Different strokes

In today’s Sunday Times (it was delivered free to our door today) there is an article about some New Year’s Eve party that is held every year at some rich Texan’s house in Cape Town. It takes months of planning, the bouncers were flown in from overseas and to stop people forging invitations, this year special armbands were made in Russia. This sounds like an April Fools’ joke but the scary thing is that it isn’t. R12 million  they said it costs. R12 million, for a party, it’s just sickening. How can anyone that owns a house in South Africa even think about spending that amount of money on a party when they surely must be aware of the immense poverty and suffering right on their doorstep? I won’t even get started down that route but why on earth would anyone want to go to a party like that? My ultimate New Year’s Eve party would be a gathering of all my friends and family, especially those that I don’t get to see very often. Why spend it in the company of people that you don’t know? Okay, maybe they are all friends but somehow I doubt it. I wonder what sort of conversations everyone has – guess where I just bought a house, my designer dress cost so much, my ferrari cost this much, we spend our holidays at such and such a place, I earned so much this year, look at my diamonds, meet my latest girlfriend. Maybe it’s not at all like that, I won’t ever be able to tell you that’s for sure. I am so, so grateful that that isn’t the life that I lead. It says that Graeme Smith made an appearance. Perhaps he shouldn’t have, perhaps he should have rather gone to bed early and thought about his batting a bit more!!! R12 million for a party.

The other night we watched the most fascinating program. It was all about Warren Buffett. Now I’m probably broadcasting my ignorance but I’ll be honest and say that I’d never heard of him. He’s one of the richest men in the world and yet I’d never heard of him (not that I’m trying to say that I know everything). I mean I’ve seen those lists before and would’ve seen his name on it, but his name didn’t mean anything to me. That’s probably exactly the way he wants it. He said amongst other things that everyone is good at something and he just happens to be better than most people at making money. He believes that he wouldn’t be where he is today if he had grown up somewhere else (like Zimbabwe let’s say) and because his wealth is as a result of the society that he grew up in almost as much as it’s a result of his own abilities, he believes in giving his money away, back into society and so he won’t be giving his money to his children. They are okay with that as he has always told them that and one only has to read about all the disastrous lives that a lot of the heirs and heiresses to huge fortunes lead to realise that it’s not such a bad idea at all. He says that he’s not that good at knowing exactly how to give money away, so he’s donated $50 billion to Bill Gates’s Foundation. He’s lived in the same house for 50 years, buys cars only when he really has to and they’re hail-damaged so are always cheaper. In New York he rides the subway, etc.,etc, you get the picture. It was such an interesting program. Such a far cry from what I read today, if only all the super-rich could take a leaf out of his book, what a different world we would perhaps live in.

In all of this lies a challenge. I would never think of us as wealthy but to a lot of people we probably are (and definitely when considering the majority of other South Africans). We support Meals on Wheels, Animal Anti-Cruelty, our Church’s baby home and our church but I’m sure there’s mountains more we could do. I am a bit of a head-in-the-sand type of person. Abandoned and abused animals is my biggest “thing” but I’m too scared to even try and help as I don’t think I could deal with being confronted by the cruelty and neglect. At one stage I wanted to be a vet and had the academic record to do so but I knew I just wouldn’t cope with dealing with animals in pain or being abused or whatever. I can’t bear to watch the TV ads or read newspaper articles or whatever, I just can’t. I’m not saying that I’m going to get involved (besides financially) but there are lots of other things that I can do. I do need to try and get back into physio. There is a school for disabled and special needs children literally around the corner and they’re desperate for more physios. Ava will hopefully start play school this year sometime and it would be so easy for me to just find other stuff (like gym or pilates or shopping) to do while she’s at school. I really must try and commit to helping out at the school, even just for a few hours a week.

What are my other goals for the year?

Mostly it’s just to run the Two Oceans.

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3 Responses to “Different strokes”

  1. Marcia Says:

    The R12 mil party sickens me too and I thought the same thing when I read about Graeme Smith. *ahem* moving on…

    Could you start volunteering at that school now? Maybe 2 hours a week. When I help people with their passions I always say those 2 hours will change you so much, enough to keep you going.

    BTW< we've had a world vision child for about 12 years now – that's all I can do (financially). My heart will BREAK if I had to see the kids face to face.

  2. zamom Says:

    I’ve been out of physio for 4 years now, so would feel more comfortable doing a bit of a refresher course which I’d need to do in CT. First step is to decide when Ava will start (probably 3rd term) for 2 or 3 mornings and then the course is usually 2 weeks so I need to find out when they’re running one and go from there.

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