Tonyís South Africa Daily Journal - 2019

On 10 November 2017, Laurie-Ann and Tony Copple set off from Canada for a three year mission to the townships of South Africa. This daily journal begins at a guest house in Cape Town prior to their arrival in Worcester, Western Cape. See the entries for 2018.
Latest postings are at the top.
Feb 2019 | Mar 2019

Sat Mar 16
Had an hour's lie in, and relaxed in the morning editing audio files of music from reel-to-reel tapes. I have a lot more to do before that project is done. In preparation for ministry with the teens I realised I must help them understand the value and power of the ministries they were all running. 7 came, including Cay-Lene, but excluding Chantelle, Chrizelle and Mackayla. Spoke to Marco. At our gate said Hi to Emrahim. Two reformed gangsters in 20 minutes. After the girls had their sandwiches we had an extended praise session, where they chose the songs (they still love the old favourites most). I set the Maranz to record it all. For the teaching, I started by having them update the attendance sheets, mainly so I would know which lessons they were up to, in case I should have extra copies made. Then I spent 15 minutes on our vision. I started by telling them that what they were doing was incredibly important. They were chosen by the Holy Spirit to bring the Word to the children of Avian Park, and they were doing it. Nothing could be more powerful for changing the atmosphere from gangsterism to the Kingdom of God. Since this is so vital, it is really important that they show up for their learners on Monday afternoons. They can't just be doing something else if they don't particularly feel like teaching that day. At the end of the sessions they will feel the joy of having sowed into the children's lives. Our vision is an Avian Park where many children would have been through the Mailbox materials, Storytime and Best Friends, and where Mailbox Clubs will have multiplied as more and more leaders are identified and trained. The gansters are angry when we take potential gangsters from under their noses and show them a better way. But this can save their lives, giving them self respect and friendship so they don't need to seek it in the gangs. [These things I learned from my recent interview of Ebrahim Samboe.] We will soon have reached the end of our second course, Best Friends, and we will provide a certificate for each learner, but to keep the certificate they need to find another 8 - 12 year old to replace them in the Club. Then we will begin again with Storytime. After laying out this vision for the future, L-A and I then taught them lesson 7, for which we have English versions available. The subject was "Five wonderful things that happened when I took the Lord Jesus as my saviour." This was an excellent faith strenghthener for the leaders at this stage.

Fri Mar 15
My science lesson heralded the school break for me. Back in two weeks, with time to to catch up, and attempt our income tax returns. Tanya called to say she had been trying to reach me by text to confirm that not only would Samantha like to go the Cape Town, but that she, Tanya, would accompany her. I wasn't sure if this would work out; I didn't know where I was going with Soraya. So I called Soraya. The triangular trip was doable. At 3:15 I picked up Soraya, who half filled the trunk. At 3:30 we picked up Samantha and Tanya, with, luckily, not many bags, and drove to their B & B near Table Mountain. Then the 40 minute trip to the house where Soraya had grown up to pick up her boys. On the return trip I treated them to an edition of Good News in the Morning with Jonathan Griffiths. Not sure what they made of it. We were home by 5:30 and Soraya gave me R200.

Thu Mar 14
At 11 I picked up Soraya and we drove to Brandvlei to see Glenda for a briefing on the Youth Centre. She started out by saying the Alrico Cupido was none too pleased about losing us from the Medium unit. Glenda would like us to cover both the medium and Youth, and wondered if this could be achieved by Soraya working solo. We drove there in convoy; it is further down the road after the Medium. We were shown around, introduced, and saw the room we would be in. We will have a large TV with USB input. They are not ready for us this Saturday. There are few staff on weekends and it's a stretch for them not to have us on a weekday morning, which would clash with teaching duties not only for me but also for Soraya at WYAM. Glenda asked for a desciption of Youth Alpha and our vision (which I was able to send by Saturday morning). Then she took us to see Brandvlei Radio. It was jumping with activity. I met Ridwaan Addams, who i had corresponded with, and his colleague JP Lennert, a radio enthusiast. We discussed several possibilities for us to get involved in the station. He was keen to listen to our broadcast tonight. In the afternoon I visited the hospice, and of course was happy to see Moses. We discussed his financials, and I said I would introduce him to a professional planner, which I did with a phone call to Andre Viljoen the next morning. By 6, The Worcester Report was mixing down, with part 1 of Ebrahim Samboe's gangster reminiscences. At 10 pm the lights abruptly went out from an unannounced load shed, and I took pictures of us working at our computers by candlelight.

Wed Mar 13
For music class we built on the momentum of last week, adding a bass clef to the manuscript. The kids took turns to come up with a bass line by disagreeing with dischords and OK'ing what sounded nice. By the end we had our tune with harmony. I took Delivenance and Paula home as usual, but when I got them there I locked the car and walked with them to their home. It took more than 15 minutes. They live near the edge of the informal settlement where there are no road than a car can run on. Finally we got there - a sturdy and quite large metal building; the front a shop and the rear the living quarters. Paula's elder sister greeted them as I took photos. Walking back on my own was not straightforward. I knew the general direction but must have missed a turning because I was soon walking through people's back yards hoping no one would challenge me and demand my phone and wallet. They didn't. They said "Middag" in a friendly maner and waved as we passed. My route got me back to the road where I had parked but 100 metres to the north. The car was untouched. I drove home relieved - but happy to have shown the children I cared about them to walk with them. At Riverview I introduced "I Raise a Hallelujah," and Mella thought well of it to ask that we play it a second time as she got all the kids joining in with rhythmic motions. Tanya and I went on to Vinkrivier - she had brought a parcel of food for Jenny's family, who received it gracefully. Flip and one of the mothers led the kids club expertly, showing that last week was not a flash in the pan. Inge-Lise was not present. I tried to make myself useful without much success, but it was good to be there, since most of the children know my name. We drove home about 6:30, and Tanya asked me if I had seen a message from Mella asking it I were driving to Cape Town any time, and might take Samantha so she could see the sights. I hadn't seen her message, but I suggested to Tanya it might be possible to take her on Friday and bring her back on Sunday. When we arrived in Worcester, stopped at Jan's to collest the parcel of food for Britney's grandfather, I dropped off Tanya and took it to him. He was clearly very grateful. I doubt he had had a proper meal in weeks. Then home to my sweetheart, and the GNiTM archive broadcast.

Tue Mar 12
At 10:15 I saw Dr. Eric so he could report on the blood tests. I started by showing him the letter from Western Cape Blood Service, but he already had that data from Pathcare. I am confirmed anaemic, but as he explained, that is a symptom of something else, such as a prostate problem. He arranged an appointment with a urologist on 19 April. For the floater in my left eye, he arranged an appointment with an eye specialist, Dr. Marais. He gave me a prescription for chewable iron tablets. After L-A's art lesson at school, we were both hungry and went for Chinese. On our way back from Star Park, we saw a group of young people walking up Deon Britz street, and I spotted Chantelle at the head of them. We continued home. 10 minutes later one of the guards called and asked if I would come and pick them up. There were three of our girls plus a friend of Britneys, and about 10 teenage boys. It turned out the boys had tagged along with our girls. Chantelle's story was that she had missed two Saturday trainings and wanted to catch up. I sent away the boys and brought the four girls (Chantelle, Marsha, Britney and friend) to #48. After a discussion they suggested working through several of the key points in lessons they are currently giving in their clubs. Since I have an English copy of the lessons, I was able to do this. My surpize came when the subject matter was focussed on the process of becomming a Christian, and changes it makes to ones life. It was perfect for the girls at this stage, they were refilled with the sinner's prayer and the Holy Spirit. I felt humbled that something I had nothing to do with setting up had yielded such fruit. The combination of Chantelle's enthusiasm and my initially unwilling cooperation had worked for the Kingdom. It also allowed Marsha to apologise for failing to run her club yesterday, just with her presence today. Moses texted me to say he was back in the hospice. Soraya called to ask if I would drive her to cape Town on Friday to bring back Nathan and Josiah for the school holidays. I hinted it would cost me, and she said she would contribute.

Mon Mar 11
I had some concerns about the Mailbox Clubs since We had cancelled last week's Saturday ministry, and not brought any of the girls to church last Sunday. This week, Jamelia's club was moving from the hut in her yard to the home of one of her members, Geraldo. I picked up Jamelia, and then picked up the kids at Tinktinkie, and finally we drove to Geraldo's house. It was a good venue and located within a short walk for all of these children. We had a good session of praise. Next, I drove to Marsha's but noone was there. Then on to Chantelle's where there were several children but there wasn't any teaching going on. Chantelle wanted to go to the library with Anthonica and Cay-Lene, and I agreed to take them after 4pm. I drove on to Chrizelle's but there was no sign of her or Macayla. I began to wonder if things were falling apart because we hadn't seen them on Saturday. There were a bunch of girls I didn't know walking down the street and I asked them if they knew where Marsha was. They said they did, so I bundled them into the car. We drove along Mockingbird then down a side street, and one of them caught a glimpse of Marsha. I think she was hiding from me. Then, who should turn up but Britney! She asked if I would take her back to Roodeval. She got in the car, and I dropped the other girls back where I had picked them up. I asked Britney if her mother's boyfriend was called Christopher Breeze, and she confirmed it. We drove to Chantelle's, who said they wanted to say a prayer. She told me to come into the house. There were about 9 of them, and as they stretched out their hands to me Chantelle said a longish prayer in Afrikaans and she was praying for me. This was a special time. After that we drove to the Worcester library and offloaded Chantelle, Anthonica and Cay-Lene. I asked Britney if she would like a McDonald's burger, and she said she would really like a Hungry Lion, so we went there and got her the big mac equvalent, and three cheeseburger equivalents, plus a large Sprite. On the drive to Roodeval, she ate the burger. She must have been extremely hungry because in the past she would have shared it with her brother and sister. On the way in to Hooggelegen I stopped and checked our mailbox. Halleluja! My credit card renewals had arrived from Lynn after 3 months. This is a great relief, meaning that we don't need to get the bank to courier replacements. In the evening I skyped Solutions Banking and after about 45 minutes they had activated the regular card and the expense card. I gave L-A back her TD Visa which I had used for a couple of months, pumping up her Aeroplan points. We watched the Christmas edition (double feature) of Downton Abbey. I am hooked.

Sun Mar 10
First Sunday for 6 weeks or so that we didn't pick up children and bring them to church. I hope they won't think we are abandoning them. For us it was necessary to take a break from the routine. Instead we took Tanya to church, gave Mella the neclace for her 51st birthday today, had a good chat with them and Willem Grobelaar in Milk and Honey, and then went on to cell group. After that, three hours at home working on Legacy audio book recording of chapter 5. Mella's birthday party was at 5, and she called me to pick up Janey for it. At 4 there was a serious rainstorm, which will have made the people of Worcester very happy. It made Laurie-Ann scared of walking on the wet tiles of our stoep, and she decided she couldn't come to the party. I picked up Andre, Janey and Nixon, wondering how this would work, because I assumed there would be large numbers at the party as there were last year, but it turned out it was a much smaller, more intimate gathering of about 8, so we all had seats to enjoy a pleasant buffet and company. Mella was in great form and read us a draft children's story she has written based on soft toy characters made by Samantha. One of the characters is Sinegugu the hippopotamus. I took a group photo. It broke up about 8 and I took home food for L-A which she ate immediately as her supper. We then watched today's Downton Abbey from Season 2, after the first world war, where I was dissapointed to see Lord Grantham kissing one of the servant girls, who was then forced to leave service at Downton. What was he thinking! Admitedly he was unhinged because his wife nearly died of Spanish 'Flu.

Sat Mar 9
We had cancelled the Saturday afternoon ministry with the kids because of the ChangeMakers books, and now prison had been cancelled, so we had a Saturday off! I slept in till 10, had bacon and eggs, and spent the day doing things I enjoy, including recording more of 'legacy' and posting some recent videos, including the new regime in Vinkrivier with Inge-Lise and Flip. Went shopping in the mall for a birthday gift for Mella, and in Woolworths found an African style wooden neclace that I think she'll like. Made some progress on editing 'Travelling Light,' my home movie from 1978. Jason Campbell called - wants to give us $100! He was earning big money until he was injured recently. Had nice chat (after all these years), and showed him how to do it on Canada Helps. I told him I have two of his sweaters here. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole day.

Fri Mar 8
5:54 to prayer meeting where there were only four of us, so more time for each I couldn't have coffee or a rusk, but it didn't matter, I was feeling fantastic (the chicken liver?). Then to Pathcare for my blood test. When you get in their waiting room you can't tell who is next in line so you sit there and when nobody else moves you get up and go to the reception. Out the back an expert blood letter got 5 phials before I realized she had started. Cost a lot though: R 2,434, which I am not sure I can claim unless one or more of the tests indicates I have something new wrong with my body. I messaged Glenda Fredericks to remind her about Alpha for the juvenile wing tomorrow, but she replied that the supervisor there was away sick (?) so we must start a week later. Meanwhile she asked if Soraya and I could visit next week for a briefing, which we arranged for Thursday. Tanya joined us for dinner - a South African special: Waterblommetjiebredie. Laurie-Ann had made this with lamb see the set and it was excellent, and will do us for two more meals each. After that we'll have to wait again for the Waterblommetjiebredie season - they only grow in this part of the world. After dinner we had a good time of praise and prayer - I played a song, then we all prayed, then another song, etc.

