A Passion for Peace

Responsibility, respect and a loving connection with all beings and for this Earth we share.

Green Eggs, No Ham

From a chicken’s head to an emu egg, for dinner last night I baked an emu frittata. Rewind: Saturday I was driven 45 km, dropped off and walked 6 km to pick up my bike from the shop, rode 25 km and the pedal fell off from the crank. Not what one hopes after picking it up from the shop. Top-notch customer service: owner drove out to fetch me, took me back to the shop and fixed the bike, then to his house for lunch with his wife and kids and sent me home with two emu eggs from his farm. The friendliness of rural people is heartwarming: I wasn’t even hitching and three cars stopped while I walked my bike. And someone sold me an avocado. (Photo: emu eggs & peace-sign of a feather)

Seventy-five people turned out to watch Up for movie night number two. The sound still hasn’t been sorted. They prefer to have a quiet movie now to a perfect one later, and don't understand much English anyway.

Family in crisis update: teenage mother had baby a few weeks ago, a sweet little boy. Her mother, who had a grant, moved in to help. Then sadly, she died a week later. Seems like the teenage mom is slowly stepping up. Lately when we visit there’s talk in Zulu with little translation. I'm glad to be less necessary as they sort it out.

New family in crisis: five orphans, two women on one gogo’s old age grant. Mix in TB and a five-year-old who holds up his head with his hand due to a neck injury, with a pained ache of a face and big hungry belly. I asked if they have enough food, and they said yes. We left and they called us back, and said actually there is just half a bag of mealie meal for the lot of them. And the list-of-needs floodgate opened. We offered to help them get an emergency grant and apologized we can’t afford school uniforms for the kids. One of my ladies shook her head and said, “We offer them a hand and they ask for an arm.” I smiled. “Yes, and if they grab our arm when we reach out a hand we’ll all fall over.”

Whites are guilty and also resentful their help doesn’t seem to be appreciated and feel imposed upon to do more and more. Blacks are resentful and angry for lesser education, opportunity, income and feeling of self-worth and feel entitled to massive improvement in circumstance. The effects of apartheid fester. Wonder if this was what it felt like when Jim Crow ended in the South. (Photos: flowering winter grass & perched oriole that brings sunshine to the cold office with his song.)

Helping is important and fraught. Jealousy so rampant. I’m having a meeting to explain why I’m scared if we give too much of a raise we’ll finish the money and all be out of work. Scant consolation for people who struggle to buy food. Growling bellies are understandably less patient. Empowering people to do for themselves is a slower and more stable & sustainable solution. There’s resistance to change yet resentment of the status quo. My translator is getting such threats from coworkers he took out a huge loan to pay a sangoma to put a safety spell on his house. (One threatener was thrown into jail last week, accused of murder for stabbing a man in a bar who was stealing his friend’s wallet.) No one should have to live with such a feeling of desperation.

I aspire to dwell on positive sentiment and am thankful for the friendly ears I’ve been bending lately. I admire so many people I encounter. Like the government lady who helped the new family in crisis. She’s not only on the ball, she’s throwing passes and running as she’s tackled from all angles. Example: she gets hot chocolate donated for people waiting on cold mornings, and someone else donates condoms. Local paper headline: government encouraging sex. Superiors say stop all innovation. Or: schizophrenic is given an R500 loan from an R250 grant. Not surprisingly, he couldn’t pay. The loan officer illegally seized his grant card as collateral. She went to the loan office and yelled that this poor schitzo man wouldn’t remember he got the loan even if he could pay it back. The loan officer opened his drawer to reveal 1000s of seized cards. Each card costs R65. She started thinking of all the grants people could’ve gotten if the government wasn’t busy paying to remake those cards, so she called the police. The police officer was friends with the loan officer, and arrested her. She got a restraining order. She can’t enter an entire block of a very small town, cutting her off from the Old Navy-like clothing shop, Mr. Price, until July. In July she’s going back to call the police again. Here's hoping a different officer comes. (Photo: world cup fever in Shoprite)

Posted byValerie at 11:27 AM  


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