steencamp. He has to live with that either way for the rest of his life but the difference in the judges ruling is 25+ years for murder or max 15 years in prison or no custodial sentance if self defence.

There is no 'trial by jury' here in South Africa. A judge hears the state prosecutors evidence, the defence, witnesses and Oscar himself and she will make the decision as to whether he faces a custodial sentence or not and how long for.

As a British expat, I arrived over 3 years ago in South Africa and I was scared. I lived in fear of a gun being pulled on me and/or my family, but like I said I live with it, we all do, it's a reality, not an unfounded fear.
I stopped being scared and fearful and became cautious. I heard the stories, nearly ever one has one to tell about violent robbery, guns, but I'm scared again when an armed robbery took place in a building I was in whilst volunteering for a charity a few weeks ago and I saw first hand the effects it has had on the staff and residents.

Even family and friends who have visited us here do not understand the fear, they come here on holiday we act as tour guides, keep them safe. We issue instructions on their personal safety yet they still leave the window down at the lights and junctions, open their purse prior to reaching the counter, leave their bag by their feet at a cafe and even sleep with the door open because they feel safe living in a security estate, despite us telling them how easy it is to get in and about the armed robberies a few years ago.

I volunteer with several charities, I was at one last month when 2 gunmen held the staff up, it involves me visiting townships and in fact I camped over in one last year and due to the same the weekend after next. I shop, I drive at night, I go out with friends, everything I did in the UK, but here I'm scanning the mirrors, reading situations, turning road if their is a road block ahead, wear my handbag over my shoulder, carry my cell in my jeans pocket, keep my handbag under my feet when driving, leave a hijack distance between me and the stationary vehicle in front of me.

I'm NEVER relaxed, I'm always on full alert and aware of people around me, if something doesn't look/feel right.....I'm out of there.

I've posted many blogs about safety, personal experiences, fear of crime, when I've felt safe, the wonderful opportunities living in South Africa offers us. It's not all bad, in fact life here is very good, but like I say, you need to be cautious 24/7.