Thu Mar 7
At 10:45 collected Ebrahim Samboe from Avian Park and brought him home to do a CWCP interview. Born a Muslim, by his age 6 his mother had converted to Christianity, and brought him with her. But by age 14 they had moved to Worcester from Cape Town and he was selling drugs in Avian Park, leading to crime as a gangster. Today at 23 he is a security guard. He may seem an odd choice for a security agency, but a reformed gangster has skills ideal for a security officer. I did not go to the hospice today. We did two interviews, because after the first one he felt he could do a better job. At 2 pm I went to Dr Eric's office and read out my current list of ailments: large black floater in my left eye, hearing loss, right knee can only come half way up to my chest, weight loss 3.5 Kg since the beginning of the year. He gave me a requisition for a comprehensive blood test. Also got prescriptions for Laurie-Ann, whose rash on the stomach has returned. Dr Eric looked at a photo on my phone and prescribed. I went straight to Fairbairn Pharmacy for the prescriptions, and then to Pathcare to arrange my blood test for tomorrow morning. I stopped eating and drinking about 8:30, after an excellent dinner of chicken liver. By 7:45 I had completed producing tonight's Worcester report, with the second part of the Toevlug interview, which went out till near the end (when there were no listeners) when the .mp3 stream stopped in its tracks.

Wed Mar 6
Picked up Tanya at 8 am and took her to dentist Hofmeyr, whom we had recommended. Apparently his advice was to change her toothpaste to Sensodyne. After school, I visited the police station, then on to the 'other' police buiding to provide info on the whereabouts of Veronica's assailant on 5 Feb, but instead discovered that he had been arrested 12 Feb. The detective was very cooperative to a walk-in stranger, and I saw the screens about the case. The perpetrator on the police file was named Christopher Breeze, so if Veronica's boyfriend was Christopher Breeze, this is the same case. I reported this to Child Welfare by e-mail, with the name and number of the detective in clarge of the case, Sgt. Wehr, 023-348-6100. and they said they would pass it on to the case worker. In the afternoon to Riverview, and then Vinkrivier, by myself for the first time in a few weeks. Was amazed to discover a transformation in Vinkrivier wrought by Inge-Lise and Flip, thanks to their facility with Afrikaans and many other youth ministry skills.

Tue Mar 5
Art class at school. Pulled the plug on the GIG recruiting meeting scheduled for tomorrow, but without Bruno and Danielia. Sent e-mail to Glenda Fredericks to say the meeting was cancelled. She would have been the only guest,

Mon Mar 4
Monday afternoon ministry started, as last week, with picking up children in Tinktinkie and taking them to Jamelia's. Pretty full house. Chrizelle wasn't well but Macayla ran her group in her house. Marsha also had good numbers. Anthonica had none, and Chantelle about 7. when I had returned the first bunch, I then picked up Chantelle for her birthday treat, taking her to Mr Price where she found nice white jeans without holes in the knees. On the way home, she told me that she had seen Veronica's assailant, whose name is Christopher, at #5 OVD. Glenda Fredericks called to confirm she was available to attend the GIG meeting on Wednesday. One of the guards on our gate, Ebrahim, asked if he could tell me his story. Turned out he had seen one of the little fiers I had left in the guard's office, and he had heard from other guards that I did missionary work in Avian Park. In a brief conversation, he said he had been a gangster in Avian Park in his teens, but had been rescued by the Lord and felt a need to tell his testimony. I offered him an interview on CWCP and he readily agreed, and we arranged that I would pick him up at his home on Thursday, his day off. A letter came through local mail telling me that Western Cape Blood services were confirming the local blood clinic's test that I am anaemic, and giving the results of a number of tests. Although the letter was dated 20 February, I am not rigourous at checking the mailbox, and am not certain which day I saw this letter, but it was around this time.

Sun Mar 3
We had told the teens we wouldn't be taking them to church more than once a month. We picked up Tanya. I half expected Chantelle and friends to have walked there but they hadn't. This afternoon's praise and worship in Avian Park was strongly promoted. When the time was approaching for that, Tanya wasn't feeling up to it, so we drove to the safe house in Roodeval to collect Britney. She was ready, but when she was in the car I saw she was crying. She said that Jamilie (?), Janine's son, 13, had hit her in the face and chest and she was in pain, and didn't want to go back there. Unfortunatly we didn't take that seriously. We were 20 minutes early for the start of the event. Once we had a place near the front for our chairs, Britney asked if she could go and get her friend Marsha. I said yes. I shouldn't have. We watched and enjoyed the music and prayer from Marius and friends, and he twice mentioned 'the Canadians.' Near the beginning he sang his song "The Time Has Come," which is the theme song of The Worcester Reports. You can see some of it here. The program continued till about 5:20. It had only attracted about 150 people, though 10 of them had come on motorbikes (but they left early). Britney never did return with Marsha, leaving us with a problem. We drove to her house and spoke to her grandfather, who had seen her earlier. We found several of the teens including Marsha, some of whom had seen her earlier but insisted they didn't know where she was now. Some of them looked sheepish. We did two circuits of the area where she might have been, recruiting Chantelle to help us. She asked if her blind grandmother and some children could come with us to get them home to OVD. I decided we should do that. We drove to OVD to drop off Chatelle's Ouma, who seemed a good soul, and pretty old by her body language. When Chantelle returned from seeing her to her door, we drove to Hooggelegen so L-A at least could get something to drink and eat, and Chantelle and I fortified ourselves with an apple. We considered the possibility that Britney didn't want to return to the safe house, where the boy had hurt her. On the way to Avian Park, Chantelle mentioned that her grandmother was only 51! (this prompted us later to check longevity stats for SA - they are some of the worst in the world). As we once again drove slowly down Mockingbird Street, Chantelle suddenly saw Bridney and Marsha in the distance surrounded by friends. I can only assume that when we had driven off earlier, they thought we were gone for the night so they could relax. News travels fast among the youth of Avian Park, so 20 or 30 of them by now were wanting to save Bridney from going back to Roodeval. Despite this, she got into the car, Chatelle got out, and I drove once again to the Roodeval safe house. On the way out of Avian Park I phoned L-A to tell her the lost lamb was found. Bridney wasn't talkative, but she didn't deny giving us the slip because she didn't want to go to the safe house, even though her young sister and younger brother were there. Anyway, I was mighty relieved, and didn't give her a hard time, other than saying we were very worried about her and had been searching. When we arrived at the safe house, I told Janine that we had temporarily lost Britney, and how, and that her son Jamilee had hurt her so that she didn't want to return. Her response was that Britney had been teasing him, which I am prepared to believe, although only in fun. When I got home I much enjoyed my chicken and matapa dinner, after which we watched Downton Abbey - a World War 1 episode.

Sat Mar 2
I woke again at about 2:00 am. for a pee, but half an hour later was very restless. Couldn't keep still for long enough to fall asleep. It's a strange sensation, and I have had it once before. Normally I can fall asleep in seconds, but with this condition I had the distinct feeling that I would toss and turn till morning. It was still too early to take my meds - anti-inflamatory and pain-killing - so I got up, pee'd, splashed water on my face, ate an apple and the rest of the lemon cheesecake ice cream, then a cup of tea and a ginger biscuit, sitting in an arm chair not feeling very tired, but worried that this day was going to be tough. I went back to bed, promptly falling asleep, and woke at 5, just the time to take the meds. The final stretch was uneventful and I woke at the regular 7:15 alarm feeling quite fine. I guess that though I hadn't slept through, I had rested through. A possible cause of the bad night was that yesterday I only took two Tramacet painkillers, whereas for the last week or so I have taken an extra two during the day. I will return to that. I was very happy that L-A soon got up; this meant she really did want to come to to the prison for the final Alpha session with this group. We arrived about 10 past 9 after dropping off the copy of Soraya's clearance certificate at the reception in the main office building. There were many men crowded into the area we walk through, all awaiting a sports day. There were only 6 at Alpha, including one first-timer. I had included extra music and extra jokes for this last day of the course. The message on video was powerful as usual, and when it was over I encouraged them to consider starting Alpha courses if they ever have the opportunity. The men and the staff were very sorry to be seeing us possibly for the last time as we move on to the young offenders wing. It was particularly sad to say goodbye to Thandeka, and I asked for her e-mail. On the way home I mailed the main copy of Soraya's clearance at the central post office and then went grocery shopping. Saturday in Worcester is always crowded, but today it was worse than usual (as I found out later from Britney) because not only was it pay day yesterday, it had also been child grants payment day. There were queues for every ATM. We got home at 12:30 pretty desperate for a coffee. I left early to pick up the girls because I wanted to have time to take Britney to get some flip flops. Luckily she was watching out for me, and we drove to Tekkie Town where she found a nice pair for R200. Then on to Avian Park for the other girls, just three of them. The afternoon ministry went really quite well. L-A had been nudged by Holy Spirit that we should teach about love looking like something, which I did. The others were happy to be with Britney. It was a good afternoon. After dropping off Jamelia, Chrizelle and Anthonica, I took Britney to her mother's house to see her grandfather. She gave him the left over half loaf of white bread from their sandwiches. She told me he was doing OK, and was very happy to see her and hear that her younger sister and brother were fine. She told me he loves them dearly (and more than he loves her). I took her back to the safe house in Roodeval. When I got home L-A was at an advanced stage of cooking a beef stir-fry, which we both enjoyed half an hour later, before the first Downton Abbey episode we had had time for in four days.

Fri Mar 1
No Afrikaans today because we had a My Father's House board meeting. Nik wullschleger and Claire Slingers joined us to educate us on their initiative to improve the lot of Avian Park residents, and to see if there would be benefit from some sort of cooperation. There is R500,000 already allocated by the Municipality, but no one with the clout to push through Nik's plan, or any other, so there is a risk that the money will not be spent - or will be spent on someone else's pet project. Nik explained that the Municipality is reluctant to spend on a pioneer project, but more willing to add funding to a demonstrably successful project. Claire is chair of the Avian Park Community Association, an umbrella group for distributing funding rather than expecting donors to select their own small projects for support. Nik knows that half of Jan's land could be used for something like this, and is already zoned for it. A matter of relevance is a local chool which could fold due to issues between the board and the parents. If it did, their portable (?) classrooms might become available and would suit Jan admirably for her building plan. We may know more after a meeting next Thursday. There was an email from Glena Fredericks confirming that we could switch to the Young Offenders wing next week, and that I should mail Soraya's police clearance to her. Glenda's message was not very precise, so I also scanned the clearance and e-mailed it to her, and put a colour copy in an envelope in the hope of leaving it for her at Brandvlei tomorrow morning. Since I had been up since 5:15 (prayer meeting) I had an early night, but it wasn't a good night. Before midnight when L-A joined me I was woken by a combination of needing a pee and my leg pain.

Thu Feb 28
To the hospice with Tanya, but not Matheus, so no hair cuts. Spent some hours editing and producing the Worcester Report with Theresa Rossouw and colleagues at Toevlug. It was 45 minutes, so I decided to keep 15 minutes for next week. The program went out without a hitch, although for the first time, Laurie-Ann was too busy with her ChaneMakers accounts to be able to listen. She (and you) can
listen here. She is spending many hours trying to find out what a series of donations from Rope were actually spent on.

Wed Feb 27
The music lesson went as planned, but with almost too much enthusiasm. I played each format for about 3 minutes so they had a chance to really listen. The formats illustrated were: Symphony, Concerto, Opera, Ballet, Song (2 songs both from Africa), Arabian, Chinese, Indian. In most examples the children couldnít help themselves; they just had to get up and move to the music or dance. Paula and Seth danced together ballroom style. I had been asked to provide the drink and crisps for the Riverview kids, and there was plenty of cake from both Mella and Kevin. I invited Tanya to join me for the rest of the afternoon at Vinkrivier. We stopped at the Fourie cafe, just at the time when Johan and Marie came through - this was the first chance for them to see Tanya on this trip. The cafe still had the jar of lime marmalade I had bought but left on the counter. No one had enquired about L-A's artwork, hung there on the walls. The regular kids who have been taking Alpha were nowhere to be seen when Maggie arrived with a refugee from DRC (?) called Grace. We decided to visit the homes of Carmen and Jenny. Carmen's house was locked up, but Jenny and her family were in residence and we chatted for some time. Jenny has been accepted in a school in Nicobela - good news. Her mother was knocking back the wine when we arrived, but sobered up a little to join the conversation. Her father was most hospitable, cutting a bunch of roses for Grace. I dropped Tanya at Mella's and then remembered I was to collect the R150 I had lent to Anthonica's step father Henry. I drove to the house. Anthonica found Henry. He had the money but it was in the Capitek bank. Four girls and I then drove to four ATMs to try and retrieve it, eventually doing so at a grocery store on Durban Street. We returned to Manniken Street, where I received my R150. While it was good news to be actually paid back in Avian Park after lending money, I hope I am not now to be seen as a payday loan shop at zero interest. For the first time in three weeks the GNiTM archive went out without a bandwidth problem.

