Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Thoughts on Nelson Mandela Day

If this morning you had a thought like this “Gosh it’s Mandela Day and I have not planned a Good Deed or supported any good cause…Am I changing the world?,” then maybe this read is for you.

I had that very same thought ponder in my mind on my way to work. The thought followed with more guilty thoughts like“ Gee I wish I was more giving, more involved! I wish I was making a difference” Sometimes one feels a bit overwhelmed by all the areas that are in need and sometimes you just feel like maybe you don’t trust where your money is going too. But honestly at the end of the day it is about doing something no matter how big or small because whatever it is it will make a difference some how.

So I decided to dedicate my Madiba 67 minutes to supporting an organisation which has been close to my heart since high school – Abandoned Babies for Christ (ABC ministries). It is a small orphanage in Swaziland which is dedicated to providing the vital support and love needed for babies who have been abandoned. Over the past 10 years of knowing them I have heard of horrific stories of babies being rescued and how they have managed to survive and love life again.

When I was in university I used to give talks about HIV Aids in Swaziland and talked about my links to ABC ministry as signs of hope. It was amazing how these educational talks actually stirred the hearts of random people in the audience. Once a random IT guy decided to sit in on my lecture just to kill time and by the end of my talk he was in tears. Turned out that he was a leader of a youth group and he managed to get his youth group to raise money for these babies. Other events were we managed to support this organisation included Aids Awareness day and African Awareness day.

I felt super guilty when I received a personal letter from ABC Ministries last week. They talked about the changes, challenges and how they were trusting God with every thing they needed. I haven’t been supporting them much since my university days and yet now that I have my own 9 month old baby I feel like it is even more applicable for me to support them. I mean now I should really understand what it means to look after another life Right?

So TODAY I will do things differently! My first 15 minutes have been dedicated to creating awareness to ABC Ministry. If you feel like supporting them please feel free to contact me or contact them directly. Their details are below:

Robyn +26876688989; Email:; Website:
Section 21 Company No: RT/2542
Banking Details: Standard Bank Swaziland;
Acc Name: ABC Ministry;
Acc. No.: 0140034300101;
Branch Code: 661164;
Swift Address: SBICSZMX;
I BAN No.: SBICSZMX6611640140034300101

I will now go and convert my well saved up Pick and Pay Smart Shoppers points to Cash and purchase some supplies which they are desperately in need of. It is a baby step….but a step for a baby J!

Happy Mandela Day!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Letters to Kayla: Europe Holiday 2012

Dear Kayla,

We have just got back from a fantastic vacation in Greece and Manchester in England and you travelled like you were born to travel, flights, people, lights, camera’s …it was all second nature to you. The best part of this vacation was spending time with you but I thought I would highlight some of the moments in a short letter.

I had been feeling so guilty the weeks before we left because I was so busy at work. I had so many projects to wrap up and had to put in extra hours at work just to accommodate for the vacation. Dad was a star at giving me space to work and he would help with picking you up and entertaining you on weekends. He enjoys taking you to the racetrack to watch the cars and motorbikes race. I think you enjoy it too because you never give Dad a hard time.

We had a wedding in Manchester, Auntie Emma and Uncle Darrion. You probably don’t remember them but they came to visit us in Johannesburg when you were 4 months old. Their little girl Jasmine just loved the fact that “Baby-Kayla” was staying with her. Jasmine is about a year older than you and a lot more active. For the wedding I dressed you in a navy blue and white dress which were the same colours as what I was wearing. I don’t normally match you up but it was kind of fun. The wedding was beautiful and your Dad did an amazing best man speech. I think his speech will go down in history. Lol.
Emma and Darrion

Family photo at the wedding
 In Greece we stayed on a farm just outside of Athens, with Stel, Katie and Stels parents (who don’t speak English). It was so welcoming being embedded in the whole Greek culture. They are so loving, sharing and also loud. We would eat dinner at 10:30pm and the neighbours would join us.  The food in Greece was so tasty and yet so simple.

Our Greek family.
The Greek landscape seemed African but with a twist. Olive trees, fig trees and grape vines surrounded the house. It was super hot with temperatures reaching a high of 40 degrees Celsius some days. The sea was warm and calm. (No major waves)

In Greece, we would spend hours just hanging out on the bed. Sometimes it was too hot to go to the beach and I struggled to get into the whole siesta time (sleeping in the afternoon). So I would play with you when you were not sleeping. You were full of laughs and giggles and I would try encourage you to crawl. You haven’t fully crawled yet but you are very, very close.

You would love it when we bathed you outside.
In Greece it was your first beach/water moment, Dad and I took joy in seeing how you reacted to it all. The texture of the sand running through your toes intrigued you, the sounds of the waves scared you and the splashing of the water with your hands fascinated you. We would float in the water together like we were mermaids. Then I would have to cut the experience short coz you would dip your hand in the water and then taste it too many times. I think you are like me…you love your salt.

