Rebuilding Foundations

An exploration of international development work in Africa


I don’t like the dark.

It’s not a huge fear (like my fear of spiders) but I just don’t like being alone at night.  I’m ok walking in the city where there are streetlamps and cars driving by, but I hate walking around the island at night  – even though it’s probably much safer.  There’s almost always enough moonlight to see clearly and the houses aren’t that far from the road.

In South Africa it’s not recommended to be out at night.  Especially alone.

The lack of streetlamps gives every street a sinister feel.  Even though I’ve read many urban planners who discuss the link between adequate lighting and security, I never actually felt that link before now.

A couple days ago I went for a run in the park after I got home from work.  At the beginning, there were lots of people out; most were walking their dogs.  About halfway through, I realized dusk was beginning.  There was much less people out, although I still got passed by the occasional cyclist.

Dusk quickly became nightfall.

I ran hard those last 2km.

I felt safer once I reached the street again.  Now I was running past houses instead of the river.

Proper lighting: one more thing that I took for granted back home.


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3 thoughts on “Light

  1. Brenda on said:

    Joburg sounds about 180 degrees from BI….I wonder if there are any similarities? Do you remember when our neighbour wanted to put a streetlight on our corner for the same reason? We all talked him out of it but then when it’s dark here everyone stays inside if they can.

    Your insights and reflections are so interesting to read, thanks for sharing…
    Write On!

    ps sorry, your fears are no doubt genetically passed on

  2. Simple things like sidewalks, lamp posts, and regular landscaping of green space provide some means of ensuring street safety, but to me, the greatest safety measure is Jacobs’ “eyes on the street,” the presence of people.

    Looking forward to reading more of your insightful observations 😀

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