The Feather-duster Man

 

Feather duster man

At one time the feather-duster-and-broom man was a slight phenomena in South Africa.  One would see him on almost every street corner.
Recently I was happy to spot another feather-duster-and-broom-man, and my thoughts turned to the economy.  Now here was a man who was trying to make a buck, despite the fact that he really had no hope of scratching a living out of selling feather dusters.   But that was not the point, or the reality of the situation.   He most likely lived on the few pence he made for the day, even if it was just paying for his transport to town to collect the dusters.   He had decided to grab at a chance to do an honest days ‘work’ – walking the streets and selling feather dusters, but in fact he was an entrepreneur,  he was creating a career – and one day that may well become the way of the future.

I find the Street People around us so interesting.

Car guard Urban
Meet a man called Urban, the friendly Car-guard,  at a local shopping centre.

There are the Car-guards at the shopping centre.   With a bit of organising, they work for a man, or company, who create opportunities for those who are unemployed.  Depending on the goodwill of the customers, whose cars they ‘guard’,  help unload the shopping trolley, courteously stop the traffic to let you out of your parking spot, and return the trolley to the shop, they can and do make a small survival living.   Most do it with a smile on their face, a polite greeting and a wave good-bye.    If you don’t have small change to give, some say,   ‘never mind next time’!

There are people who stand at the traffic lights, burnt by the sun, to beg for a penny or two.     There is a particular robot in the suburbs I ride through where a decent looking white lady, in a shoe-string top and trousers, stands unashamedly hoping for a bit of support from the passing traffic.
When I see her I often wonder what story she would tell, and why she does what she does to bring in a little finance.
Further into the inner city there are many scruffy looking young men, who, one can tell, have addiction problems.    My heart goes out to these young people.   What chance have they to make a decent life for themselves.   Life on the streets is hard, its a hell of its own.

Giving it some thought, I understand that there is a  strata in the art of making a living.
From the beggars at the street corners, to the feather duster man, the Car-guard, the Fruit and Veg Vendors, the Zimbabwe wire and bead weavers or  the African mamas that capture the tourist trade with their handcrafted talent  – these are those who have nanoscopic to miniscual to trickling to irregular  incomes – all trying to make a living and meet the high demands the economy makes to extract a pound of flesh from a half-loaf of bread needed to still hunger pains.
And although they may be on the bottom rung of the food chain, they form the bulk of the informal income, which if well conducted should be included in the greater scheme of the economy, with extra benefits and favour.

 

Fruit vendor SA

 

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That is just the bottom end of the economic level of any one country.     For  Poverty is everywhere.    But all is not doom and gloom.  There are the middle and upper and higher echelons in our societies, (that are far removed from the street level) – and that make a good living, and a ridiculously rich living, (those who can buy a Claude Monet painting for over a million dollars !!)   Albeit a very beautiful painting, how can such a price be justified, I ask.
When I saw this on the global news, I said to my son, just hang on to my ‘ pencil artwork’ in enough years it may well be worth a foolish man’s fortune!

I disdain negativity.   But now and again, I despair of the future.   With every societal revolution beginning with the Industrial Revolution – the discovery of steam power, electricity and the then world-widening trade routes, to the Automotive Revolution,  the Sexual Revolution of the sixties, that loosened and cracked up our moral foundations, marking the place for the perversity and confusion to come,  to the current Information Technology that banishes all geographic and financial boundaries to the nether-sphere.  And now the foreseeable future of the A I  – Artificial Intelligence,  and, even more scary the possible self-annihilating age of the oncoming Quantum-Computer !

Rich Poor sign

And its all called  ‘Progress’.   There is no doubt that much benefit and convenience (the up-side)  have been derived from these discoveries in our history.    But when I look back over these man-made wonders,  intelligentsia and innovations  – and their out-workings,  I  see more people unemployed.   Is unemployment with its desegregation the malady of our times :  no work, no money, no future no hope – more poverty and despair, riding on its wake of drunkenness addictions and depression within our societies ?

Will the future hold more Street People, like the feather duster and broom man ?
But he has with him the tenacity to do an honest day’s work, with a dream of a better life.  He has hope, and that will carry him through to a better tomorrow.
So the next time you see him, consider buying a feather duster or broom,  even if you don’t need one,  you will be fuelling the future with hope !
Like poverty, dust is everywhere, and settles to grime if you don’t dust and sweep regularly.      Clean homes gather dust too !

 

Broom man
Mr Blessing Ngubane, creates hope for the future.

So support the entrepreneurs,  those ‘career creators’,  for one day, in the fast approaching robotic future,  (remember robots they don’t ask for wage increased, don’t need medical aid, don’t protest, or strike for rights, – they are the perfect employee !) …  who knows we may all have to become entrepreneurs with tenacity and hope in our hearts.

But don’t despair with me, keep in mind that the future is ultimately in God’s hands,  and He knows the end from the beginning, we just need to be good stewards of what has been entrusted to us, and to consider the poor and the needy among us.

Psalm 41: 1  Blessed is he who considers the poor,
The Lord will deliver him in time of trouble.

 

pink feather duster

 

 

Showing off

CareSA Designs had a lovely experience showing off all its crochet craft at the five day Kwa Zulu Natal Christmas Craft Market this December.

In the spirit of entrepreneurship more than 150 traders gathered at the City Hill Church auditorium in Hillcrest to show off their creations and hard work done during the course of 2016.   Certainly a work ethic is being developed to combat poverty.