Tue Feb 26
Science and art went quite well. Got a haircut from Joan. Spent some time preparing tomorrow's music lesson, settling on listening to various musical formats, such as symphonies and concerti. Visited Toevlug Centre for Alcohol and Drug Dependence to interview the manager Theresa Rossouw. As I walked from the car towards the main gate I heard my name called. It was Chantelle, shouting from a window in her school next door. The grounds are lovely with well kept grass and chickens with their chicks running free. Theresa brought in social worker Louise, and therapist Chrisme, so I used the intermal mics in the Marantz in stereo with automatic volume control. Instead of focussing on describing the facilities, I had decided to encourage them to give their personal opinions about the scourge of drug dependency, starting with prevention. They obliged, and the interview is helpful, though punctuated regularly with the chickens outside the window.

Mon Feb 25
The YWAMers have finished their month of joining me for outreach, and I'll miss them! So will the teens. So I was on my own for Mailbox Club supervision. This was the first time for Jamelia's/Bella's club to meet at Jamelia's, so I drove first to the house on Tinktinkie that Danelia had lived in till a few days ago. Good as gold, the 6 or 7 children were waiting for me outside. They had remembered! They were also excited to see me and bundle into the car. This would have been a lot less comfortable if Matheus and Regiane had been there. Jamelia had a largish wendy house in her garden that I hadn't noticed before, and there was already another bunch of kids there - in total she had 10 children, with a few from her own family including one young one who danced to the music, as I opened their session in praise and worship. Jamelia filled in my copies of the attendance sheets and I gave her the Mailbox Club materials she needed. Next stop Chrizelle and Macayla, were the numbers were lower, and I also played. Anthonica and Chantelle had no children in their clubs this week. I must get them to do more recruiting. They wanted me to take them to the library, so they got in the car. Then on to Marsha, who again had about 10 in the lovely setting behind her house. I brought Chatelle and Anthonica to see them (and to see what they should have been achieving!) Chantelle announced herself as being from YWAM! I asked her and Anthonica to pray for Marsha and her group, and they enthusiastically did so - a special moment, and a photo-op. Marsha updated the attendance sheet. When we left and drove towards the Avian Park library, Chantelle and Anthonica said "No," it was the main library in Worcester they needed to visit. They had books to return and wanted to apply to be able to use the library computers. Of course I was happy to hear this. I didn't even know where the library was. They began asking me to get them some food for the night. I decided to oblige. While they went in I drove to OK and got spaghetti bolognese and juice boxes. Had they chosen, it would have been sugar-heavy processed food and pop. They were a little late coming out, so I went in and admired the facility. When they got in the car they exclaimed "Spaghetti - I'm allergic." I said I would take it home and we will eat it. At this they unwrapped it and tucked in. A few minutes later they were saying how good it was. I suspect they hadn't had it before, but wholesome food is unusual for them.

Sun Feb 24
Today was less invigorating than yesterday. I brought four girls to church - Britney from Roodeval, Anthonica from Riverview, Chantelle and Jamelia from Avian Park. Chantelle and Britney joined a kinderkerk group that went to Church Square and prayed for even poorer people. In Milk & Honey my order of 5 cup cakes was hijacked by someone in the line-up behind me so the girls got half a cup cake each. We all piled into the car, dropping L-A and Tanya at cell group. The girls wanted to go to OK for more food and I wasn't feeling stong minded so I took them. They spent 15 minutes in the store arguing about what they wanted, ending up with koeksisters and blackcurrent juice. There was a shouting match in the car as we drove on: Britney wanted to be dropped of last, and I and the others wanted her to go first. Britney's focus was probably on a pair of flip-flops I had said I would buy her, so she wanted me on her own to make it happen, but I knew the shops would be shut. So I drove to the end of her street and asked her to get out. Very reluctantly she did, slamming the car door in her frustration. I wonder if this behavious is part of a delayed reaction to the violence against her mother, and the danger the whole family is in. Next stop Riverview, where we waited 15 minutes for Tersia to appear. Chantelle told me I must drive back to town rather than short cut through the rest of Riverview because the gansters would recognise her. While accepting there could be some truth in this, I nevertheless took the short route and Chantelle didn't squeal. At Anthonica's house, Tersia started one of her regular speeches about she was sorry not to have repaid previous moneys, but could I lend her and Henry R100 till next Wednesday. I decided to do so as a test. Should I not get it back I could forever to use this as a reason not to lend more. I again offered financial planning help but wasn't taken up on it, probably because she buys wine and doesn't want me to know. (I buy wine too). I then dropped off the other girls, and drove to cell group, where in a condition of a certain frustration with myself I told the story of my last 45 minutes. Several well-meaning friends reminded me that the missionary life should be restful and not cram full of taxi-driving and solving the population's food problems. Erick was there and I asked him about his wife Saphra who had called me. Turned out she is his girl friend, not wife (he says). They await a court hearing when witnesses will hopefully demolish the Namibian's case. L-A had been in touch with Leonie to find out if the church would be open tonight for us to host soaking prayer. She said it wouldn't. So she posted that on the Soaking Prayer Whatsapp, and invited anyone interested in joining us to come to our house. When we got home, we both rested for a while since noone had responded, but we were both up by 6 pm, and Chris Maartens knocked on the door! I later posted on the group Whatsapp: "Chris arrived for our session tonight and for the next 90 minutes we had a great conversation about the local community, and prayer. Let's hope that the necessary arrangements can be made in the church for our next soaking prayer on 31 March. Why not put it in your calendars now?"

Sat Feb 23
One of the very special days. L-A needed time for preparation for the teens' party this afternoon, so didn't come to the prison. At the prison gate I was stopped to sign a form. Alrico Cupido had an assessment form which he wanted me to sign, and he said he would fill it in. Because I have no complaints about how we are treated, I complied. It was healing day. I started with my first public playing of 'I Raise a Hallellujah.' After the video I annointed them all, then asked each in turn if we could pray for their healing. Abdullah insisted he needed nothing healed but all the others had laying on on hands by all and prayer by me. There were two people waiting at the gate when I left and I took them into town: a guard in the max and his wife. When I had dropped them off, I bought food for the teens at Pick n Pay, and then collected 'Annie' from the video store. At 12:45 I was outside Anthonica's house, and by 1:00 pm her mother Tersia and boyfriend Henry were ready to be taken to their relatives in Riverview. Both Anthonica and Marsha decided to come with us. After dropping off the parents, we drove to the Mall to pick up Tanya after a massage, and then took all three to our house. I immediately drove to Roodeval to get Britney at the safe house, then to Avian Park to get Jamelia and Macayla, getting them to our place by 2. Marsha and Anthonica were by now making brownies under L-A's supervision, and the other three soon joined them, making for some photo-ops. Soon, Davi and Courtney arrived from YWAM ready to counsel. I briefed them on Marsha and Britney. Juliana and her baby arrived, driven by Matheus in their Jeep, bought yesterday, saving me from driving them. When the brownie-making was complete, Marsha and Courtney went into our office for the counselling for the next 45 minutes, and Britney and Davi went into our bedroom. Anthonica asked if she would receive counselling and I said I didn't know if there would be time. I started the movie. It captured their attention, particularly Macayla's, who had recommended it, since aspects of it mirrored our girls' situations, and also inspired them that a young person could be very significant. I served the brownies when they were ready and there were enough for everyone. They were delicious! Britney came out of the counselling session first, and I asked Courtney if she was up to seeing Anthonica. She was hesitant at first, but agreed, so they got started. When Davi had finished counselling Marsha, she asked me to join them, and then asked Marsha to recount the day she had taken a handful of sleeping pills that landed her in hospital for four days. It was all to do with an ex-gangster Raymond, and a gangster Ortolo (?) who had pulled a gun on Raymond in Marsha's house in front of her eyes. It was all too stressful for Marsha, who grabbed the pills. This diversion may have saved Raymond's life, because he is still around, and rejoined ChangeMakers. Ortollo is in jail. My phone rang. It was Chantelle, asking if there had been any cake. I told her about the brownies. She asked if I would bring her one. When Annie ended, the girls found a YouTube movie they wanted to watch, and we got through about half of it before it was time for everyone to go home, which I managed in 4 stages: Davi and Courtney (allowing me a further debriefing), Juliana and child, then the girls, and finally Tanya. I asked one of the girls which part she had enjoyed most, and she said "The movie." As I dropped off the girls I also delivered brownies to Bella, Chrizelle and Chantelle. The most successful part of the day for me had been enabling the counselling. It was a great bonus on top of the relaxation that the girls and the adults had enjoyed. Laurie-Ann's plan had worked out.

Fri Feb 22
I was on the road by 5:50, listening to George Sinclair's GNiTM talk "Did God Really Say," a masterly exposure of how peoples' ears and brains are often closed to even consider looking into a Gospel they have never heard. This kept me company till the tunnel. I arrived at the airport about 7:20 and made my way to International Arrivals, where I waited with my Smantha Jones notice for 2 hours, when she finally appeared. The plane had been an hour late, and then her luggage had been left in Canada. She had been diverted via Toronto due to the severe weather in North America, and had been put up in a hotel for a night. For one who had never travelled outside USA before, she was remarkably self contained; just pleased to have finally arrived. I drove her to Worcester, and MasterPeace Academy, and then Mella got in and we took her to Napier Street to sleep it off. Erick Ambuta's wife called. I hadn't realized he was married. This resulted in my posting the following on the church cell Whatsapp: "I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news but our friend and cell-group member Erick Ambuta is in police custody awaiting a court hearing tomorrow at 9 am. The key points as told to me by his wife Saphra, a nurse in the Worcester Hospital are as follows. They had taken into their home a recent immigrant from Namibia a few weeks ago. Recently Erick notice hairdressing equipment was missing from his salon. He kept his eyes open and say enough to convince him that the Namibian had taken them. Erick, in the presence of witnesses accused him of the theft and a scuffle broke out. The Namibian later reported to the police that Erick had threatened him and Erick was arrested. It is likely that the case will be set for a future hearing to allow witnesses to be called, although Saphra will be in court tomorrow and conceivably might be asked to tell her story. Where you all have a part to play is to pray that Erick will be treated fairly tomorrow, and released. It would be very distressing for them both if he remains in custody awaiting a further hearing. Let's leave this one at the foot of the cross." Within a short period of time Erick posted that he was now out of custody ... Miraculous fast answer to prayer? or what? In the evening I drove the Roodeval - Avian Park circuit to take girls to the Friday youth event, only to be told by Chantelle that it was a bi-weekly affair, and this was the 'off' week. So I made us of being down there to remind as many girls as I could find that I would be picking them up an hour earlier tomorrow for our Saturday teach-in, because it would be party-time with a movie and extra food. Anthonica asked if I would take her mother and stepfather to their relatives in Riverview tomorrow, since they believed it would be too dangerous for them to walk there. She gave me a bag of President's Choice grapes! I didn't know this Canadian brand was in South Africa (where the grapes came from). This was the first gift we have received from anyone in Avian Park. The grapes were huge and delicious. Cristine Reurink, who coordnates the YWAM trainee counsellors, called to confirm that they would be available to join us tomorrow.

Thu Feb 21
I advertised tonight's Worcester Report on several FaceBooks, and about 10 Whatsapps and Whatsapp groups. At least 50 people will be aware of the program tonight. Spent much of the day expecting to drive to Cape Town airport to pick up Samantha Jones. In the end, she'll be coming in tomorrow after battling North American extreme conditions. I had switched the Hospice visit to Friday, and then back to Thursday, and Matheus and I went up and cut hair / prayed respectively. Back home I had everything ready for our 50th broadcast of The Worcester Reports in good time. The last time I conducted a financial planning meeting was nearly 3 years ago, and I have never conducted one with a microphone recording it. However, my myelin was still good and things went well. The terrible situation of so many in the struggle phase of their financial journey (to borrow from 'Legacy') is well illustrated by the interview. David's contribution emphasised those aspects that need to be heard, from one who is living it. See what you think. During the program we had 3 live listeners. In the next 2 days there were only 2 hits on the podcast. I try hard not to let this depress me, since many of those who can't be bothered to tune in (though they know about it) are our personal friends and relatives. But we will carry on doing this week by week because the one trying to depress me about it is evil and comes to destroy everything good in the world. I have a talent for explaining how people can plan their lives not to be poor, and I intend to use it. Over time I know that there is potential for these podcasts to reach people who need to hear them.

