Ag in Africa

4 September, 2006

Dodgy maths

Filed under: Development worker, Divorce — Ag @ 11:47 am

Being a near-divorcee, I have let rip with life-gusto like any self-respecting gal with her own teeth should do. In fact I wrote a series of articles called the ‘Divorce diaries’ detailing all the gory hilarious details. One day I may be brave enough to publish them, but probably not.

One of the ace things about not having an obligation-to-another is that I can do whatever I want. And what I want to do is a) have a huge adventure and b) do something good for someone else, that is more interesting and less scarey than babysitting. So I’ve got myself a job for one year at an AIDS education charity in Johannesburg. Cool, nah? Nuff context.

I have been inducted by various people in how dangerous and anxiety-inducing Joburg is, but I’m not convinced. As much as I try to feel the danger, it remains something I accept intellectually rather than feel. Statistically-scientifically what’s the chances of me getting bludgeoned? No, I don’t know either, but I reckon it’s less than 716. However, if I think about the chances of me seeing things I didn’t know existed, feeling ways that I thought I was way too shallow for, and gorging on life, I reckon my chances rise to at least 893. I’ve bet on worse odds. (Cos I don’t really do maths, my odds system is an arbitrary number that sounds about right, but is also statistically-scientifically defensible, as I’m the only person who can work it out.)

So I’m officially becoming an Aid Worker. I’m assuming the halo will arrive through the post along with my aid-worker-visa. I spend quite a lot of time considering my motivations for doing this. I know it’s a mixture of adventure and doing-a-good-thing, but in my more honest moments I reckon the balance is about 7-parts-adventure to 1-part-good-thing, and this distresses me. I’d like it to be roughly even, and I’m trying to will myself into feeling more saintly, but it’s not working. I just feel really excited about big-city / big-country / warm sunshine / beautiful africa / pure-selfishness. I need an injection of love for humankind and goodness. I could probably achieve this by reading texts and reflecting Ghandi-styli. But I’m so bleedin’ shallow that I’m spending my final 19 days in the UK partying for England and falling in love with someone I won’t see again for a year, if ever.

So, as I need to know how ‘good’ I actually am vs how selfish I actually am, I inevitably try to calculate the sum of my dodgy motivations + lack of reflection. The answer = 214. Which, according to my special maths makes me really deep, loving and selfless. Hurrah!



  1. having read the first couple of divorce diaries you jolly well SHOULD publish them. so there. welcome to the blogosphere. looking forward to NUMEROUS postings from África de Sul.

    214. not bad.


    Comment by lucy p — 6 September, 2006 @ 10:59 am

  2. Checking in on Lucy’s recommendation…

    Like it…

    All the best for the big adventure… looking forward to ‘going there’ with you!

    Comment by deeleea — 12 September, 2006 @ 2:02 pm

  3. Ta v much gels. Lucy, one day when I have no friends, no lover, no hope and no pride, I will publish the divorce diaries. I’ll set an automatic alert on one of my clever wizzy digital fings to notify you when this day arrives. Would be greatful if you could phone 999. In fact maybe you could set an automatic notification to notify 999 when you get notified.

    Comment by aggy — 18 September, 2006 @ 11:55 am

  4. Not the type to do things by halves, then? Divorce any minute and then zip off halfway around the globe. I think I’ll keep reading you and live vicariously – this is the sort of thing I fantasized about doing post-divorce, but ended up wallowing in domesticity instead. Which is not such a bad thing, but still…

    When I was going through the process, people would tell me, “You’ll be surprised. Once the divorce is final and things settle down, there’ll be things you miss.” (Friends can be so helpful.)

    Twelve or fourteen years later… still not missing anything!

    Comment by Laura — 18 September, 2006 @ 5:08 pm

  5. Joburg, not “Jozi” should scare the bejesus out of you – it does most of us! Good thing you like garlic, apparently it and beetroot are the next best thing to a cure, if our moronic Minister of Health is to be believed. [She also claims there is no link between HIV and AIDS so you decide …] Will check in from time to time, will be interested to see how you get on.
    Parenthesis, Cape Town, South Africa

    Comment by Parenthesis — 23 September, 2006 @ 10:36 am

  6. Hi Laura. I’m with you. Not missing much about being married. Though I did used to like a good screaming fit every now and then. Very liberating. To be honest, it all seems like a very long time ago and it barely crosses my mind anymore. 🙂

    Parenthesis, it’s fantastic to hear from someone in South Africa. I’m glad to be here. I start work tomorrow in downtown Joburg. Wish me luck!

    Comment by aggy — 25 September, 2006 @ 6:22 pm

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