As I quietly observed the people and their displays for progress I could not help ‘seeing’ an informal economic pillar being built for a better future.   Yes, not all will make the businessman or woman of the year, but there is resilience and resolve, and if perseverance is thrown in with good measure, it could make a small dent in poverty, and lay a foundation for a better future.

Entrepreneuring runs on Hope, develops imagination – where anything is possible – builds a necessary work ethic, releases expression and God given creative potential.

The other side of the coin however is getting to know the nuts and bolts of running a successful business.  This is another story altogether, yet has to be embraced by the budding entrepreneur,  if good  lasting results are to be obtained.  So the next phase would be to get business savvy, and look for mentors willing to take a walk with ‘the future economic builders’.   It may be a long walk, but a start has been made, and as they say … Rome was not built in a day.

Have a look at some of the 2016  CareSA Designs crochet craft range that was on sale at the Christmas Market this year, and feel free to leave a comment or two on new additions, improvements, or add some new ideas for developing a small enterprise.

All it takes is some pretty yarns, hooks, needles maybe a button or two and a little imagination to make a happy hobby – that one day will grow into a budding enterprise.

Here’s to diligence and to hope, and may the work of our hands prosper.

CareSA Chronicles

CARESA CHRONICLES
March 2015
Dear Community Co-hearts and Faraway Friends,

March is marching on to gobble up 2015. And I want to be quick to pen something down before time slips away and the moment to reach you with my letter is gone.
Community Matters : The year kicked off with a Soul Action group gathering. Phil Bowyer led us in a time of Reflection, Refreshing and Refocus. These were very healthy activities and cleared the cobwebs away to reset the mind on a clear course for the year ahead.
I had the pleasure of attending the Container Ministry Conference held at Grace Church here in Umhlanga. In essence this Ministry sources food, equipment and other goods, from contacts Overseas who send ship containers to South Africa. The Container Ministry then re-distributes the goods to a network of Churches (mostly rural in Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa – where poverty is dire) , and to local community projects working with the poor and needy. Because of Luke 6:38 I had thought to up my giving a little this year, but my jaw dropped when I heard of the pig farmer in Wales who not only filled a container with medical equipment, but bought the container, that then was transported to a project to be used as a school classroom !! The magnitude of this giving astounds me. We also heard from the community projects who benefit from this ministry. God is good. And He goes to great lengths to help the Poor through His people, who are called by His name.
I am so looking forward to a meeting in March, calling for an Entrepreneur Development Focus Group, which wants to discuss the way forward for the Craft Traders of the Hope Craft Market. Hopefully this will strengthen the “poverty to progress” mindset. If we can capture all the right role players, with their ideas, insights and contributions, this could lead us to the next step on this very long road out of poverty. Entrepreneurs can and should form the basis of a new “emerging economy” for the sub-economic sector in our society. In fact it should form part of a bigger plan for Social Regeneration in South Africa. But alas I don’t think there is such a plan, until then we just need to trudge along as best we can. But with faith hope and love anything is possible. Right ? Right !
Now, beam me back please !! I once heard a man say : it sometimes is not easy to keep the balance between dreams and reality. So true … so for now back to reality.
At my monthly Craft Group meeting I came to hear of a ministry to premature babies by Gill Cameron of We Are Durban, who do a whole lot of good work in Durban. Gill packs little baby parcels for the premature babies and takes them to the hospitals to personally give them to the mums who have absolutely nothing for their little babies. At times they are wrapped in newspaper and sent home !! This moved me so, that I decided to use some of my off-cut materials and make up little blankets to give to Gill. Gill also encourages ladies to knit tiny beanies for these little ones, and our Craft Group members have supported her. There is much kindness in Durban, people are so willing to help where they can with what they can, and with what they have on hand. The giving is easy here !

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Gill Cameron and me showing off the little machine patchwork blankets from CareSA.

I have started blogging. I have a site on WordPress, which is a website for people who want to write. WordPress offer a course, which I did, and what a mind s-t-r-e-t-c-h for me . Smoke still coming out of my ears !! I have so much to learn. I have called my blog the CareSA Foundation, and intend to put all CareSA writings and concepts on it, so that all these dreams and ideas that lie neatly folded up in my mind can find an expression – on a global platform, nogal. That is if anyone visits my blog ! I have written quite abit on Gardens of the heart from the Care Africa Movement project. I even wrote a poem about Africa (not that I am a poet of any ilk or form)
Through Blogging I have come to realize that we are all just very tiny fish in a big big sea of humanity, with all its hurts and pains and joys and potentials.
My blog address is : https://caresafoundation.wordpress.com
Click on this and visit my blog, and leave your comments, remember to click on the Post button to publish to my blog. This will spur me on, – and I would love to hear from you.
For me the world has shifted gears, as I have come to realize that there is a whole new way of communicating going on. The Internet, Blogging, Social Media eg Twitter, Facebook, Google, have changed the world as we know it. It is scary, but I think we should embrace the change, and we will find that our worlds will expand. I’m trying, slowly, to do just that, and am finding new horizons to explore and new stories to hear.
I leave you with this encouragement, and with the hope that you will experience Luke 6:38 in your own life, and come to know the goodness of God in 2015.

Give, and it will be given to you : good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.
Stay in Faith Hope and Love, and blessings to you this day.
Luv, Carol.