Sunday, June 26, 2011

It’s all about Maria!

We decided that we wanted to have a second TV operational in the house. When we moved here we brought 2 ‘tube’ televisions… One a huge heavy 36” that we never even plugged in because DH couldn’t wait for the House Hold Goods to arrive… and bought a Flat Panel for the living room. The other was a 19” Mitsubishi that I bought back in 1987 that has been in nearly constant use since and in recent years as the bedroom TV because it had a sleep timer… so it would shut off… after the news if you fell asleep first!!!

So we move it to the bedroom, and get all set to plug it in… but we realize we needed another power converter… (step down from South Africa power to US power), no biggie, but when we went to plug in the signal converter (from South Africa signal) to one a US television could (read/display) we discovered that this television, although state of the art in 1987 lacked a few device plug ins (audio/video in/out). You can connect cable and antennas, but that is all!!! It doesn’t even have a headphones (sound out) connection! We decided a Flat Panel for the bedroom was the answer. So we get it, connect the DSTV, (South Africa Satellite), and discover that the connection in the bedroom isn’t live, although we asked to have that done when we moved in. So now we wait and wait….

But the real story here I want to share is this:Maria

I have a domestic worker Maria, (known as a housekeeper in the US),  I asked her if she would like the old TV. I got the warmest tightest hug from her and an enthusiastic yes. -Before I go on, I can and have cleaned my own house… but I was informed that it was my duty to create jobs and employ South Africans, so I have a housekeeper and a gardener. Both of whom are wonderful, warm, responsible, caring and diligent workers and I feel so lucky to have them. Anyway, Maria lives a fair piece out in the country. It takes her more than 2 hours to get here every day and often longer to get home each day. So taking the TV on the Transport (the bus) was out of the question… for 2 reasons it’s big and heavy and it would target her for theft. If I had “domestic quarters” I would offer her the opportunity to stay… here, but my house sadly doesn’t have any.

So we took her home. Maria is nearly as old as I, she has worked all her life, she has one son that she has raised, and now has a DIL and a Grand Baby. She has told her son and DIL that if there is domestic violence that the DIL can stay but the son will be OUT. Maria suffered through this… and is divorced and feels very strongly. Strongly enough to boot the boy for his sins… if it ever comes to that. Maria is a very strong lady and works very hard and lives modestly, enough that she has bought her own land and is in the process of building her own house. She saves and builds as she can afford it and in the meantime lives in a small hut in the back of her brick wall house.  When the house is done the son and family will also move in. Even though Maria does not live in a ‘proper’ house, her quarters are neat, clean and tidy- even though she gets up (DH asked and she told us) at 3:30 in the morning, puts the kettle on to boil, makes tea, washes up, makes her bed and leaves for the bus by 4:30 in the morning to get to my house by 8. I have suggested that she could start later, but then she would get home later and she would much rather stop at her sons to play with the baby every day on the way home! Maria only stays 4 hours each day, (I pay her for full time work) which would be anywhere from 6-8 hours per day, but as long is it doesn’t look like I have dogs…. I really don’t care…

Maria is trying to save enough to put the roof on her house. Right now it is just brick walls on the foundation, with window and door frames. But what I really wanted to say is that I feel so very blessed to have Maria and I hope I can help her out … before we leave…. to get a little further on her house!

As Always…. more later!


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Good Friends!

Let me start by saying we have some really great friends, both here and at home.

Just before Frank came home a surprise box from the US came in the mail. It was a care package from our friends from Durban, Carl and Brenda. They were stationed here for 2 years and we spent lots of time with them last year when I visited DH in Durban. We saw many of the sights with them. They are now home in Texas and settled back at life in the US.

Carl and Brenda have been sending small boxes of fun … periodically since we got here. Unfortunately I have been unable to blog about them… mostly because they seem to arrive just as we are going (to Kruger)… and most of the contents go with us and are consumed before I even get a picture!!! But not so this last time. I have a picture and I have delivered the other items in the box so I don’t even have to worry about spoiling the surprise for others.

The box contained a short letter and some pictures of their new house,care-pkge some popcorn, DD coffee, gum, pretzel snacks and trail type mixes. Needless to say some are already gone or in the process of being gone!!!

Not only that, but last month a mystery magazine arrived. Of course it was a quilty magazine, that they surprised me with. Not just one but a subscription!!! Since it has been more than a year since I saw a US Quilt magazine it was quite a wonderful surprise!

Last weekend we had the opportunity to deliver the gifts to Fanie and Elmarie. They invited us to dinner on Sunday. It was great. There was a ton of food! Lamb roast and gravy, chicken stir-fry, rice, broccoli, roasted potatoes and butternut fritters, as well as desserts. In addition to Farnie and Elmarie, the kids were there, Heliza, Thornton and Tristan, but we also got to meet, Farnies brother, sister in law and his mother!!! We really feel like part of the family now. No pictures because I didn’t take a camera, but wish I did now!!!

No stitching or sewing to report this week. Although I have tried to be in the studio -I have not made it in there long enough to make any progress… It could be for things like trying to make the all in one wireless printer scan to a computer…. 3 hours later it works!!!

More later- Beth

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Jacaranda Quilters

Today I managed to make it to the Pretoria Jacaranda Quilters meeting. I missed the meeting February. Meetings here are a little different. They are large gatherings several months apart. A place to meet, shop and share. I think it’s mostly about the shopping…. just like in the US. I went for several reasons. I wanted to see some quilts made by South Africans. The Guild has a small quilt show. Maybe about 30 quilts on racks and hung over the pews. Some the quilts on the pews were there for the best part of a Guild meeting, the SHOW and Tell. (the pictures are the best I could do… I did not want to take a large camera and flash.


The quilts on racks were made by some of the small groups called home groups, and what we would call a ‘bee’. One of the themes for the year was Round Robins, most of the quilts were from the same group, and some were really quite fun. My personal favorite was the bright giraffes


and the viewers choice was this one.


One of the members Danel Muller, created a fabulously beautiful piece of art. A well known South African painter, Pieter Janse van Rensburg, asked her to recreate one of his pieces in fabric. It is stunning in person!!!


Of course I shopped and bought some fabric… mostly South African Da Gama cottons, (not the Shwe Shwe made by the same company),  that are designed for quilters of soft cotton and soft colors.


Some of these will be making their way back to the US via swaps, trades or gifts.

My buys 1

I also picked up 2 pieces of South African hand dyes,, (the colors are off a bit- the yellow not quite so bright and the blue not so washed out) and a piece of US fabric, (the red/pink marbled one), which I don’t recall ever seeing in the states. Also picked up the floral batik.

Of course I picked up a few more of the embroideries that are made by local women to support their families.


There were a few new designs this time, a gecko, basket, a tree and a woman with a basket on head and a baby on her back. These also make their way back to the states as gifts or swaps. The overall size is about 3 x 5 and would make a great Needle Case cover or the center of a throw pillow.

While shopping, I was flagged down by a friend and told about another American that came to visit the meeting. The world is indeed small. It turns out we are living in the same neighborhood, and our paths have come very close to crossing in the US, (specifically Nebraska!) and I may know one of the cousins… in Grand Island. Several of the quilts on the pews are ones she has made, and brought to Show and Tell. Nancy and her husband (a pastor) are here visiting children and grand children that are working with a church/school. She will be leaving at the end of July, going home to Montana. They have been here since January.

I had a very enjoyable day with the ladies and October is a very long way off - which is when the next meeting will take place.

On another note my DH is home, and will be here for a bit (I hope). He was lucky the dogs remembered him and let him in!

As always… … More LATER!