There have been rumours about the new family that has just arrived in Mountown. They come from the Eastern Cape, which they left because they were being racially discriminated against as the only Indians in the community. They left the countryside and went overseas, where they ended up living in shacks.

Mariee and Den have been together for ten years and they are now thinking of having their first child. Though they wish for a son, they wouldn’t mind having a daughter either. Den works at Sanva where they cut trees that are then taken away by big trucks to be manufactured. Den gets paid at the end of the month and he makes sure he shares everything with his wife. They live far away from other houses. Their house is in the middle of the forest; Den walks long distances to work. Mariee is now pregnant, and for six months now she has had pain.

Mariee sometimes has visions of their life when they were still living in the Eastern Cape. It was so traumatic. The experience of poverty and discrimination tortured them so much that they decided to leave the country. They have moved on with their lives, but the bad memories remain.

The time for giving birth has come and the pain feels as though it is slowly killing Mariee. She is stressed because her husband is still at work and she is unable to call him because there is no phone line where they have built their shack in the middle of the forest. It is dark. There are no human voices to be heard, only owls at night.

At work, Den is not feeling well. Something is bothering him and he starts to vomit. He decides to inform his boss that he’s going home because he’s feeling sick and a headache is attacking him. His boss tells him to take a few days off.

Mariee is still feeling pain; blood is coming out and she can feel the baby moving inside her stomach.

At this point, Den is now making his way home. It has been hours since he left. From afar, he hears a loud voice coming from their shack. He suddenly breaks into a run. Arriving at their shack a few minutes later, he opens the door to find Mariee holding their new-born son. At the sight of his new child, Den’s sickness disappears and he is now happy again.


I still hustle. My life hasn’t changed much, but I know I will make it. I know that I can turn things around no matter how hard life gets. This is why I wake up every day and hustle.

I was born to a wonderful family. We pray every day before we go to sleep and when getting ready to go to school. In my family, I believe that I am different. My brothers and sisters like similar things that I don’t. I feel that I am more ambitious than any of my family members.

My mother knows it too. She’s very proud to have me as her firstborn son. But I don’t want my mother to only rely on me, because I am not God. I simply try harder to succeed than everyone else in the family.

I have worked hard all my life to make my mother proud. I have sweated for ten years, trying to make a success of my life.

I haven’t finished school yet, but already everyone’s eyes at home are looking at me like I am carrying all their burdens. Life is becoming harder and harder, and school is getting more difficult.

I just don’t know what to do anymore. I am overwhelmed and stressed, but I have told myself that I will never fail. Yet that encouragement has begun to lose its meaning.

Hope is something I don’t use anymore, because it hasn’t helped me so far. I studied the meaning of that word and learned from it. Hope helped me for a while, but again I began to lose faith.

Every night I look at the stars; wishing I could hear a voice telling me, “Don’t worry son; your fate is incredible and you are destined to make it.”

But then I remember that I am not special in this world. There are people who suffer more than I do. I sometimes tell myself:

“Why doesn’t God help me? I know that I am not special, but can’t you see my hard work God? God, I have lived in the shack now for too many years. All I want is to do something special for my mother! I want to move out of that raining shack.”

But then again, I will never doubt God’s purpose. Throughout my life I have learned to believe and to hope.


If you have ever lived in a shack you will understand how hard life can be. It is especially hard when you fear the rain.

I live in a shack and things are very tough. I get very nervous when I see the clouds turn black. The most painful part is knowing that you won’t have a place to stay or a bed to sleep in when our shack leaks.

I now understand the basics of being poor. Sometimes I ask myself, “Will I ever move out of this shack, or I will get stuck for the rest of my life?” Life is tough when you have nothing to depend on. But the worst part is that I don’t know whether to be positive about this life, or carry on blaming my mother for bringing me to the city.

I used to think that this life was a happy place, but I was wrong. Imagine not being able to sleep at night; your eyes are wide open and you are wishing to sleep, but the bed is wet and there is no dry place to even lay your head. The shack is flooded.

Until now, I have lived that life. But I have moved to a better place and am hoping for an even better one than this. I don’t know about other people, but I have learned to not give up hope. Sometimes there’s negativity in my mind, and I wish that I could just commit suicide.

I am scared to show my friends my home. At school, I am a better person and smart. That makes people interested in my life and living environment. At school, I live a lie.

But I will always keep my hope. I keep hoping that something will come and save me from this dump life. I don’t belong here, I never did. I hope for a better life for myself, a life full of peace and joy. I sometimes see myself making tea for my mother in a big mansion, but then reality sets in again.

I know I will make it someday. My mother always tells me to be positive, and if I am not she says she’ll slap positivity into me. That always makes me laugh.

My life has been hell, but I continue to handle any challenges I face. I say to my mother, “Ma, don’t worry. I will get a Bachelors’ at school and make you proud.” She prays for me to do so, always telling me that she wants what’s best for me.

She wants me to be successful, and I know that with faith and hope that I can be.


Tell us: Could you hold onto your faith if you were in this situation?