A reminder of daily blessings

2018-02-20 06:00
Keith Blake recalls two stories of poverty and survival during an incounter at Strandfontein Beach on Monday. PHOTOS: Keith blake

Keith Blake recalls two stories of poverty and survival during an incounter at Strandfontein Beach on Monday. PHOTOS: Keith blake

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On Monday 12 February I went fishing at Strandfontein Beach and as I was gearing up my rod and tackle I noticed a young person moving very quickly.

She was picking up the numerous plastic bottles left by visitors and fishermen, who have no regard or respect for the sea and shores of our beautiful coastline.

I asked her why she was picking up these plastic bottles and she responded that she comes here every day to pick up the plastic bottles.

She then sells them at a recycling business to get extra money to put food on the table.

She has three children who get Sassa grants but that it is not enough.

She is unemployed and has no other choice, apart from committing crime or begging, to earn a wage by coming out here all alone to get these plastic bottles and sell it.

A little while later while standing in the seawater with my fishing rod I saw an elderly man who I had seen before and shared my food with.

While standing on the road, he shouted to me what sounded like “bread”. I responded that I had no bread today.

He again shouted “bread” and pointed to a spot I could not see, and due to the waves and wind I could not clearly hear him.

I then shouted he can have the bread he was referring to but I had no clue what he meant or if he was asking my blessing or permission.

He walked to where he had pointed and I saw him bending down and picking up something and putting it into a black plastic bag.

I went to the road and asked him what was in the black plastic bag and my eyes widened as I saw numerous slices of semi stale bread.

This bread had been dumped by somebody.

The man told me that this was now food for him and on hearing this I grabbed my wallet and gave him a cup of hot tea from my flask.

I asked him where he stays and he stated in the bush, in the open.

I said nothing and he picked up his bag of food along with his other bags and walked off.

My mind was not on my fishing but on what I had seen and heard on the seashore.

I thanked God for my many blessings I take so much for granted.

When I went home, looking up, I saw dark clouds and felt wet drops on my cheeks. It was not raining but the drops on my cheeks became rivers – rivers of compassion.

Keith Blake Ottery

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