Neighbour Jo mending Maciel’s jumper
Lunch with the neighbours, Jo, Eric, Amelie and Jack
Maciel’s cookery apprentices, Jack and Amelie try out banana fritters
Maciel thanks God for his generous neighbours!
Mervyn Maciel’s wife, Elsie, has been suffering from early dementia and suspected bowel cancer for some months now and all along Mervyn has cared for her at their Sutton manyatta. The children have also helped but as her disability increased, Mervyn (at 89) was finding it difficult to manage on his own. This is when the painful decision was taken to move Elsie to a residential Care Home in Surrey where she now resides.
Because of obscenely high Care costs, the family have decided to renovate the Maciel Manyatta and eventually bring Elsie home to be looked after by a live-in carer. Suddenly, Mervyn was faced with the grim prospect of looking for alternative accommodation in a hotel, B & B or some such convenience while building work was in progress. Like an answer to his prayers, his neighbours, Jo and Eric Fauvet, would have none of it and insisted on Mervyn moving in with them for as long as the work took.
Here, in his own words is what Mervyn has to say about Jo and Eric and their two adorable children, Jack 14 and Amelie 11.
“From the moment I stepped into their home I was made to feel part of the family. I was given a fully furnished room (which poor Jack had to vacate), fed daily with home-cooked meals, had all my laundry done, even to ironing every single item of clothing.
“Not only that, I was literally pampered and not even allowed to wash up after meals. The children insist “you are our guest”. Jo went further by even patching up my tattered jumper, much to my embarrassment.
“And this is not all. I was provided with transport to and from the Care Home to visit Elsie daily on occasions when the family or other friends couldn’t help. I was taken out for family celebrations etc, the children again insisting “Mervyn is family”.
“I cannot thank the family enough for all they are doing for me during these dark days and pray God may bless them.
“Since the children are interested in cooking, I have promised to show them how to make oatmeal cookies (which they love) and have already shown them how to make banana fritters. The attached photos speak for themselves.”
*Both Mervyn and Elsie are Goan icons: Mervyn wrote the much loved: Bwana Karani and Mtoto to Mzee. Bwana Karani is recognised by many as one of the best personal recollections of the Colonial Civil Service in Kenya. His second book Mtoto to Mzee is own personal journey. Elsie wrote her famed cookbook which it seemed every Goan woman from East Africa and beyond owned and used in the home. Margaret Thatcher received a copy and Labour's Neil Kinnock was enthusiastic to try out the recipes.