Around 9 pm Mella called to say she had heard from Samantha, and she would be touching down in Cape Town at 7:15 am tomorrow morning, in 10 hours time. I posted a note on the early morning prayer group Whatsapp group to say I would be getting up at the same time as on every Friday, 5:15 am, but instead of walking across the road to Louis' house I would be driving to Cape Town.

Wed Feb 20
I was listing to Finance Minister Tito Mboweni start his budget speech on SAFM as I drove home after taking the two children to Zweletemba, and was delighted when he quoted Zechariah 8:12 - 'For there shall be a sowing of peace. The vine shall give its fruit, and the ground shall give its produce, and the heavens shall give their dew. And I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things.' How amazing that a senior politician would express his (and our) dependence on God. Not amazing at all in South Africa, where being a believer is not a career killer. When I got home I immediately turned on SABC 2 and watched live. It was so enthralling I quite forgot about Riverview kids club. That is until Mella called and asked if I would soon be picking up Tobia, who is making a film about YWAM ministries. I leaped up drove to YWAM, picked up him, Matheus and Regiane and had them at Riverview by 2:53. The session was just fine. At 6:15 I was at Jan's for a GIG recruiting meeting. I had invited Hilton, Glenda Fredericks and Nicky Rabie. Nicky was already there but had no idea what the meeting was about. If she had known it was financial planning, I think she would have left. Hilton and Glenda both forgot to come. Bruno gave a great presentation, by the end of which Nicky was eating out of his hand! As she described her needs, they were congruent with the GIG mission. Yet had I explained more about it, she wouldn't have come. Go figure! The group scheduled another meeting for two weeks later. Back home I edited David and Sylvia's (Bob and Mary's) interview and recorded a suitably passionate introduction which explained why I felt this interview important enough for our 50th program. Jan Whatsapped to say that trainee counsellors from YWAM would like to interview some of our girls who have gone through trauma. I explained that finding them in Avian Park would be very difficult, but it might work if they came to our house on Saturday, when we would be having 'the party,' and we might be able to schedule time with Britney, Marsha and Anthonica.

Tue Feb 19
At 10:30 went to pick up Janey, who told me Andre was stuck in Q-Square with Nixon and needed to be rescued. Janey's gate key wouldn't open the gate so she got a neighbout to do it. When I dropped her off at the school I asked her for her key. At 11:00 I met Andre Viljoen, brother of Philip, our insurance broker, and a financial planner. We hit it off immediately. If I am asked for financiual planning help other than common sense that I can supply, I will refer to him. Hilton Aries was the trigger for this. I sent an email invitation to Hilton for the GIG meeting tomorrow. I messaged Maggie to say I wouldn't be there tomorrow for the Vinkkrivier Alpha.

Mon Feb 18
4 healthy mailbox clubs - only Anthonica had no children. Marsha continues to do well with about 10. This was the last time Regiane will come round with me. It had made it more fun having the YWAMers, and the children love them. L-A's boils continue painful and need regular treatment. I am feeling under par. My appetite has been low for some time, and my right leg has got worse; putting on a sock is painful, so I generally go sockless. There are only 2 days to the GIG presentation so I posted some reminders on the Whatsapp group. Bruno will give the presentation. As we continue to experience load-shedding - though less than a couple of weeks ago, I decided to replace my useless battery on this computer. Amazon won't ship this item to South Africa, so I went to Computer Mania, and was pleased to discover that they could get me the right battery for a price not much higher than Amazon's. My productivity should improve once I can continue working when Eskom turns off the power.

Sun Feb 17
We went to Somerset West Hillsong, and took Tanya with us for her excellent company. We enjoyed the Vision Sunday service, which was shared in 279 Hillsong services world wide (our Hillsong has 3 of them), including those in Ottawa and Toronto. After the service we lunched in Ocean Basket in Strand. The restaurant is on the Beach Road. Tanya and I put on bathing things in the restaurant washrooms, and then we walked over the road and directly on to a lovely beach with very few people in sight - this was some way from the popular beaches. I swam; Tanya paddled; L-A photographed. We stayed sunbathing for about an hour and it was very pleasant and relaxing. On the drive home we passed a wild fire on a hillside, where there were flames right down to the road side. We played the music CD sampler that Tanya had given me for my birthday.

Sat Feb 16
For the first time in weeks, L-A was well enough to join me in prison ministry. There were only 6 attenders, the smallest number yet, but they were happy to see her again as we learned about telling others about our faith. Alrico, our friendly and devout supervising guard, confided that he wasn't being treated very well by his management. Thandeka had come in, but went home sick before we arrived. At 2:30 I picked up Juliana and Regiane from WYAM for our home ministry, and then went out again to get 4 teens. Juliana gave an excellent talk to them on prayer. After milk tart we watched some more of the Jesus film, though only Macayla seemed interested, and the DVD crashed after about 15 minutes. The girls had asked if they could visit Britney at Moriah House on the way home, but Mia had replied to my question saying that none of them was there, so I took them straight home. An hour later, Chantelle called me to say Britney was with her, and could I come and take her - where(?). So I went, and they were together, and wanted me to take Britney (and Chantelle) to a location in Roodeval. On the way we picked up Veronica's comb and pom pom (and toothpaste) at her house, and two of Britney's friends from Roodeval who had walked over with her. They all asked for (and received) suckers from OK Foods on the way. Soon we arrived at a house in Roodeval, which I now know to be a safe house belonging to Child Welfare, so I told Britney I would be back at 7 to take her to the hospital to see her mother. I then drove Chantelle back, and the most direct route would have taken us through Riverview, but Chantelle absolutely refused to go that way. She said there were gangs there who could attack her. Further discussion revealed that her brother used to be in a gang, but had become one of Kevin's boys, and not only was he in some danger for leaving the gang, but so would his sister be. Chantelle is no wimp, so I took her seriously, and went round the longer way. After dropping her home I called L-A not to expect me any time soon for supper. I returned to the house in Roodeval. Britney was not there at first, and I had a chance to talk to the supervisor, Janine. She doesn't want Britney to go to Avian Park for a while - probably until her step father has been arrested. She suggested I take Coren, Britney's sister to the hospital with us. Britney turned up soon, and we drove to the hospital, 5 minutes away. At first we three went to Emergency. At 7:15, when visiting started, nothing happened. After a few minutes I asked an orderly if we could go in. He said the girls could but not me - a limit of two visitors. They went in, but came out again 2 minutes later. The guard explained something - in Afrikaans. At this point we were tescued by another waiting visitor, who said that Coren was too young and more susceptible to contagion. So we took Coren back to the car, and then Britney and I went in. We couldn't find Veronica. We asked at a nursing station, and were told she was now in ward C2. Progress! We went out of Emerg and into the other entrance, and got through without being stopped. We then searched out ward C2, and very soon were with Veronica. She was pleased to see us - no longer in shock, and Britney gave her her comb, pom pom and toothpaste. She gave Britney two juice boxes - I think because she was more concerned about her children than herself. Her unappetizing-looking dinner was on a tray and she had hardly touched it. She asked if next time we came we could bring some food. What a waste of public funds, serving food so unpalatable that a very poor township dweller wouldn't touch it. However, everything else that we saw inside this hospital seemed reasonable quality, and it was clean. After a while, Britney hugged and kissed her mum, and we left. Coren was fine in the car. I was impressed with her behaviour throughout. I returned them to the safe house and went home for some belated sweet corn and meat balls - delicious! It had been another long day.

Fri Feb 15
I am 78! The day started at 5:15, waking for the early morning prayer group. I told them of my joy in having given some basic financial advice to David and Sylvia. Also mentioned the interview with them for next Thursday's Worceester Report. As we were leaving, Hilton mentioned he would like to see me for some financial advice. As I entered the school, the children emerged from hiding places shouting happy birthday and holding home-made birthday cards. I think Tanya had organized all this! She has been the teaching assistant and often the teacher this week. Mella gave me a cushion. At first I said that we really needed extra cushions at home, but then she said it was to put behind my back in the car. I thanked her again - but not with much expectation of benefit. After science (studying the human eye) I brought Janey to the school, and we all had a birthday party, with brownies, crisps and soft drinks. I went home till 12:30, when I returned with L-A to pick up Delivenance and Paula and take them home. The map reference I had setup on Garmin worked, and took us to to their front door. We were earlier than last week, and their parents were not there, but I judged it safe to leave them. Then we went on the the birthday lunch at Nuy, our favourite restaurant. It was once again a relaxing and memorable time, as at previous celebrations. I had sirloin steak and creme brule. L-A had a special cheese salad and no creme brule. From there we picked up Janey at the mall and took her home for our Afrikaans lesson. It was around now that I relized I wasn't in any pain from driving the car, now I had Mella's cushion behind my lower back! Hallelujah! Jan and Joy came over about 5:45 to discuss My Father's House, and I skipped part of it to take three of our girls to the youth evening at church. I am unsure where Britney and her siblings are. Since some of our teens had said she was at Moriah House, I Whatsapp'd Mia. I also texted Mella and told her that the cushion was amazing and could make a major difference. It would have been nice to watch Downton Abbey, but there were several other thngs I had to do in the evening - paying the TD Visa etc, finalizing our latest newsletter - that even on my birthday we both worked till nearly midnight. It had been a long but good day.

Thu Feb 14
A certain amount of Valentine's Day activities at school. Tanya is doing good work as teacher's assistant. Science and music went well. From my lesson report: Teacher played examples of 16 genres of music. The learnerís names were on the whiteboard. Whenever they liked the genre played, a checkmark was put against their name. At the end of the session when 16 genres had been played, discussed and commented on, every one of them had a tick for every learner. A skeptic could infer that they just wanted points on the board. However, the skeptic would have also noticed the genuine enjoyment on their faces as the music played, and they played air violins and trumpets, and, when there were drums, got up and danced. The reason Mella rushes off every morning as I arrive is that she is going to the gym, according to Tanya. At 11 I met with David and Sylvia Delille at Maranatha Church to help them in their financial planning. David had given me some figures for a month's expenses and income, and I had prepared a simple spreadsheet, which I updated with more information now I was with them. Their monthly expenses exceeded their income by ~R1,000 (`CAD 100). He gets a R500 payday loan each month at 30% interest, and the interest is deducted at source from his disability grant. This is a dreadful drain on their cash flow. I outlined their options. This is the kind of work I had envisaged I might be able to do in planning our mission, and now it was happening! When David and Sylvia had heard my initial recommendations, I suggested to them that their situation was extremely common, and they migh be able to help others with a radio interview. I had brought the Marantz and microphone. They readily agreed. When I said we wouldn't use their real names, David said he would be quite happy to do so, but I insisted for privacy reasons, so in the interview they are Bob and Mary. The interview should air 21 February, and is a worthy candidate for our 50th edition. The Worcester Report tonight was a repeat of 15 March 2018 - Interview with Andre van Deventer, Ways to Grow in God 4 with Laurie-Ann, music (trains, rain), and starting with clips from Worcester Unite Corporate Intercession for rain. There just hadn't been a chance to find an interviewee, L-A's boils had taken away her time for preparing WTGIG, and the threat of Load shedding meant that even if we had put a new program together, it may not have gone out on time. Ironically, the repeat program was 20 minutes late in starting because we were engrossed in watching Downton Abbey. This was only the second time we had repeated a show, and the first time we failed to start one on time.

Wed Feb 13
I called the hospital. Veronica was still there and unlikely to be leaving any time soon. I spoke to Veronica and told her not to worry about the children, She told me that she needed her hairbrush and pom pom hat. Without contacting Britney, there wasn't much I could do about that.

Tue Feb 12
Woken up at 6 by Britney playing videos on L-A's phone, so took it from her. For the girls, our fast wifi is like magic. At 7:15 she had found my Mozambican phone and her aunt's (?) Facebook, and she asked if she could use messenger to tell her what had been going on. I gave her a plate of porridge. We were about to leave for her school when she announced she didn't have her socks, so we went to her home. Sadly, her grandfather insisted she not go to school, but look after her siblings. Back home I allerted Jan to the situation. Jan told Child Welfare, and they called me about 11, suggesting we meet in Avian Park at Britney's house, prior to my taking the three children back to our house. L-A was horrified when I told her this, because of her health situation, so I called back Child Welfare and told them we couldn't take them. In Mannikin Street they located Coren (7) and renito (4), Britney's sister and brother, but neither they nor I could find Britney. They found places with Avian Park families for Coren and Renito.
This week we are being hit by serious load shedding right across the country. Ramaphosa publicly criticized Eskom, while other organizations criticized him for suggesting in his SONA that Eskom would be split into 3 separate entities. The unions freak out if there is any suggestion that Eskom solve its problems by retrenchment (lay-offs). Around 4 I went to Western Cape Blood Services. It was now just over 3 months (the required interval) from my last donation. I filled in the complete medical form - this has to be done on every visit. They took a tiny blood sample from my finger. A few minutes later they told me I would not be able to donate because my iron level suggested I am anaemic. I was shocked. I have had good iron in my blood always, and I would have been OK 3 months ago. They offered to take a sample from my arm and have it analysed in depth and I readily agreed.

