Friday, September 25, 2015

Justice and Kindness

Justice is a person. He is our cleaning lady Mary's brother and for the past few months he has been our gardener. By the way, her name isn't Mary, it's Christine. I don't know why I gave her a fake name the first time I wrote about her but from now I will call her by her rightful name, Christine. Anyway, Justice has been coming to work in our small yard every week since May and sadly today is his last day.

When we first moved in, Christine's son, David, was the gardener. Then one day, Christine said David had to go home, to Limpopo, because his wife was sick. She said that her brother, Justice, would be coming instead.

While I was fine with having Justice come, and while I totally trust Christine on these matters, I was curious and I kept inquiring about David's wife. Was she OK? Was she sick in like she had a sore throat or was it something more serious? Christine would only say that it looked like she would be o.k. and then one day, she sent me a What'sapp text saying that David's wife had been sick because she was pregnant and she'd had the baby and everyone was fine. So there you go.

This was a few months ago and since then I have asked her a few more times about David. Was he coming back? Mostly I asked just to be polite because I was starting to love Justice so much. Now David has returned to Diepsloot and he will be back at work next week.

I am really going to miss Justice and I think he is going to miss working here too. He told me that he was really sad about it being his last day today. I wish that I had a big enough garden and I could have both David and Justice come (yes there was a famous American baseball player named David Justice), but the yard is small and it wouldn't make any sense.

So what's so great about Justice? Well for one thing he puts so much thought and care into his work. At the end of the day on Fridays, Christine is always helping him finish up because he is so meticulous. He's also really creative. For example we have a lot of pine cones that fall on the ground and when he first came here he began using them to make patterns in the landscape. When I told him that I liked the pine cone art he started doing other things like putting tree bark into the cracks in our walkway (granted he pulled it off a tree which probably isn't the best idea for the tree) but really it's the thought that counts. 

I can also tell that Christine likes coming to work a little bit more on the days that Justice comes with her. She makes him coffee or tea in the morning and then she makes his lunch in the afternoon. They sit outside in the grass and eat together and talk. They also often sing together. I asked them once about their singing and they said they are in a church choir so I guess they are singing church music. They have really nice voices and I have tried and tried to record them using my phone so I could share with you. Unfortunately (and I do mean unfortunately) there are always screaming kids next door at the pool/clubhouse so the recordings never come out clearly.

A few weeks ago Christine told me that Justice was going to come with her on a Tuesday to help her clean the windows. It turns out it was all a scheme because they somehow found out it was my birthday that day and they cooked up the plan that he would come with her. He made me a bouquet of flowers from our garden which he has since refreshed every week with new flowers and he also washed my car. They made me a little birthday note too.

And finally as if all this kindness wasn't enough, they also made us a gift.  When I came home one day I saw a framed drawing sitting on the table by our front door. I asked Christine about it and she told me that she and Justice made it for us. I almost cried. Partially because I don't know how in the world they could get their hands on any art supplies let alone a frame, but also because I know how much being able to come here to work must mean to them and I am so touched that they would take the time to do this for us. 

Justice is a really special person. He is creative and hardworking and kind. I look forward to seeing David again but I hope every now and then he has to take a trip to Limpopo and that Justice will return.
Justice and Christine
UPDATE November, 2015 - about a month after I wrote this post Justice sent me an SMS to let me know that he got a job! He is now working as a security guard. Christine said the job is going well and he is working a lot of days. She said he sometimes has to work on Sundays and has had to miss church. I am sure he doesn't like to miss church but it is wonderful that he is working. His employer is lucky to have him.


  1. What a beautiful story to start my morning. You know, I've written a lot about the many reasons I love South Africa, but there is really one overall reason, and it is its people. People like Justice and Christine. People who bring a smile to you every day you see them, who make you feel like everything is alright, who humble you because they are so kind and so sure in their kindness that all the troubles you can concoct in your head fade away. I'm sure it goes both ways in your case - you must be a wonderful employer!

    1. Thank you Sine! It's hard to explain the relationship that I have with Christine and her family and I am glad that you understand. I am amazed by her because she comes to work with a smile on her face even though her life must be so hard. I have learned a lot from them about how to approach life.

  2. If SA ever reaches its potential it will be because of people like Justice and Christine.


About Me

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Hello and thank you for taking an interest in my blog. This blog tells the story of some big life changes. First, my husband and I have just moved to Geneva, Switzerland for a few months following a few years of living in Johannesburg, South Africa. The two places could not be more different. I'm excited to share our adventures, challenges and insights with you! My thoughts and opinions are my own.