Today we took the time to meet Esther & Liza.
Esther is an entrepreneur who created a nursery, tea garden & guesthouse.
She came to Somerset East to work as a nurse at the local Andries Vosloo Hospital.
Her parents had recently located to this beautiful area, from Queenstown.
She was young and full of optimism.
She fell in love.
Raised a family.
Witnessed them growing up into adults.
Following their own optimism into the world.
Esther’s nursery is a wonderful surprise.
Lots of indigenous plants.
The hope of life which might grow & bear fruit, alive in everything.
Typically, in the world we inhabit, a tree does not enjoy its own fruit.
It is reaped.
To be enjoyed somewhere else.
By someone else.
It is the sadness we encounter in so many places as we explore the Blue Crane Route.
Children who grew up with Boschberg always watching.
Children becoming adults.
Venturing far away to exotic destinations.
Trying to make it.
In their own way.
In the world.
Liza’s children are teenagers.
They’re studying at Gill-College.
Gill is the heartbeat of Somerset East.
An exceptional school, built over decades, by dedicated teachers & principals.
Esther’s children learnt there as well.
Liza’s husband contributes to the filling of our countries food-basket.
And on every farm there are labourers.
Who have wives & children too.
And the children go to school.
And the husbands off to work.
And the mothers are at home.
With no opportunity.
And Liza created Kokskraal Crafts.
To create employment for these women.
On their farm.
They created designs for pens & serviette holders & spoons & candles.
She attended trade shows.
And the orders started coming in.
From all over the world.
We enjoyed breakfast at Esther’s Tea Garden: the Blue Lizzard.
She told us of her plans for growing it.
Of her guesthouse, next door.
Of her children far away.
Of her brother whose son died at nineteen.
Of a loss & sadness never easing.
Liza serves lunch.
Her husband talks of the farm.
Of their Church in Somerset East.
Of the world becoming a country.
Of drought & hope.
Of generations working the same land, filling a growing need in a hungry world.
As we drive home, I think of opportunities created.
I think of the Richard Bransons of this world, who made it big & gave Liza an opportunity, recognizing her effort to create employment.
I wonder if employment is the solution.
I wonder if employment should not grow into ownership.
Or if some are destined to be employees & others to be employers.
Salary & bills the new owner.
Most of us still slaves.
Glen Avon rids me of my morbid thoughts.
Allison is there to greet us.
Our cottage is beautifully tidied. The beds made. The dishes done. Even our laundry taken care of.
She comes to talk about dinner.
And about life.
One of her grandchildren playing with Sophia & Wilhelmina.
Theunsie playing with Rusty, the young sheepdog.
We light a fire.
Inside, to warm our cottage.
Outside, to cook our supper.
We talk of creativity.
Zuko & I.
Of everyone doing their best with what they are given.
Early this morning, before we made our way to tea gardens & art projects, I walked with my eldest three to share in the milking of the cows.
They each milked a cow.
We spoke to the men who work this land alongside Allison’s family.
‘I was born here’, says the one.
‘This is my world’.
‘I want to be nowhere else.’
In one place.
In my world.
Where parents save for retirement.
And children are left to fend for themselves.
Perhaps, if they’re fortunate, with an education in hand.
Maybe we are the architects of our world.
Hunger, for more, for security our slave driver.
Supper is had at the beautiful old dining room table in our cottage.
Our family talking & laughing, enjoying this very moment.
It is what we have.
From this moment may we live.
To new moments.
Perhaps our children will be trees.
Planted in the same orchard.
Bearing fruit alongside us.