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

 

 

Phenomena – The winds of change

 

Coconut palm trees blowing in a breeze against a blue sky

 

Often, as the year comes to an end, we are presented with reviews of the current events of the past year.   I suspect that this year it will be no different.    We have experienced some strange phenomena going on in our world at large.

Curious to me, is the phenomenon of the Global Migration taking place.
Africa seems to be migrating to Europe.
Central Americans are walking, to America in what they call a caravan of people.
The devastating Syrian war that have caused huge Refugee camps to become new neighbourhoods for the victims of war

Why,  I wonder ?
I heard it said, that it is because  the poorest of the poor cannot tolerate their poverty one minute more, and are willing to risk life and limb to make a change for themselves and their families for the better.   Crime and oppression have just become to unbearable in their own countries.  Power and greed stifles, maims and kills !  And who could, or should live in those conditions ?

Migration poses enormous problems as it becomes a huge challenge, – but so to a change in the cultural exchange of the receiving countries.
It is unchartered waters where the solutions and outcomes are not known, and long-term effect will bring about irretrievable results.
What will a melting pot of languages and cultures mean in the course of time ?  Will there be conflict, for sure, will there be confusion, for sure, but no one knows, as yet the reasons or the results for this phenomena called Migration.  Will it mean a new global village ?  A loss of nationalism, and thus identity ?  No one knows the future.

The world, in its oh so developed state, have forgotten the poor.  The mass of the people of our  global world are poor and been ignored, and purposely, and conveniently forgotten.
We think we are so smart, with our smart phones and devices of mind-boggling technological  proportions, that in essence leave the people of our world in a poorer place.  Poorer in unemployment, poorer in equality, poorer in integrity !
I am not against progress and development, but that surge should be for all people, not just the rich, the famous and the powerful.

Muslims are being detained in China, and are undergoing a de-doctrination, in large “schools” being built to accommodate this plan.
Jews despicably murdered in their own synagogues, recently in Pittsburgh.
American politics have turned a corner in contemporary party politics, with targeted pipe bomb scares.  Maybe harmless, maybe not, but it is incomprehensible political warfare of a new kind.

Nationalism is another surprising and interesting phenomenon standing its ground.
Trump’s America and Britain’s Brexit strongly reflect this phenomenon.    Just when the globalisation of the whole world seemed unstoppable, with its fast trade, tsunami-like  waves for financial gain, that blows consumerism into a frenzy of more and more and more !   Is a resistance being raised to being dominated and manipulated by the money god of world economics?

Cyber information is perhaps the most alarming phenomena of our time – all about the subtle influencing of gullible consumers, advertising, branding and marketing, not to mention sinister manipulation, politicking and power – and eroding the facts and the truth about almost any given matter.    Fake news seems to be an acceptable thing ! And  at times the gossip on the social media is a ‘source’ for the news scoop of the day !

Morality has been turned upside down, reflecting the good as bad and the bad as good – what is trending is right !  The moral compass is out of sight, even some would say lost.
And to my mind, that is the saddest of the modern phenomena of the times we live in today.

The Crime and Corruption phenomena, although global, is very evident here in South Africa.   To watch the local news is a depressing experience.  News moves at lightning speed through our politics, which changes every day.  Our gruesome community stories, mostly about poverty, crime and community protests and unrest –  reveals the mountain of corruption we are enduring at present.
In fact, South Africa, seemingly innocently unaware, has been looted under a cloud of skilful strategic corruption of magnum proportions, –  for almost a decade now !
Now that the threads of corruption and crime are being unravelled, by an astute new leadership, we are left gobsmacked at the enormity of this wasteful expenditure – and the depravity of the sons of shame in our nation – as the poor are even poorer than before.
Yet there is hope with moments of the comical, the kindest of humanities and of course our invigorating and beloved Sport, that brings us a light refreshing.
Our news, most times depressing, but perhaps  ‘all sides of  diverse and vibrant’, would be a better catch phrase to describe the South African news.

