BRIEWE: Aan die Boer, Vergewe ons

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BRIEWE – Ek is nie ‘n boer nie, ek en my man het ‘n hoewe buite Bloemfontein waar ons met lusern boer en ‘n paar skape het. Vandag was vir my ‘n sieldodende dag. Ons Damara ram Oupa het vandag net gaan lê. Hy het goeie jare gehad en het vir ons baie dragtige ooie gegee. Ek moes hom sleep in die koelte in want hy kon nie meer staan nie. Hy en ‘n ander ram het baie baklei en ek glo het hy skade aan sy skedel opgedoen. Met dit gesê was hy ook al oud. Hy was nooit honger nie, hy was goed na gekyk, hy het nooit harde tye geken nie. Ek het by hom gesit en huil, mooi met hom gepraat en dankie gesê. Ek het my man gebel en gereël dat ons werker hom uit sy ellende haal.

Dit het my laat dink. My hart bloei vir die boer wat sy haelgeweer moet laai en die besluit maak om sy beeste te skiet. Om in die kraal of land in te stap en jammer te sê vir sy skepper dat hy dit nou moet doen, my hart bloei vir die boer. As ek so gevoel het oor een skaap waarna ek moes omsien hoe hartverskeurend is dit nie vir ‘n boer wat sy beeste in die oë moet kyk en saggies jammer vir hul sê voor hy die sneller trek nie. Hoe hartseer jy moet voel om in jou diere se oë te kyk en hul honger te kan aanvoel.

BRIEWE: Aan die Boer - Afrikaanse Nuus

My hart bloei vir die boer wat sy hande in stof druk terwyl hy op sy knieë in sy land is en bid vir reen. My hart bloei vir die boer wat slapelose nagte het en wonder of hy en sy familie ‘n toekoms het. My hart bloei om te dink hoe moeilik dit is om huistoe te gaan en in jou vrou en kinders se oë te kyk so dan bly jy maar nog ‘n paar minute in die land om jouself bymekaar te kry. My hart bloei vir die vrouens van daardie boere wat hulpeloos bystaan en kyk hoe haar man deur hel gaan.

My hart bloei vir die werkers wat nie weet of hulle nog werk gaan hê nie.

My hart bloei vir die diere wat langs die drade afhardloop agter die boer se bakkie aan en smeek vir kos. Die hulpeloosheid wat ‘n boer moet voel terwyl hy sy leë hande optel en se hy het niks nie. Hy het nie kos nie. My hart bloei vir die boer soos hy trane stort en homself verwyt omdat hy nie kan voorsien aan sy diere nie. Die hulpeloosheid moet oorweldigend wees. Die skaamte moet ‘n donker skaduwee oor die boer gooi.

Ek kyk vanaand na my bord en besef dat alles wat op daardie bord is kom van ‘n boer af. Ek besef toe hoe ek nooit net gaan sit het en dankie gesê het vir ons boere nie. Ek het skaam gekry. Ek het gesukkel om te eet. Ek was oorrompel met hartseer.

Boere, vergewe ons. Vergewe ons dat ons nooit besef het watter invloed julle op ons lewens eintlik het nie. Vergewe ons dat ons alles vanselfsprekend neem. Van vleis wat mooi verpak is tot groente wat mooi gewas en vars is. Mense besef nie as hul ‘n produk optel in ‘n winkel hoeveel bloed en sweet in daardie kos ingegaan het nie.

Vergewe ons dat ons dink dat kos ‘n reg is. Dat kos altyd daar sal wees. Ons besef nie dat dit more kan weg wees nie. Vergewe ons dat ons nie besef hoe goed julle vir ons is nie. Ek glo vas julle is die mense in hierdie land wat die minste vra maar die meeste nodig het. Julle maak nooit geraas as dit sleg gaan nie. Julle sak net neer op jul knieë en bid. Jul vertrou dat daar vir jul voorsien sal word.

Ek lees van boere wat in hul krale gaan sit en die sneller trek. Die dood verkies bo die hartseer. “A Captain never leaves his ship they say”. Ek kan nie eers indink hoe desperaat en hartseer ‘n boer moet wees om dit te doen nie. Niemand wil gesien word as ‘n teleurstelling nie. Nie vir sy medemens, sy grond of sy diere nie. Dit maak my hart bitter swaar.

Vergewe ons dat ons net ons koppe skud en julle jammer kry, dat ons ‘n post like sonder om twee keer te dink en dan net aangaan met ons daaglikse lewe. ‘n Like op ‘n post maak nie dat jou diere kos kry nie, ‘n like bring nie reen nie, ‘n like red nie lewens nie. Ons opinies verander nie jou realiteit nie.

Ek voel mense wat nie boere is nie is te bang om eintlik te besef wat aangaan. Ons verkies om nie aan dit te dink nie. Ons gooi n blinde oog. Ons verkies om te glo dat alles “ok” gaan wees. Vergewe ons. Ek dink nie mense wil hartseer wees nie. Soos ek vandag gevoel het oor een dier kan ek nie eers indink hoe ek sou voel oor ‘n kraal of ‘n land vol diere nie.

Vergewe ons dat ons nie jou desperaatheid kan voel nie. Ons weet nie wat dit is om ‘n vrag vol vee net te wil weggee omdat ons nie kos het vir hulle nie. Ons kla oor plante wat in ons tuine doodgaan en oor hoe onregverdig die lewe is. Ons verstaan nie hoe dit voel om in ‘n land te gaan staan in die stof, op te kyk na die hemele en te vra “hoekom” terwyl die hartseer jou oorkom nie. Ons verstaan nie, vergewe ons. Ons verstaan nie die vertoue wat julle toepas nie. Ons kan soveel van julle leer.