Mon Feb 11
5 am: 13 year old Britney's mother's boyfriend attacked the mother (Veronica) with a knife, putting her into the emergency ward, but not life threatening. Britney heard the scream, found a neighbour who called the police (didn't come). and then called an ambulance.
After school I picked up L-A for her (our) appointment with Dr Eric. He prescribed another blood test for L-A to establish for certain that she does not have diabetes. I asked Eric about the new pain in my butt and leg whenever I was driving, and the fact that I can no longer pull my right knee up to my chest, or put on my right sock without pain. He got me on the couch and tested my leg strenght in various directions. His verdict was that this was more likely associated with my hip replacement than my back problem. I told him I would get X-Rays in Canada in June. Meantime, my anti-inflamatories and pain killers will have to suffice. A hip operation in South Africa would bankrupt us - no travel insurance for pre-existing conditions.
Took 3 YWAMers and Soraya to the Mailbox Clubs. They only saw 3 in action, but I later saw Marsha's with about 10 students again! It was at Chantelle's group where Britney told us about her mother. I said I would return at 4:30 and take her to see her mother. This I did and Chantelle and Anthonica tagged along for moral support, but we didn't arrive during visiting hours, so they wouldn't let us in. So we went to McDonalds for 5 cheeseburgers (two for Britney's sister, Coren (7), and brother, Renito (4)). At 7 I returned to pick up Britney and take her to see her mum in the Worcester hospital. Coren and Renito had been taken in by neighbours. We found Veronica wandering outside, between locations, carrying two bags of blood, and I didn't recognise her - in shock and gaunt. We were told to come back in 15 minutes, when we saw her in her bed in the emergency ward. She was withdrawn and uncommunicative. We left after 20 minutes and I took Britney to our house for the night. She got a hot bath, a fish dinner and as much TV as she wanted before she turned in on the sofa bed.

Sun Feb 10
3 girls to church Cell group - Tanya came L-A sent our newsletter

Sat Feb 9
L-A had been constipated three days and very early this morning we used a micro enema to loosen things. She has also developed new boils on her upper body, which is concerning. I called Dr Eric's office and made an appointment for Monday morning. I went to Brandvlei and conducted the session on evil. On the way home I went to the water refilling shop, and in addition to our regular water bottle, brought back two bottles of their apple juice. At 2:30 I picked up Juliana at YWAM (Regiane unable to join us) and brought her home. Then I picked up 5 of the girls and brought them home. Soon they were tucking into ham or peanut butter sandwiches, washed down by the new apple juice, which they like. Laurie-Ann taught them on praying for the sick (her in this instance, which we did), and I taught them some of the things the Bible says about money. As they were having snowball cake and fruit, I put on the Jesus Film, and it captured their attention. We watched for about 25 minutes - to be continued. The whole session went well. We all got into the car, and one of the girls asked about Soraya. So when we reached YWAM, Juliana went to fetch her. It was a happy reunion, and she may be joining us on Monday to see how her proteges are getting on in the field.

Fri Feb 8
Second day this week to get up at 5:15, this time for the pleasure of the early morning prayer group, and it was. Louis had a box of grapes for everyone. Yesterday I had bought four higher quality mechanical pencils for the learners and I gave them out at the beginning of class. Some of the previous ones were functional, but most were nasty (and they had been cheap). The kids were very happy. The science experiment was popular - seeing what happens when you focus the sun's rays on newspaper with a magnifying glass. Back in the classroom they were eager to use their new pencils, so we wrote up the experiment this morning instead of taking two days. Took Paula and Delivenance home into a remote part of Zweletemba. Couldn't be found on GPS, so their mum and dad rendezvous'd with us at Shoprite and showed us the way. This is a new routine for Wednesdays and Fridays since Atwell's father pulled him out of school when he fully understood the fees, and he had been transporting Paula and Delivenance as well as Atwell. We should be able to find the way there next Wednesday.

Thu Feb 7
It turned out that because I wasn't able to bring Janey to school yesterday, she never got there, and Mella stood in for her. It also turned out that the children's transport was an hour late. Mella had persuaded the church to let the children wait, without one of us teachers, but they were still waiting when the school needed to close. These two events galvanized me into doing something about the problem of school transport. First I confirmed the updates to the school timetable with Mella now that Janey was teaching Maths, Afrikaans and some Abacus. I updated the timetable and will post a paper copy in colour in the school tomorrow. I called Janey and offered to transport her on a regular basis for about half of her trips. She has a friend called Catherine who will share this load. In the case of Mon - Wed and Fri I will collect her each day after science. Since Mella has asked me to take Paula and Delivelance home to darkest Zweletemba on Wednesdays and Fridays, the Mercedes will be feeling like a taxi, except it won't get paid! Heinrich arrived at 3 as agreed and he and I chatted about the kind of mission work we have been doing. At 4 we picked up Matheus with his barber kit, and Regiane. In the Hospice reception, a nurse took Matheus to one of the men who needed a haircut, and the rest of us got started in the women's ward. Half way round it I asked Regiane and Heinrich to take over and went to the men's ward and took some pictures of Matheus at work. It may be a side job for him but he looked every bit the professional. I returned to the women's ward. Soon thee three of us were back in the men's and Matheus was working on another patient. After that, a third - with two nurses in attendance since this one had tubes up his nose. We reached the last of the patients as they were being served supper, and we spoonfed one of them who couldn't feed himself. I took more photos of this special day in the hospice Our Worcester report with Maretha Hofmeyr came together well, with music she would like, and a good picture of her for the podcast.

Wed Feb 6
Rang our alarms for 5:15 and were on the road by 6 to pick up Tanya at Cape Town International Airport. So good that L-A was well enough to come, because my leg pain might have needed another driver. I took a couple of extra Tramacet before we left, but they didn't cut in till we reached the tunnel. Up till then I grimmaced and bore it. Andre called and asked if I could take Janey to school; I told him I was in Cape Town. Tanya was at the rendezvous, Woolworths, as pre-arranged. It was great to be reunited with her after several months. We stopped for a nice breakfast at DuKloof Lodge. Dropped her off at Mella's where she will be staying. I had no pain on the return trip, or for the rest of the day. Although I could have joined in our Wednesday ministries, I had made arrangements to be covered, so I left them in place and and enjoyed the luxury of having plenty of time for do-list tasks at home. After having prepared the GNiTM archive broadcast yesterday, I managed to forget to run it till 9:10, when L-A rmeminded me. This was the first time I had forgotten one of our programs, and hopefully the last time.

Tue Feb 5
It was sunny for the first time for some days, so at last I could do the experiment showing radiant energy absorbed more by a piece of black plastic than a piece of white plastic, which I had put off from last week. Mella mentioned casually she had delegated Ronell to teach science the next morning. As I showed the kit to Ronell she admitted she had never in her life played with a construction toy. She said she would take it home and practise tonight. L-A and I were back at school for art at 1. As I set up the audio-visuals I noticed that the adapter Mella was using to allow the US standard projector to be plugged into South African sockets was very loose, with the possibility that one of the children could kick the power cord and the projector would lose power instantly, which is very hard on projector bulbs. So we were extra careful. The lesson went well, learning about and drawing shapes like ovals and rhombi. At the end I was diligent in following Mella's intruction, which I had stuck on the wall, for doing various actions before going home. One of them was taking the garbage down to the kitchen. Unfortunately Gary had not done anything about my suggestion for getting more black garbage bags, the previous supply having been used up. I couldn't take the garbage to the main bins outside because the church back door was locked and none of the staff was around. So I emptied our bin into a container out on the street. In clearing up I found the Meccano kit lying on the floor some distance from where I had left it, and certainly not taken home by Ronell. It did not appear to have been opened. I wondered how science would go the next morning, but I didn't worry because it wasn't my problem. Eventually the various tasks were done and the classroom was tidy. When the children had been collected, I took L-A home. After a quick bite, I went out shopping. I found the right kind of electical adapter in 'Computer Mania,' and black garbage bags in Pick n Pay. I delivered these to the school before closing time because I wouldn't be there tomorrow. We went to bed quite early because we would have to leave for Capetown by 6 am.

Mon Feb 4
Lois was in class when I arrived, and so was a new lady, Ronell. Now we have two teaching assistants! In preparation for Mella building a Meccano car on Wednesday, science this morning consisted of breaking down the race car I had built on Saturday, and then putting it together. The boys had more aptitude than the girls, particularly Seth. My motive in this is to spot potential engineering talent. Delivenance and Paula had never unscrewed anything, but they learned. Sinegugu announced this was a boring game. Paula was more interested in the magnifying glass which I needed to read the instructions on the box, some of which were right. By the end of the lesson we had built the front of the car. I left it and all the parts in the box for Mella. She arrived shortly after and I expressed surprize she hadn't been there to see how to do it. I picked up Matheus and Regiane from WYAM and we were at Jamelia's house by 10 to 3. Bella wasn't able to come. At Tinktinkie there were about 8 children already waiting. Matheus and Regiane took photos. After a prayer we moved on to 82 Pelikan St where I hoped Marsha would be premiering our brand new Club, #5. She was indeed, under a tree in her back yard. She had the attitude of an experienced teacher - and I could see that the children had been taking in her every word. She had found these children and invited them to come to learn about Jesus. She had no food to offer then as an enticement. I played some songs for them and they enjoyed that. We moved on to the other groups. All 5 groups had children being taught by their youthful teachers. Our friends from WYAM were seeing the potential offered by The Mailbox Club, with children teaching children. And I was happy to show them what the Holy Spirit had been up to. We went home via Marsha's, and she now had 10 children of 8 or older plus a few younger siblings. It was awesome. Thank you Jesus - from the bottom of my heart. Who would have thought that Marsha, who came to us half way through the training, probably stole some bottles of wine from our house, and probably stole some money from our car the previous Saturday, had taken up the challenge to spread the Gospel. It taught me not to exclude people because of bad habits. I had not forgotten the time a few months ago that Marsha rescued a young girl hit by a bicycle on the sidewalk and made sure I took her to her home. One our way home Matheus and Regiane came to our house, and he signed a voluteer form for the hospice so that he (an amateur berber and a professional professor of theology in Brazil) could cut a patient's hair when we go to the hospice on Thursday. Back home dropping them at YWAM I noticed I couldn't read the key parts of the form he had signed because it was in cursive scrawl with no redundancy. I Whatsapped him for his surname. Strange how bright people don't understand that there is a reason why things like names should be written in capitals. Well, all this will be dealt with when I write my book on redundancy.

Sun Feb 3
L-A had set her alarm for about 7, because she truly wanted to get to church this morning. Unfortunately she was very tired and didn't get up then. When she did get up she couldn't find her hairbrush. It was in a drawer where she had hidden it from prying children. These delays meant that she wasn't ready in time for me also to pick up the girls who wanted to come to church, so in the end I went alone, as in the last few weeks when she was in too much pain. There were 3 of our girls, plus Cay-Lene, who had come to our house once for a training, and one of Jamelia's brothers, Germaine, who came. I sent them in ahead of me while I parked the car on the north side of Russell. When I arrived, they had found a parental consent form to allow them to join a Kinderkerk visit to a care centre. Chantelle knew my phone number (it took me several months to remember it) but not my signature, so I was necessary. I was impressed that they had found all this out. As we reached our seats, they near the front on the LHS and I in translation row, Johan and Marie arrived, and introduced me to Heinrich Neufeld. He is a young missionary friend of Patrick Pilorz, our Harvest School 24 friend. Johan Schoonrad passed by and welcomed Johan and Marie warmly. After the praise and worship, the girls and boy went on their trip. Next in the service is a time when people who have received words of knowledge go to the front and give them. Among 4 word-givers were Johan and Marie, exhorting us not just to sit on our backsides, but actively participate in the fight for the Kingdom. Johan (Schoonraad) then preached on grace, and the suggestion that we think of grace as a person. It was quite intellectual stuff, and he preached in English. Towards the end he asked the church's main prayer leaders to come to the front, and specifically invited Johan and Marie. So they had quite a role in the service. Heinrich and I spoke about ministry opportunities we could offer him, and settled on 3pm Thursday when he would come and chat with me at home, after which he would come to the hospice. He was happy with this, and would be using one of the Father's House vehicles to get here. They were still ministering at the end when I needed to go and look for the children. I was hovering near the gate when Germaine appeared and took me to them, gathered around the car, which they must have spotted when they were on their trip. They had all clearly enjoyed talking with the elderly folk in the care centre. I was feeling generous so although they were five I said we would go to McDonalds for burgers. They asked for cool drinks and I agreed to that but I made it clear there wouldn't be anything else. So they each got a cheeseburger and a small Fanta. When they were finished I asked if they would like to go our to the pay structure at the back, and they were very keen. They had a great time - though I read a notice that said it was only for children up to 12. Then they started bugging me for ice cream cones, and I firmly said 'No.' At one point I was waiting in the car and all of them except Germaine were sitting by the McDondalds entrance refusing to move. But I was determined, having spent R162 on them, and eventually they came. They tried to get me to buy them R2 suckers (ice lollies) but I needed them to understand that I will say 'No' and mean it from time to time. When I got home I checked the Mcdonalds bill and noticed that the burgers had been R90 but the Fanta had been R60! I won't be getting pop at McDonalds in quantity again. In the evening it came to me why they had demanded the ice cream. In their family cultures to have money in your pocket means you must spend it. What else would you do with it? They assume I would feel the same. The idea of not spending what you have in your pocket seems crazy to them. At no time have they ever heard of the idea of saving the money so you have it available another day when your needs may be more acute. The concept of saving it for the medium or long term future has never been suggested to them. One result of this is that you will often see them walking down the street eating crisps/chips or other unhealthy foods in small packages. No one in Avian Park buys anything in large pachages. I called Maretha Hofmeyr, the most well known of Hooggelegen residents, and asked if I could interview her. She said yes, Monday at 8. In the evening L-A invited me to watch Downton Abbey, starting at the beginning. It was surprisingly enjoyable, even after Victoria. We have a new way to relax together. She has seen it all before, but I haven't seen any of it.

