Bongi is the lady who helps to clean our house once every week. We have a good relationship. Or so I think… who knows what she really thinks of me – this young girl (younger than she is) with the nice blue BMW, who lives in a nice warm house, with her baby, hardworking husband and a dog (who has more blankets than some of her friends probably have).
I try to share as much as I can with Bongi. And I always feel quite good that I am giving Bongi things to take home.
Then the other day, I was showing Bongi the new blue plates I bought and I told her that I have put the old plates in a box for her to take home.
She was grateful, but her reaction caught me unaware: ‘Yo, Nicolette, you waste money!’ She didn’t say it angrily. It was just a statement (perhaps there was a tone of disbelief).
I didn’t know what to say. I give her all these things, and her thoughts are that I am wasting money?
I guess I just always assumed she must be happy with all the things I give her. I am the good, white benefactor (he he, we don’t want to admit it, but I think this is how we often think of ourselves!). Suddenly, giving didn’t feel so good anymore. Was I wasting money?
I have given the situation a lot of thought, and I have come to the conclusion that it is not that I waste money – I buy with money that we have, and I buy at PEP, JET, and Mr Price, in stead of at Woollies, Truworths and Foschini (well some times I do splurge a bit at these places).
But I have learned that there are people who cannot imagine that you would buy plates if you already have plates; people to whom it seem absurd to buy a R100 mobile for a baby room, just because it is pretty.
I am certainly NOT saying we are not allowed to buy these pretty things if we can buy them. Let’s just never forget the Bongis in life. I guess that’s why I often decide to give the (irritating!) car guard that R2 or R5, even if I am CERTAIN nothing would have happened to my car while I was gone. Because I have the nice blue plates.