Posted in Family, Humour, Inspirational, South Africa

(Short Story Compo) – The Confessions of a Domestic Worker

I took part in a short story compo recently held by South Africa Writer’s College. Here is my entry:

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The Confessions of a Domestic Worker

My name is Beauty. (Well, that’s my English name. Apparently my birth name is too difficult for my employer to pronounce.) So I figured if I settled for a simple name, it would make things easier.

Besides, my name is quite fitting. Because, my life is beautiful! And this is my story:

I have two children. Ayanda, my eldest; she is in Grade 10 at Klipspringer high school. She loves dancing! Often, in the evening, I will take a sneak peek into her room and see her practicing some dance moves. (I have to sneak, because she gets all shy in front of me. You know how teenagers are.)

Kagiso started high school this year. He loves soccer. One of my favourite things is to see him and my husband supporting their favourite team: Ajax Cape Town. They sit huddled together on a Saturday afternoon shouting at the TV. (I keep telling them that the players can’t hear them through the TV. That joke never gets old!) They both just “shoo” me off with their cheeky smiles.

Solomon, my husband is a hard worker. I am so proud of him. For the last two years he has won: Best Salesperson of the Year. He works at the local nursery called Green Fingers. He is really knowledgeable with all things gardening and he is super friendly and helpful with every customer he deals with. They even return to the store asking to be served by him.

I have been working for Mr and Mrs Avery for about seven years now. I love their kids too. Megan is in grade 6. She loves to sing. We often sing together after school. Their son, Matthew is in grade 8 too. (Kagiso and he are friends.) Matthew so badly wants to play in the Under 14’s first team with Kagiso. I think that will happen in the near future. I’ll tell you more about that, later…

I’m no ordinary “maid.” Oh wait, sorry: domestic worker (to be politically correct!). Most of us in this industry work from 8am to 3pm. And our job responsibilities include: vacuuming, mopping, doing the washing & ironing, washing the dishes and other general cleaning. And in my case, I work on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

I actually enjoy my job! My responsibilities also include fetching Megan and Matthew from school at 1pm & 2pm respectively. Oh and I work till 4:30pm. But I don’t mind the extra hours. Despite more pay, there is a lot more to my day than many realise…

I am very grateful to Mrs and Mrs Avery. They have been very good to me. They even pay the full school fees for Ayanda. (That really does help out Solomon and me a lot.) So I return the favour to them in other ways…

Okay, okay, I will stop being all mysterious and get to the climax of my story. (On that note: I have learnt, online: ‘how to present a story’… so I am trying it out with this script.)

I honestly, don’t know how all the other domestics work. They really do seem to dawdle! I get to the house around at 07:30, enjoy a cup of coffee. Say a little prayer and then start my day at 8am. I am usually done by 11am. Maybe 11:30 max! So, I know what your next question is: “What am I doing with the rest of my day?”

The Avery’s have internet at home. And I didn’t want to waste that free resource, so I got creative. Ayanda learnt how to connect to the Wi-Fi with a subject she does at school called: CAT (Computers and Technology.) She gave me a quick crash course and now I know how to use it too. In the morning, one of the first things I do is put the SMART TV on. (It really is smart! You can browse the internet through the TV.)

So, I navigate to the TED talks on YouTube and while I am washing dishes and doing the ironing I am learning some new things. Why not? There is a lot of interesting things out there that one can learn. And it’s free!

I’ve learnt how to have better conversations. And that has helped me with Mrs Avery and our own neighbours back home. I have also learnt about the surprising habits of original thinkers. I shared what I learnt there with both Kagiso and Ayanda. (They’re going to do great things one day! I believe it!)

I also heard a stirring talk about how to teach girls bravery, and not perfection. Some of the knowledge there I have shared with both Megan and Ayanda. I would be thrilled to know when Megan one day becomes a teenager she won’t be sucked into all that unnecessary peer pressure that is so rife in the western world. Social media is full of nonsense! And I have seen over the years how it affects all cultures: Black, White and Indian.

I confess, I am sometimes very scared for the future of these four wonderful children I have the privilege of rearing.
There is so much unfair pressure on them. And the busyness of these modern times is swallowing them whole!!

So, I am convinced of my calling. I am passionate about the mandate I have over these four young lives…

Because, both our boys are at the same school, I asked Mrs Avery if Kagiso could come back to the house when I fetch her kids. Thankfully, she obliged. And she doesn’t know, but it has truly done Matthew the world of good. ‘How’, you may wonder?

