Working for Transport

‘Ga gona madi’ *
At least not enough money
To do more than just
Perpetuate her misery.
Working for transport-
What the government would call
‘Employment’
And what a generation
Knows as quiet desperation.
She wakes up early,
Makes herself presentable
She leaves the house,
Her shirt is now fading
And she can feel a hole forming
At the heel of her shoe-
Maybe it can hold for another week,
Either way, she can’t afford another pair.
She arrives at the bus stop
Where she sees all the familiar faces-
School kids jostling each other
A mum with a sick child
Looking worried and eager to get to a clinic,
A young man dressed sharply
in what must his best outfit
Optimistically clutching his CV-
She feels like she should be grateful
She has a job,
But how can she be
When the only place her money seems to work
Is here at the bus stop?
The combi** arrives
And she gets in after the worried mum,
Takes a seat and lets out a deep, familiar sigh-
Here we go again.
She stares out the window
And makes peace with the fact
That her time may never come.

*Setswana for ‘There is no money’
** Combi – a van that is used for public transport

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