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.  

Monday, May 29, 2017

|| nervous excited nerves ||

Nervous. Excited. Nervous. Excited.  Excited.

 YÁLL. We are less than 20 days away from leaving for the States. I have a list to finish...getting Sunday school things organized and packing my bags to carry on the plane are the biggest "things"to do.

So many questions race through my mind. I'm starting to dream about different aspects of the next few weeks.  Did I get Jules'passport stamped?  Do I have a consent letter from Leon?  How (in the world) am I going to keep 2 kids entertained for 15 hours???? Please, please, please don't sleep through your alarm in Dubai on Friday morning.

So much to look forward to: hugging my parents, shopping, hugging familiar faces at my church, DROPPING MY KIDS OFF IN A NURSERY AND ENJOYING A CHURCH SERVICE, going up to MI for a day, hugging my Oma and aunt and hopefully some great-Aunts, Amish country, real good burgers, deep dish pizza, Chipotle, shopping, the public library, the zoo, the park, ice cream cones, hugging my nephews, my sisters-in-law, my brothers, did I fail to mention, shopping!!!

Things I know I'll miss:  the casualness of life here, the absence of sugar in everything.  That's about all I can think I'll miss at this point.

I've already started doing online shopping and taking advantage of Memorial Day sales.  There's NO WAY, I'm dragging two kids around shopping every single day.  I got away with it last time because Liesl was only 11 months.  Not a chance that's happening this time.  I think I'll have to sneak in and out during nap times and early bed times.

I am so excited about our trip, I wish you could touch the screen and feel it.  But, the reality of it is also not too far behind.  Strange how one changes in four years.  This "farmer's wife life"has become my new normal.  It's my new reality.  I'm not a missionary straddling two cultures (or trying to, at least).  This IS my kids'culture.  This is my new adopted culture and it's changed me.  Some things ( a whole lot of things) for the good.  I'm so grateful.  Some things....meh...not so thrilled about the changes. So, as excited as I am and will remain, I do have one foot solidly planted in reality.  This is just a visit.  I'm coming back home at the end of July.

But while I'm there.......oooooooooooh yes, I will be soaking in every single second with nary a backward glance.

Monday, May 15, 2017

::couples trip ::

Leon and I were finally able to get away for a little trip at the end of March.  It was divine.  We went with some friends of ours.  That couple is an immense blessing to me.  They are just fantastic.  And to top it off, Donald flies!  So he flew us to our destination.  What a treat.

Now the lodge we went to was the same place we visited with my parents in October.  We weren't necessarily there for game viewing although it was nice to see a few animals.  In October, the water is at the lowest level for the year; the grass is dry; the animals are hungry and thirsty.  So game viewing is at its peak.  End of March, not so much.  There's abundant water and the grass is high providing good camouflage for the animals.

We went on a night drive which was a fun experience. I didn't want to take the kids on a night drive in October.  Someday, we will definitely take a night drive in October at peak viewing time.  That will be an unforgettable experience.

Anyways.  Our chief accomplishments were:  sleeping in, lounging on the gorgeous deck, eating, and chatting with our friends.

I think all couples should try to go away every now and again.  You remember that you actually LIKE each other.  Maybe it's just us.  But, we're lucky if we get one date night out per month.  So we desperately need couple reconnect time.

 If anyone comes to visit Z, we highly (highly!) recommend this lodge.  You will not be disappointed.