Here are the first of our planned photographic courses. Watch this space for announcements about weekend workshops, landscape excursions and more!
Posts Tagged With: life
What an interesting walk we had today! We took a different route through the bottom part of Die Skema, then around the Willem Appeldam, and through the village back home.
As we turned the corner, a few metres from our house, there was a lot of commotion. A burst water pipe which was being fixed.
There’s new life sprouting everywhere… bare branches are shooting new leaves, many trees and plants are flowering. The coral or flame trees, Erythrina, make a beautiful display with their flame red or bright orange flowers on bare branches against the blue skies. I am ever so thankful for every beautiful tree in the village and those that are newly planted. When the town was laid out in 1857, a hundred oak trees were planted, and some of them are still standing.
Kerneels and I are making new friends along the way. A day or so ago we met Charly and his human mom, Doris. They settled in the village almost two years ago and own a deli in Hermanus. Like Kerneels, Charly is also a rescue dog. He has a beautiful, and even bushier tail than our Kerneels.
In Die Skema, we today met little Gemia and her friend Sentino. Also Gemia’s father, Christiaan and some of his friends. It is Gemia’s birthday today and she turned four. We sang to her! What stunning little kids! (It’s also the birthday today of our own granddaughter Kara who turned fourteen! How time flies!)
I had to laugh at some of the dogs in the Skema… Many roam the streets freely, and would bark “fiercely” at passers-by, in this case, Kerneels and I, but the moment I pointed my camera at them, they made a beeline for their own homes!
On the village green the children’s soccer team were practising. After a cup of tea at Thys and Johette (my son and his wife), we headed home. As we passed one house in Church Street, I heard strange bird sounds, and tried to see where it was coming from. As I looked up into what looked like a completely bare tree, much to my surprise, there was a hadidah in her nest feeding her three little chicks!
Further down, in De Bruyn street, we walked past two joggers. One stopped and introduced himself, Richard Opperman, whom we had passed by earlier on. He has the most amazing story! A cancer survivor, he and his wife and children came to Stanford a year and a half ago, changed their whole lifestyle and after first starting to walk regularly, Richard is now running!
Again I say: how blessed are we!!!!!
I’m so amazed at all there is to see and capture in an hour’s walk through only a small part of the village! Today’s walk was a longish one, as I decided to also run by the shop. It was a beautiful sunshiny day with blue skies, albeit still a bit cold. Birds were singing and out feeding almost the whole time & the villagers were out walking their dogs. Workers after the days labour were either waiting for their lifts home, or walking home… some like my friend Nolithemba Nosihle, has quite a long walk to her home at Die Kop, the informal settlement just outside the village.
My eldest son Thys and their Bella again walked half of the way with me, much to my relieve, as he sometimes held Kerneels so that I had both hands free to hold my camera!
I feel so blessed to be able to live in this beautiful village with its many amazing people. Enjoy!
Kerneels and I were both somewhat tired today! But my intention of taking a shorter route fell by the wayside when I decided to go down the steep river bank to where there is a jetty that one could sit on and let your feet hang in the water. But alas, the jetty was partly under water and we couldn’t get on it. We then followed the path along the river bank towards the village and on our way we had to cross a wooden bridge which was a new experience for Kerneels. At first he was very reluctant. He didn’t trust the thing at all! Only when I called him did he come to me, very carefully! Then back home through a beautiful milkwood forest. Up the hill across the playground where two hadidahs were looking for something to eat and only one little boy, Tinus, the youngest son of our neighbours, Gys and Nonnie de Bondt, was on the swings. He so enjoyed being pushed on the swing that when his caretaker, Mitch (I think that’s what he said his name was) said it was time to go, young Tinus did not want to get off. He still wanted to swing! As Kerneels and I almost reached our house, I looked back and there were Tinus and Mitch also coming down the road on their way home.
Over the weekend of 16/17 June our beloved Great Dane, Anna, fell ill and died on Monday, the 18th. After Anna’s death, Kerneels, her canine mate, refused to lift his leg in our own garden, so I had to take him out on walks three, four times per day. And he’s a fast walker that one! So, each day now I have to fit in a few kilometres of “walking the dog” and decided to take my camera with on our walks and capture some of the scenes and people of our beautiful village. And just so you know… Kerneels, normally a handsome dog, with ears alert and tail curled and bushy, hates having his photo taken! Then he gets this dejected, feeling sorry for himself, look!
19 July 2018: Today, Kerneels and I, again took a different route for our daily walk. Down the dirt road at the end of our street and up the hill to the village and down Caledon Street to the river and then with Vlei Street back up the hill to our street and back home. Caledon Street was once called Piet Street, because of all the people called Piet living there… there were Piet Maree the policeman, Piet Barends, Pietie Skoenmakertjie (the shoemaker), Pietie Appel, Piet Dempers, Piet Sheriff, Piet du Toit, Piet Bek, Piet Titus and his son Piet…
Although a grey cloudy kind of day, all along the streets there are definite signs and smells of spring advancing rapidly now – jasmine, arum lilies, moon flowers, blue felicia’s… Birds are changing into their breeding feathers and colours… the pin-tailed whydah’s tail feathers are growing and he’s already fighting his own reflection in the side mirrors of cars! 🙂
Villagers are out walking their dogs and children on skateboards are doing amazing stunts in the streets.
It was a long walk… and we were both quite exhausted when we finally arrived home.