But, not to be to much of a pessimist I need to mention another strange phenomenon that
has taken place in our country this past year.   Huge people-gathering events have taken place when thousands answered the call for prayer,  seeking mercy and sustenance for our leaders, our people and our country.
At the last gathering in October, prayers were said for a spirit of forgiveness for the peoples of South Africa  –  to give forgiveness, and to receive forgiveness from each other.    For racism, murder and evil to be nullified, and for a new day of progress and development for all South Africans.

To my mind, the best kind of phenomenon is Prayer, that ushers in the winds of change !

2 Chronicles 7:14
If My people who are called by my name,
will humble themselves and pray,
and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways,
then I will hear from heaven,
and heal their land.

Red rose

 

LOOKING FOR … KINDNESS

 

fruitbsk0011 (3)

Philosophically speaking : I was reminded today of what progress means.
It is  Think, Expect and Do – or conception, pregnancy, birth.   In other words  the seed, the gestation and then the manifestation. This hopefully followed by growth –  which can take on its own directions and distractions. And in between each phase there is time, and plenty of it, and that only because of the grace of God.
This may well be the pathway of development and progress, which can be applied to many levels of life, not only social development or the faith life.   What is required is Patience.
But that is not what I am looking for today.  I am putting out onto the Blogosphere the challenge for Kindness through:  The Kids of Africa Campaign.

However, console yourself and keep this formula in mind when you consider your unfulfilled dreams, unfinished tasks, or purely if you are a procrastinator of note,  take heart you now may have the excuse, the pattern, or  even the reason for the delay !

I have said all that to say this….these are the thoughts I was entertaining for not forging ahead with my writing project on The Fruit Basket.  A random writing series of “LOOKING FOR  ….” the virtues of the good life found in Galatians 5:22.    So today I resume my search, but with an edge of practicality, and being an unashamed opportunist, want to include it in the challenge  of the Kids of Africa  Campaign,  with the hope that it will unleash a flood of  kindness to and from all kinds of communities.
Here is the challenge – creating caring communities through kindness and crafting.

     THE  KIDS  OF  AFRICA  CAMPAIGN
Africa is a rich continent, not only in minerals, but in humanity too.   To draw on this wealth we need to mine, not only the gold and silver, but also the huge deposits of goodness and kindness lying within our own hearts.
Join this simple campaign for Kindness by knitting a beanie or two…or three, for the Kids of Africa.

50103329.jpg Kids of Africa.jpg

The intention is to create caring communities through Crafting – whether it be knitting or crocheting.  Communities, especially the Women, the Young ones, the Amazing Gogos (Grandmothers) and all those in between, crafting for the Kids and teaching Kids to craft for the Elderly and Disabled in their communities  –   perhaps even grow veggie gardens too, to blend in with the Care Africa movement project.
Begin by knitting beanies, preferably in red,  but any colour will do, and then distributing them in  your own local community.
If you want, you may send a photo of yourself and your community to this email
clyle.sa@gmail.com   –   and it will be posted on the  Blog just to show that Africa cares.
This is an initiative against poverty, a campaign for kindness, and for communities to progress.

BEANIE  PATTERN 
With Double Knitting wool, and size 4 mm or 4.5mm knitting needles
Cast on 90  stitches for the Kids beanie.
First Row Rib :  Kl, P2,  to end of row
Second Row   :   P2, K1,  to end of row
Change to no.  4.5mm or 5 mm knitting needle and
Continue until work measures 24 centimeters.

Shape Top of Beanie
Next Row  :  P1  (K1,  P2 together)  –  repeat to end.
Next Row  :  Purl.
Next Row  :  K 2 together to end.
Next Row  :  Purl to end
Next Row  :  K2 together to end.
Next Row  :  Purl two together to end.
Leave a length, and break yarn.
Thread twice through remaining stitches.
Draw up tightly and fasten off.
Stitch back seam neatly together.

Adult size Beanie :   Cast on 100 stitches
Rib until work measures 30 cms.
Continue to shape top.

Enjoy creating … and teach others to be kind through crafting. 
Blessed are those who consider the poor.   Psalm 41:1

07032011036.jpg                                                                         Happy  crafting !

