Monday, August 7, 2017

|| observations ||

about the only "American" picture I have on my computer

Our time in the States far surpassed our expectations, per usual.  My #1 highlight was being with family.  What a treasured time!

I wrote down a few observations that made me laugh.

1) So many people wear FitBits!!  I don't notice things on people usually.  But that did get my attention.  
2) What is the hype about cold brew coffee??? Is it that good?  Simply a trend? It was everywhere.  And not just iced coffee but cold brew(ed) coffee.  I didn't try it but if it really is that good, I'll look into it and try some here.  Tell me what I should know!!
3) It is so easy to make and/or save money!!!  Right towards the end of our trip, I noticed the outside of the Huggies box said "download our app".  So I did.  Aaaaand all along, I could have been racking up points towards a free gift card for all those diapers I bought while I was in the States!!  Wow!  Wondering if I could somehow convince our store here to convert my receipt to dollars and I could still earn....haha - probably not.



Then on the reverse...coming back home:

1) I was glad when I pulled into the gas station for the first time back home.  (sigh) Full service here (aaaaaah!!) :)
2) My sister-in-law lives on a very busy main street in the capitol city.  The first morning back, a marching band went parading down the road.  All kinds of fuzzy feelings went through me - what a cute, little welcome home; nice, upbeat music, etc...Until at the very end of the very peppy little band, there was a car blaring African music.  (sigh)
2) We did a scavenger hunt the other night with friends and family.  One of the items was a K5 fuel slip.  Forgot that we don't pay by credit card here.  We also don't get a receipt here when paying cash for fuel unless we ask.  Then, there's no such thing as only filling up with K5.  So we filled up with K25 and still got a receipt for K5. Whew.
3) My maids. Aaaaaaaaaaaahh.  Welcome home.  Sounds spoiled but ya know, one MUST take full advantage of the very FEW advantages we have here.  I missed my girls and they missed me.  Got a hug from all of them. Aww!
4) We are back to terrible internet. (eye roll)

And yes, it is good to be home.  For the first time on a holiday, I didn't "miss" home, per se.  But I knew I'd be absolutely fine once I arrived on the farm.  And I was.  It's really good to be home.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

|| so far ||


Well, I survived The Trip Over Alone.  I've lived to tell the tale.  14 hours is quite a long time with an almost 11 month old in a plane.  Liesl did good as she was mesmerized by movies for her entire wake time.  I also broke down and bought airport toys for the sake of sanity (or something like that...).  

Observations so far:

:: Being from Z, I smile and nod at just about everyone.  In Dubai, I had the urge to strike up a conversation with the taxi driver and, seriously, She wasn't interested.

:: Toys are SO cheap.  An $80 toy in Z is $15 here....the exact same toy.  That's really blown my mind.

:: On the contrary, it seems as if food is more expensive here.

:: One morning, it started to rain and my first instinct was "get ready for the power to go out...water boiled, bottles ready, laundry done".  It was just a one second instinct but I chuckled to myself.

:: Laundry!  What a dream to throw in 2 or 3 loads a day!!  I'm loving it.  Maid or no maid, it's fun to do laundry here...other than the ironing.

:: How in the world do mothers do their thang here?  How do you get your groceries in the house without your kids falling down the stairs?  How do you get out of the house without a maid??  Do your kids sit in high chairs all day?? 😂  In the house, I'm okay but trying to get any-wheeeeeere is a serious challenge.  I'm used to pulling up. Beep! (once and politely, mind you) Out comes the maid.  We all carry in something and then the maid finishes up.  Then, while I unpack the groceries and put things away in the cupboards, the maid takes the kids outside to play.  How do you all surviiiiiiiiiiiiiiive??? 

::  I knew this was coming and it's already here.  I get paranoid about everything when I'm in the States.  I don't want the kids to play in the grass because it's been fertilized.  They can't chew on the rocks or the sticks because fertilizer might have touched them.  I panic about Lyme disease. 😐 I'm not so germophobic this time around but there's a fair share of things that I'm on high alert about.  Whereas back home, the kids eat dirt; pet the animals; chew on sticks; etc; etc...

:: And oh the shopping.  Oh the shopping.  Oh the shopping.  I almost got shaky today in Marshall's there were just gobs of beautiful things.  But, I'm almost shopped out at this point which is a good thing. 

So we are well and loving being at Omie and Opa's.  Friday is a big day as that's when Leon arrives.  And then Monday is a great day as that's when we see cousins (!!) and aunties and uncles and great Grandma.  So lots of smiles and happiness the next few days.

Looking forward to sharing more!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

|| reality check ||




I know it seems sensational in a story book kind of way that we employee lots of people.  Last month, I filled out pay slips for 68 people on the farm. We have a laundry girl.  Each of the three houses has a maid. Yes, someone scrubs my toilet, chops my vegetables, peels my potatoes, empties my trash can, and pushes my children on the swing or in the pram.



But the reality of it is, frankly, exhausting.  We deal with jealousy issues amongst the staff; theft (petty and otherwise); family issues; organize doctor appointments and medications where necessary; and then we manage their work.  They break things; don't do as we ask; don't report when something's not working right; don't report when something's empty and you need to buy it. AND, that usually happens after you've just been to the store or to town 5 minutes prior. If you send them to another worker to relay a message, that worker will refuse to listen because...ya know....we "don't take instructions from one another".  They refuse to teach another employee their job in fears of losing the job themselves.  They don't delegate the work OR help one another.  They threaten with casting spells on each other. Amongst each other, there's danger of offending someone which can land one in court. 


(so thankful for ^Zondi, who is born again!)

But the flip side is that they are:  terribly funny with a fantastic sense of humour; quite content despite their poverty; in endurance and strength, the hardest workers I've ever known; happy; family orientated; so respectful (have Americans beat by a heap in this aspect).  We, as a family, become incredibly attached to our staff.  They are an extension of us.  Spending 48+ hours each week with them weaves quite a tight bond.  We care about them.  

You want to alleviate their poverty so much.  But the more you give them, the more they expect and demand.  How's that for complicated?  The more you trust them, it's more likely that they will steal from you.  And not just petty theft such as sugar, salt, and flour; we don't begrudge that at all!  But your profit:  feed, chickens, meat, milk, diesel.

Do you know what they need?  Jesus.

I want to put my head in my hands or pull the covers over my head for the day and ignore every single worker and demand on my time for just one day.  In fact, if my maid calls off sick for a day, I enjoy the break of having someone in my house from 7 - 5.  

Do you know what I need?  Jesus.

I'm so thankful to be a Christian.  To have access to the Holy Spirit when I need wisdom.  Wow.  This culture thing sometimes has a choke hold on me.  I also need a physical break which is coming!  To live here successfully, one must also be able to escape each year and remember why it is so great to live in this country.  And prayer.  Lots and lots of prayer.  The only way our staff will improve is if they are truly born again Christians.  What a blessing it will be to see them come to Christ one by one over the coming years.