When, all three (Megan, Matthew and Kagiso) get home, I tell them to put their school bags down and put on some play clothes. Then I take some old wood offcuts from the garage and make soccer posts at the one end of the yard. Megan plays keeper. (She is thrilled to even just be allowed to play with the “big boys.”) Then Kagiso teaches Matthew how to dribble the ball. He teaches him to shoot the ball correctly. Matthew’s ball sense has grown a lot in the last two months. Next week he is going to try out again for the Under 14’s first team. Kagiso now believes he is ready. I agree.

After half an hour of play I insist that they each go take a twenty minute power nap. (The Spanish call it a siesta.)
Then it’s homework time.

But before that we have a critical ritual that all four of us do… The Avery’s have an extensive library with a wide range of books: for kids to teenagers to stories for adults. We each read for half an hour. (At the start of the year, we all made our own bookmarks. We used some cardboard, glue and glitter that I found in the crafts drawer.) I encourage the reading for two reasons: to expand the imagination of us all (sadly, this video game era has destroyed that for many kids.) The second reason is to help with their reading ability. Megan is now second best in her grade for reading.

While the kids are doing their homework I read and learn online about how to write stories. There are lots of free online courses. (I hope to write a book one day. That’s one of my own goals.) If the kids, need help with their homework I gladly assist. I am not stupid! (Contrary, to popular belief…)

When it’s home time, Megan and Matthew always run to give me a tight squeeze. It warm’s my heart.
Mrs Avery has offered to drop Kagiso and me off at the taxi rank. But the walk there is not far. Plus, I enjoy the quality time I have with my son on that walk. He and I try spot and identify various birds. (The bird book at the Avery’s has been helpful.) Our list is on seventeen different species since the start of the year.

To save money, I negotiated with the taxi driver that Kagiso can sit on my lap and I buckle him in with me. It’s quite fun in that taxi. All the passengers and I sing together. (I guess, you could say, it’s in our culture.) Kagiso has such a powerful voice. I think when he’s a bit older; I will encourage him to audition for The Voice.

To save further money and also to prevent my legs from getting old too quickly, I ask the driver to drop us off about a kilometre away from our home. Once, I met a wise old “umlungu” (white person) who told me that walking everyday will keep one healthy! On that last stretch home, I encourage Kagiso’s imagination again and we try seeing interesting shapes and things in the clouds.

6pm is my favourite time of every day. All four of us are together. Solomon, Ayanda, Kagiso and I all congregate in the kitchen and work as a team. Ayanda will peel and slice the potatoes. My husband will prepare the chicken. Kagiso and I prepare the vegetables. (This entails taking them from our vegetable patch, washing them and cutting them up, ready to be cooked.) Then whilst the food is on the go, we wash and dry the dishes and set the table too.

Before we eat and before we say grace, each of us has a turn to say two things we are grateful (or want to celebrate) about that day. I always want my family to be appreciative of the lives we live. There is a lot to be thankful for!

Before, Solomon and I head to bed; we make some tea, stand outside and look up at the stars in silence. Okay, I lied previously – this part of the day is actually my favourite! This handsome and kind man standing next to me. Bliss! I am the luckiest lady alive.

We may fall asleep with a corrugated sheet of iron over our heads, but we are happy. This little place is our safe haven. My children are going to make it big one day! And they will remain a lady and a gentleman and will not backstab anyone in order to be successful. No a chance!

So, this is my world. This is my life. I am proud of it. I’d like to believe I am a positive influence to Ayanda, Matthew, Kagiso and Megan.

By the way, it is no accident that you found this in your post box. And that you are now reading this. I walk past your home every day. Again, I confess that I have sometimes heard the arguing. I have seen how disobedient your kids can be. (One can learn a lot from the after work interaction of your family on your driveway.)

In conclusion, I’d like to end with a question for you:

I have Tuesdays and Thursdays free. Would you like me to work for you? I may do some good with children too.

Yours Sincerely,

Beauty
(My cell is 072 941 8036)

PS. I did switch off Mr Avery’s computer and printer.

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Posted in Family

Divorce and Love

Divorce always sucks! My parents split up when I was 7. 28 years ago.
If you hang out with them; you’d see they are like ‘chalk and cheese’.
Quite different!

But these pictures are very cool to see:

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At Catherine and my wedding; my mom and dad sitting alongside each other. 🙂

I am so thankful that my parents can actually hang out together. They still do care for each other. That’s pretty cool.

