Risks aversion

I still have a clear mind. The safety briefing and the do’s and the dont’s the first day after arriving in PE. Up to this day I am aware of the risks. It couldn’t be otherwise because people point it out daily. They must have a reason for it doing so. Let’s get a recap of the most important things I was told back then.

  • A discouragement policy is maintained, about having sex with one of the locals. Do not go along with excessive alcohol use with the locals. You’re going to be an easy victim.
  • Go with other people as much as possible. Don’t walk with luxury. Don’t carry a backpack. When you think you’re being followed, get into a restaurant or shop and call someone who can come and pick you up. Don’t flash with your smartphone!
  • Hiking or walking is not recommended and don’t do it at all in the evening and nights. When in your car, the doors of the car should always be locked. Put valuables in the back trunk.
  • Get cash withdrawals only inside and where security is present (orange vests).
  • Don’t just have a drink with people you just ran into. Rape’s date seems almost the most common thing in the world.
  • Accommodation fences must always be locked.
  • Don’t go into the townships in the evening and at night.

What a list! The word safety or danger is emphasized by the many fences, gates, shockwire and locks. Where ever you look, you’ll see it. Outside and inside! Apartment complex, Maranatha, the ready4life office and even restaurants. It gives me a sense of being paranoia.

Being alone the first weekend after arrival in PE, I will do some discovering round the neighborhood. And I’m doing that on foot. Finding out the street plan shops restaurants minimarkets or supermarkets. Keeping in mind the safety briefing and be sure locking things up.

It felt like I needed eyes at the back of my head. The area is spacious the roads are wide. The crowds, traffic and people seem not so busy. I notice that the colored and whites are outnumbered. It’s the blacks who populate the streets. The streets in this district are clean meaning not much litter. At the pavements, blacks offer their merchandise. From bracelets and necklaces to carvings, knock-off sunglasses and other products. They seems friendly. There are carguards at the parking lots. Recognizable by the orange vests. They help carsdrivers finding a parking lot, guard the place and help drive the car out again. All this in exchange for a few rands.

Picture myself with a trench coat and a hat, and I’m like a fictional detective. Observing and checking the surroundings. I see other things than what I want to see or perhaps not even there. Not feeling comfortable at all. I do not stop and stand still take a better look at points of interests and not taking pictures.

Once back after a 3-hour outing, I find that this discovery trip on foot was not very relaxed. I didn’t have the enthusiastic and exciting feeling I usually have when I’m at unknown terrain. Thanks to anybody who made me aware of the dangers.

During my professional career I had a lot of doing with riskmanagement. Which means something like preventing or reducing the negative effects of a decision or actually acting by taking measures. (mitigation). In my personal life, I don’t really care for it. If I did give it attention, it would probably lead to doing nothing due to the risks. That would be a measure that deprives me of discovering, learning, meeting and getting acquainted.

Ready4life, vrijwillig wereldwijd, housmates and colleagues lift their eyebrow, thinking their own when they see that I hold on to my hiking urge. I get my energy by walking and from the environment and people I meet. I do need however to let go the stress of seeing possible threats. It just holds me back seeing the things that matter.

With my daily walk to maranatha I do experience fun excitement and special moments. And sure not always without some kind of danger. But than I wait or choose another route. I ran into a snake! In this case a small one just over a metre. I also encounter crossing turtles and other animals. It’s like a DIY safari. The place I go to is a green remote area. Not a lot of people. I guess I see more animals. So I think I’m pretty safe.

People who offer me a ride have a different opinion though. They do see the danger, it’s not in people but in animals. Beware of snakes is what they all say. I rode along with a police officer a few times and it’s like I’m getting to know my neighbors. Now they wave when they drive by. Employees of the SAAF (Air Force) offer take me with me.

George the driver of maranatha doesn’t seem to like it much knowing me going on foot. so when ever possible he takes me out of the forrest area. Yeah ther are those creeping beasts!

I catch up with an other pedestrian. A black guy wearing a coat with inscription. All letters mixed up. I’m deciphering it. By passing I say nice jacket, Chicago bulls. Thanks!! And we walked up together. To me just confirms that going on foot leads to meet and greet

A roommate later told me that I have to be careful about accepting a ride. The people whom I have a living/work relationship with often warn of crime and its dangers.

The unknowns I meet warns me of animals.

As I wrote this, I do think I take mititgations. You see the risk I vision is that nothing will happen. So that being a risk my measure to prevent this is as much hiking as posible.