What is possible and impossible?
Anu Paajanen, Kaospilot from Finland, is collaborating with local partner, Zamda, as a part of her Outpost in Cape Town. This article was first published on Anu’s Facebook wall.
I’ve spent today working with someone so utterly badass that I’ve just had to bid farewell to quite a few ideas I used to have about what’s ‘possible’ and ‘impossible’.
I’m currently in Cape Town, working on some projects as a part of my studies at Kaospilot, and one of these projects is Motherland. It’s a cafe. By a 24-year-old Rwandan refugee, with three children, who lives on a street with intense drug trafficking and has the local police regularly break into her home because they want her to get out of the neighbourhood. She lives with her mother, husband and children, none of whom have an income. She did, until about a week ago, which is when the bakery where she was working in closed down.
But she has a shop space, which also serves as the family’s kitchen. And she’s determined to make the neighbourhood better, for all the children who live on her street. So she’s opening a cafe/community center on Wednesday 5th of April. Mind you, she has no experience of running a business, hasn’t really had time to look into it either, she’s got no furniture, and she was just robbed of most of her money and her phone on Friday. But hey, no biggie. She’s decided to open a cafe on Wednesday and that’s what she’ll do.
When we showed up to help her clean and renovate the place this morning, it looked nothing like a place that could open within the next month. Crammed with random stuff and with walls under a thick coat of grease, and a desperate need of paint plus other operations, and with a renovation budget of a whopping zero rand, no one in their right mind would’ve been like “yeah, this will be great”. Except Zamda. And as it turns out, miracles happen when they are made happen. Now she has a place that looks like a cafe. Tomorrow she’ll have a permit. Or not. Either or, life goes on.
I’ve never met another human with her level of optimism, resilience, and air of fuck-it-let’s-just-do-it. Absolute queen and legend.
Cafe Motherland is opening tomorrow, Wednesday 5th of April.
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/195236910977838/