During the warm summer nights we would go for dinner and you would enjoy sitting in your pram anticipating what food you could have. I would give you bread to play with and little finger foods coz you would have eaten your baby food already. The snacks would keep you entertained when we were eating. When you were tired you would just fall asleep in the pram as if you were at home. It was quite an adjustment being awake so late for dinner…even for Dad and I, coz their normal dinner time was 10pm. But you hardly ever gave us problems and I just wanted to thank you for that.   
This was a very hot day but loads of fun in Athens
 Something that is super exciting is that your auntie Katie is 6 months pregnant. It was a super surprise for us all but I was so excited to be with her during this time. We got to share pregnancy stories and I tried to calm her fears on the labour process by showing her videos of the day you were born. She is going to have a baby girl…just like you J. Maybe that is why you loved playing with auntie Katie…coz there was a mini you inside her. Uncle Stel was always full of energy when he was with you. His voice would go a tone louder everytime he spoke to you (it would sometimes give me a fright). He would sing – “if you’re happy and you know it clap your hands” with real zeal and enthusiasm and you would just beam with excitement and start clapping. It was funny coz sometimes he would sing – “If you know it and you are happy clap your hands” (the tune was right but the words were so off lol) Lol.

I was super glad that you were a good baby but I realised something while travelling. If you look stressed and flustered and have a child with you, they usually let you go ahead of the queue. This was a bit of a bummer because you made us look so calm and composed….so we would have to wait in the queue like normal people. It wasn’t a problem because you were the entertainment for the queue. People would just shoot you smiles and you would smile back. You loved seeing other kids. You would get all excited and point at them with a high pitched scream.

Well I hope the photos tell more about our vacation. I am looking forward to travelling with you more.

I love you always,


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Travelling Medicine

When preparing to fly with Kayla I thought for sure there should be some medicine that could help with the cabin pressure or to ease the stress of flying. I was quite nervous because we would be flying 8hours to Abu Dhabi then another 4 hours to Manchester….then we would reroute back to Johannesburg through Greece. That was a heck of a lot of flying.  Anyways while in Dischem (pharmacy) I decided to ask an African Male chemist who offered some assistance.

He didn’t know of anything specific but he did recommend Entressdruppels which is a German herbal medicine which I had heard of before. About a month after Kayla was born we went to visit Avon’s Auntie in Aldo’s. She was adamant that I should apply the stuff on Kayla’s scalp whenever I go outdoors. She did a whole demonstration on Kayla for me and even gave me some to take home. While driving home the potent smell of the Entressdruppels filled the car …it smelt of tar and vowed that I would never use it. You must know that by this time I had had a lot of tips and recommendations on what to do with Kayla so this was just one of the ones I wasn't going to use. The second time I heard of it was when I was on my way to the shops in Nhlangano, Swaziland (rural part of Swaziland) and Avon’s Grandmother told me I should put it on Kayla because I was going to be around Swazi’s. I was so offended by it because I thought she was being racist, but then Avon’s mom did some further explaining. Apparently Swazi’s are known for carrying herbal medicine on them especially in the rural areas. Some of the medicine is for healing and some is for Mootie to gain wealth, punish your husbands mistress  or whatever witchcraft might be needed for.  I am aware of this because I grew up in Swaziland and know most Swazi’s are deep into medicinal herbs and culture. However some of these “mooties” are very strong and dangerous for babies…apparently so bad that if a child inhales the mooty the baby could die..or it could just enter the baby through the soft scalp. Avon’s mom shared several stories of babies that had been affected by it..some died one had to go get the Sangoma (traditional healer) to reverse it. The stories gave me the jibbers and made me think...was this all true? Were those cases of child death something else rather than mootie??? Part of me didn’t want to believe a word of it but another part of me didn’t want to take the risk either. Needless to say that particular day I didn’t take Kayla into the rural Swazi shopping centre.

So you can imagine how baffled I was when the chemist recommended this remedy.
Kanya: “you are joking with me right?”
Chemist: “No seriously every time I take my child on the bus I use it. And my son is 14months old! It helps with the motion sickness.”
Kanya: “My husbands family mentioned this stuff but I assumed it was just a coloured old school remedy that didn’t work.”
Chemist: “It works!”
Kanya: “But what about all those stories about babies inhaling mootie ect. Isn’t that why it is used?”
Chemist: “Well the remedy does have a history to it. But I am recommending it as a calming motion sickness remedy. Just take a drop and rubb it on the scalp of the baby, behind the ears, under the armpits and even between the legs.”
Kanya: “Well if you say it is a medicine rather than a mootie blocker …then yes I will use it. I don’t want to start getting all superstitious about things.”

So I left the shop with the small bottle of Entressdruppels. I used the Entressdrupples as recommended and Kayla was as calm and as normal as ever during every flight. I can’t say it was the medicine entirely. But I wasn’t going to fly with out it! Maybe I am a bit superstitious lol.