See, this is what happens when I get tardy - I end up having to post a mountain of stuff in one go.
So... today we are doing: awards, a meme/wordgame-thingy and what you could do to help Angela.
Let's start with Angela's problem with the exploitative job situation. I am already on the trail of several courses of action, which I'll tell you about another time. But for those who have expressed a wish to help in some way, the best thing you could possibly do for now is to write to the International Labour Organization.
You might say something like this: "I am aware that while much has been done to uplift the lot of workers in South Africa, one group remains underrepresented and prejudiced - and that is domestic workers. It has come to my attention that there are several companies in South Africa which openly exploit domestic workers by using their labour to provide char or "maid services". In doing so many of them pay below the minimum wage and none pay a decent living wage. Some delay payments to their staff, others make unwarranted salary deductions. A few cause workers to live in appalling conditions. Most threaten their staff. This untenable situation will regrettably continue until such time as the South African Department of Labour changes the policies which regulate the so-called "labour broker" services offered by these domestic services agencies. At present these agencies are only required to procure a license and provide a list of the employees in their service. This lack of regulation means that domestic workers, many of them refugees or people from rural areas who are in desperate need of employment, are preyed upon while the owners and managers of the agencies ride roughshod over the South African Labour Relations Act. I would appreciate it if you would be kind enough to investigate this matter and bring pressure to bear upon the South African Department of Labour so that situation might be changed for the benefit of all domestic and allied workers."
You can send your email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you do choose to take this action, let me know so that I can in turn advise the trade union which whom I've been in contact. You will find my email address on my profile page, or let me know in the comments.
And moving on.
It's been a bit like the Oscars around here recently and I've been blessed with two awards.
From the wonderfully creative Tessa at An Aerial Armadillo and also from word weaver extraordinaire Val at Monkeys on the Roof comes the Lus en el alma Premio award (Light in the Soul). Thank you so much, Tessa and Val! The award goes to all those who have light in their souls. That's a tough call because of course all of you have light in your souls. If you didn't, you'd be dead! The soul after all, is pure light. (Well that's my take and I'm sticking to it.) Now I know many of you have already received this award and so I need to find some new people on whom to bestow this - if somehow you're not on the list below and have not yet received this award - please consider it yours! (The one thing I truly hate about these awards is having to single out people - it strikes me as being totally unreasonable!)
Janey at Wittering On
Saaleha at Afrocentric Muslimah
Storm at A Beautiful Girl Inside
Vesper at Chick with a Quill
Aerin at In Search of Giants
Lettuce at Lettuce-Eating
Gaye at Gaudiumdegaea
Bart at Daze of our Lives
Lane at Lane's Write
Renee at Graulhet Bonjour
Baino at Baino's Banter
Gail at Gail at the Farm
Rambler at Virtual Ramblings
Steph at The Biopsy Report
The second award comes from Mouse over at Mouse Medicine and is for Superior Scribblers. You notice that I seem to be paying no attention to how many people these awards should go to... Ja, well, no fine, as we say here... As if I ever gave a fig about rules. Again, I know many of you have already received this award and if you're getting it twice I think you can safely assume that you're a superior Superior Scribbler!
Tessa at An Aerial Armadillo
Val at Monkeys on the Roof
Karen at Border Town Notes
Angela at Letters from Usedom
Lori at Lori Times Five
FireByrd at Bird on Fire
Red at Red Dirt Mule
Vesper at Chick with a Quill
Oh and everyone else!
And finally, a meme-word-game thingy from Val. Pant, whew, puff, gasp. I need a cuppa tea, I don't know about you. Yeah, well, we'll just call this a marathon blog post, shall we - teach me to get all slack. Though frankly, I don't know what any of you did to deserve this monster post...
I have to choose ten words beginning with L that are important to me. Val had the letter R, Firebyrd from whom she took over the game had the letter B. If you want to play, let me know in the comments and I will assign you a letter. Okay, last leg of blog post. Wheeze, gasp, puff, pant... And in no particular order...
LOVE - without it we are nothing, it is the very energy from which we spring, in which we exist and to which we return. Let me share something: "Love is all that exists. Love is the universal communication. It is the energy that has created the universe and is keeping it going." (from Emmanuel's Book compiled by Pat Rodegast).
LAUGHTER - it makes the world go round. Laugh and the world laughs with you. I love larfing, laffin', laughing and I love to make others laugh. It is a wonderfully healing tonic and they say that a laugh a day may keep a heart attack at bay. Right, all together now - LAUGH - ha ha ha ha haaaaaaaa!
LIGHT - it brightens our world. Like love, light is part of the essence of who we are, that from which we spring and to which we return. Moreover, light creates rainbows - and can you think of anything as beautiful as a rainbow? Lenses, lasers, mirrors, colour, reflections and solar power are all dependent on light. Without light we would not exist.
LENSES - this is the photographer speaking... I am completely potty about my big 300mm lens. It allows me to take really close up shots without necessarily getting trampled by an elephant or bitten by a puffadder. Lenses enable me to take the kind of photos I want to create and from behind the lens of a camera I am able to see an entirely different world - a world in which the beauty of this thing we call life, is brought into sharp and focused magnificence.
LETTUCE - okay, so this may sound a little odd but I love lettuce and I particularly love lettuce sprinkled with a little sea salt and dribbled with walnut oil. Yummeeeeeee! Moreover, lettuce contains lactucarium, a chemical which aids sleep. Who needs sleeping pills when there's lettuce!
LITERATURE - where would we be without it. It reflects the world we live in, it shapes our thinking. I love reading and I love writing. I tend not, despite a degree in English literature, to think of it as "literature" but as stories. And as Terry Pratchett puts it so beautifully in Witches Abroad - "People think that stories are shaped by people. In fact, it's the other way around."
LULLABIES - they are so magnificently soothing. As a child I used to love the pink poodle music box which lay on my grandmother's bed and when wound up, played Brahms' lullaby. Even today, when I'm feeling really stressed and can't sleep, I hum this little tune to myself.
LILLIES - I love lillies, there is something so evocative and mysterious about them. They can be pure simplicity, they can be magnificent, flamboyant beauty. My favourite flowers are St Joseph's and Stargazer Lillies.
LEOPARDS - when I went to the Kruger National Park last year, all I wanted to see was a spotty lying in a tree - I think they are the most beautiful creatures. Unfortunately, it wasn't to be. I've had two close encounters with leopards out in the bush - in one instance I had one sitting politely behind me in a bush while I lounged on a river bank - I say politely because it wanted to get to the water and I was in its way but it just waited until my husband, who'd spotted it, came and rushed me away, saying, "Just don't look back!" In the other instance, I startled a spotty who growled most ferociously and sent me hurtling down the hill into a field of wild pigs!
LAZING - I'm all for lazing, especially on a tropical beach while hot and cold running waiters bring me iced mango juice. In fact, talking of lazing, after this very lengthy post, I think I'm going to do some of that!
And I'm very sorry but I have to add one more... LINDT - dark chocolate - mostly because I have just discovered "A touch of sea salt". Finally, I have met the chocolate of my dreams, the chocolate I want to marry. Thank you, LINDT!