Posted in Inspirational, People, Random

Online Community Kindness

Yesterday I was moved by a fellow blogger in the online world.  I have never met the guy. But he was kind enough to reblog my recent post called: The Confessions of a Domestic Worker.

It’s a short story I submitted for a competition hosted by SA Writer’s College .  The story is about good human nature.  Writing against typical stereotypes.  It’s message.  It’s moral would hopefully warm your heart and make you smile.

Thanks so much to Herman van Bon Photography for re-blogging my recent post.  I appreciate it a lot.  We may never meet some the online folk (fellow bloggers) but we can still help one another.  Pass on good inspiration.  And just motivate and encourage one another.  The online world is like another universe. 😉

But there is a sense of solidarity that we as online “dwellers” share.  We display our art: words or photos or thoughts to a world that is willing to listen.  No obligation.  But we all do like a LIKE.

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.

Posted in Inspirational

I finally found it.

The search is over.
Two years back or so i bought Catherine – Go set a watchman. (By Harper Lee)
She is the author of To kill a mockingbird.

Now ‘set a watchman’ is a sequel that was published 55 years later…
Wow, what a gap between two books…

So i was told we should read ‘mockingbird’ first before reading the sequel.

So i went on a search.
I didn’t want to buy the book new.

I wanted to come across a second hand copy in an unusual way.

I tried a second hand store in Gordon’s Bay. No luck. Then a store elsewhere.
I tried Gumtree. But the price didn’t suit me.

Then today my gut reminded me about the book. I went into a second hand store and found the book for a mere R20.
Thank you Despatch. (A little town in the Eastern Cape)

What a bargain!
And what a great search. I’d was looking forward to finding the book eventually…

Posted in Inspirational, People

Black and White

Two days ago, here in Despatch, as I was driving our team (Pneumatix students) I noticed a black car-guard helping an elderly white lady cross the street using the pedestrian crossing.

Now it may not seem a big thing to some…

But in South Africa – moments like this need to be celebrated.

The car guard represents our new South Africa (aka rainbow nation)

The elderly white lady no doubt grew up in the apartheid regime.

So that’s why seeing such a gesture is something so heart warming.

Blog done. Over and out.

Posted in Inspirational, People

The boy and the tortoise.

This past weekend, as i was driving along, i noticed a car pull over ahead of me.

The father in the car had asked his son (probably 8 years old) to move a tortoise to safety off the road.

You should have seen that boy! His posture. He was so proud that he got to do such an important job. He was beaming.

It’s  like his dad had told him to charter the course of a ship.

Or fly a plane.

A simple task. A simple instruction from the dad. Which made such a BIG impact in that boy’s life:

“My dad trusts me to do important things.”

“I have what it takes”

And that boy is taught that he needs to care for the world around him.

A simple moment like that can echo onwards greatly…

Posted in Inspirational, People, South Africa

The banter of the Teller #Life#1

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.

Posted in Church, Faith, Inspirational, Uncategorized

A sort of hide and seek…

So arriving here in Somerset West, I am looking for a new church community (spiritual home) to be part of.

There is a sort of joy and freedom in that search.

It feels like I am playing a sort of spiritual hide and seek with God.
(Of course the search, will be more exciting and fulfilling when Catherine is here – that way we found our “home” together.)
One that “fits” us both.

In the meantime, the church hopping is fun.
It’s nice to sit in a church and not be committed to it.
(Don’t stress, I am still committed to God, behind all these churches. Or at the foundation of them, I hope.)

Among the huge fancy auditoriums,
the loud music,
the “pretty” stage lights
the loud preaching
the crowds
the trendy, the hype…

the quieter
the noisier
the conservative
the liberal

God is there. And we can seek Him, hear from Him and connect with Him.

This morning I heard some great quotes and stories from/about CS Lewis, John Wesley and God’s word itself.

