To ‘sacrifice’ means to give up something in exchange for something better. We decided to make a sacrifice and exchange city life and move to a seaside village with our children aged 9 and 3 years old. We had a beautiful home and plenty of money but little real security because crime was on the increase every day. We never knew if we would all make it safely home at night.
We were very happy in our new town but life was very difficult economically. Income is based on the tourist seasons and jobs are few and far between. There is a local saying
“How do you make a small fortune on the Garden Route? Arrive with a big one.”
Although many of the long-standing residents are well off, it is a very competitive environment for newcomers. We have had to adjust to an enormous extent over the past 4 years. Our currency has become measured in ‘life style’ which is based on golden beaches, green forests, meandering rivers, the wonder of seeing the whales or dolphins, the enjoyment of good friends or the beauty of a spectacular sunrise or sunset.
Reading the newspapers from the big cities assured us that we had made the right choice. However, it was not always easy to explain to the children why they could no longer have what they were used to especially when our ‘rich’ friends come from the city to visit. They have so much but think they have so little and are always looking for more.
However, our little daughter put it all into perspective one day. Our visiting friend’s son preferred riding in the back of our beat up little ‘bakkie’ (pickup) to his father’s big Mercedes. Our little daughter called me and said, “Mom, please help me to explain to James that he is wrong. He says that ‘today, if you don’t have money you are nothing.’ I know that is not true. If you do have money you share it with your friends and if they don’t have money and you do, you share it with them. That is what makes us all rich.”
She has seen our networking and understands the old fashioned values of community sharing. It made me realize that the sacrifice was well worth it. Our kids understand that and they may not have all the spoils of citylife but they do have a solid set of values and they know that our most precious gifts are good friends and a wonderful environment.
Author – Shanette Elliott
*This weeks story was submitted by Shanette Cowie of Plettenberg Bay, South Africa.