Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
As Published in the Ripple Effect World AIDS Day Edition 2010.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
I write about my experience of the home in the blog entitled “The boy that loved Rabbits – Facing my shadows” … to read the story follow this link: THE BOY THAT LOVED RABBITS
The Brand boys from top to bottom, Peter, Alan
and Gary Brand on the steps of Eveleigh House
I had mixed feelings about visiting the home and was pleased to see the gates open and a welcoming board indicating the directions to the reception area.
I was welcomed by one of the staff and given the opportunity to explain my reason for the visit. I had called some months earlier and was aware that the home now has changed from an orphanage into a safe haven for abused children or children needing special care. I asked if I would be allowed to walk around explaining that the visit was mostly for me to face some of the shadows of my past and to allow me to take some photos for my blog page. I explained what work I now do and how in some small way the experiences both bad and good at the home as a small boy of 4 years old had helped to shape and form the man that now stood boldly in the reception of Marsh Memorial Homes. Now I must mention that the building now used for the reception area and offices used to be the principles home when I was resident at the home and it was a total no enter area. The stately building with the most amazing stain glass windows, grand wooden staircase leading up to the second floor still appeared both majestic and filled me with a sense of dread. Yet the friendly staff and openness and welcoming attitude made all these feelings fade into the normality of the sunny warm day in June. In had promised to make sure that no children where in the photos I took and with the feeling of a warm welcome in my heart I stepped out into the grounds to see where this journey would take me.
I walked around the grounds unable to go to close to the huge red roof building with its 8 chimneys, that was the home I lived in sharing a huge hall type room with the many other boys so many years ago. The building next to this one had burnt down many years ago and the rabbit hutch and fruit orchards behind this building had been rezoned and sold and now filled with residential housing. The home also no longer has a school as was the case when it was an orphanage as the children currently in its care attend local schools. I started sub A (now grade 1) although during this year (1962) of my life my father remarried and we were removed from the orphanage and I continued with my first year at school in Parow Primary.
I remained satisfied to take pictures of the buildings from the outside allowing the memories to flood over me.
• The white bread served with cold milk and white sugar as a special treat on Sunday morning for breakfast.
• Rabbits in a rabbit hutch also locked into cage reminding me that I felt no different than a caged rabbit.
• A loving kind senior boy that had taken me under his wing and became my protector while living at the home.
• A tree house in the fruit orchids,
• A pray mantis on the railing of the sanctuary one morning at service praying with me for my mother.
• Cookies my little brother (1 year old) baked at creche and stored for us as a special treat.
• Cold winter nights in a hall lined by rows of beds filled with sleeping boys and yet loneliness and tears.
• And many, many more
It was only later that day when on the plane flying back home to Johannesburg that I suddenly realised why the experience of my visit to March Memorial Homes was a pleasant one and why it has now become part of my journey of healing. I was totally free to enter and leave of my own free will. The gates of the beautiful gate house that has stood the test of time remained open. I cannot even remember if they were closed and locked when I was a child (I guess they must have been). The reality that I was placed there without knowing why or understanding why my mother was not coming back to care for me or ever visit me obviously has had a profound impact on my feelings about the home. The short visits on Sundays by my father after church and the pain of his departure and his abandonment of me lie somewhere deeply buried in the fabric of my heart. The memories of attending church services in the chapel on the premises are always filled with both joy and pain. Joy that perhaps my dad might visit us and the pain that he would leave us behind again.
Now I could feel the warmth in the sun and the building no longer seemed dark and like a place to lock children up from society. I had a feeling of freedom of an institution now reaching out to children that have been abandoned or abused by their parents finding a place of love and safety.
Able to participate in society by attending school and with gates wide open welcoming rather than gates locked separating and removing.
I shall have to visit the home again and the next time I wish to become a contributor to the many needs they have in supporting and caring for children in need.
MARSH MEMORIAL HOMES
Marsh Memorial Homes strives to be recognized as a leading multicultural child and youth care centre in the Western Cape. Whilst affirming and including children of different cultures, all activities at the centre will be driven by strong Christian principles. The range of activities offered will be holistic, and will focus on the needs of the children at risk and their families, offering them hope and empowering them to contribute towards healthy and functioning communities.
Bedroom furniture and bedding
General furniture (lounge suites, dining room table and chairs, study desks)
Working second hand computers
Kitchen appliances, crockery and cutlery
Gazebos (to be used at our fete day)
Clothing and shoes (ages ranging from 4-18 years)
Church youth groups willing to arrange an activity or out for the children.
Volunteers to assist a child/children with a certain subject or homework.
Marsh Memorial Home for Abused Children - Western Cape, Cape Town, Rondebosch
Non-Profit Organisation Registration Number: 011 270
The home now accommodates 60 boys and girls between the ages of 2 and 11.