Vergewe ons dat ons nie altyd kan help nie. Ons het julle en alles wat julle vir ons doen vanselfsprekend geneem. Boere moet mos dit doen. Dit is julle werk. Vergewe ons arrogansie.

Vergewe ons dat ons nie besef die liefde wat julle het vir die grond waar jul boer nie. Die liefde, deursettingsvermoë en geloof wat dit vat om ‘n land te voed nie.

Ek kyk op na elke boer, groot en klein. Ek wil julle laat weet dat julle in my gebede is. Ek wil julle laat weet dat julle die fondasie van die land is en dat sonder julle ons niks kan doen nie. Hou moed, hulp is oppad. Hou moed, mense bid vir julle. Hulp is oppad! Hou moed, ons het julle nodig

Vergewe ons, Nicole Viljoen

ENGLISH

LETTER: To the farmer, forgive us

I am not a farmer, my husband and myself have a small holding just outside Bloemfontein where we farm with a few sheep and Lucerne. Today was a heart wrenching day for me. My Damara – ram “Oupa” refused to stand up. I tried everything to get him to get back up but alas. He was laying in the sun and I tried to drag him towards the shade as the heat was unbearable. He fought with a younger ram and I suspect that he obtained injury to his skull. I have to also say that he was very old. He had a great life, always fed, enough water and was taken care of like a king. The draught was not the reason he passed. I stared into his eyes while he lay there. I felt so helpless. I sat next to him and cried, thanked him for giving us many pregnant ewes while trying to get him to at least eat some Lucerne I had with me, nothing. I contacted my husband to arrange with our foreman to end his misery. I was heartbroken.

This traumatic moment got me thinking. My heart bleeds for the farmer when he knows he has to make a decision to load his gun, walk towards his cattle or sheep, ask for forgiveness while they stare at him thinking that maybe he brought food and pull the trigger. If I felt that way about one sheep that I had to take care of and had to let go of how must a farmer feel in this situation? What sadness they must feel while having to do this? Its torture. I cannot imagine how helpless you must feel to look into that animal’s eyes and sense their hunger knowing you cannot help.

My heart bleeds for the farmer that stick his hands into dry land and only holds dust while he is on his knees praying for rain. My heart bleeds for the farmer that has sleepless nights wondering how he and his family will survive. I cannot imagine how hard it is to return home, to face his wife and children when he feels this way. So you stay in the field a little longer just to gather yourself. My heart bleeds for the wives that can do nothing but stand by and watch as their husbands go through hell. My heart bleeds.

My heart bleeds for the farmworkers who don’t know whether they will still have jobs. They have families that depend on them to.

My heart bleeds for the animals who so desperately want food that they run alongside the fences towards the farmer’s vehicle when they see him and all he can do is to show them empty hands. How helpless must one person feel when they cannot provide for their animals? All he can do is say “I have nothing”. My heart bleeds for the farmer who feels like a failure because he cannot provide. The helplessness must be overwhelming to say the least.

I looked at my plate tonight and realized that everything on it comes from a farmer. I realized how I never just sat down and said thank you to our farmers. I was embarrassed. I struggled to eat. I was overcome with sadness.

Farmers, forgive us. Forgive us for never realizing the impact you actually have on our lives. Forgive us for taking everything for granted. Our meat is packaged neatly and our vegetables washed and fresh in the stores. People don’t realize if they pick up a product in a store how much blood and sweat went into producing the very food we need to survive.

Forgive us for thinking that food is a right. That food will always be there. We don’t realize that tomorrow it could be gone. Forgive us for not realizing how good you are to us. I believe you are the people in this country who ask for the least but actually need the most. You never make noise when times are tough. You just go down on your knees and pray. You trust that there will be provided for you.

I read about farmers who sat in their barns and pulled the trigger and ended their own lives. That they prefer death instead of the sadness and helplessness. “A Captain never leaves his ship they say. I cannot even begin to imagine how desperate and sad a farmer must be to do this. Nobody wants to be seen as a disappointment. Not to his fellow man, his farm or his animals. It makes my heart heavy.

Forgive us for just shaking our heads and only feeling sorry. Forgive us for liking a post with no actual thought about what you are facing. We like and sympathize then move on with our day. A like on a Facebook post doesn’t provide feed for your animals, a like doesn’t bring rain and a like doesn’t save lives. Our opinions don’t change the reality you are facing every day.

I feel people who aren’t farmers are too afraid to actually realize what is happening. We prefer not to think about it. We cast a blind eye. We prefer to believe that everything will work out and be ok. Forgive us. I don’t think people want to be sad. If I felt so heart sore because of one sheep I cannot imagine the pain you have to feel for a whole field or barn full of animals. I cannot imagine the strain you take when you cannot plant your crops and provide.

Forgive us that we cannot feel your desperation. We don’t know what it is to have to give away livestock just because we don’t have food for them. We complain about plants dying in our gardens and how unfair life is. We don’t understand how it feels to be standing where crops should be, in the dust, only to look up to the heavens and ask “why” while the desperation and sadness overcome you. We don’t understand, forgive us. We don’t understand the love, determination, perseverance and faith it takes to feed a nation. We can learn so much from you.

Forgive us for not always being able to help. We have taken you and everything you do for us for granted. Farmers are supposed to supply, that’s their job right? Forgive our arrogance and ignorant attitudes.

I admire each farmer, large and small. I want you to know that you are in my prayers. I want you to know that you are the foundation of this country and that without you we can do nothing. Take heart, help is coming. Take heart, people are praying for you. Help is on the way! Have courage, we need you!

Forgive us, Nicole Viljoen

Verwante Berigte: Sien Landbou

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