Our true wealth

Once the Money Whisperer, always the Money Whisperer. As I moved to another continent 10 years ago, my angle on money hasn’t changed. It rather expanded, influenced by different circumstances.

Through my oil painting group I met Butterfly Art Project, (BAP)  www.Butterflyartproject.org , an NGO in a nearby township called Vrygrond.  They provide art therapy for primary school children in an after-school program, called Heart for Art   https://www.butterflyartproject.org/heart-for-art

They also gather 5, 6, and 7 year old children from the neighbourhood who should be in school, but they are not, for a myriad of reasons: no birth certificate, no money, parents absent for different reasons.

Four mornings a week these Lovebugs, as the group is called, come into a nurturing, fun environment, where they make friends with their peers, do art in all kinds of forms and mediums, sing songs, play games, have breakfast and lunch and little by little they learn to behave in a group, all with Kindergarten and primary school in mind.

As you can imagine, these children come with trauma, fear, and above all without the material safety and emotional wisdom that our parents passed on to us and we to our children, almost without a second thought.

If you don’t receive that in the formative years, if your parents don’t have it to give to you because they never received it, if the community you live in is struggling, if you don’t eat or sleep adequately, where would you find the motivation or the role model to lift yourself out of those surroundings?

I ended up taking a course in community art facilitation with BAP and received my certificate. All for free, funded by donors to the organization. The one payback was 24 hours volunteering in a setting with young children at risk.

I had an organization in mind, but because it was more than a two-hour drive away, I abandoned that idea and decided to volunteer at BAP itself, with the LoveBugs.

My old notions of discipline, obedience, and logic don’t always apply here, or better said: almost never.  I had to learn about children with trauma, children with alcohol and/or drug syndrome, children growing up neglected, physically and emotionally: a life changing, humbling experience.

We are so fortunate, even if we have our own obstacles and challenges to deal with. We have our upbringing, education, work experience, family, a safe place to live, food in our tummy, our networks, and our own grounding to help us overcome adversity and to support us.

How much value do you put on your upbringing, your ancestors and the wisdom they brought forward? How about all your hard work and efforts to get ahead, successful or not? And the support and love of your family and friends?

We are so trained to only count our money and earthly possessions that we forget about the intrinsic elements that make us uniquely who we are.

A large part of our lives is ruled by money and how we manage it. But don’t forget, the sum of us is much more than a fistful of money.

I spent more than a year volunteering in the morning program with the LoveBugs, and will go back as soon as Covid (or the lack thereof) allows me. I can’t wait. I miss the little rascals.

These children are just like any other children: funny, naughty, brilliantly devious, ingenious, creative, loving, and full of energy. https://youtu.be/J1T_l3jqzA8

All I want for them is a fair start and a fair chance to live a life in human dignity. I want them to feel appreciated just the way they are. I want them in a safe place to experiment and experience art, color, creativity, friends, and the joy of learning.

Covid with all its restrictions and lockdowns has caused whole industry sectors in all of South Africa to close down, some for good.  So many parents have lost their income, so many more children in need, waiting for the helping hand.

BAP is running a Crowdfunding campaign this Sunday and Monday. https://youtu.be/Bx5cSdNHw5c

I, as one of their ambassadors invite you to my personal  donor page, if you want to help these children in the coming year.


I will talk much more about these children and the process I am in as well, in the coming year.


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