People Who Care

I have just spent the last two days in the sea of humanity.  It was rather intense, youthful, noisy, to the extent of being loud, colourful, fashionable statements with trendy “weaves” of the young aspiring women.  There was a sprinkle of White, Coloured and Indian Diversity, all draped in care and laced with humility –  all very vibrant, like only South Africans can be.   It was a privilege to be part of this event,  KWNCSOC – the Kwa Zulu Natal Civil Society Organisation Coalition safely birthed after a two and a half year interim period of formation.

The KWNCSOC is a network that draws the caring  society of Kwa Zulu Natal together in a coailtion  e.g the Non Profit Organisations, and others in Mercy Ministries who work  to bring some relief to poor and broken communities.  These are the caring angels of the peoples, the unsung passionate heroes of our societies, and, not duly recognised, as the semi invisible arm of the social development work of the government.
What made this event, so vibrant was the percentage of young adults that attended the occasion.  I sensed such a passion (and maybe it came from a place of survival !) yet there was an underlying caution, an alertness, a community intelligence, not to be drawn in and swayed by the flavours of the day. Present too were the donors of projects, and social drivers, all necessary for progress ? – or exploitations for other agendas ? But such is the way of politics.  But their polite caution, the listening ear, the hearing heart gave me a hope, for I do believe it is people and not  finance that will make the biggest difference to South Africa’s future.

Durban’s beautiful Botanical Gardens.

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The conference came together in a community hall situated at the entrance of the beautiful Durban Botanical Gardens – which I call the Green Cathedral. It is made magnificent with its three hundred year old tress planted in a vastness of green, with lawns and flowers and shrubs of every kind.  It is worth a visit, to linger and to soak up its splendour!  It is one of my most favourite places to be.

The organisers of the conference, the Democracy Development Program,  had arranged the chairs in little circles of five, where intense discussion could take place, where identities were revealed, hearts could be shared, and dreams could be told.
I listened, and heard mainly of the obstacles toward progress, but then also the aspirations and longing for a better life and a better future.

The Care Africa Movement.

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  A Care Garden envelope of spinach seeds to grow food in your yard for a promise from  you to read the Word of God to grow food for your soul.  

I, too could  share my dreams of a Care Africa Movement, where there are Care Gardens in the hearts of people, and a vegetable garden in their yards.   Hunger – or more positively Food Production is the pivotal place of poverty alleviation, it can also be a starting point for social development and entrepreneurship in Africa.  I shared my dream and gave a few seed envelopes to those who would receive them, and hope that they will join the movement, and send me photos of their gardens, to put on my blog for you to see.
Growth is a learning process whether you are growing your soul, or growing your food.
But basically, on different levels, it is the same.  There is the soil, (the heart) and then there is the seed  (the Word of God) that is sown.  Necessary is the nurturing, the watering, the weeding, and good nutrition (teaching) for good results.   After many months (or years) comes the harvest, the product, the bearing of fruit –  (or the character !)   Good seed will produce good results.  Finally comes the joy of achievement, and the sharing of what is good, the tasting of what is good, and the knowing  that God is good !

May the Care Africa Movement be a growing process for those who join in, and bear good results, for the soul, and for food for poverty alleviation.   Plant your Care gardens today – and make a difference in your life and in your community – and email me a photo to share with other.

Eat well,   Grow well,  Share well.

vegetables-colorful

Care Africa Movement Project

AFRICA  O  AFRICA
When will you arise.

Who holds you down,
Who pins you to the ground.
Is it the Tribalism of your past,
The Colonials in your history.
Or the shackles of greed your Leaders so readily display.

How did you fall into poverty, and decide to stay that way.
When will you look to progress, and a new day.
Are you your own Jailer, that only can unlock the gate.
How long will you make us wait.
Or is it just to easy to blame, instead of getting into the game.

The World awaits, and cheers you on,
And knows well you can go from a begging bowl,
to a bread basket soul.
Reach out to Almighty God to lift you out of your poverty,
Reach for your prosperity, reach for your plenty,
Plenty to grow and plenty to share.

Africa when will you arise,
When will you go,
To plant your Care Gardens,
In your soil, and in your soul.
Africa  O  Africa,
When will you arise,
Shine your light out of the dark past
into the brightness of an honest future,

Now, the time has come,
Africa … Arise !