Thursday, 5 February 2009

Summer-Brown Berry Coolie

We've had intense heat for over a week now. Unfortunately, outdoor chores don't stop, just because Mr Sun decides to turn up the heat. I'm convinced that the best way to face outdoor chores in the heat is to get up early, start work in the coolness of the day, to enable the body to get accustomed to the temperature as it soars.

Mam commented on how brown I am becoming. "... As brown as a berry..." she says. I've always wondered "What type of berry?".
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When we first arrived in South Africa from England, we lived on a caravan park for a while. Most of the families in the caravan park were Afrikaaner families with lots of children. I couldn't, at that early stage communicate verbally with the children, but I would run barefoot throughout the park with them. It was summertime, and the heat didn't affect me as it does now. Lots of sun, and swimming and before long, mam was saying "...you're as brown as a berry, Pooch..." **Poochie is my pet name**

I was starting to get the feeling that my newfound, non-verbal friends didn't want to play with me suddenly, and I didn't know why. Then one day, as I was running and laughing, an Afrikaaner child chasing me to 'tip' me asked -

"Are you a Coolie?"
"A Coolie? What's that?"
"Ag, jy weet..." (Oh, you know)
"What?"
"An Indian"
"No, I'm an English woman"
"Jy's nie a Coolie nie?" (You're not a Coolie?)
"No!"
"Okay...."

And even though apartheid loomed over us, from then on, I got my friends back again...

PS - the title of this post sounds like a cool refreshing drink for a hot summer's day...

1 comment:

Jayne said...

A poignant reminder of how the world was and how it has changed. It's particularly sad when young children show signs of prejudice because you know it can only have come from one source - the trusted adults at home.