tbabpoorThe penetrating rain beats ferociously against the worn out Opel standing in a desolate parking lot near Albow Gardens.
Darkness has descended.
If not for the wailing wind outside, one would hear a frightened girl scream from inside the car.
She had a nightmare.
Her mother and father startle awake and embrace her awkwardly in the tiny vehicle.
“There, there sweetheart. Everything will be alright,” says her father reassuringly.
The 11-year-old girl’s older sister, who is sleeping beside her on the backseat, was also woken by the commotion, but she doesn’t move.
She quietly thinks to herself that she has had enough. A 14-year-old girl cannot live in a car with three other people. She wants to run away and find herself a house with plenty of bedrooms, a plasma television screen, a big kitchen and a swimming pool.
These fanciful yearnings accompany her on her way to yet another shivering night of restless sleep.
Sunrise brings warmth, but it also shines a light on their abject poverty.
The mother will be sure her daughters brush their teeth and look decent before she walks them to school and the father will attempt once again to find a job or any kind of income.
Welcome to the life of Shane, his wife Kim and their two daughters, Jessica and Samantha (who’s names have been changed to protect their identity).
This tightly-knit family has now been living in a broken car for 10 months. Their desperation is indescribable.
When TygerBurger visited their “home” on Sunday afternoon, Kim said embarrassingly: “I’m very sorry, but I haven’t had time to clean the place…”
These familiar words seemed completely out of place. The Opel’s broken front window is covered with garbage bags to keep the wind and the rain out.
The driver’s seat, or in this case Shane’s bed, is bent back for “comfort” and where the speedometer should be is a radio. Next to this is a hairbrush and a gift from his youngest daughter Samantha. It’s a little stone with a smiley-face painted on it.
Where other people would leave loose change there is now a small jar of toiletries. The passenger’s seat is Kim’s bed. A Bible is squeezed into the cubby-hole.
The sincere Shane, a retrenched panel-beater, has been distributing his CV to countless businesses, but to date he has had no fixed income for more than a year.
Kim, a woman who shines with intelligence, used to wash cars, but now she’s willing to do anything.
Both only have the well-being of their children in mind.
The 14-year-old Jessica is a special needs child with a brain tumour and her beautiful sister, Samantha, dreams of being a doctor one day. Who can help them?
Their situation is dire and the only words that sum this up are Shane’s: “Someone, anyone … Please help us. Please help our daughters …” Contact him on 076 417 3450.