Lost and found in Berea

I am sharing the post because it captures perfectly, the look and feel of Yeoville today. It is a suburb with which I am still quite familiar as my Meals on Wheels group takes turns to deliver meals to a church there approximately once a month. It is also the suburb where our Zimbabwean gardener spent several months in a nursing home run by Saint Mother Theresa Nuns a few years ago. I am sometimes asked whether I am ‘nervous’ of driving there. It is a question to which I’m always able to answer that I’m absolutely not. While it is an awfully neglected neighbourhood now, I have never felt in the least threatened. Rather, being there in the early morning, I am usually struck by the number of energetic, enthusiastic little children hurrying to school and usually leave with a sense that the suburb is home to many people, perhaps mostly immigrants, trying to make something good out of their lives.

In search of Harris

The tail end of a fire smouldered in the middle of Lily Avenue, whose surface hadn’t seen a maintenance crew in years. As the Merc negotiated crevasses and stop signs, I took in my surroundings; satellite dishes hanging off the balconies of fading apartment blocks, cavernous grocery stores that discouraged further inspection, and a backlog of rubbish waiting to be taken away. A pall of neglect hung over the area like a temperature inversion in need of a stiff wind.

Earlier in the day my brother-in-law, whose car we were using, had waved away our concern about any risk to the Merc. ‘They won’t be interested in it. You’d be more vulnerable driving a newish four-door Golf in a place like that.’

That place was Berea, where today – a Monday – the street scene oozed idle time. I scanned the quantum of humanity leaning against low walls, chatting in…

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