So chuffed! My SHORT STORY got an honourable mention.
Thank you SA Writer’s College!
So chuffed! My SHORT STORY got an honourable mention.
Thank you SA Writer’s College!
Disclaimer. This is a very unusual post. But I just want to share how uncanny this is.
This week with the gappers we are looking at the career or medicine.
Yesterday we went to talk to a Doctor. Her name is Dr D Barnard.
Then today (Wednesday) we visited the heart of Cape Town – the Chris Barnard Museum.
Then tomorrow I am taking the gappers to Career Direct to do some career testing / assessments. The lady I have been organizing with. Her name is Lynette Barnard.
Seriously, how uncanny is that? The surname Barnard, three times in one week. Hmmm, what did those old school pirates use to say? “Blistering Barnacles!” Oh wait… “blistering barnards!” 😉 (lame, I know!)
Thanks for allowing me to waste your time with this post… 😉
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.
(My cell is 072 941 8036)
PS. I did switch off Mr Avery’s computer and printer.
The other day when i was paying for my shopping at #Checkers – the teller bantered with me. ‘Joking that i did not have enough cash on my card.’ (*but i did have enough.)
But she was just teasing.
I liked the ease of her humour. I liked how two strangers (her and i) can laugh about something.
One of the biggest qualities about South Africans is their ability to laugh and talk with one another. Even with people you don’t know.
A beautiful life moment that.
I’ve been here in my new job for just over a month now. It’s been incredible!
I realised. Maybe my friends and some family, may wonder what I actually do? And also what is with the whole #pneulife and #pneugeneration I keep hashtagging in my Instagram posts. It’s not like I am spelling NEW incorrectly? 😉
So last night, we held an event called WTF! Not what you think… but rather:
WE THE FAMOUS!
I was seriously blown away and so inspired by the talent that we have in our school. These students had me kinda emotional. From dances, to skits, to singing… it was seriously really good. I thought to myself: Thank you Jesus, I get to be part of this and surrounded by this creativity! Here are some pics from the night. But actually they don’t really do justice:
To see some videos of the night go to the Pneukleus Instagram account.
So my role her is that of Gap Year Coordinator. What does that entail? Yes, some seriously adventurous and fun stuff. But that really is only 1/5 of the programme. In each week, with the students, we will do career exposure (cover about 13 different careers). Then we do some spiritually development stuff. Going deeper in connection with God and one self. There is also an aspect of self discovery. Each person working out who they are? Personality type, love languages, etc. Then there is the fitness side. And I cannot exclude, the massive tour prep. This is taking the gospel (good news) out to various towns around the country. Using dance and drama – But the quality of this is outstanding! The young adults are dancing to the likes of Michael W Smith. (When did teens in high schools ever connect with that? haha!) Nope! The Pneumatix crew is dancing with relevant stuff and bringing a message that hits home. That’s what grabbed me, when I saw them on tour… They were not afraid to cover and deal with the difficult topics.
And what is also something to note. Is that these youngsters we have here on campus. (52 this year.) They also come here with a story. Life hasn’t always been kind to them either. So this is a place where they will find healing too.
There are many places, these young folk can study. And at those institutions, they are just a student number. Here they are known, couched and cared for. When these young adults leave, they will leave as gentlemen and ladies, who have been educated in excellence!
So they the point of this post… about the PNEU. Comes from the word “Pneuma”
It refers to the breath of God. Which is just pretty darn cool! Reminds me of the passage in Ezekiel 37. This VIDEO depicts it well. In this passage Ezekiel is show a valley of dry bones. He is asked by God if they can come back to life? God’s in inviting him to see something incredible. To be part of something incredible. To cut a long story short… the PNEU / “breath of God” is given to these dry bones and they are brought to life!
Another encounter of this PNEU is when God makes Adam. He’s breathes life into him.
So that’s what we are as a campus / college. We want each person to experience the “breath of God.” Thus giving them a #Pneulife and becoming a #Pneugeneration.
Besides… the whole PNEU thing is quite catchy! 😉
So my gap year programme is called Pneukleus – again going with the whole Peu thing…
Pneumatix is best known for it’s performing arts department. Some seriously good dancing here, and acting. Then we have film school here and music. And theology. Any psychology. There is a lot to be done here.
So next time, you are in the area. Do pop in, come and see what we are about. Besides, we have the most incredible campus:
So that’s it for now. A bit about #Pneumatix and what I do. If you want to know more. Feel free to ask.
