Saturday, August 8, 2015

When life changes direction

One day when I am floating towards those Pearly Gates, I can look back and say my life was never boring.  There was always something, some little drama to keep me entertained.  But stay out of it Hollywood because this is my soap opera.  I have earned the copyright.
When I headed back to Cape Town in November 2014, after many years of working overseas, I thought I knew exactly what my future held.  I was going to open a Remedial Centre for children with learning difficulties.  It was going to be a business.  I was going to make money and have a life.
But, like the books I write, there had to be a twist.  And a good twist is one even the characters don't see coming.
Parents approached me to homeschool their children.  The Remedial Centre was only in the afternoons, so there was time in my day to start a a learning/tutor centre in the mornings.  But with word of mouth my learning/tutor centre grew until all my available time was spent teaching and getting resources together.  There was no time left for my writing.  No time to market the Remedial Centre.  No time for family.
It began to feel like I was on a hamster wheel, treading for my life.
My business quickly evolved into a charity with all available funding going back into the learning centre.  I started feeding the children.  During this time I became aware of a huge need for a Family Crisis Centre in Table View, the suburb in which I lived.  Women with children who fell on hard times, had nowhere to go when they got divorced, were being abused...there was no place for them in our area.  Nowhere they could go until they got their lives back on track.  Getting this Family Crisis Centre off the ground and up and running is my current project.  I have applied to register an NGO but our government works at a different pace.  With an excellent team and supportive parents, my learning centre has gone from strength to strength.  We thrive on Ubunthu.
So from wanting to start a business and generate an income to make a living, I have moved onto wanting to make a difference in people's lives.
At night I go to bed tired but excited that I am making a difference.
The late great Nelson Mandela said, "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."
This of course does mean that I have to sell my house as without an income I cannot afford to keep it.
A year ago I was working in an international school with privileged children, earning a fat salary.  But I was unhappy and heading towards depression.  Who would have thought that a year later I would be loving what I am doing, but too broke to pay attention?
But that doesn't stop me, I am about to change the world, one child at a time.
My life has changed direction and I never saw it coming.
My business evolved into a charity.
Teaching children who don't fit into the one-size-fits-all mold of the South African education system.
Helping children get the specialised education they need when their parents can't afford to pay for it.
Working to get a Family Crisis Centre off the ground.
Meeting other caring people in the community who are also committed to making a difference.
Now that there's an offer on my house, friends and family ask where I'll stay when my house is sold.  I smile and shrug.  "I'll let you know when I find out."
So many twists and turns in this current chapter of my life, I am getting a little dizzy.
If you can help fund our learning centre or Family Crisis Centre in any way, we have a Go Fund Me page.  Every $5 helps.  Food and resources are expensive.  Every month is a struggle.  Please click on the link. http://www.gofundme.com/vawqc8 
Cindy Vine is the author of The Case of Billy B, Not Telling, Defective, C U @ 8 and Hush Baby.  All her books are available on Amazon in kindle and paperback format.
http://www.amazon.com/Ms-Cindy-Vine/e/B002C1D9G2/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Friday, July 17, 2015

Mandela Day 2015

What are you doing for Mandela Day on the 18th July? How are you making a difference?

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Sunday, April 26, 2015

No time for excuses!

It has been almost 5 months since I last updated my blog.  I could come up with at least 100 excuses why I have not written anything.  No time being one of them.  But in reality there is always time.  You make the time.  And I haven't so slap me.  Family dramas, no money, starting a new business are all energy-sapping.  They drag all drops of motivation out of you, wringing all creative energy until you are a half-built robot going through the motions of life incapable of independent thought.
That time has gone.
I wanted to sleep in today, it being a long weekend, but instead woke up with my veins transporting creative juices through my body.
I am alive.
My brain is pumping, I can hear the beat.  Boof, boof, boof.  Ideas are streaming through.
Two, no three novels I had semi-planned in my head over a year ago are knocking on that basement door wanting to be let out into the sunlight.
That recipe book which was 3/4 finished is begging to be completed.
Book marketing, what's that?
I haven't made time to market any of my books for probably 3 years.  I should be punished.  I should let that Grey fellah have his way with me.  Bring on that cat o'nine tails and the handcuffs.
This is the real me now that the zombie outer-later has been shed during the night.
Winter is coming in the southern hemisphere.  Maybe I am going through a reverse hibernation.  I hibernate in summer and am rejuvenated in winter.
I am alive.
Bring it on baby!
Cindy Vine is the author of The Case of Billy B, Not Telling, Defective, C U @ 8 and Hush Baby.  All her books are available on Amazon in both paperback and kindle format.  Cindy lives in Cape Town, the most beautiful city in the world.

Friday, November 28, 2014

The grass isn't always greener on the other side

After 15 years away I am coming home.  I’d lived away from home when I first started teaching, returned for a couple of years and then left again.  28 years of teaching and I’ve lived and worked in 11 different countries.  The world has changed quite considerably in that period.  South Africa has changed.  People’s perceptions of South Africa has changed.  But no matter where I have lived, I have always been proud to call myself South African.  Cape Town has always been my home.
Living and holidaying in a country are two very different things.  When you are on holiday you do not grasp the high cost of living and the problems facing the country.  Things might seem to be expensive but you budgeted for it when you planned your holiday.  In New Zealand I had to work two jobs to make ends meet.  A beautiful country with a high cost of living.  In China and Korea pollution was an issue and gave me throat problems.  Also the sheer amount of people, pushing and shoving, was sometimes claustrophobic.  Thailand with its great food and beautiful beaches, a fa├žade which hides the rats, filth, stray dogs, sex trade and poverty.  No country is perfect.  Every country has its own unique set of problems.