Today I had a few things to do in the village – fetch our bread, take a photo of the Morris Minor pledged to the Hopeland auction, take a photo of Queen Victoria Street from what used to be Stanford House, as well as take a photo for someone showing the neglect in Hopland, Stanford’s low cost housing scheme.
As usual I parked my car at the local Spar and took my camera and started walking. After a short chat with the baker of our bread, John Williams, I crossed the street to where the Morris Minor was parked in front of our Tourism Info offices. A group of “Stanford girls” were hanging out around it: Caro Krüger, who owns Morris Minors herself, Karen McKee, artist Niki Miles and hairdresser Jeanne Retief and all her doggies! In the next couple of minutes we ladies decided to have a tea party sometime within the next two weeks on the village green that now looks like a scene from Namaqualand in flower-time! Caro has recently bought a house in Calvinia and will soon move there. I cannot imagine Stanford without Caro.
While Jeanne was cutting Niki’s hair, the rest of us had a long chat about God, seeing Him in others and treating them accordingly, and life in a small village. And how unimportant certain things that most people spend their whole lives pursuing, become here. Life tends to be much simpler here.
When I eventually left the girls to continue on my own mission, I was called back by Hansie, Caro’s “protegé”. “Mevrou, mevrou! Take a photo of me standing here with Caro’s car!”
A little further down the road I passed Lionel’s junk cum car cum flower shop. The green Morris he”s selling, once belonged to my elder son Thys, who in turn sold it to Caro who now gave it to Lionel.
Lower down in Queen Vic street, opposite the stoep of the Stanford Hotel on which the Saturday morning market is held, is a building housing amongst others Stanford Trading Store and Graze Slow Food Café. Its long, wide stoep is the ideal spot for friends to meet for coffee, breakfast or lunch, chat to passersby or just to quietly sit and watch life goes by.
In front of Don Gelato’s, our local proper Italian Gelato and patisserie, Michelle Hoffmann and her Cocker Spaniel, Marcello (pronounced “mahr-CHEL-lo”), was waiting for a friend. “There’s no place like home,” says Michelle, who is “just back from Germany after what felt like 10 years, but was in fact only 10 months!” After a couple of minutes her friend arrived, our “one and only” Janet Marshall, Presenter and Co-Host of The Breakfast Show on Whale Coast FM 96.
My shopping done and after taking some more pictures of street scenes, I left the village proper for Hopland. Yes, there is rubbish lying around in the streets, in the yards, and yes, there are signs of extreme poverty, neglect of not only children, but cats and dogs, too. I also know that there is crime, gangsterism, alcohol and other substance abuse. But, there are so many houses and yards where one can see the pride they take in their homes and gardens. A visit to Hopland will either steal your heart or break it. Often there is a bit of both. Like what photographer Chris Bickford said about Haiti: “If it steals your heart, you may find yourself trying to figure out ways to get back to find it again. You’ll keep remembering moments of magic among the madness, beauty amidst the squalor, and smiles in spite of great sadness; and it will haunt your thoughts and dreams. If it breaks your heart, you will either return home and try to forget about the whole thing, hoping that eventually you can go about your life like everything is still the same; or you will find yourself trying to figure out ways to get back, and hope that you can do something to assist in the healing, thereby healing your own heart. If your heart is already broken, you have nothing to fear. No one wants to steal a broken heart anyway, and you will be right at home in a nation full of broken hearts, broken promises, broken buildings, a broken government, and a broken economic system… There is laughter and dancing amidst the painful memories and ubiquitous reminders… There is dignity, there is faith, and there is a getting on with things. …Haiti is a country of survivors, surviving.” And that in a nutshell is Hopland and so many townships in South Africa – communities of survivors surviving, getting on with life.
I love the crowded streets with its many colourful houses, children running around playing, mommas carrying their babies, women doing their washing, small groups of people congregating, all the friendly faces, the warm welcoming, “Hello Mama”, the jibes and witty remarks. I am always amazed that in the face of often abject poverty, most of these women still manage to dress themselves and their children well, and even if they have to wash and scrub the little ones in a zinc tub on the pavement, they somehow get them clean. From the washing drying on lines and over fences it is plain that today, especially with the sun shining, is a day for most of the women to get their own laundry done – and most of them are still doing it by hand.
To even the casual passerby it is obvious that life in Hopland and even Stanford, is not always easy. It is sometimes extremely hard. There are many social problems and equally many challenges facing every person and the community as a whole. Yet, it is still home. When I asked Liesbet Booysens about life in Hopland, she said, “I am satisfied. I love my people and living here.” She interrupted our conversation to pick up a toddler who just then fell in the street and was lying there crying his little heart out. I have known Liesbet and her family for many years. I know the hardships she had to endure in her own life, the abuse, problems with some of her children who sometimes struggle to find work, while her other children have good positions and live respected lives. I know her concern and prayers for the one girl who still at times drinks far too much. But, Liesbet is always positive and full of smiles. “We can only pray for our children, Mevrou. The Lord is good.” And despite the little she and her family have, there is somehow always something to share with another hungry friend or child, and even a place to sleep in her already filled-to-the-max small and much neglected RDP house…
This is Stanford. Home. A home with a very big heart. Also a place where many are reaching out to the less fortunate and really trying to make a difference, “assisting in the healing”, giving not only money, but food, clothes, furniture, their time and skills.