Jesus, I think you had something to do with that.

A few years ago (2007/8) I had this simple prayer being: that we as a family could have a meal together. And that happened. All of us shared two consecutive Christmas dinners (all those years back) and have also shared recent meals together. My dad, mom, bro and I.

Very cool indeed.

Posted in Family, People

Check out my friend’s blog:

Please welcome Lauren to the world of blogging.
The WORDPRESS.

Click HERE or HERE to check out her blog.

Have a great weekend!

And some inspiration for you, for those who love words and sentences: No 2 & 3:

2. “In our village, folks say God crumbles up the old moon into stars.”
—Alexander Solzhenitsyn, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
Suggested by Jasmin B., via Facebook

3. “She wasn’t doing a thing that I could see, except standing there leaning on the balcony railing, holding the universe together.”
—J. D. Salinger, “A Girl I Knew”
Suggested by mollyp49cf70741

I got those cool sentences from this SITE

ENJOY 🙂

Posted in Family, People, South Africa, Travels

(Life between brackets)

On Palm Sunday I slept over in Hillcrest with my friends, Lauren and Shoba – for what I thought would be the last time in a long while.

But exactly a week later (on Easter Sunday), Catherine and I both stayed over in Hillcrest with them, again.

Because on Monday (yesterday) in Howick we celebrated my Oma’s well lived life. 😦

In a week we’ve covered a lot of ground physically and emotionally.

In seven days we’ve tracked over 3600 km. Doing the to and from Cape Town trip in one day twice this week. (15 hr and an 18 hr trip)

I’ve seen the scenery around me change so many times…
From the beautiful rolling hills of the free state and the vast expanse of the Karoo to the breath taking passes and mountains of Cape Town.

Last week Monday as I headed up to Secunda (oh, add anotgert 600km to the mileage) I stopped in Ladysmith catching up with my friend,  Daryl…
I heard of my Oma’s passing; as she fell asleep for the last time.

I wasn’t too emotional at the time. Because my heart and mind haven’t registered what’s going on yet…

Here now on Tuesday 7th April after this crazy week,  I sit in my new town. Have I even registered that yet?

In the movie Paddington the explorer says it like this:

“My body has travelled very fast (and far) but my heart takes a little while to arrive.”

That’s how I feel!
A lot is going on.

I live only 3km away from my fiancé
On Easter Saturday I married two good friends.
Even using the “gospel according to Dave Grohl” (intrigued?)
Then on Monday I read a letter to my Oma at her memorial service.

On Thursday I heard about students being gunned down in Kenya.
Catherine got to meet my UK friends and my cousin, Katie.

What a whole lot of various happenings.

And weirdly and refreshingly Easter was such a non event for me being in between two churches and two towns.

I liked it. For all my years,  Easter has been something on the church calendar and often takes the form of “work” for me.
So this year it was very different.
The whole of Easter we were sitting in a car… crossing 5 provinces.

The highlight of the week was my dad meeting Catherine.  ♡

His first words to her: You’re so lovely!

So true. 🙂

It’s been a looong and eventful week.

Now I start a new chapter.

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Thanks for reading “my journal”

Have a good week ahead!

Posted in Family

2 – 4

I like to take stock of my life.  I like to count my blessings.
I am on my way out of Hillcrest in just two weeks.
I have had such a rad time here and have been so blessed to be close to my family.
God has given me a great family.

I will miss my brother. He is one of my best friends too. He challenges me at the right time. He is supportive.
And well, now, he knows how to play FIFA!
(And he even geocaches, too!)

Last night, we had one more “Fifa marathon” before I leave for Secunda.
Simply, we kicked ass!

But we had a BIG incentive.
At the end of the night we had a CRUCIAL match to win:

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Two arch rivals, playing at Old Trafford.

If Chelsea (my bro and my team) lost; we were going to have to put on our Facebook statuses:

I LOVE MANCHESTER UNITED

We didn’t want that to happen. So we played our hearts out.

90 mins – score was 2-2
Into extra time we fought hard: 2 – 4

Go Blues!
Thanks bro, for a cool evening!

(Sorry, if you were tired at work, today 😉

Posted in Church, Family, Humour, Inspirational, My Writings, Nature, People, South Africa

DAY 26 – 29 Writersbootcampza Challenge

The last three days have whizzed by in a flurry of activity accompanied with a dreadful cough and so I haven’t had the time to write daily on these various topics. So I am posting them all as ONE.
Wouldn’t want to block up or spam (haha) people’s news feeds.