One is continually told about the crime in South Africa.  When expat friends would hear I was going back for a holiday, they would always ask me if I was scared or feel unsafe.  South Africa has always been where my heart is, no matter where I lived.  Let me tell you every country has crime.  I was in New Zealand two weeks when I had my first burglary.  My last burglary there, I opened my front door and there was just dust where my furniture used to be.  They even stole the sheets when they stole the beds, broke the kitchen bench top to get out the dishwasher.  In China I was pick-pocketed, had a laptop snatched, and a break-in where they even stole my cell phone that was next to my bed where I was fast asleep.  In Botswana my washing was stolen off the wash line.  In Tanzania they broke in and stole my laptop, portable hard drives containing 10 years of music, video camera, cell phones.  Maybe I just have bad luck.  But then again, a friend was burgled when I lived in Kyiv.  Another friend lost all valuables when his house was broken into in the UK.  My son had his camera stolen in America.  So it’s not just me who has experienced crime in other countries.  Despite what many South Africans think, crime is not endemic to South Africa.  Crime is worldwide.  Leaving South Africa to escape crime might be a hasty decision.  Sometimes what appears to be luscious green grass on the other side turns out to be toxic weeds hiding sharp poisonous thorns.
Unemployment is another factor which causes people to leave South Africa.  It is one of the reasons I left.  As a single mom of three children without any child support I needed to provide for them.  My children have all graduated high school and gone on to study further.  My eldest daughter graduated in New Zealand, my son in China and my youngest daughter in Tanzania.  The positive is that they all regard themselves as global citizens.  The negative is that they are third culture kids.  Buying a house in Cape Town a few years ago gave us all roots so that we no longer felt anchorless.  We have a place to come home to for holidays.

But now the time has come for me to return.  With a head full of memories of overseas friends and crazy adventures, it is time to settle down to life in South Africa.  Having not taught in South African schools for so many years, I realised that it would be virtually impossible to get back into the system.  The only way would be to start a business in the educational field.  After doing some research, I have opted to open an educational consultancy in Table View in Cape Town.  The Learning Vine helps students wanting to study overseas find the right university and course to suit them, and assists with the convoluted application process.  In addition, I’ve bought a franchise for the GoFocus Remedial Programme which will run afternoons and will run a home-school for children in the mornings who are struggling with being in a mainstream school.  With my youngest still studying I have to generate an income.  Creating my own employment was a necessity but it is doable.  Moving home means setting up new accounts, getting another tax number and heaps of things that you don’t think about when you make the decision to return.  Being back in South Africa for good is worth the tough times that will lie ahead as one struggles to get a new business off the ground.

Having travelled the world, I can evocably state that South Africa is one of the most beautiful countries in the world with the friendliest people and an acceptable cost of living by world standards.  Don’t take what you have here for granted.  It’s not always greener on the other side.
Cindy Vine is the author of Hush Baby, Not Telling, C U @ 8, The Case of Billy B and Defective.  All her books are available on Amazon in kindle and paperback format.  http://cindyvine.com

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Introducing a wonderful new author

For those who love reading laugh out loud books, my friend John Brook has just written a great book, very entertaining read! Check it out!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDy6-LmF0LE&feature=youtu.be

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Being Brave

I listened to a song this morning which, besides making me cry, caused me to reflect on my cancer journey.  I was one of the lucky ones.  My cancers were caught relatively early.  All I needed was surgery to remove the problem.  But what about those who need more than surgery?  What fear do they experience?  Cancer is such a nasty word.
I have been told it three times in my life so far.  December 2003, September 2006 and December 2010.  The moment you get told that word the fear you feel is incredible.  Overwhelming.  People try and comfort you but their words don't dissipate the fear.
Cancer is scary.
People tell you that you are so brave and you think, "Do I have a choice?"
I didn't choose cancer.  For whatever reason cancer chose me.
And you fight it with everything you have got.  You take on that fear and overcome it.  You do it because you are not ready to die.  You do it because you want to live.  You don't have a choice.  Fighting cancer is like an innate reflex action.  After the initial shock your mind just goes into survival mode.  Fighting cancer is all about survival.  For those not suffering from cancer it might seem like you are brave.  If being brave means pushing back your fear and fighting to survive, then I guess we are brave.
But at the time you don't feel particularly brave.  You feel terrified.
And sometimes being brave is not enough.  No matter the fight you put up, the cancer forces advance and slowly take control of your body, reducing you to a diseased shell.  There is no dignity when this happens.  Dying has no dignity.  It is the end.
Everybody who gets a cancer diagnosis fights it. We all believe we can beat it.  But it is a luck of the draw kind of thing.  For some the belief you can beat it is not enough.  And you never know until you get the all-clear if that lucky person who beats it is you.
Cancer is scary.
Early detection is your best hope of beating it.
Bravery is instinctive.
http://blog.thebreastcancersite.com/trulybrave/#sxZdbqLeupv55E4v.01