Threshold can be so many things. It can be the divide between two rooms, where you can cross from one side to another; where you exit one phase of your life and enter another. It can be a new beginning and chance to start fresh; full of tickling excitement and optimism regarding what this opportunity might bring.
But it can also be a limit; the critical point that triggers a reaction. The invisible line we don’t even know we’ve crossed, until we are faced with the consequences and are forced to deal with the results.
During my time in southern Africa, I have often admired the inner strength and the coping mechanisms of young girls. And adult women. I have often wondered how their life experiences have shaped them, and what kind of knowledge they carry with them, often prematurely.
I have marveled at their, seemingly, incredibly high threshold to deal with physical and psychological strain.
And I have asked myself how so many of these dandelion children are able to still stand tall, and smile and sing their way through the hardship.
I imagine a lot of my Scandinavian sisters would have crumbled to pieces long time ago.
She’s standing outside a shebeen, leaning up against a Coca-Cola advertisement. I keep thinking it must be a weekend because of all the drunk men around, but it to be honest with you, it could be any day of the week. The unemployed, rural countryside does not adjust its’ clock according to office hours.
“Go home,” I tell her, because this is no place for a young girl. But it’s my expat voice that says that, without taking into consideration what she might be exposed to there. I don’t take into consideration the widespread domestic violence and the chances that she might be sold to provide drinking money.
I give her a coke, and as I’m doing it, I’m wondering if I’m creating a bad habit; if I’m contributing to the evil cycle and tempting her to come back here, to lean up against the coke ad again and again, all brown and sweet, to see if there will be more freebies coming her way.
Her threshold…based on her rather poor clothing, the lice in her hair, the skin rashes made by mites, her bare feet and unkempt hair, I dare say it’s probably pretty low in terms of the price she would charge if a man said he was willing to pay.
Her mental survival threshold, if TB and HIV/Aids doesn’t get to her first…Well, I hope it’s high. Sky high. Because I think she needs it, if she wants to remain standing for long.
This post is part of the Weekly Photo Challenge from the Daily Post.