Susan’s Blog: Recharging

A full week with the gogos has passed and I now have a better sense of how Sitabogogo is doing. The uprisings and violence that I touched on in my first blog caused them to lay low for awhile. Ginny says it’s such a shame because the group was going so strong. I say thank goodness they were going strong, otherwise they may have fallen apart altogether. 

Relative to my previous visits, the tone is low-key this year, but focused. They sit in plastic lawn chairs under the shade of a big tree in the church yard and chat. Fortunately, each morning has been fine and the rains have held off till the afternoons. Some days they work on hand sewing or knitting teddy bears for sale. More recently they have begun beading – more about that in another blog. One day a week they visit the sick and bereaved of their group if there is need. Fridays have been declared letter writing day.

They are not gardening at the moment. They got most of their last crop in and then had to abandon their extensive gardens due to water shut-off in that area since the fires. Such a shame after their back-breaking – but spirited – work in the past two years. (See ‘Archives: Nov 2008’, Gogo Gardens). Gug, the professional gardener that had been hired to teach them (a lot!) has been let go for the time being. For those that are aware he’d been given an advance on his salary to buy a motorbike for transport, please know that he has now fully paid it back. 

For now the gogos are recharging their batteries and preserving their sense of community. Once the new Ubuntu re-building is begun (more on that in another blog) they will be fully revitalized and ready to break ground again for new gardens.

Twice a week Milly cooks them a hot lunch. One day it was fried chicken, mealie-pap and squash, another day rice with a chunky vegetable and soy stew spooned over top. On the other three days they have tea or juice and sandwiches.

And always there are a few pre-school grandchildren around. This one treated us to a spontaneous singing performance.

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5 thoughts on “Susan’s Blog: Recharging

  1. Susan, your blog fills me with gratitude and love. You offer us rare windows into the lives of our Gogos and generously depict the inspiring determination of the women we are so fortunate to be able to claim as our South African sisters. Thank you. Anne

  2. I echo Shirley’s remarks; the beautiful little princess in the pink dress is an absolute living doll! Such a radiant precious face! I pray she will grow up to know a beautiful life.

    I pray, Susan, that you are feeling encouraged … and effectual. God only knows where these women would be without you!

    On my way to Saskatoon tomorrow; I’ll give Mom a big hug from you!

    Lots of love,
    Jeanne-Ann

  3. Isn’t she a honey!? I learned today that her name is Siphiwe, 5 years old. It means ‘we were given’. She comes nearly every day with her Gogo Maureen.
    Susan

  4. Hi Susan
    Once again it’s late at night and I am playing “catch up”. I am in awe at the resilience of these women who refuse to give in to the circumstances in which they find themselves. I can imagine how they look forward to gardening again, in spite of how back breaking the labour. And this sweet little Siphiwe…what a doll she is! As Shirley says, she is the face of hope! I also pray she will know a life of grace and peace. Is that so much to ask? Time for bed.
    Love, Terry

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