Sat Feb 2
In Brandvlei, in addition to Alpha, I showed the men my video of Alex and Kaysha's wedding. I like to give them a taste of normal life outside jail. The were very attentive. The video was 'How to make the best of the rest of my life.' Thandeka seemed down, so I prayed for her when everyone was gone. Some colleagues had been less than friendly and she felt humiliated. It seems bullying is not limited to children in school. At 2:30 I picked up Juliana and Regiane at YWAM and brought them to our house, and then went and fetched the children. Only Bella was unable to come, and the other 7 all squeezed in. They were glad to be coming back to Hooggelegen. They made friends instantly with Juliana and Regiane. We had the best praise singing yet from them as L-A cut the sandwiches. The main thing I covered off was that we were starting Club #5 on Monday at Marsha's house with Britney helping. I also reviewed the 2 commandments not to steal and not to covet. At the latter there was some verbal commotion and embarrassment from Anthonca, relating to a boy called Wilbur Classen. I am going to guess that he was now Anthonica's boyfriend, but had been someone else's. Later I checked him out on FaceBook, and he looked OK (ie not like a gangster in the making.) The afternoon was a success. I think our YWAM friends liked what they saw. I have an unterior motive: introducing them to the Mailbox Club and its excellent materials. Mella asked me what she should teach in science next Wednesday when I was picking up Tanya at the airport. After I had listed several options, she chose building a racing car with Meccano. So tonight, for practice, I got out the box I had bought before Christmas and set to work making Meccano for the first time in 65 years. It took me about 90 minutes. Would have been less if some of the instructions on the box had not been plain wrong.

Fri Feb 1
Early morning prayer was good as usual, and I only had to walk a few yards to Louis' house. Back home after I did some significant catching up before school. Mella was there but didn't bring up the subject of my misdemeanour yesterday.

Thu Jan 31
During the science lesson this morning, Seth, who was sitting next to me mentioned quietly in an almost casual tone "I wish I had never been born." Ponder that for a moment, in a 6 year old. I quietly replied, "Seth, why on earth would you say that?" His reply was even more shocking: "Because I'm boring." Now Seth is anything but boring. He always has a smile, and he's a young 'life and soul of the party' type. One can only imagine that either a parent has told him that, or another child, and it has landed on him like a curse. Bullying. This reinforces the fact that parents must encourage their children, and teachers must be super-vigilant against verbal bullying by children, which I have always felt is an expression of original sin. Sadly, in the township communities, parent are more likey to curse their children, scarring them for life. At my age 78 (in two weeks) I can remember similar things told to me by my father, imprinted on my memory. I had told Mella that I needed to leave school at 10:05 in order to get L-A to her colonoscopy by 10:30. Mella had said she would be in by 10:15, so I left at 10:05, and we were at Dr Botha's clinic in time. L-A had her gastroscopy and colonoscopy performed by some very caring nurses + Dr B. She was done in about an hour. I settled the hefty bill, which should be covered by insurance. I got down to recording a talk about
shower plumbing and shampoo for the Worcester Report. At 3:46 I picked up Matheus and Regiane - a third YWAMer seeking practical experience - and we drove to the hospice. The visit went well, though Matheus was reticent to pray. At first they prayed in Portuguese, but by the end were in English. As we went home, Matheus said that he was a barber and could cut the patients' hair as they ley in bed. At home I called the hospice, and they seemed OK with it, and emailed me a volunteer form for him. Mella emailed very annoyed that I had left the children unattended at the school, 'placing their lives in danger.' and Nicky Rabin the drama teacher had found them alone. I countered by offsetting some of the blame to her for not being explicit when I had said I would leave at 10:05. The Worcester Report had a max of 6 other than us listening live until my rant about showers when it dropped down to us only. I checked Whatsapp and saw that Carlo had left a message in Afrikaans about tomorrow's meeting. Using Google Translate I decyphered his message - could the meeting be somewhere other than his house because he was called away. So I used Google translate and said, "Ja, ek sal graag gasheer wees solank ek nie eers die eerste plek moet skoonmaak nie!" However, Louis replied shortly after offering his house.

Wed Jan 30
Today L-A must fast from most things including all her meds in preparation for a colonoscopy and gastroscopy tomorrow morning. So it was very tough for her, not so much from hunger but from pain all over. At 11:30 I visited Pastor Mario Milhomem from YWAM at his home near OK Foods to be introduced to Matheus and Juliana and their two children, recent DTS graduates on outreach looking for experience. We agreed they could join us in several ministries, beginning with the hospice. My music class was teaching a second scale, D major, and ending with making a recording of piano, glockenspiel and 3 tamborines playing C major. Mella had asked me to clear the second room for Nicky to do her drama class tomorrow morning, but I did it today after music. To make room for the furniture from that room, I decided to do what I had asked Gary to do months ago, remove the broken cupboard beside the stairs. Basicly I tossed it down the stairs which broke it into four pieces of chipboard, and these I dumped in the corridor plus the contents of the cupboard, All Gary would have to do now would be carry it out to the garbage. Janey sat with Sinegugu waiting for her transport while I did that, and I finished before Sinegugu's ride turned up. He hadn't been told that school ends at 1:30 on Wednesday. So after dropping off Janey I didn't have time for any lunch before going down to Riverview. Kevin was there, and I said to him I wished it was the last time I had seen him (which was in Yzerfontein) but he laughed because the meaning could be interpreted as that I hoped not to see him again! After praise songs, Kevin gave the children a talk. Lois from Ywam cut up a loaf from Daily Bread with Kevin's pen knife, and made peanut butter and banana sandwiches. Apparently this is a delicacy in the US, but many of the children didn't like the look of it here. I ended up giving some of the sandwiches to some labourers across the street. David Delisle Whatsapped L-A to say he wanted to postpone the meeting with me this afternoon until Sylvia could be present, and she was currently in Cape Town. In the late afternoon, L-A offered to edit the interview we had recorded yesterday. Unfortunately she was unable to suck the file into Adobe Audition. We have had this problem before - the Marantz makes files that are corruped and can't be edited, but will still play. So I set it playing, re-recording it with the AR Wizzard. I finally had time to get down to CWCP-GNiTM, but had to do the whole job on the LH computer while the RH computer was busy. It worked out. Turning briefly to my own health, I've had less pain in the last 24 hours and I think it is since I switched back to Exinef. But on the negative side, I have been getting pain when driving, which I never had before. In the past, driving was something I could do confidently and it would take away pain! Is this pain caused by the out of position cartilage in my lower spine, or is it even possibly from my hip replacement? My only recourse is to take more Exinef if I will be driving for any length of time, such as next Wednesday when I'll be picking up Tanya at the airport.

Tue Jan 29
This was Laurie-Ann's first day back at school, teaching art, and it went very well. She introduced them to a fundamental art concept: line. So they drew many varieties of line. Delivenance, the youngest, who can't read or write, was able to participate fully. Janey, who had taught Afrikaans before lunch waited thoughout the class so I could take her home afterwards. We went to the police department security office and had our fingerprints taken and signed the Brandvlei forms to renew our security clearance for another year. I called the Mayor's office and reached Neil Mercuur, the Speaker at Breede Valley Municipality. he was friendly enough and asked me for an outline of an interview with Mayor Antoinette Steyn. I spent quite a lot of time putting this together, and sent it. I went to Western Cape Blood Services to be told that it was not yet 3 months since my previpus donation. In Canada the interval is only one month. We were relaxing at home about 4 pm, I with a full cup of coffee on the arm of the chair, when there was a knock on the front door. I looked up, then sprang up sending my coffee flying, when I saw that three of our Mailbox Club girls and one of the boys in a class were outside the door. They had come to see how Laurie-Ann was, and had sweet-talked Cosmos into letting them in the gate! After the initial surprise, it became a very nice 40 minutes, and they did cheer her up. I gave them water but no food. I drove them home, and at the gate they all got out and prayed for Cosmos! This was special. On the drive home I said 'No' to a request for food. This was hard to do, but I don't want them to believe that they can walk here any time and be fed. It could turn into a regular stream from Avian Park. L-A suggested that in view of the uncertainty of this week's CWCP interviewee, I should interview her about teaching art to children, which I did. I put all the data David Delisle had given me on his finances onto a simple income and expenses spreadsheet. His expenses exceeded income by more than R1000 in that month. I thought it might be possible, after going through the figures with David, to interview him anonymously for CWCP and produce a cautionary tale for many local people whose expenses are more than their income, introducing them to the concept of tracking both on a daily basis, which in itself will reduce those expenses.

Mon Jan 28
At 2pm L-A had a follow up appointment with Dr Eric, and I accompanied her into his office. No sign if diabetes, some anemia, slightly high cholesterol. He prescribed iron supplementation. He was very pleased with her for losing ~15 Kg, and insisted that continuing progress here would reap great benefits over the long term. In the pharmacy I noticed that he had prescribed regular iron, but at my request they switched it to chelated iron. I didn't spend all those NuSkin trainings for nothing. I like it that the parmacicts here have the option to make minor changes to prescriptions. I also got Exinef for my self instead of Spec Etoricoxin, but this had been agreed with Dr Eric when I was in there. The good news was that neither those nor Tramacet have to be accompanied by food. Since I am being woken up between 4 and 5 am by pain, and that's when I take the meds, this is convenient. We have no interviewee for this week's Worcester Report. I called Sean Waite and he agreed byt said Portia was struggling with dental pain. Nevertheless I went to their house at 5:30 to find no Sean, but Portia clearly in distress from toothache. She invited me to wait for Sean, who had gone out to get food. She went to lie down and I waited. When Sean came, he was suffering form allergies. Clearly this was not a good time for a radio interview, so we will try again when Portia had recovered. As we chatted, Sean gave me pesonal numbers for Mayor Antoinette Steyn, and for Theresa Rossouw at Toeflug. He is very well connected through his Breaking Chains Ministry.

Sun Jan 27
Brought four children to church, including, for the first time, Marsha. Britney's mother was nowhere to be seen, despite what she had said yesterday. I saw David (Delisle) and he gave me a rough list of what he had received and what he had spent in the last month. I told him that I have decided that when adults ask me for money in future, I will only help out after they have given me basic information on their finances, so I can see if there is anything obvious they are wasting money on. Then I gave him R 100, and made an appointment to see him on Wednesday at 4:30. Another great sermon from Johan about Jesus' arrest in the garden. Because we had cell group, I gave the girls cup cakes and crisps with their coffee in Milk and Honey so they wouldn't clamour for more food. After dropping them home I was at 74 Stockenstrom by shortly after noon, and much enjoyed a spirited time with good friends. They all wanted to know how L-A was doing. Spent the afternoon working on Legacy - my audio recording. The process is mentally draining. L-A was writing the next 'Ways to grow in God.' and had me proofread it. I like it a lot when we are together in this cosy house doing our things but being strengthened by the other's presence.

