Building a future in the community
Content submitted by – Lili
Submited Date : 28/06/2018
Sandra Perang

I am Sandra Perang, and this is my story...I was born 30 May, 1969. I am one of seven children. I grew up in a little village called Prensekraal outside of Wupperthal. We had a small two bedroom house with no electricity and no water. We made use of candles and oil lamps, an Agga stove and water from the river. I went to school in NuwePlaas which is about three km from home. I finished grade 6 and then went to Wupperthal until grade 8. Wupperthal is about 15 km from home. We used to walk to school every day, in every season. My dream was to be a nurse. This was all I ever wanted to do but circumstances didn’t allow me to pursue my dream. As soon as I was old enough to go and work, I had to leave school to help my parents and also to keep my younger brothers and sisters at school. I started working on a citrus farm where I picked citrus. This was the most challenging time in my life. The worst was the working and living conditions at the time. I had to get up early in the mornings to make sure that I had something to eat for the day and then go to work in the cold winter. I then decided to go to Cape Town and try to find something better. I walked for days from door to door to find work as I had no money for transport. The life in Cape Town was just too intimidating and fast for my liking. I then returned home worked on a vegetable farm and then inside a packing store. This was a little better but it was still hard labour for little money. Then I heard of Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Nature Retreat – I heard there were some job opportunities there. I started as a scullery worker. There was the light at the end of the tunnel. I started taking interest in helping the chefs whenever I had a moment. I helped with breakfast and as soon as the opportunity arouse I applied for the breakfast chef position. From there on I grew within myself by leaps and bounds. Today I am a Sous Chef, and I am so proud. It was tough and not always easy, but I made it to the top. It was not my dream but I found another passion on my journey. I am so proud. Bushmans Kloof has opened many doors for me, it has given me a chance to grow and improve my life. Bushmans Kloof is owned by the Tollman family, just the most amazing people. They have built a community for us, with so many benefits. Our living conditions are so much better than anywhere else I had worked before. I have my own little two bedroom house with a kitchen and bathroom. My little ones can go to the crèche and I know that they are safe while I am at work. Bushmans Kloof takes care of our children’s school fees, they cover our doctor’s bills, they provide us with transport when in need, and they give us incentives. I had the opportunity to fly to London for ten days and experience the most amazing ten days of my life. I now earn a decent salary that gives me the opportunity to provide for my family’s future. If I wasn’t here, I might still be working on a vegetable farm for a minimum wage. I would definitely not be as successful as I am now. I suppose life is what you make of it but if you don’t have an opportunity then life could only be what it is. Bushmans Kloof changed all of this for me. Through hard work and dedication I have become something in life. I never would have thought that one day I would become the Sous Chef of a 5 star Hotel that was ranked number 1 in the world in 2009! I have learned and experienced so many things, and I have travelled overseas which is a major opportunity for someone from my community. Above all this, I can provide for my family, no one has to go to bed on an empty stomach.