Tag Archives: Durban

Post 30. Wisdom

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Going home was difficult.  It was small and tight.  I had just travelled all over Southern Africa.  I was used to lots of space.  Poor Wilf and Val did their best to help me settle but it didn’t really work.

The only thing I knew was that I wanted to work with children.  I was promised a job at a crèche which was being constructed and it was taking forever.  I was frustrated and bored.  After a year of non-stop activity I found it hard to sit still.  I poured out my heart to God and into my diaries.  The pages were full of disappointment and discouragement.  As the months went by I started to lack confidence.  I hated telling people I didn’t have a job.  It became more and more difficult for me to socialise for fear that someone would ask me.

Seven months later I signed up for a one year Child Care Course.   The institute was in a dodgy part of Durban city and I attended evening classes.  My subjects were Nutrition, Child Development,  Child Psychology and Business Knowledge (accounting).

I dreaded the thought of accounting.  All my math teacher nightmares came back to haunt me.  I walked into my first Business Knowledge class slightly nervous.  The lecturer took one look at me and said, “You, in the front row please.”  What did she see?  Did I look like trouble?

I did well and got my diploma.  My love for children grew and I began to feel a stronger tug in that direction.  I applied for a job in the worst part of Durban and got it.

Port Natal Child Care Centre was at the end of Point Road, Durban’s red light district.  It was for children of prostitutes and sailors.  They lived with their mothers who had many visitors for many sleepovers.  There was such turmoil in their little lives and they were experienced beyond their years.  Sleep time was the worst time of the day for us; for many of them, sleep was not a happy thing to do.

We worked shifts so we could stay sane.  It was demanding and exhausting.  When we had mornings off we went down to Addington Beach to tan and swim.  It was during one of those mornings that I learnt the need for wisdom.

I had made friends with a hermit looking guy who seemed lonely. I wanted to help him somehow.  He seemed interested in my faith and he asked good questions.  One day he asked me to go for a walk with him.  I had time, so off we went.  He led me into an isolated park and before I knew it, he grabbed me and tried to kiss me.  Only God knows how I got away from him.  I ran all the way back to work with my stomach in my throat and eyes burning with fear.  I knew what I had been saved from.

Wisdom started to teach me:

I was not the saviour of the world.

I could not be a friend to every lonely person I met.

I needed to set firm boundary lines around my life, to keep the good in and the bad out.

I should NEVER again allow myself to be led into such a dangerous place.

I needed others to be with me in my mission to help the disturbed and needy.

 

I needed wisdom more than I needed anything else in my life.

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Post 15. Weed

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Our parties were good clean fun until our older siblings started experimenting with alcohol and weed. They thought it was cool to share their new found pleasure with us.

Sue was caught smoking and denied it all.    I was devastated when I slept the night over with some of her friends and I saw her smoking inside her sleeping bag.  Her and her friends showed me how to shoplift in Grey Street, Durban (then called Coolie/Indian Town).  We would come home with lots of beautiful “Coolie Bangles” up our jersey sleeves in the middle of summer. The SCA (Student Christian Association) had regular visits from Sue, mockingly dancing through their meetings.  When she was 13 she dated Gordon Igesund (South African Soccer Coach) which displeased dad no end. When Mr Menzies moved out (we had made the poor man’s life really miserable), the Igesunds moved in. Gordon and Sue were banned from seeing each other.  All hell broke loose on her when dad found out she was at the same party as Gordon. He walked into the party while she was dancing and pulled her out by her arm and escorted her all the way to the car.  That was one of her big embarrassing moments. Resentment began to build up towards dad.  Just before she was expelled from Mowat Park Girls High School, she was pulled out and  put into Mitchell Girls High.

Dave smoked pot with our African gardener Amos and anyone else who would smoke with him. Dad called him an “uncouth youth,” and was constantly lecturing and disciplining him.  Every now and again dad would laugh at something naughty that Dave said. It would be undone when Dave went into hysterical laughter at the table and sprayed  food on dad. Farting was one of Dave’s favourite activities and he chose the moment just after grace to express himself.

We teased poor Peter endlessly about being adopted, but mum had photos to prove to him that he wasn’t.  Going to the beach was a nightmare for me.  I would watch Peter like a hawk and at the end of the day, his arms were black and blue from all my squeezing.   I was his protector and he wasn’t allowed anywhere near the sea.  When he was about 3, I heard that peanut butter was good for toddlers so I forced tablespoons of peanut butter into his mouth.  He would gag and throw up but I would just shovel more in.

He was also very accident prone.  In his fifth year of life he fell out of the car on the way home from the Drive-IN.  I was in the back of the car with him and didn’t notice that he had pulled the handle.  He dropped out and onto the road.  I went hysterical and Val had to slap my face to bring me round.  He was fine;  just a few cuts and scrapes and he loved the fuss and the big bandage around his head.  He also fell onto the BBQ with all the meat.  His hands were burnt in a grid design.

When he was 9 he would take on anybody the bigger boys dared him to take on.  He would wrestle and punch and fight until he was pulled off.  He was also dared to down a bottle of Old Brown Sherry which he did.  He was VERY sick.

Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-Tail and Peter were taking strain.