Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Hungry People & Polite Beggars

 From Elder S. To Everett Young
 On Tue, 12 Jun 2012 Thomas Stokoe writes:

After 11 days we are back in the world of communication; we are now internet-re-connected. Apparently we had to wait our turn in line to be serviced, hence the drought in communication.  The new house is nice both interior and exterior, and the lady of the house is very happy. She is constantly singing a song from the Broadway musical, "A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To the Forum."  It's called, "Everyone Should Have A maid" and she sings it daily with enthusiasm and a bright smile on her face. The maid, by the way, is a worker - fast, efficient, dedicated, constantly on the move cleaning every nook and cranny.  At the end of her work day, she asked me if she could have two pieces of bread to take home.  That told me a story right then and there: there's a lack of food in her house.  I gave her a whole loaf of bread, some ham, and a loaf of carrot cake.

Note from Sister S.:
Elder S. often exaggerates when describing my reaction to things.  i.e. Having a maid and his story of my encounter with the Rino.  Jessica came with our new flat.  When I learned we were moving, I felt bad for Talanna’s maid, thinking she would be out of a job so I invited her to work for us.  But Talanna’s mother had already secured her services.  She said she had a daughter, named Jessica who needed work.  Jessica’s African name means humble, which certainly describes her.  Jessica  lives in a township 45 minutes away with her two sisters, their children and her own son whose name is Lekimva.  It means “the future.”  We pay Jessica the going rate of 100 Rand plus bus fair each time she comes.  Elder S. always sends her off with extra food.

I think we take food for granted at times.  We have plenty, more than enough, even a surplus while others have less, virtually little, or maybe nothing at all.  I stopped at a red traffic light returning from a ward out in the bush area.  An old man was seated a few feet away on the railing beside the road. I could tell he was one in need.  We stock the car with little packets of peanuts and raisins.  As the light turned green and the car moved forward, I wound my window down and reached out to the man with a packet. He bounded toward me and taking the packet emitted the loudest "Thank you!' I have heard since being in Africa. That was an appreciative downtrodden man.

Tonight we went to Kwamagxaki ward out in the outlying rural area to deliver the elders' mail and teach a makeup class to a student.  I parked on the grass outside the church fenced yard and opened the trunk grabbing the plastic bag of mail.  There were young Black kids playing on the street.  Two little girls raced up to me and seeing letters in the bag one asked enthusiastically, "Can I have I have a letter?"  "I can't give you a letter," I said, "But I can give you something else."  I gave them each a bag of peanuts and raisins and immediately the rest of the kids came running. Fortunately, I had just enough to give each child.  They jumped and squealed with delight.  Then every single one of them came up to me and said, "Thank you."

I have noticed, even with the beggars, that people here are polite. Every single beggar that I have given a packet of peanuts and raisins to, or something other to eat, has said "Thank you."  Many have clasped their hands together and bowed.  I think we the rich in comparison to the poor have much to be thankful for.  When one lives in a tin shack, is unemployed and dependent upon the good graces of others, there is a great lesson in humility to be learned.  Well, have a good day all and I hope Youngs you are enjoying your vacation.  

Elder S.

Note:  Yesterday we stopped for a light in Walmar where the same 2 young boys always beg on the same corner.  We are not allowed to give money, so usually hand out raisins and peanuts.  At least they are getting some protein.  The locals tells us never to give money to children as there is always an adult somewhere in the background ready to collect it to buy drugs and/or alcohol.  We witnessed this on our air port run to pick up the elder's mail last week.  We saw a five-year-old begging boy hand his father the money he had just collected from a passer by.  There are social service programs here in South Africa to help every child attend and stay in school.  But there are also parents and/or guardians who have another agendas.  They are teaching their children to become professional beggars.  When these 2 boys saw us they came right up to our window and asked for their peanut treat.  I told Elder S. he should stop encouraging them.  But he was laughing so hard because they recognized us that he cheerfully handed each a treat.    
 Everett Young to,

With you telling us about moving and when I had not received e-mail from you, I kind of figured your Internet was not up and running.  Glad it's up and running again.... at your new dwellings. . .
It appears that Sister Stokoe is very much enjoying the maid services.  Sounds like the maid is a wonderful person and very pleasant to be around.  I'm glad you picked up on her food situation at her home and were able to help her. . .

On our way back home, about 45 minutes north out of San Diego, we made a 6 mile detour off I-15 and spent several hours at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.  Sixty-five acres, fenced in perimeter and no fences inside these 65 acres, elephants, several varieties of gazelles, giraffes, rhinos, ostriches, etc. roamed amongst each other.  Lions and cheetahs were separated.  The management made this habitat as close as they could to imitate the Kalahari.  Made me think of the National Parks you have seen while there at Port Elizabeth. . .

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