I must end off with this. In Secunda, one breathed in the pollution of Sasol. Here I keep singing the lyrics of Switchfoot to myself: “I can feel my lungs again”
Long Summer days. Squirrels scampering across the garden. Vineyards basking in the sunlight. The Hottentots Holland mountains standing nearby. The sea lining the horizon. An owl swooping from tree to tree. An early morning beachfront. Crisp fresh air.
I feel like we have found our home.
Yes, yes – this is coupled with that “holiday feeling.”
Work starts next week. I’m excited it for it. (Naturally, a bit nervous too.)
I’m basically in Christian education and empowerment now.
Thankful and happy for this new chapter of our lives.
It’s difficult to put all I am feeling into words and to even contain the emotion I have inside.
This part of the world is stunning! So much to take in.
There is so much to do.
Markets. Wine tasting. Hikes. Mountains. Beach. Coffee shops. Craft beer. Geocaching. New Friends. New experiences.
And yet there is no rush to do it all.
Even the ordinary things here are just so beautiful.
My heart and soul feel giddy.
Here’s to 2017!
When they left for AUS, Lee had mentioned in one of her statuses on FB; “it’s the people not the place that make a place” (something to that effect)
That has stayed with me. There is some truth in that. Wherever you are it’s the people that matter. That make a place for you.
Secunda, has been a good chapter. A short one, but it has been full.
Here are some of my observations of things, in no particular order:
(Why am I writing? It’s thing I do. I like to take stock of my life. Count my blessings, if you will. Read on if you like. If you don’t, it doesn’t matter.)
I started a recycling project in Secunda last year. It’s still an “infant” in its life span. But my prayer is that it won’t remain a project. That implies it has a start and an end.
Recycling is a lifestyle.
I hope the people at St Peters live differently and think green. The recycling can expand further. I’d be stoked if that happens!
Of love and wedding:
A lot of people move to Secunda for Sasol. A job there. I moved here for love. And what an incredible journey that has been.
Our venue was a quaint coffee shop. If you ever visit Secunda go check out #EataLot
And the day of the wedding was in the windy month of August… but on the 8th… there was no wind. It was a glorious day!
And I married the lady who stole my heart. ♡
Because life has been quieter and the urge in me was growing stronger I started studying through #Unisa again last year June. 3 semesters down. 10 subjects passed. I’m on my way to getting a general management degree in Business. Excited about this journey.
Of football and soccer club:
One of my highlights of Secunda is meeting the guys through field and indoor soccer.
For a few months we got to play on Sundays at the sasol club. On their fields. Was good fun! (Until the greed of management kicked us out. Pun not intended.) Greed always ruins things.
The soccer club is a brilliant little bar/pub with cheap beers and amazing football memorabilia strewn across the walls and the ceiling. On match day the vibe would be great in there as various premier league fans gathered to watch the screening game.
Of children’s ministry:
Most of ministry has involved teens (in the previous years). in Secunda I had only three or four teens.
So I had to focus more on the children in the Sunday School. A different focus for me but I enjoyed it. Kids are often keen!
Of exiting the church:
I’m excited to be leaving the church. For the first time in 15 years I won’t be a paid staff member of the church.
I can visit a church with Catherine not being known by anyone. And not “being paid to be there” (not that my relationship with Jesus was dependent on a salary… but I’m sure those who have been on ministry understand what I mean.)
Of Sasol and the “fresh air”:
I can’t wait to not see thr pollution of Sasol anymore.
My new view from our new home will be that of a sea view (estate agent sea view) and a mountain. And some vineyards too.
To breathe is fresh air is gonna be a “breath of fresh air” 😉
Then I always I didn’t understand how to residents of Secunda never got cheaper petrol prices. The residents have to suck in Sasol’s pollution . The least they can do is give cheaper petrol.
Of St Peters and people:
Meeting with the folk from St Peters at church or a social is like one big family gathering.
There is the one uncle with the jokes.
There is the one grandfather with the long stories.
There are the cute children running around.
There is the nosey aunt.
The grumpy. The joyful.
St Peters has it all.
Hospitality is this church’s strength.
I’m thankful to have been part of the ‘family’ and with leaving… I still feel part of the family. Just at a distance.
I’ve made some friends along the way here. Jannie, Reinier and a few others.