Sat Jan 26
When I arrived at Brandvlei there was no one on duty at the gate, so I went to the other gate and was let in. There was no one in the chaplaincy room, so I tuned my guitar and set up the technology. 20 minutes later Isaak turned up. At first I wasn't sure what he was tying to tell me, but then things clicked into place and I realised they were short staffed and we wouldn't be able to do Alpha. This was clearly quite a big deal for him, but I explained that it was amazing that we had been coming in seven months and this was the first time we were shut out of ministry. He told me that there was a funeral for someone's child, and that would have drawn many staff members. Driving home I detoured to Avian Park to confirm arrangements for this afternoon. First person I saw was Marco (Ruiters), outside the house where he used to live, so he spoke to his mother-in-law and all was arranged. We continued to chat, me the missionary, and he the forgiven murderer. He would love to come into Brandvlei and talk to the men, and he may even have a security clearence. He is going to search around. He is now teaching children in a De Doors school from time to time; the Lord seems to be moving him more towards children's ministry. On the way out I saw some of the other girls, and Britney's mother, who said she was looking forward to coming to church tomorrow. When I got home I realized I needed more copies of the MailBox Club 'Best Friends' Lesson 2 to give out this afternoon. So I drove to Rodlyn's which was shut. The opening hours were clearly marked and they should have been open. I rang the bell. After a while a window in the house opened and a man told me they were closed - it was Saturday! Somehow this undeniable fact had not entered my mind when I decided to come here! Then he asked me what I wanted, and I said 11 copies of two A4 sheets. He said he would ask his wife if she would do them. Soon she came to the door and let me in. She is the Lynn in Rodlyn's, and he is the Rod. I noticed Christian materials on the office wall. He asked me what it was that she was copying. When I said it was the Mailbox Club material, she then told us that several years ago she had been a Mailbox Club mentor! What had started as an interruption to their Saturday off had turned into a communion between Christians. This also meant that a little later when I got to Avian Park I was able to distribute 6 copies of Lesson 2 to each of the four group leaders. If I had remembered it was Saturday, this wouldn't have happened! Mysterious ways again. Getting to Avian Park was a bit of an adventure. Chantelle had called to say she was not in the Park, and that Anthonica knew where she was - would I come and get her. So I picked up Anthonica and Britney, and we drove to OVD, where I had previously dropped off Chantelle on a church day. The girls went in to find her, and I called Chantelle again. She had got a taxi back to Avian Park! So we had wasted our time (and petrol). I asked her to walk to Chrizelle's and tell them we would be late. When we got to Chrizelle's at 3:15 there was no sign of her. So I got started with those present. One thing I told them was the story of Greta Thunberg, 16 year old Swedish campaigner who has mobilized youth in publicity for climate change, and had soken at Davos the day before. (see my Twitter). I want to show the girls how they too could develop a voice to be heard in the world. I had brought extra nice cakes (Gerda's) and they enjoyed them, plus real orange juice instead of concentrate. There was one cake left after 2-each for the girls and one for the others living in the house for their hospitality. I took it with me and gave it to Chantelle with her copies of lesson 2 on my way home. Dr Eric wants to see L-A on Monday. Is this good news or bad? Hopefully it will confirm she is not diabetic, which would add an unknown dimension to her health situation. Together we cooked red beans, russians and rice for dinner. I sent another Whatsapp to David Delisle. I have an idea in mind that I can help him do a simple income and spending chart. I asked him to list his income and spending for the last month. He said he would see me in church tomorrow. I noticed that I have a small boil on my wrist of a similar type to those that L-A had now recovered from. After a major search I found the Traxa ointment, about a minute after L-A had prayed for its whereabouts to be revealed. I had never taken it out of a plastic bag that I had packed it in when I might have been taking L-A to hospital on 18 January. We ate our dinner with a glass of wine, throughout which I was feeling extremely tired. After dinner I forced myself to do the washing up, and then we watched the final episode of Victoria. Very moving indeed. Probably my favourite TV series ever, and that includes Bergen, The Planemakers, The Power Game and Sandbaggers. But it hadn't cured my weariness so I went to bed at 9:30.

Fri Jan 25
I got to early morning prayer about five minutes early, ie 5:40, as did Louis, both of us bearing rusks. I had really been looking forward to it, and as usual it didn't disappoint. How good to commune with men whose faith is rock solid and care so much about the world. Also good to get home and have an hour before the time I normally set my alarm to get busy on various projects. In science we split white light into colours and I illustrated it with the diagram on the cover of 'Dark side of the Moon.' It's coincidental that on the dark side of the moon the Chinese now have an operational presence, with two rovers. I have been posting their progress on Twitter. I designed a flier for the GIG recruiting seminar 20 February using Word, and it looked quite good. I sent it to Bruno with Whatsapp, but since he uses Mac, the formatting was jumbled. However, he could see the content was OK so he suggested I distribute it to the Club as a .pdf, which I did. In the evening we much enjoyed the penultimate edition of Victoria in season 2. L-A feels she won't be well enough to have the children at our house tomorrow. I went to the Hospice around four. What struck me was the several people there close to death. One lady in particular who always manages a smile is now only skin and bones. Several amputees. I contacted most of the children by Messenger to arrange that we meet in Chrizelle's house, as we have for the last two weeks. There was a message on our early morning prayer group Whatsapp asking if someone could bring rusks.

Thurs Jan 24
This was our first opportunity for Laurie-Ann to get the blood test prescribed by Dr. Eric. This must be done after fasting so L-A took no food, drink or medication, making it extra hard to move, but she made it into the car. We were at Pathcare by 7:50, but so were about 7 others. They don't have a 'take a ticket' system, so we couldn't be sure if there would be time. I read my current book, Geoffrey Lay's 'Seeking signs and missing wonders,' about some of the excesses of the 'signs and wonders' churches back in 1998, a detailed study of healing ministry and what one can really expect. The book suggests healing miracles are extremely rare, yet the experience of Iris worldwide would contradict that. There is an analogy with climate change and how much of it is the result of human activity, and how much would have happened anyway. With healing miracles, how much would have happened anyway even if people had not prayed for it. It turned out L-A could have had a coffee without spoiling the test. There was still time for us to drop off the laundry (including three badly soiled sheets), take her home, and get to school. Today in science they would write up yesterday's experiment in their notebooks. But not all of them had notebooks. I gave sheets of paper to Atwell and Delivanance, but after a fairly short while it became clear that neither of them could write or read. Worse, they couldn't draw, so the relevance of notetaking for them would be nil. Seth is actually writing, but very slowly. This was an advance on last term. Both the girls Sinegugu and Paula wrote up reasonable notes with diagrams. Back home, L-A still had diarrhoea, and headaches. This is going to take longer than we had hoped or prayed for. Thank goodness her spirit and determination are strong. Thank goodness also for her i-Pad that provides everlasting mental stimulous as she sits on the couch. One of her friends, Gaets from Ottawa, whom she had met as a MAP volunteer years ago had read on L-A's Facebook that Andrea Bocelli would be performing in Paarl in April. L-A had bemoaned the prices, way out of reach. But Gaets had offered to pay for L-A's ticket, to give her a real night out! At 5 pm I went to Pierre Rogers' house, next door to the 19th Hole Golf Villa to pick up a Breede Chem wall-mounted perspex bracket, two dispensers, and 1 litre bottles of shampoo and body wash. This is the best shower dispenser I have ever seen, with labels in large letters that one can read in the shower without glasses. It is more than a year since we had used one of these when we stayed in the 19th Hole Golf Villa. I spent some hours on producing The Worcester Report, and ended up including the wedding vows from last Saturday. L-A had done 'Ways to Grow in God,' so we were back on track. And Riana's interview was exellent. There were 4 people listening live when the show aired, plus us, and they stayed listening till the end. Usually there is only one other listener. I started the broadcast exhorting our listeners to tell others about the show.

Wed Jan 23
I started Science with Day one of Creation, from Dr Jay L Wile's excellent book, Science - in the beginning. This is my third time starting the course. I love this book because it unashamedly ascribes to God the credit for His creations. It would be banned in most state schools in the West. I asked if anyone was afraid of the dark. No one admitted it. We went to the small kitchen and I turned off the lights. They started to howl. When they were quiet, I spoke the opening words from Genesis in a sonorous voice, and as I said "Let there be light" I turned on the light. They enjoyed that and asked for it a second time. Then with a torch and my shaving mirror I showed how a light beam can be reflected. Back upstairs we spent the rest of the lesson talking about light and reflection. I took home one of the hula hoops and glued it, leaving it to dry jammed in front of the 'fridge. I recorded Chaper 4 of Legacy. I was in competition with some workers on a neighbour's roof with something sounding like a chain saw. I was back at school for the music class at 12:30, armed with 'instruments' capable of making musical sounds. I started by drawing a sound source on the whiteboard, with a sound wave flowing from it to an ear. I put various things as sound sources: a bell, the marimba, two Appletizer bottles with different amounts of water in them, the yellow sports whistle. In each case I added different frequency sound waves to the whiteboard. Then, my piece-de-resistance, a string bass constructed from our oldest suitcase, our broom handle, and yellow cord. I got Sinegugu to film several learners playing the bass. Finally I introduced the keyboard, and as Sinegugu played the scale of 'C" I added sound waves. The purpose of all this is to teach them both science and music, and why we have different instruments. For the third time I heard a car alarm, and worried it was mine, went downstairs, where I saw outside Atwell's father, come at 1 pm as I had asked him. Mella hadn't told him it was 1:30. However I had already covered the key material, so I brought down Paula, Atwell and Delivelance so he could take them home. We need a written chart for parent showing them the time school ends each day. it confuses me so no wonder they roll up at the wrong times. I then continued with Sinegugu and Seth, introducing them to the idea of composition. At 1:30 we were waiting in the school lobby, but their parents didn't show up till 2, reinforcing my point made above. I went home and had about 20 minutes before leaving for Riverview. The group was more of less the same as last term, except (big exception) the thee rasta-style boys who we all enjoyed so much had gone to Cape Town. There were two recent YWAMers, Lois and ?, who was making a video with a GoPro camera. Mella summarized her teachings on the armour of God, asking everyone to remember them all if they wanted a treat at 4 pm. Shoes of peace, belt of truth, helmet of salvation, breastplate of righteousness, sword of the spirit, shield of faith, and all of these covered in prayer. I made a very determined effort, and there, I can remember them! This kind of thing I find incredibly difficult, as do some of the children, so I relate. At 10 to 4, the special treat, some Korean food, had not turned up and I excused myself. David Delisle is Whatsapping L-A and saying he needs help. She replied that he should contact me. When he didn't, I whatsapped him. He says he is in dire financial straights and would I come. I said it wasn't possible today. At 6 pm we had a long-awaited GIG meeting for the Worcester #1 Club at Jan's. There were only five of us. We need more members so the first thing we will do is have a recruiting seminar at our next meeting Wednesday 20 February, and I offered to design a flier.

Tue Jan 22
At school we had 5 children - Sinegugu (8), Paula. (8), Atwell (6), Seth (6), and Delivelance (5). Seth is the only one who was here before. I gave them a mechanical pencil each, and pinned name tabs on them. After the class I went shopping for additional school supplies, fruit, etc, and wound up at Janey's at 11:30 to take her to school to teach Afrikaans. Janey gave me a small and simple marimba, thinking it might be helpful in music class. I was back at school at 12:20 to deliver L-A's art class. Janey congratulated me on my way of teaching. So nice to receive encouragement! I wanted to find out what art skills, if any, they had. First I asked them to draw and colour either a coke can, or our toy Pakistani taxi, or anything else they would prefer to draw. Both girls showed talent. The boys just wanted to play with the Pakistani taxi. Wary that 'play with' in their culture actually would mean destructive testing, I watched very carefully, and it survived. I brought all the art home for L-A to examine. Powertime replied to my query re data packages on MTN that there were no recurring data packages, so I bought R10 of phone data for Jamelia and Bella, and R20 for Moses, who was also asking. I spent quite a while uploading my photos of Alex's and Kaysha's wedding to Flickr, and added some of Marie Fourie's photos to my album. I processed the audios from the reception speaches and added them. They are well worth a listen. I posted the album to FaceBook. I prepared tomorrow's Good News in the Morning production. L-A was up for much of the day, but her carbuncle is still producing liquid (not puss), so she is limited in what she can do. However, she did record 'Ways to grow in God,' so she will be back on air on Thursday after a break of two weeks. I phoned Jan to comfort her for the loss of one of her German Shepherds, Isabel, who had suddenly died of Tick bite fever on Sunday morning. I had fed her each day last week, and had not noticed any symptoms. Now Jan only has the older German Shepherd, Ben, as her trusty guard dog, though Silky's yapping is also a deterrent.

Mon Jan 21
Mella had scheduled a get together at the school prior to the first day of term tomorrow. I had it down for 9 am and was there by then. Thobeka came by and asked when Mella would be in. Tawana's father came in to say that their family was moving to Cape Town tomorrow, so we wouldn't be seeing him again. The idea of giving people a head's up ahead of an event hasn't yet blossomed in the brains of some South Africans! Everything happens in the present. By 9:30 Mella hadn't arrived, and I couldn't reach her on my phone, so I drove to her house and tried phoning again. I must have pushed the wrong button because I reached a stranger. Tried again and reached her loud and clear: the meeting was actually at 10:30. However it was providential I had been there early to see Thobeka and Tawana's dad. At 10:30 I was back at the school for a good discussion with Mella and updates on everything. We are expecting five children tomorrow, only one of whom, Seth, was here last term. He and one other, Delivelance, are only 6, so my teaching style will be changing. Mella had brought back various teaching aids from the States, several of which are relevant to science. She annotated the school timetable I had drawn up last term with changes for this term. On my way home afterwards I went into Vodacom to investigate the long delay on getting me onto a contract. Turned out they needed yet more proof that I would be likely to pay the monthly bill, including the ID of my employer. This mindset reflects the fact that township people here who don't pay in advance, the normal way of funding phone usage, just don't pay, and incur debt which they still don't pay. So Vodacom must go to extraordinary lengths before accepting a contract application, particularly from foreigners. Back home, L-A was up and she made a good point; since we would be out of country for 6 weeks starting 30 May, perhaps it was not a good idea to be paying a phone contract at that time and the likelihood of successfully suspending it was not high. So maybe I should put this project on ice till July.