In this sort of hide and seek… I am reminded of this verse:

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13

Each day, whether in church, or just in communion with God in the quiet of your home, we can learn, we can be challenged and we can be encouraged. From this morning’s message I got:

“Good works come from the LOVE you have already received. The response to His love.”

“We are pilgrims making our way home…”

So that’s another rambling from me…
(Thanks for popping in… if you did)

Posted in People, Random

The “have a drink” radio comment.

Yesterday (9th March 17:45), the DJ on KFM radio station, mentioned in a news report that the traffic leaving Cape Town was jam packed!

She suggested that the listeners (who were thinking of leaving work) rather go have a drink first before heading home.

Her thinking (I assume) was that the listeners (workers) should wait for the traffic to calm down. Before taking to the road.

In her very next breath, she had to say, what I meant by a drink – is to go have a coffee…

BUT, did she really mean that? Or was she ACTUALLY referring to something alcoholic?

AND if she was – why would that be such a bad thing? Why did she have to correct herself on air?

I think South Africans are too conservative in their word choice and life actions.
Let me explain,

Why did she (the news reader, I assume) have to correct herself?
By her saying: “Have a drink” is she condoning drunkenness?
Or drunken driving?

NO!

People – when the hear in conversation “have a drink” – they automatically think the speaker is referring to alcohol? But, maybe they’re aren’t?

And if they are, what is the problem with that?

Having a beer, or a glass of wine, before someone has to head into the traffic, may just be a good thing. After a long, stressful day of work, maybe having a drink, would calm one down. (We,know alcohol has that relaxant in it.)

But, point is, “Have a drink” – is not a negative statement.

“A drink doesn’t lead to drunkenness.”
“An idiot with a drink leads to drunkenness!”

Perhaps, the presenter or whoever offers at advice, should say, “Yeah, go have a drink. Unwind a bit before facing the traffic… but if you are an idiot, then perhaps you should stay away from anything alcoholic and just have a coffee. Because no one likes a drunken idiot!” 😉

Do hear what I am saying? Or what I have written?
(That’s what came to me, when I heard the news reporter / traffic reporter person speak…)

So… welcome to the weekend.
If you like the taste of wine or beer (for there ARE some tasty ones), and you are craving the taste, go and enjoy it!
But don’t be a dick! Because that’s just annoying!

Cheers!

Posted in Beauty, Church, Inspirational

What drives your religion / belief?

I read a blog this week by an atheist who suggested that most people are driven to religion because of fear. 

Fear of some eternal punishment?

Or fear of upsetting their God…

They may have a point…

But i thought about what drives my belief? And i found the answer with this word:

WONDER

Wonder motivates me.

I wonder at His grace. Wonder at His  handiwork. (Have you seen the wonder in the world we live in?) Wonder at the wisdom gone before me from previous generations.
Wonders keeps me journeying to God…

Posted in Church, Faith, Inspirational, People

Is there an Afrikaans equivalent of CS Lewis? (The limitations of language)

I’ve been thinking about the limitations of language recently.

Sometimes words can get in the way.
And sometimes they are just not enough.

As an English speaking person i have had the privilege of growing up / being enlightened profoundly by the works of CS Lewis.

In the UK, i even visited his grave and the famous Eagle and Child in Oxford.

I know God doesn’t haven’t favourites.. but still i think CS Lewis would be near the top of that list. (Although the man himself would be mad at me suggesting that. Oops!)

But his books have connected me incredibly to God.
His quotes have made their way into many a sermon for years.

Last year in Secunda, i wanted to do a series with my youth on Chronicles of Narnia.
Those teens were clueless!
They didn’t know who he was.
But i also; that being Afrikaans… that would never have been children reading for them.

(Most people discover Narnia when they are kids)

Then i wondered are their any prolific Afrikaans writers?
Maybe, i don’t know…

But then i thought in terms of the African languages we have in South Africa.

Is there profound wisdom hiding in languages we don’t know?