Sunday, 19 April 2020

My lockdown message: walk your dogs

Deon TerBlanche is a local photographer, artist and journalist based in Parys. He is very involved in our community and has done a number of special projects that have been great for our town. I first met Deon when he created the Parys Arts Festival. He created the Yellowfish art installation that hangs under the bridge (a shout-out about water pollution following the death of thousands of fish in our river) as well as the 'dinosaur eggs' at Egweni. I loved his photographic portraits and write-ups on incredible women in our town during women's month one year. 

A few months ago Deon painted a substation next to the main road on the way into town with an #imstaying mural. It has become quite the selfie photo spot for locals and visitors. 

Deon most recently planned, organised and did the fundraising for the painting of a bland, 200m wall on Boom Street. 

Deon is now capturing lockdown stories to preserve images and experiences. His message reads:

"I'm an accredited photojournalist (essential service) documenting Parys History by taking home portraits to show how the people of Parys are coping with the #lockdown. I'm also asking the participants for a message of hope and encouragement that they want to share with fellow citizens and people all over the world.

All photos to be featured in a photo book that will be donated to the Parys Museum to become part of the forever history of Parys."

Rusty and I have been featured. These are my answers to Deon's questions along with the two photographs that Deon took. 

Meet: Lisa and Rusty

What is your message from Parys to the world?: 
During the lockdown, we have the experience of being confined to our homes - with or without gardens - for five weeks. This is what many pets experience their whole lives if their guardians are people that never take them out for walks or to run in a park. And, it is not just big dogs that need to get out. Small dogs also need the stimulation of exercise and seeing something other than walls and fences and the same square meters of their homes. Pets are loving lockdown because their people are home with them all day. Talking to them and doing activities together. A big difference to being left alone on an empty property from 7am to 6pm. The boredom! It is little wonder that dogs, especially smart working dogs, are surrendered to shelters and rescue organisations with behavioural issues. I hope that this period of lockdown has given some pet owners something to think about and that they will take the opportunity - this second chance - to do right by their pets and themselves.

How many people are part of your lockdown?: 
Two. I live in a cottage on a property with a house. My landlord is here too.
What is your biggest challenge during this time?: 
No real challenges are other than concerns over our business, 
workers and saving all of these.
What do you miss the most ?: 
Going running with my dog! I do yoga and exercises in my garden but I do miss being out every day with my dog. She isn't crazy about doing exercises in the garden that we are fortunate to have.

Have you learnt anything about yourself or your family during the lockdown?: 
Not really. I work from home, alone, anyway so this is no different. I'm in contact with friends and family around the world on WhatsApp and Facebook. What is nice is that now I have time to sit down to talk to them and not to be in a rush. I do see my mom during the lockdown. She is high risk being late 60s and with emphysema so I do her shopping. We speak on the phone and Whatsapp between grocery drops.
What do you enjoy most about the lockdown?: 
This is the best rest that I have had in longer than I can remember! My business, sport, club and organising activities have always very email intense. This is the first time in more than 20 years that I can do very little work (or none!) and that there are not emails piling up. I can barely cope on a normal day and even if I go away for a few days, which doesn't happen often, I get so stressed and frazzled by all the communication and tasks that lie waiting for me. It has been worse in recent years with not only email but also WhatsApp, Messenger, Facebook, Instagram. The whole world is quiet and I have had the time to rest, read, nap and take my time to focus on some work projects. There is absolutely no other time that I can remember, not since early high school perhaps, when I have been so at peace. I am 43.

Without who/what would you not have survived the lockdown?: 
I've enjoyed the isolation and not having to go here or there, do this or that. And work is quiet for me. It is probably having internet access that has been most critical. I use it for work, communication with friends and family, for news, DIY and information, and for entertainment - online courses, audiobooks and Netflix.
What would you do differently if this had to happen again?: 
I wouldn't do anything differently. Or, I'd consider staying at a friend's property just outside of town where I would have trails and space to run lots. With time in abundance, the lockdown has been a perfect opportunity to focus on training that I never have enough time for. And it would be nice to work on bird watching and identification out there - I'm very bad!

Any you want to add?: 
I went into lockdown absolutely exhausted. The last few years have really given me a beating. I was a zombie for almost the first two weeks of lockdown. I didn't do much other than reading, garden, nap and hang with my dog.

This time has been bonus time for being more productive with online courses and the like. I started one but haven't made much progress. If I'd not been so exhausted, I could have been way more productive. That said, I never get downtime so I'm taking it for what it is and for what I need and I'm loving every day. While the extension of two weeks is bad for business, it is good for me and will put me in a better space when we go back to work.

1 comment:

Conrad van den Berg said...

The "behind bars" photograph is stunning. The focus is your face divided in two: the mood - innocence; the reality - suffering and death are approaching. Terblanche has got talent and foresight!