Yesterday I had a truly beautiful interaction. I borrowed a friend’s gardener because my lawnmower broke and even though my temporary home only sports a postage-stamp lawn, it still needs trimming and I’m simply not up to doing that with a pair of scissors.
I have a desk outside, where I work most days. With the gardener snipping away (he brought his own shears), it was quiet enough for us to get chatting. Originally from Zimbabwe, he’s been in the country for decades, after fleeing his home country when his father was killed, to start and finish his schooling in Botswana.
We talked about everything from war and being a refugee to the legalisation of marijuana and current SA politics. We spoke about how hard he had worked to get his children an education, hoping for a better life for them. He regretted not educating himself further so he could be more than a gardener.
Naturally, the conversation lead to hedgehogs. He wasn’t sure what that was, so I Googled pictures of hedgehogs for him. “Ah”, he said, “that’s inhloli.”
But, then he asked, “Do you just type things and get information? How does that work?” That’s when I told him about the internet. He knew the term, he knew the word Google. He even had a Chrome button on his phone.
But, nobody had ever told him what it all meant.
Besides having the privilege of spending time with a truly gentle and beautiful soul, I also got to show someone the world. He was so excited about what he could now do. On his phone. We chatted about looking up images, watching videos and learning.
He said that at the age of 59, he didn’t think he’d ever learn something so great.
It was a truly humbling and beautiful experience and I’ll never forget our conversation; the things and opinions we have in common, the way we could laugh and be simply human together. We taught each other stuff. We are both richer now.
I’m really glad my lawnmower broke.