Sannetjie
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Housekeeper
Wednesday 4th April 2012, Wellington, South Africa.
N wanted to organise a really special Wearelucky encounter, something slightly different to what I'd been doing. Since I'd become more confident with approaching total strangers I'd stopped inviting friends and family to take part, but when N suggested that we do something with Sannetjie, I was well up for it. Sannetjie had worked as a housekeeper at N's stepdad's farm, looking after N and showing her a lot of love at a difficult time. She had never been paid very much and N was certain that Sannetjie would put the money to good use. I agreed.
We met Sannetjie in a park in Wellington. She didn’t speak English and N spoke with her in Afrikaans. Sannetjie was thrilled to see N's bump and told her how relived she was to know that N had found herself a good man. Hahaha! She also said that her friend had called the day before to tell her about a dream in which Sannetjie met a white man with a parcel. An amazing coincidence, but Sannetjie saw it as a sign and her initial reaction was to suggest we donate the money to the church. Now, I've always tried not to interfere or judge, but both N and I were really keen that Sannetjie would choose to spend at least some of it on herself. She still lives on the farm, but after N's (now ex) stepdad went bankrupt and awol, the land was sold at auction. In SA, workers are legally obliged to stay on the farm land, but the new owner had maliciously cut off the electricity and water supply to the 100 or so homes, leaving the workers without basic necessitates, no money and nowhere else to go. What an arsehole.
We urged Sannetjie not to tell anyone about her stroke of luck and to take her time in deciding what to do with the money. I truly hope she spends it on herself and her family, she deserves it 100 times over.
Questions & Answers
1. What have you decided to do with the money?
The money is still in the bank, she has some plans for a project to sell food to her co-residents on the farm, but there are a lot of risks involved. None of them have very much money. Until she has a better plan that is more viable, the money will wait in the bank.
2. What are you hoping the money will eventually achieve?
To help other people who are poor and in need. To create a better income for herself as she has a lot of responsibilities and no help. Her real big dream is to be able to own her own house. Presently her first goal is to complete the payments on her fridge (which she can't actually use since the electricity has been cut off).
3. Is it better to make a small impact on a big problem or a big impact on a small problem?
It's important to start with a small impact...one step at a time, one day at a time. Sannetjie can only tackle it in this way
4. Has Wearelucky challenged the way you think about giving?
Not in a big way, as she has always believed in giving, even if she didn't have a lot herself. But now she is able to think about it in a new and different way.
5. Did you feel lucky or responsible?
Lucky, but also very responsible. She will never squander the money. It is too precious.