A Visit With a Difference
Certain visits are described as having entertained angels without knowing it. Such a visit graced our home the other day, not in the form of a supernatural guest, but rather in a figure whose dress and demeanour conveyed a dignity in the midst of poverty. Trudy, a woman who often searches through the rubbish bags on the street corner, and who we have come to know, pressed the buzzer and came to our townhouse door.
She has done this before on a few occasions and always greets me as “Pasta” which has nothing to do with any Italian connections, but everything to do with her Pentecostal roots. After her visits we’ve always made sure that she has left with something to see her through the month. On leaving she would back out the door bowing and lifting her hands and saying, “You will be blessed, you will be blessed." And I’m left standing there pondering on the injustice of it all.
But this time it was different. I noticed as she stepped in to our lounge that she was carrying a large plastic bag which she later referred to as a “checkers” (the name of a large supermarket in South Africa). She sat down and we spoke about the weather, her family and ours, how difficult it was to find work, and the possibility of employment by someone who lived up the road. She drank her coffee and I wandered, like I always do when she sits there, how she felt about our place, which is simple, but probably luxury when compared to where she lived.
As she rose to leave she handed over the paper bag. It was full of spinach with a small pumpkin. She proudly announced that it had all come out of her small garden. I was about to pay her for it. She shook her head and said, “No, today, I give you.” There was a proud glint in her eye and a stately drawing back of her shoulders as she stepped through the door in to the brightness of the day. In that moment she was rich. Always the receiver she had become the giver, and somehow we became more than ever, at one with Trudy.
That night we had spinach and pumpkin with our meal, and with a glass of wine toasted Trudy and celebrated her presence.