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:

—-

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 Blast to the Past, Church, Humour, People

Job is a brat! (They didn’t tell us that…)

Catherine has been reading through the book of JOB for her recent quiet times and we have had some interesting discussions around the character of Job.

Job is whining idiot!  (Yes, you just read that correctly!)

IN THE OLD DAYS:

– I heard many a sermon preach on how faithful JOB was to God.
– Are they serious, the preachers who preached that message?
– Job, is pitiful.
– He moans and feels sorry for himself and curses the very day he was born.
– And we were told. Be like Job.

(Did preachers, really believe – that was the message?!)

– I was taught, his friends who were babbling fools giving insensitive advice.

BUT WHAT IS THE ACTUAL LESSON:

– The friends, actually, speak wisdom to Job. They call it as it is. (We all need friends like that.

– Maybe, the lesson from the book is – do not whine like JOB? Seriously, when last have you read that BOOK? It’s painful to hear all his sulking.

– The best part of that book is when God speaks to Job in chapter 38 with a serious of questions. That simply puts things in perspective.

– God is God. His ways are higher than ours.

Question – How will you respond when the poo hits the fan?

Job – he didn’t too well. But how would you and I respond?

(I could expound more on the book of Job, but right now, it’s late, and my day is full tomorrow.  Good Night world!)

Posted in Humour, Inspirational

(A piece) Looking for the “likes”

Attention!
Attention please?
LIKE
Aaah, that’s better…

I was trying to think of something clever to say
LIKE
I don’t mind if you read my status
Or notice my tweets (or if you don’t)
LIKE
(Yes!!! Got another like…)

I’m free from caring what you think?
UNLIKE
(Hey, have you liked my post yet?)
LIKE

I am not addicted to social media
LIKE
(I glance at my mobile for the 50th time…)
49 LIKES
(So, is this what fame feels like?)

“I’m eating a hand sandwich”
(It’s a really nice one,)
“That awkward moment…”
(I’m actually posting about someone in particular but I’m just making it “generalized” but you know…)

Uploading…
Posting…
Sharing…
Done!

download

LIKE
Oh it’s my mom…

If we’re honest with ourselves
We all are a little addicted to the attention
LIKE it or not…

PS. You better LIKE this post! 😉

 

Posted in Humour, Inspirational

Where’s my cow? (A lesson from Terry Pratchett)

I’m enjoying my first book by this author.

Discworld is a great place to discover. 

Prarchett’s humour is brilliant, classy and odd…

It’s funny… the places we discover life lessons:

So to set the seen: Sam Vimes needs to be home at six.  His fellow officer creates traffic jams in the city to help the chief of The Watch get home on time. Why?

“Six o’clock,  prompt. Every day. Read to Young Sam. No excuses. He’d promised himself that. No excuses.No excuses at all. Once you had a good excuse, you opened the door to bad excuses.”

How profound is that? 

He would always make that time to read to his child. There are certain ‘rituals’ or moments that one must always treasure…

No excuses! How often have we let in excuses in the past…? It’s stops now. No excuses!

And detective Vimes experiences something:”…but here in this quiet time…he never knew what to say. He was tongue-tied in the presence of a fourteen-month-old baby.”

So beautiful. 

P.S. where’s my cow? Is the title of the story he reads to his son.

Posted in Church, Faith, Humour, Inspirational

The day I appeared in the newspaper

Last week, I had to honour of making an appearance in the local newspaper, The Bulletin here in Secunda.

20160415_080114

Funny thing, the lady who cleans our church, told me when she saw my picture, she thought I had died (thankfully not yet) – apparently people appear in the paper when they have passed on…

Honoured:

– I’m not a resident of Secunda, (well, I’m not from here, originally) and it’s humbling to get a piece written about me.

– I’ve read some of the other “human interest” stories – and they’re amazing.

But, be that as it may… I hope God would use my story in some way…

The day, the paper was printed I got two calls about recycling.  I also got a massive thank you from the Sizithande Recycle Centre – so that’s helped our relationship/connection too.

