I think there are many smokers who don’t want to give up smoking because they think that they will be boring people. This might be true – I concede that I may have been a tad wearisome myself ever since I kicked the habit. I do that terrible thing of frowning at smokers, I wave away wafting smoke, I move away and so on. All very uppity and anti-social.
I am not sure why I was thinking about these things this evening. I think I was thinking (first) about the fact that I feel like a very dull person at the moment. We (the girls and I) are writing and editing a M&E report (monitoring and evaluation, I had to find out what that was after the first meeting) for a company that, well, is involved in HIV/AIDS on some level or the other. They produce an annual report for one of the larger municipalities about what is being done, who is doing it, and what is the state of HIV/AIDS generally in the city.
The spending of money on organisations and companies who mostly monitor the use of aid money by other organisations and companies I find completely senseless. You know what somebody should do a report on? The amount of aid money that is spent on writing reports about how aid money is spent. Really. That is what it amounts to. In all areas: education, Aids, development. You name it. But hey, I am a girl with a bond to pay, and I’ll have my slice of the PEPFAR pie, thank you very much.
So we are writing this report. Now, when it comes to HIV/AIDS, there are many, many figures involved. Numbers, calculations, estimates, projections. And very often they are wrong, or they don’t make sense, or they are simply not updated for three or four years, which makes it frustrating as hell to write an annual report – when there is little evidence of change or progress since the last annual report. You know what I mean?
I am going to leave that there. There is no point in discussing it, really. It is what it is, almost like a CSN song. For variety, and to forget about the fact that I am already a whole day behind my schedule, and because I promised a friend I would write a story for him, I went to the Dive Expo at the Northgate dome this afternoon. I swear, I have not seen so many white people and big bakkies together in one place since, well, since we had that all-day relay race at school and we all got those blue drizabone windbreakers and “She’s Got Bette Davis Eyes” was on the top twenty on Springbok radio. Yes, I know that was a very long time ago. It was BEFORE Desmond Tutu won the Nobel Peace Prize, and that is all I am going to say about when that was.
But I had a beer and talked to a few people about learning to dive (I think I am actually going to do a course, and then write another story). I asked the guys why there were no black people around. I am not kidding. There were more than, I dunno, two thousand people, (Gray said six thousand, but I doubt it) and in the three hours I wandered about, I saw two black guys who worked there, two couples, and one guy hurrying down the corridor with a pamphlet in his hand. Some exceedingly ambitious teenager asked him if he was a diver, and he just shook his head and hurried along. There were no real answers. One guy said that it was not a “visible” sport – implying that if it’s not bling, it’s not in. Another one said he thought black people were generally afraid of water. This borders, of course, on saying that blacks cannot swim. It was a bit of a time-warp situation. Even the cleaners, he said, keep a safe distance from the pool. Whatever the story, the dome was packed with boats, jetski’s, wake- and boogie boards, and more than two thousand people, and the situation was, to put it mildly, non-representative.
There was a company that sponsors 20 instructors’ courses for “previously disadvantaged” people annually. But I don’t know if that means anything, as such.
Anyway. So there was the dome full of white people and boats on a Sunday afternoon, and aid money being spent on checking how the aid money was being spent. You could read this stuff in the papers, but sometimes you have to drive north for half an hour and see for yourself that the world is a crazy place.