In a recent conversation with a young man who was thanking me on behalf of his family for what we had done for his sister, he made this very interesting comment: "You are one in a million who can see a problem and solve it".
His comment made me stop and think .... see a problem, solve a problem. Why don't we do more of this?
In a society where we very easily spend time blaming, accusing, criticising, complaining and feeling "entitled", it seems there are less and less problem solvers and more problem identifiers.
Thinking about how we do things at smartMI, as well as our company culture, I would like to think that smartMI is privileged to have a "problem solving" approach.
We do business in an industry that is known for complaints of abuse and corruption, along with selling products to clients that they will never be able to use.
Our problem solving approach to this, is to offer a compliant (abide by the law) service that treats our customers fair (product meets needs) and is available in the local neighbourhood where our clients live. Our sales approach ensures that clients only buy products they want and NEED.
Our communities in which we do business deal with the reality of an unemployed youth.
We are offering our solution to this problem by ensuring that we create an environment where we can help inexperienced persons grow their skill level and confidence whilst working for smartMI. With our approach to training, we are now able to create opportunities for persons who are willing to learn, to gain experience and grow!
We are proud of various examples of Team Members who grabbed every opportunity to learn and better themselves.
I could build a list of problems that we have solved over time, without truly realising that is what we are doing. Problem solving is part of our culture, because we have a heart.
We recently had the privilege of helping one of our Interns get much needed spectacles to improve her poor eyesight.
It was great to see an entire SMART Team pull together to contribute, along with the Company, so that one Team Member could get much needed spectacles at no additional cost to her.
We are proud of our culture of solving problems. We are proud of an entire TEAM that represents "One in a Million"!
Be part of the #SMARTSolution!
I lost my grandmother.
It is a simple sentence which urges people to sympathise with beautiful and meaningful words and pictures. The intentions are pure, but it is lost because I lost my grandmother.
Never can this one sentence describe what I have lost.
I did not lose a person with the title of grandmother. I lost a person. A very important person.
My grandmother was, to say the least, a formidable person.
Because of how I grew up, both my grandparents played a very important role in my life. I lost my grandfather 26 years ago, and today I can still describe him in detail and feel his presence in my life. I lost my grandmother this past Saturday.
She was 99 years old. People would say it was time and I agree. I still lost my grandmother.
In the end she was merely a shadow of who she really was, but yet her spirit was still strong enough to want to eat and drink by herself. Ensuring that she remained neat and presentable throughout the process.
I once read that old age and dimentia breaks down many of your barriers and filters until only the core remains. I am so proud to say that the most beautiful core remained with my grandmother. Her faith in God remained strong, her love for her family was overwhelming, her gratefulness for every little thing was remarkable and her inability to complain, exemplary!
She was blind and mostly deaf. I have no memory of her ever complaining about either.
I lost my grandmother. I lost a wonderful person.
They showed me my grandmother's body. She wasn't there. She had left.
I grew up with a grandfather who never wanted to grow older than 70. He passed away a few months after turning 70. Peacefully, in his sleep. My grandfather used to tease my grandmother when he would tell us that she is so healthy, we would need to "hit her with a plank one day".
At 95 my younger brother suggested to my grandmother that he could bring the "plank". She advised him to try his luck as she would "hit back with her fist".
At 97 my grandmother pondered upon her age while we were standing outside so that she could feel the sun on her face. She said to me: "Ek is regtig nou stokoud!". She never enjoyed speaking about age, and thereafter she closed the book on that discussion.
If you were born in 1917, it means you lived through wars, depression, epidemics, industrialisation, apartheid, Nelson Mandela and the internet. My grandmother embraced change. We even have a "selfie" with her. She loved the wonder of emails that are sent and instant comments coming back on photos shared.
Age is all in the mind ... that was her philosophy. Earlier this year she asked me to look if she was also going grey ... as I had admitted to her. Her hair was grey yes, but her mind and attitude was young and full of life.
I lost my grandmother, but I gained a lifetime of love and memories with a person who knew how to pray, to love and to laugh!
Ek mis my Super Duper Granny!
We've had the privilege this year to dedicate some time and resources to the Kraaifontein Old Age home. Up until the moment we visited the Home, it was merely a name and an organisation to all of us. An opportunity to do some good, celebrating the legacy of Nelson Mandela.
All set with close to 400 handmade sandwiches, 8 HQ Team Members and a camera to capture the moment, we arrived at a fairly big and acceptable looking government building called an Old Age Home. This we were prepared for, not for the people living inside though.
To describe the emotions and reactions that flowed through us as a Team in the first few moments, is very hard. The hall was filled with people who are hopeful and thankful for what you bring, even if it is only a smile. There we stood with our sandwiches, and all I could think was, we should have done so much more, the need is so big. You are confronted with people who are so greatful for the little you have done, that you cannot stop thinking why have I done so little.
This Old Age Home is filled with the elderly, the disabled and even at times the destitute. They represent the different colours and languages of South Africa, but they are all one in their need to be taken care of. I started taking one or two photos while we handed out the sandwiches, but ended up feeling like I was invading a private moment of appreciation. I also did not want to miss the greatful looks, scared smiles and need for assistance in some cases.
As we walked through the hall, visited the rooms and spoke to some of the residents, I was intensely aware of their need to be treated as normal, part of society, a real person who matters. In one room a gentleman declined the sandwich politely, which amazed us, until we realised he was unable to take it from us. Chrisna fed him patiently listening to his story of his family leaving him there 14 years ago, never to return. In another room, Sharon met up with true lady who took care to keep her sandwhich neatly aside until she was ready to enjoy it.
We met up with another fiesty old lady who saw us as an opportunity to get a "lift" and leave the "home" ... it took some creative moves on our side to convince her to stay behind!
Just before leaving, we were thanked by the most beautiful singing of "Baie dankie", blessing us for what we have done. They sang with such appreciation that we struggled to hold back the tears.
Outside we took a few photos in front of the building, and just before leaving, a true English lady came outside to once again thank us for what we have done for them. I took both her hands assuring her that it was an honour for us. Feeling how cold those hands were, I could not leave her like that, and I had the privilege and honour of slipping my gloves onto her hands and seeing the amazement and appreciation in her eyes.
She thanked me with great concern that I would now have cold hands and I assured her that I'll be all right ... thinking I selfishly have 3 unused pairs at home...
On our way back we spoke about how the experience was an "eye opener" of how big the need at this Old Age home is .... thinking of all the wasted government funding that will never reach them.
We've put a drop in the bucket of needs at Kraaifontein Old Age home this Mandela Day. There are, however, 364 other days in the year ...