Last year I told you all about Maria, the lady that keeps my house, and how wonderful she is. I also meant to tell you about the gardener that keeps our yard beautiful. I have a big yard, and it is on a hill, so it takes some pushing to cut the grass!
This is Mark. He is a very bright,diligent hard worker. He arrives here every time wearing a brilliant smile. I never have to tell him what needs to be done. He arrives in the morning and commences to work on the yards. I live in a compound of 4 homes. Mark cares for 3 of the 4 yards. He starts in one yard and works his way from yard to yard. He uses all the tools available to care for all of the yards. If I want something moved, arranged, dug, planted…. whatever -he does it. He keeps the limbs from the electric fence, keeps the leaves raked, the weeds at bay, he picks up after the dogs and waters the lawn twice a week.
Mark is from Botswana. He is 29 soon to be 30. He has a family; a wife, a young son 11 and a daughter 8, with a new one on the way. Due this month. He has a proper house in Botswana and goes home 2 or 3 times a year to see his family. He will be going home soon to see his wife and new baby. I gave him his baby quilt so that he would have it when he went home. It is one of the ‘baby boy’ quilts I completed recently. (Edit: Mark is the proud daddy to another baby boy, born 6/25/2012!)
Because of cultural custom, he will not be allowed to see his new offspring for 3 weeks, so it will be a long wait for him. Mark is open and is always answering my questions about him, his family and the life and traditions of his culture and country. Just recently I asked him about “Lobola”. Lobola is the bride price that the groom must pay to the brides family for the privilege of marriage. Mark paid his lobola in livestock, cows, goats and sheep, and is still paying. He still has several sheep and goats to go.
Mark, like Maria is industrious. In January of 2011 Mark asked me if I would hold some money for him. He wanted to save some money to buy a car. I said sure, no problem. Every month Mark would give me some money… and soon he had quite the pot of money. Cars here are expensive. Very expensive. You still see vehicles that are 30 years old on the road, and they are not vintage antique, but daily driving cars. In October of last year, he thought he found a car to buy, but was a little short. Mark came to me and asked to borrow some money. But unlike most of the South African help, who often ask for monetary assistance, without provisions for repayment and really have no intent to pay it back. Mark had a repayment plan. He did not buy that car. He did buy a car and now he is saving money again.
Last year Mark mentioned that some day he would like to open a photographic business in his hometown; near Francistown, Botswana. Something, his wife could do, from a store front. I formulated a plan to help him with that…. He would need a digital camera and a printer. Both are pretty expensive in South Africa. So I found a camera (Carrie another of his clients had one she didn’t need any longer) so she gave it to him. I told him to go out and take some pictures of his friends -like portraits. to play with the camera and get used to it. He is a natural with the camera. I wanted him to practice with the camera before giving him the rest of the gift-a small printer; that prints 4x6 prints. This gift is his birthday present for this year and last. He was so tickled that I had thought enough of him to give a gift he wanted. He kept telling me I was making his dreams come true.
I am so lucky to have found Mark and Maria. They are both warm and generous people and I have been fortunate to know them. I will also miss them very much when we leave here.
More later….. Beth