I wasn’t entirely sure what the focus was of the article was;

  1. i) If geocaching, were a religion – it got good exposure…
  2. ii) The church I worked for – got mentioned – who knows that bring some exposure for them

iii) The recycling project – I started has done so well.  And that definitely got exposure… One of my expressions as a follower of God is to care for His world.

(I don’t know how someone can say that love God and life He gives and yet destroy / and not care for His world.  Litter irks me immensely!)

Funniest, the day that I appeared in the paper – as I cycled to the shop later…  I kept wondering if people were thinking and pointing at me “Isn’t that the guy from the paper?”

Thankfully not! 😉

So Creator God, thank you for the opportunity.

(I’m sure there is a book called: 101 things to do before you die… being in a newspaper… may be done of them.  Check.)

Over and out…

Posted in Church, Humour

(Repeat a few times)

I like laughing at the little idiosyncrasies of church.
Because they do pop up every so often 😉

So this morning a set of song word’s had the instruction “repeat a few times” displayed in (brackets) after one of the choruses:

Seriously?
Is that not an instruction for the Data Projector person?
Or can not the worship leader be the one that leads the church in the song?

Whether the line is repeated once or a few times…having that instruction displayed is rather comical.

It’s like an idiot’s guide to singing 😉

Posted in Humour, People

whatsapp woes

(I have an odd sense of humour. Please don’t read too seriously into this blog. I am not being racist or emo or whatever. Just tongue in cheek!)

And I have to share… because I want to:

So in South Africa, the black folk are known for their community. Community comes natural. They’re good at welcoming others. It goes with the whole philosophy:

umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu” – a person is a person because of others. I love that!

But the funniest thing is black folk on whatsapp groups. It’s like “double community” oh my word!

I joined a study group for one of my UNISA subjects; I had to leave it… there was just way too much chatting going on… lol.

Like an overdose of community! Yesterday I started this local group in my town for those interested in playing soccer. I leave my phone for awhile and then come back to a 45 unread messages in that group. Oh my!

so that’s my one random observation!
—-

then I must laugh at the “bizarre” loneliness one feels… when you’re the only one “left” in a whatsapp group. Recently, family and friends made little groups for recent events. (easier chatting in one group.)

But once the events have expired.. people leave the group. I keep forgetting to delete the groups. I then stumble upon them by accident and discover I’m the only one left. haha!
I feel a surge of “loneliness” over me… haha! Bizarre!

I know… #odd thoughts over and out…

Posted in Church, Humour

How does one with ADD survive a church service? Part I

Sometimes a church service can go on for sooo looong…
How does one with ADD survive?
Do we really need to sing the bridge of Oceans over and over and over and over?

If songs are too long…
If minister is not capturing your attention…

Here are two simple tips to get you started:

1) Count the amount of chairs in the church building. That may kill sometime.

2) Watch a roaming toddler in church. To see them climbing over and under things, stumbling around with utter fascination is rather entertaining. (And who knows you may just learn something from that?) – Child like wonder… I believe they call it…

Posted in Humour

Stolen words

I love words.

I love scrabble.

Recently I ordered this great looking game from Groupon

scrabble-trickster

But after the promised 48 hour delivery period; the game had still not arrived.
So I call Groupon yesterday and inquired why my order had not arrived yet.
They went on to say that the delivery van was unfortunately hijacked (another day in Africa) and my game was among the many things stolen.

I told Catherine about this incident and she cleverly replied:

“I guess they took your words away then. ;)”

Speechless!

Posted in Humour, People

The unspoken law of gift bags

Dear wrapping paper,

We used to be friends
We ‘covered’ a lot of ground.
But sometimes we did get into ‘sticky’ situations…

So I had to move on.
It’s not you.
It’s me.
I’ve changed.

Dear Gift Bags,
You ‘carry’ the best intentions and idea.
You’ve won me over.
You’re so convenient.

I’ve noticed an unspoken law in your relationship with others.
No one writes on ur label/tag.
That’s brilliant!
So when u arrive in our lives..
We can pass u on
Like good news! 🙂

So gift bag, you rock my world bringing ‘good things’ but you’re not needy or high maintenance.
You allow me to move you on…

All my love,

Mr Gift Purchaser 🙂