Have you ever thought?

This coming Friday in South Africa we recognise people with disabilities. To do this we purchase a sticker and dress up in a themed manner. Sounds fun, doesn’t it. But it has me thinking. Does the purchasing of a sticker and dressing up really make a difference? Will those who participate really understand what living with a disability is like? I’m afraid I think not. That said, I’m certainly not decrying the initiative, and will participate, as I do each year, happy that my R10 will be going to charity. I’m also encouraging you all to join in please.

But would it not be better to suggest we purchase the sticker and inconvenience ourselves a little instead? I’ve had a slipped disc for about 3 months, and how my husband hasn’t divorced me after all the moaning and groaning I’ve done is anybody’s guess. My inability to perform such simple daily tasks as putting on my shoes without the need for pain killers has had me bordering on despair. Keep that in mind, I’ll get to the carers in a minute.

Let’s put this inconvenience into perspective then. Have you ever cut your finger? Can you remember how difficult it was to type, cook, even wash-up or go to the loo? What about broke a bone, say your leg.  Did you find it frustrating to not be able to drive, walk, live your life as normal? Did you suddenly discover activities such as the gym were out of the question, or the chance to participate in a fun event were no longer an option?

Now can you imagine living like that for a month, two months, a year, five years, a lifetime? You wouldn’t want it, would you?

So how about this Friday you put a plaster on your finger, or put your arm in a sling and no matter what you are expected to do, keep it there. In essence learn how to live with a disability for twenty-four hours, and see how important your R10 is.

The carers then, an area of disability that is rarely considered and barely recognised –  often than not they are parents who give up jobs and opportunities to support their child. Their emotional welfare pushed to levels most parents would never know.

A couple of months back I was walking in Tokai forest. Coming towards me were a family, mum, dad, new baby and young son. I was drawn to them immediately as the son was on a tricycle, the type typical of a disabled child. I knew this as my own daughter had had one, modified to suit her cerebral palsy. This young lad reminded me of my daughter and I stopped to chat to them.

I told them how my daughter had similar disabilities to their son, and that she’d recently married. We laughed as we discovered their son was attending the same school as my daughter had and how his surgeon had operated on my daughter’s hamstrings, although these days, instead of cutting the hamstrings they use botox once a year to loosen them. Amazing!

When we said goodbye, I felt as if I’d done a good deed that day. Here was a family who were facing a lot of decisions I had already dealt with. I like to think they went away with a little bit of hope that their son could lead a life beyond their care one day, or at least reasonably independent. Something many parents of disabled children find hard to comprehend.

So this Friday, put on your sticker, dress up if you will, and maybe you’ll put a plaster on your finger. But whatever you do, give it some thought, and really, really think about what it is to live with a disability. And maybe, just maybe, you could offer the carers of a disabled child a night off, or bring them a cooked meal.

Whatever you chose to do, it will make a difference.

Casual Day – 5th September 2014

 

 

Sneaking this one in on a fine Spring Day

Hello, a wee bit of self-marketing here :) on this beauty of a spring day in Cape Town.  Can’t believe I’m inside while the sun is out there waiting for me.

My book, Jedland is free today. I’d love you to read it.

You don’t have to own a Kindle, you can downlaod the free Kindle app and read on any device.

Hope you will enjoy it and let me know what you think.

You can download your free copy here – Jedland

 

jedland_kindle

 

 

Are you kidding me, it’s almost Spring day?

One of my first jobs when I moved to South Africa in the eighties was in an in office where first names were not allowed.

“Miss Bradbury,” a fellow worker would say. “Please pass me a ruler.”
“Here you are Mevrou Steenkamp,” I would reply.
“Dankie,” would end our conversation.

We sat in two rows facing each other. An assortment of ladies, young and old. Quietly working at heavy, highly polished desks. Our chief clerk casting her eyes over us, her hair lacquered firmly in place. Noise was not encouraged and at best you could ask for a new pen, but only if you had the old one to hand in. Dress code was strict, ladies were instructed to wear stockings/tights – regardless of the weather -, skirts could not be above the knee, no shoulders to be exposed, and shoes must never, ever expose toes or have you towering. Comfortable court shoes were encouraged, and preferably to be black, navy-blue or brown. Maybe a white pair in summer.

We started at 8 and finished at 5. Food was only to be eaten in the canteen, and we received a 10% discount on any food and textiles we purchased in the store. The value of which was tallied and paid out quarterly.

My employers were very strict. I was nineteen or twenty at the time, barely able to speak the language and was gradually settling into life in Pretoria, or the Jacaranda City as it was fondly referred. Surprisingly, although maybe not so when you consider Woolworths in South Africa’s links to Marks & Spencers in the UK, a number of my colleagues working on the sales floor were ex-pats like myself. We were drawn to each other at break times where conversations were Afrikaans free. We would drink tea as we shared tips on where to purchase our favourite English food stuffs, as well as our attempts at lighting the fire for the braai.

So how does this tie in with Spring Day you may be wondering. Well it was during my first year at this job that I first experienced the celebration. I remember arriving at my desk on September 1st. Flowers and sweets were everywhere. The ladies normal dowdy attire replaced with colourful, and mostly floral clothes. While the level of chatter was allowed to increase, and laughter was almost encouraged. Stockings however remained in place. As did covered toes.

I laugh every year now when Spring day is coming. For no other reason than the enjoyment of remembering these dear ladies celebrating the change of season. I will never forget how they cherished this day, over indulging and breaking the rules of our employ. Or how their faces transformed from sour to sweet delight. I’m not sure if the celebration was such because they hungered for fun at work, or they genuinely found pleasure in welcoming Spring. Whatever it was, they have given me something to remember, and for that I am truly grateful.

DEARHEARTPHOTOS-2

photo courtesy Dear Heart Photos

gearing up for. . .

well I’ve not been around for a while, which is a great shame as I love blogging and interacting.

Thought I’d share a photo of my lovely Travis who we lost in February. I think this could be the greatest pelfie of all times. We miss you boy

Image

 

I might not be around for a couple more weeks due to  LINK TO SEE  will be distracting me

keep warm those of you in the Southern Hemisphere, and hopefully you in the Northern are finally getting a chance to open your sun tan lotion