Kindly contact Marsh Memorial Home for Abused Children directly for banking details.
Heather B Goble 021 689 9301/2
084 624 2365 021 686 4501
Norton Way, Off Milner Road, Rondebosch P O Box 9, Rondebosch, 7701
Sunday, May 2, 2010
It's the practice of opening oneself up and being receptive to the flow of sense perceptions, emotions, and thought processes in each given moment while attempting to hold judgment in abeyance. This is done with no other goal than to be as present as one can possibly be within each and every moment. One does this with an intimate attention that is very different from a scrutinizing, objective stance.
Rather than being a distant observer of a set of experiences, one is a participant-observer, and what one observes is not only the sense impressions of the "outside" world, but also one's own subjective reactions to that world... In these moments of unimpeded awareness there is a wonderful sense of lightness of being, and a sense of the rightness to things just as they are.
In these moments when the sense of a separate self that needs defending, approval, status, or justification is nowhere evident, one is open to being present and responsive to the world in a deeply caring way. This is what I mean by mindfulness: seeing events as they are with minimal interference from a separate ego that needs to control both self and world; being intimately in touch with the moment as it is, and open-heartedly responsive to it.
Experience in Being Mindful – Ixopo Buddhist Retreat 23 to 25 April 2010
While at the Ixopo Buddhist retreat we went on a walk through indigenous forests and eventually arrived at a grassy knoll. We climbed over a fence and soon reached an outcrop of rocks that provided a vista of the valley below. While everyone looked into the distant valley, I peered between the rocks and notice a very insignificant spray of white flowers growing between the crevices of the rocks. I lay down on my stomach to observe the flower.
The Buddhist teacher who was our guide on the walk saw me lying face down on the rock and peering into the abyss below and asked if I was ok… (I guess it might have looked like I was throwing up over the cliff). I responded, “I am being mindful of a flower”. She smiled a gentle smile similar to Buddha’s smile. “What have you learnt from the flower?” she asked.
As I had my camera with me I replied that I could show them that I had discovered that even an insignificant white flower has a spectacular landing strip to attract insects. “It just shows that when one is silent and observant even the most insignificant being can reveal incredible beauty”, I said. Nothing more nothing less it just is so, in the silence of being mindful I learnt again to appreciate that which was right there in front of me. It had always been there it had not changed or become more than it was before what had changed was my ability to take the time to be mindful of the beauty it waited to reveal.
Friday, April 9, 2010
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
All of these words might be very real and your current experience but if you remain fixed in then and repeat them they will become the path you are choosing for yourselves. You see you can want something with all your heart and head and continue to say the words “I WANT, I WANT”. Every time you say you want you are acknowledging that you do not have.
Now consider this lets want in one hand and spit in another! Come on “want in one and spit in the other” …… now tell me which hand will become full first the hand filled with ‘want’ or the hand overflowing with spit.
Saturday, January 2, 2010
From the central Karoo we travelled via Graaff-Reinet and visited the "Valley of Desolation". Now when we told the girls we where going to the "Valley of Desolation" Brenda said that means you are going to see "f@3**" all well one might have thought so but wow it was truly a splendid place of such incredible beauty. Also being able to learn about how the Karoo basin was formed and why the area was an inland sea was truly informative.
In Graff-Reinet we happened upon a Pierneef art exhibition and as I am a huge fan of his works this simply was a magical and special experience.
We needed to get to Port Elizabeth (PE) however so on with our journey as we had planned two nights stay with a dear Friend in PE (also called Mandela Bay) as Nelson Mandela comes from the area in the Eastern Cape. We had two wonderful days with Denise and visited the Addo Elephant National Park while in PE.
We also met two wonderful guys in Barrydale and spent a lovely evening with them. They are the owners of a renowned artistic chandelier manufacturing shop in Barrydale...
One other thing began to happen while we where in Barrydale and that was the tasting and purchase of far too much wine and brandy. Hmmmm well what can I say the boot began to overflow onto the back seat of the car as our luggage had to make place for purchased bottles and boxes of wine. Sadly our stay in Barrydale was two short and after two nights we had to move on to Cape Town.
We had Christmas day lunch with my dad and my niece (Chanel) at the Cape Sun hotel and wow what a spread. We shopped at the new Cape Quarter, travelled to Parternoster on the west coast and bought more wine at the Swartland wine cellar, bathed nude at the nudist beach at Sandy Bay, partied in the gay district, visited family and relaxed.
All to soon our departure for home was upon us and yet memories of special places, new friends and a car load of goodies plus plenty happy snaps to remember the time together.
So with these thoughts I enter 2010... warmed, rejuvenated and refreshed .... Looking forward to greater adventures and new challenges.