Day 26 – Friends

Because I have served in many churches in different towns (and countries) I have been blessed (and that word, really does seem so fitting and not cheesy) for all the rad and interesting people I have met in my mere 34 years of living.

I wouldn’t dare list names of my friends. (There may be some cyber stalkers out there!) Ha. But also, wouldn’t want to leave anyone out.

I have all sorts of friends. From Christian circles, from outside of the church (so refreshing, that lot!), drinking friends, football friends, shallow (surface level) friends and in depth friends. (The ones you have DMC’s with.)

I have had friends for just a season. And I have some long-lasting friends that have matured such as a good bottle of Merlot.
If you are familiar with Gary Chapman’s 5 love languages. Then my top one is probably: QUALITY TIME.

And that is very important and essential for me. To have a good and meaningful time with my friends.

Currently, I am sad to say, a lot of my good friends, don’t stay near to me. A lot of them are in another town, another province and even other countries.

I sometimes wish I could create a teleport machine or bend the planet so that all my friends are a lot nearer.

Day 27 – Bucket List

I don’t think I have really written down one, but I have a few “must do’s” floating around in my head.
Such as
– See at least 5 more countries
– See the northern lights before I turn 40. (I failed the last attempt. Was cloudy and rain for the 3 nights that I was in Iceland
– To go to Spain. Sip on wine while listening to Counting Crow’s “Holiday in Spain.”
– To go to Paris with the girl I love. (I think I have found her now. The QoS)
– To visit Machu Pichu (in Peru)
– I want to go snowboarding again.

I am probably missing a few. Can’t think of them offhand.

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Day 28 – Politics and Drama

I suck when it comes to politics. I am ignorant to all the crap (and perhaps) some good things that go on in our parliament.
I do know in South Africa, our government mingles with a lot of corruption. Which is rather sad and makes many angry.
I simply wish, we had leaders who were passionate about making this country better.

Alleviating poverty and crime. Those who care for the environment.

If I had a magical power (of some sorts) to get into parliament and “call the shots”
I would give EVERY government official a smaller but fair salary. I would insist of them driving a simple car and living in a mediocre house.

Because if you are in the government you are there to SERVE and not to exploit.
But imagine, all the drama that would cause…

Day 29 – X- Ray

It came screaming from within. I had to get it checked. How could I go on? It stifled me. Then worry visited quickly. I needed to clear my head. Sipped the coffee and contemplated. Have I done enough with the years I’ve been given? Could I’ve laughed more? Given to others. Listened to their stories. Have I read good books? Lived adventures. He called and gave me that appointed time. “Thanks Doc!” D- Day. Nerves hanging. Anesthetic numbs. Eyes heavy. Darkness. X-RAY. Awake. Diagnosed. I dialed. “Hello?” “Please may I have a ticket; I want to see the Northern Lights.” (Word Count: 100)

(I once entered this short story writing compo that could only have 100 words. That’s what I did with today’s post.)

Posted in Church, Faith, Family, People, Sport

It’s not just about Jesus…

So I am youth pastor.  And well, this past Friday, I planned a “cultural evening” (if you want to call it that) for our Youth evening.

So for the approaching World Cup each person in our youth group had to “draw” a name of one of the participating World Cup countries.

With that country allotted to them they had to come along with a food item (savoury or sweet) and two interesting facts of “their” country.

I was thrilled with their response!

About 10 countries were represented from Algeria, Netherlands, Japan, Switzerland, Honduras and a few more.

I loved the array of food and facts that we experienced on Friday night.

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Now, to be honest, my focus wasn’t necessarily on a message about Jesus.  (I don’t think He is that insecure that He needs to have his “Jesus label” put onto everything…)

But don’t stress (Christian folk); I did end off the evening with a little devotion read out a Christian song played for the teens.

 

But why I share this is because:

– I focused that Friday night on the diversity of the world.

– I encouraged the teens to learn from other cultures in the world.

– And to celebrate the bigness of the world.

 

And in the end, I believe God smiled down on the whole evening anyway… because

After all, “He’s got the whole world in His hands.”

 

 

 

Posted in Family

Coming Home…

This brief post is inspired by my brother.
He is a family man. He is a proud father.
He has been away for about four days on work training.
He told me that it would be the longest time he’d be away from Emily (his daughter).
So today, he shared his excitement.
There are no words to describe how he must be feeling.
I can only imagine.
When he arrives home, and his daughter recognizes her daddy.
Priceless