Andre Smith is an elderly man that I have regularly visited over the past couple of years.
Over the course of my friendship with Andre, I have realised how life's comforts of friends, family, a cupboard full of groceries, good health, and ample living space are easily taken for granted.
Many of these luxuries are but a distant memory for my friend Andre. However difficult his journey has been, Andre has kept a positive attitude and grateful heart.
A few years ago Andre started a new hobby of writing poetry. He writes his poems about anything and everything that is on his mind.
This hobby has amounted to hundreds of poems tucked away, unnoticed and unread.
He has a wonderful imagination and finds great comfort in his modest ability of writing, expressing himself and his ideas of life on to paper!
As a young man, Andre had to battle many obstacles including substance abuse, unemployment and even self-destructive habits. One of the stories he shared that touched me deeply was about one of those self-destructive nights. He shared how he was ready to end his life and had a loaded pistol in his hand. That night, he had prayed out loud to God and said that if God really loved him and cared for him at all, He would stop him from ending his life.
That night Andre tried to pull the trigger three times. Each time, he reloaded a bullet and pulled the trigger whilst holding the gun to his head. Not once did the pistol fire.
His life took a drastic turn after this experience. He recalls that for a period of about 8 years he completely stopped drinking and relied less and less on drugs.
For the most of Andre's life, he has only experienced hardships. Later in his life, Andre moved to the outskirts of the city of Nelson Mandela bay where he lived in the bush for 13 years. Here he would make a living cutting and selling firewood. During this time, he received a job from the local holiday resort as a security guard.
Currently, Andre is living on a very modest pension fund that hardly gives him the ability to buy adequate food for the month. He unfortunately, can’t afford to buy his medicine on this pension. His body is unfortunately not holding up very well and his health is degrading.
Despite his current situation and living conditions, Andre has become a man of peace and has less turmoil within his heart. He loves to listen to an audio Bible that he has beside his bed. I'm happy to have met him and gladly share these photo's to introduce you to a man I have come to call a dear friend.