Friday, 11 November 2011

Happy 11/11/11

I am so glad the week is over, although the weekend looks pretty exhausting too. I need to do some work and sort out my tax documents for my accountant (blergh) and we also have lots of social stuff planned and then quite a serious meeting with some of our church elders to discuss some niggles on Sunday afternoon (not looking forward to that).

What I am looking forward is spending 11/11/11 eve with my uncle, whose bday is today (pretty cool date), and the rest of my family. And I'm looking forward to seeing two friends for coffee, catch-up and jewellery browsing on Sat and Sun mornings.

TSC is miserable at present because he has to pay a few speeding fines (tsssk tsssk) and replace his car's tyres, which are more expensive than he expected. And seeing he had to replace his Blackberry last week after losing his on the mine, it's been an expensive few weeks.

Today has been an interesting day. I presented a small social media workshop this morning for a business looking to tackle its online marketing. And I have Victoria with us for the first time.

Victoria is a lady who sleeps on the grass outside of our complex every week day. Most home-owners in our complex thought she was a lazy drunk, but she's actually a very hardworking lady who just needs a place to get some shut-eye.

Victoria works a night-time cleaning job at an advertising agency in Bryanston, but she lives right on the other end of Johannesburg in what us Gautengers call the Deep South (not the same one as in the US of A, obviously). She can't afford the time or the taxi money to get home every day, and she hasn't been able to find a daytime job or one closer to where she lives, so she sleeps on the grass verge outside our complex during the day and works every night.

Our homeowners actually complained at the AGM this year and asked if someone can't "move her elsewhere". It broke my heart because she's just trying to make a living and she's not causing anyone any harm or even bothering people. She leaves for work around the same time as most people are getting home.

It's been tugging on my heart for awhile, so two weeks ago I approached her and introduced myself. I asked her name and found out more about her. She's such a dear, with a big friendly smile and an open personality. I told her that I'm generally home on Fridays (which is when my domestic is here too) and invited her to use our bathroom, washing machine and spare bed if she needs to do so on a Friday.

She was so, so grateful and she immediately offered to do my washing up and ironing in return, but I've told her there's no need. I was incredibly humbled that such a small thing can make such a big difference to someone.

Today was the first day she's come - last week she was away at a funeral. I don't know her well yet and obviously there's a risk when you let someone into your home, but she's been incredibly polite and sweet. She washed herself, washed her clothes and has spent most of the day sleeping and chatting to our domestic worker.

I must admit that I was a bit nervous to extend an invitation to her, but so far I'm glad I did. She's desperate for a fulltime daytime cleaning job anywhere, so if you know of anyone who could help, please let me know.

I'll keep you updated on how things go. Until then, have a wonderful weekend.


Anonymous said...

Wow, that's an amazing thing to do!!! And brave. Please let us know how it goes. Well done.
Love Lulu

Anonymous said...

Your heart is definitely bigger than mine. Not to say I wouldn't - provided I know her whole story. It's just the whole getting the story process that I probably wouldn't look into. My dad taught me to stay away from finding out such things, because, he says it perpetuates the problem. My mom on the other hand helps whoever wants help- my only issue with this is that they are SO drunk all of the time and it puts me off. Am I shallow?

po said...

You are brave and kind.

tanyadeville said...

Wow, what a sad situation she has been in! And how absolutely lovely of u!

Fiona said...

It must be a wonderful feeling to be able to be such a blessing to someone in need. Your story has really touched me and has given me faith in humanity again.

I hope Victoria finds a daytime job soon xxxx

Anonymous said...

Oh dear Paula! Please recognize how this is not about you. I think your question answers itself. Whoa! As for "Am I shallow?" !!!

Damaria Senne said...

You are sooo amazing. I'm glad for her that she met you and that you offered her space to sleep and to do her laundry.

cat said...

I would love to know how this is going. You have a great great heart