The South African Series

Here it is folks! The classroom of the future.

Because it darn well ain’t the classroom of the present, that’s for sure.

See this shack? This is an appendage to the YMCA/Church/theater. This is where the kids are supposed to be having lessons, once it’s ‘cleaned up’. Nuh uh. This room doesn’t need cleaning up – it needs a torch set to it. There will be rainbows and ice-cream cones in Hell before I set foot in there with a book in my hand.

  Lemme tell you how bad it is. It’d dark and dingy in there, and the air has a quality that reminds me of something…something earthy. I believe it’s mushrooms – of the ‘icky fungus’ species to be exact. Mushrooms belong outside or in the grocery store, not on floors or walls. The roof leaks and there is no electricity. The first (and last) time I went in there to survey the space, my bulk cause the floor to buckle under me. If you put 10 kids in there, the whole thing would come crashing down. Oh, but it only gets better!

As Marshall was taking pictures of the interior (because I refuse to reenter the space until Satan and his minions are sucking down sarsaparillas), a rat ran by.


“A rat,” he repeated. “Although I think it might have been a mouse…”

He was trying to make the presence of a rodent less ghastly by intimating that the existence of a mouse is better than that of a rat.

It’s not.

There is a hodgepodge of assorted toys, boxes and just crap over all stuffed in there. I think someone used to live there and abandoned it some time ago. Who knows for sure? There is a Quranic scripture hanging over the door. I could probably decipher it (I used to take Arabic), but again, I didn’t hang out long enough to get a feel for anything besides the immediate and obvious.

But as ‘wonderful’ as this space is, do you know what’s even better? The pastor, the guy who built the church and I assume owns the land, is in CONSTRUCTION…and he owns 3 houses and a B+B in the White side of town. I could scarcely believe it what the news bearer was telling me.  

“You mean to tell me that this dude builds buildings for a living and this is the best he could come up with?”


“This is his church? The house he built to ‘honor the Lord’?” I emphasized incredulously.

“Uh huh.”

I felt the Too Known American rising up in me. The room made my skin crawl, but that tidbit of information made me SICK.

 It’s so true what Oprah said: ‘If you don’t have a vision for yourself, someone else will create a vision for you.’

Clearly, this was the best this (wealthy!) pastor thought this community was worth. But why should he care? Apparently he shows up when he’s ready, booms his sermons and leaves to his comfortable home in town. At least he fed the people spiritually right? Gimme a frikkin’ break!

So what do we do Readers? What say you? Burn it to the ground, of have a street fundraiser a la Breakin’ 2?

I’ve got the kerosene in my trunk just in case…