Of tourism and green spaces:
When they designed this town the planned many “green belts” – I liked that. With paths and benches.
A very good idea. (Obviously in SA, crime ruins the safe feeling of those spaces. But TIA, right?)
Soooo… whenever you live in a town you should be able to promote it as a tourguide. Well, that’s one of my philosophies.
If you ever pop into Secunda.
Eish! On the waterfront is a brilliant spot. A good South African feeling restaurant. On Secundas waterfront. (Inland style. Haha ;))
In fact there are a few places to eat at at the waterfront. Or to just ‘keuer’ (don’t know how to spell that.)
Also playing adventure golf along the water edge is pretty cool.
Then the duckpond is worth checking out. Lots of space to walk the dogs, go for a run or a ride, or to have a braai. On the weekends there is a little steam train that runs on a small track. Kids love it. Mind you, adults too.
Decent coffee shops. Symphony’s and “Eat a Lot”
Secunda, it’s been real!
See you (in blog world) in 2017!
Breathe in. A lot can happen in a month. To-do-list: In no particular order, Christmas play prep. Time with my mom. (She is visiting). Present the Christmas play. Recycle. Football. Preach. Letters to people. Car service? Prep for new job. Read through relevant documents. FAMSA – Christmas Shoe boxes collect and sort. Farewells with friends. Listen. Exercise. Fly to Cape Town. Finish off well. Tune In. Camping trip with St Peters. Collecting Boxes. Packing up our home. Moving company comes to fetch our things. Thankfully, in Him, we live and move and have our being. Breathe out.
In the wake of the local elections yesterday I have my two cents to offer. Take it or leave it:
“The two biggest parties are probably the ANC and DA.
And over the last few weeks we’ve all been flooded with sign pollution. All the parties promoting themselves. Offering some alluring promises. Although we’re all skeptical. These signs offering a good changed are strapped to light poles and bridges… I think about such things.
Sometimes these elections and these requests to vote for a certain party is about “the power” and “the position” in parliament.
We as the citizens of the country don’t care for that.
It would be great to know that our leaders are getting their hands dirty. Helping in community initiatives. And not even televising or “showing off” that they’re helping. Can you imagine seeing Zuma and Malema just being selfless and helping others>
These are just a few of the many issues we face. But this post is not about that!!!
Regardless of the leaders elected. regardless of the endless and sometime pointless discussions they have. The way the corruption runs through their veins and the way the our taxes are being stolen and used for selfish gains.
We cannot put our HOPE in these fallible people.
WE can’t keep looking up… but rather start from ourselves?
We moan at how corrupt our government is?
How selfish they are?
How self serving?
How they don’t care?
BUT can we not ask and expect the same things of our own lives?
How corrupt are you?
How selfish are you?
How often are you self serving?
How often do you not care about those on your very doorstep?
The change for our country begins with it’s citizens.
Not only the leadership of the country.
Think about this. What’s happening in the 5km (or even 5 miles) radius around you?
Are there hungry people there?
Are there lonely people?
Is there brokenness?
Is there despair?
The action and the need is where you are at.
I respect an organisation like LeadSA.
They’re making a change.
They’re making an impact from where they are.
They’re not waiting on the “government to get right”
We might wait our whole lives!
Local businesses and churches get on board!
Many churches have become irrelevant.
Many business are too inward looking.
Help your communities.
You have the power and resources (finances and skills to care for those around you.
To help alleviate poverty.
To provide more jobs.
To care and help the broken.
We can use the religious institutions. (Because the churches and mosques have been far too quiet.) – What I know of each faith is that their mandate is to look outwards and care.
And businesses – share you resources please…
There is an environment to care for. There are people to love and help.
There is this great African philosophy: Umuntu Ngumuntu Ngabantu
“A person is a person because of people.”
How very true!
The change starts in our own homes.
And in our own communities.
We hope that a good party will take lead. We hope for an honest government. We hope that the corruption will stop. We hope our country will move forward. We hope that God (like He did in the Old Testament) will challenge and sway the minds and hearts of our leaders. After all He is God and can do that. So let’s pray for that.
But more than prayer, let’s be a people of action.
Who just give and damn and start caring for those right near us.
Handing over our own corrupt hearts and selfish ways.
That’s what I have to say. Thanks for reading; if you got this far.”
Sigh! A vent post. What’s with drivers not stopping at Pedestrian crossings? So annoying and selfish! 😦
And one of the rules of the road….