In the afternoon I visited the Mailbox Clubs. Jamelia and Bella had a good group at Danielia's. Macayla and Chrizelle had split their kids into two and seemed to be getting on well. I led them in praise songs for quite a while; they kept on asking for more. Chantelle was not at her house. Anthonica was there but with no students. She got me to sponsor her R5 in support of her school. Jamelia and Bella asked me for R10 worth of phone data and I said I would send it from my computer using Powertime. I got their phone company, MTN, and numbers. At home I wasn't sure enough of the MTN data packages to go ahead and order at that time; I sent a help message to Powertime. Shortly after 5 I was at Carlo and Riana's home to interview Riana. It went well. In the evening I got down to timetabling, making the changes Mella had indicated. Some things we don't know, such as whether Janey will teach maths. So I printed it in monochrome.

Sun Jan 20
Our nights are definitely more restful than a week ago, though L-A was still not strong enough to come to church. After waking up however comes an increasing challenge: putting on my right sock and sandal (yes I wear sandals with socks having never found a logical reason not to). Even when my pain meds are kicking in, this is becoming harder. I picked up Jamelia, Chantelle and Anthonica - who kept me waiting. I managed to collect signatures from all their parents giving consent for me to drive them for ministry purposes. We got to church a little late. None of them had had any food. They found good seats though the church was pretty full. Pieter-Louis came and asked how L-A was, as did many others. Johan preached on the love of God, using Hosea as a text - unusual. After church I took the three girls for Big Macs without being asked by them. I don't like to think of them being hungry all day. At home I edited my video of the wedding and posted it. I called Riana Van Wyk and thanked her for telling us about 'I raise a hallelujah' which had given L-A a boost when she really needed it. I then asked if I might interview her, mainly about Kinderkerk; she agreed, and we set a date for 5 pm tomorrow. We watched an episode of Victoria, where she and Albert strayed deliberately from their protection squad in Scotland and ended up lost, and staying in a peasant cottage for the night. Very sweet.

Sat Jan 19
My routine of the last few mornings remained - wake between 3 and 5 and take my pills. This morning not only did I feel good, L-A had enjoyed a restful night and was in good spirits. I was on my way to Brandvlei by 8:35. When I got to the chaplaincy room Thandeka was around but the men were delayed for 20 minutes. I gave Ebrahima his attendance certificate. I gave Isaak the film stick with The Shack and Raise a Hallelujah, the Bethel song I showed them last week on it. The men asked after L-A and when I brought them up to date one of them suggested they could write a well-wishing letter to her, which they then did. I introduced the session, and we sang two Holy Spirit songs. Then I gave out copies of my page listing the gifts and fruits of the Spirit, and led a teach-in on them. The one needing most explanation was discernment. Then we watched the video. After that I anointed them all with oil in the sign of the cross, and then led the whole group through the sinner's prayer and some subsequent material relating to what happens next. During this time the presence of the Holy Spirit with us was very strong. All the men, including two for whom this was their first experience of Alpha, were touched by the Holy Spirit giving me the words. Although it would have been impractical to pray with them individually, the normal Alpha way, the group approach worked well here. Thandeka gave me forms to renew our security clearances with the police. This is an annual requirement.

At home L-A had conserved energy by sleeping in, but now she got up. She felt strong enough. She put on her back/red dress and I wore my light grey suit with one of my two ties. We were on our way to a certain field in the middle of nowhere by 2:45. Normally at this time on a Saturday I or we would be meeting out teenage Bible class leaders for taining, and we hoped they had all remembered this wouldn't happen today. When we arrived, there were already quite a few present including a contingent from local farm cottages. There was wind, and a white sheet pinned over the bamboo gate threatened to sail away, but Alesha continually re-fixed it in place. Greg had decided to use his own guitar after all, but my guitar cord, guitar strap, music stand, guitar stand and tuner were all useful. Guitar tuning is not too easy in such conditions. Gradually more and more showed up until the white plastic chairs were mostly occupied. The groom arrived about 4:40, and his bride five minutes later. The ceremony began with a good word from Johan. Greg sang 'You are Worthy of it all' and another song few people knew. Pastor Chris clearly knew the couple really well either from his personal experience or from being briefed. He referred to Alex's traumatic childhood in the Rwandan genocide when he lost many family members. The vows were a lot different from the prayer book, reflecting this couple, and I was able to catch most of them on video. They spoke to some specific characteristics of the bride and groom. The atmosphere of the whole event was unforgettable, and at the end during a laying on of hands by close friends, Johan spoke again, addressing the now-married couple and the congregation with some thoughts on the significance of this day for the community here and in Rwanda.

When people were leaving, L-A told me that she wouldn't have the stamina for the remainder of the wedding day program, so I drove her home. It was great that she had been here for the wedding itself, and nothing had happened that would have required me to take her home immediately. I had parked in the field in case of such an eventuality. We gave a lift back to the road to Greg, and Cheeks who had been taking video, and turned out to be the one who had called me yesterday to see if I could bring the pizza. L-A got home still in a good state. There was a message from Frog thanking us - he had received the money. I took my tie off. and returned, this time to Pomegranate, for the evening reception. I had missed the afternoon reception for the farm kids and families at Vinkrivier. The scene was a magical display of lights as I walked towards the guests in the barn. The evening consisted of dinner with wine, and then some speeches. Alex spoke very well with touches of humour. He handed out gifts to the Fouries and others. People were there from many parts of the world. Because I had arrived a little late, I found myself in a good spot for hearing the speeches, but the lighting was too much of a challenge for my Blackberry flash, so I got few pictures. At the end of the formal procedings, Alesha announced that dancing might be on the agenda. I helped a little with clearing dinner plates, putting quite a large number into a plastic box and then carrying it into the house. This was not such a good idea, since my back is not that strong any more, but I managed it. However, at that point I decided to leave since I shouldn't carry more loads, and I felt a preferance to get back to be with Laurie-Ann. So I don't know if dancing happened. On my way home I listened to Arcade Fire and the Beach Boys with the RPO at a good volume level, and by the time I arrived was invigorated again. L-A was OK.

Fri Jan 18
This morning there was improvement. She was a far more agile getting out of bed, and when she did, the carbuncle had not produced puss overnight! For the first time in two weeks she put on underwear with pads in case of puss. Unfortunately she had a sudden bout of diarrhoea. It was now 9 am and I had an appointment with Dr Eric at 10. Instead of taking her to emergency it made more sense to have her in the car with her suitcase packed for hospital, and for me to talk to the doctor. When he had heard the latest situation he said he didn't think being in hospital was the best thing for her. He said diarrhoea was seasonal here and this is the season. Now that she can get out of bed, she should do so and return to spending her time on the couch, which has never caused her muscle pain. He felt she did not need to continue on penicillin. He prescribed more Stilpane (for pain) and Smecta for diarrhoea. He wrote a prescription for comprehensive blood tests to establish beyond doubt the bacteria that had caused the boils and carbuncle, and also to be sure she has not developed any diabetes. He also wants to be kept up to date with progress (or the lack of it). He also gave me a new prescription for Tramacet, saying that if my pain persists I should take more than the two pills a day I have managed on. I picked up the meds from the pharmacy next door (so convenient) and returned to her in the car. She must go to Pathcare for the blood test, but not today because I must get to school. A passing pedestrian had noticed our rear nearside tyre was half deflated. We drove to Caltex and they pumped it up, then we went home. After a coffee I drove to Tiger Wheel & Tyre and they repaired it while I sipped a coffee. They had done this before to the same tyre. Frog Whatsapped to say he couldn't get the money because his brother Carlitos' name had been spelt wrong by Mukuru. Carlitos has the necessary ID for receipt of money. I went on the Mukuru site to the chat line, and after five minutes they a corrected message to Carlitos. At 2:45 I left for the wedding rehearsal. When I arrived at the wine cellar on the Fourie farm where I had thought the wedding was being held, I saw no sign of it. I went back to the gate where I had turned right, and were some men were doing road works. They were able to tell me that the wedding was in a field a little further up the road beyond the wine cellar. I found it, and drove several minutes along a very rough trail designed for 4 x 4 vehicles. The field was surrounded by vines, pregnant with wine grapes, with a bamboo 'gateway' erected where presumambly the couple would stand. No-one else was there. My phone had no signal. I waited 15 minutes and drive back to the Iris mission house were there were a few people. Maggie told me Alex was still in Robertson having a hair cut. Two hours later I returned to the field where about 15 were gathered, including Greg, the guitarist from Hermanus. We compared the sound of his guitar and mine plugged in, and both of us thought his sounded just fine. I said that maybe Kaysha's concept of an electic guitar was a hard rock sound like AC/DC. The two radio microphones that had been provided with the speaker worked fine. Greg usually played seated and had no guitar strap, so he used mine. The betrothed never did turn up for the rehearsal, and Chris, the pastor who would conduct the service tomorrow informed us that the rehearsal would now take place tommorrow at 9:30. I drove home and was relieved to find L-A was continuing to improve. In fact, she felt she might be able to make it to the wedding. I prepared what would be needed in the prison tomorrow for the Alpha session 'How can I be filled with the Holy Spirit.'

Thu Jan 17
Jan Buchanan phoned at about 5 to say she was 20 minutes from home, returning from East London. I said I would go to her house immediately, feed the animals, and be ready to let her in, which I did. Shortly after the beginning of tonight's CWCP broadcast, featuring Godfrey, L-A needed to pee. She had been lying on her front on the bed pretty constantly for two weeks, and because she wasn't moving much had made a unilateral decision not to take her Arthrotec. For the last couple of days, muscles in her back had been very painful when she slowly worked her way off the bed and into the toilet. This evening when she tried to get out of bed to use the toilet, the muscles round her rib cage and in her back put her in unbearable pain. Amid some screaming she did eventually make it. This was very concering to me because I hadn't realized she had stopped taking Arthrotec, and I thought this was a serious new development that was beyond my capabilities to deal with. I believed she should go into the Mediclinic emergency as soon as possible. We posted a message on her prayer supporters page to see if they had any advice and they all recommended hospital. I packed the things she would need into a suitcase. I placed a Tena pad to cover the carbuncle. Then I called Mediclinic. It was about 9 pm. They said that if she came in she would probably lie in a bed till morning and then would see a doctor. Furthermore, if she needed an ambulance I would need to arrange that separately and they gave me the number - 084124. L-A and I discussed this and decided that there was no benefit to her sleeping in a strange bed without expert treatment, and that we would take her in in the morning. She took Arthrotec. In fact she slept through. I posted on the prayer group Whatsapp group that I wouldn't be with them in the morning, and asked for their prayers.

Wed Jan 16
I awoke around 4:30 with my right hip and leg in some pain. I decided that I would take my regular pills now instead of after breakfast, so that firstly I would sleep better for the rest of the night and second I would be more comfortable starting the day. I had an apple and then took the pills. Frog called from Pemba to say that he was out of hospital. However he has a major challenge to pay his school fees in a lump sum for the coming year and buy school uniform items. He is 19 but had returned to school. He has two more years there to earn an education certificate which is pre-requisite to getting any kind of real job. The total amount he needed was about 1400 MZN, or equivalent to $37; not a huge amount for us, but way out of his reach. It didn't take us very long to decide to send the money, so I re-acquainted mystelf with the not-user-friendly Mukuru, and was able to take the money from my on-line FNB account. He has other challenges after his mother's death. She had been renting the house where they lived (which L-A and I had visited in Pemba), so now he is homeless. He will have to scrounge around for accommodation and money for food. The fact that he placed his education as more important that these things endeared me to him, and I knew we should help.

Tue Jan 15
It's one week before regular school starts. I have enjoyed being less driven by my calendar, but something in me wants to get back to a more vigourous routine. I have been able to catch up on many outstanding actions. We had a great holiday trip, thanks entirely to Laurie-Ann who as organized every holiday we have ever had. The only blight has been L-A's health; primarily severe allergic reactions to something in the environment, and her personal plague of boils and the carbuncle, something I wouldn't wish on an enemy, if I have one. For her today was same new, same new, as between us we battled the seemingly endless stream of puss from her carbuncle. At 1:30 I left for Cape Town airport to pick up Andre and Janey. I had concerns about leaving L-A for several hours. Beside her she had our emergency button that would bring medical staff to her aid, and she also had a powerpack for her phone. Their flight was a half hour late. They had had a great time, particularly Nixon, who had swum every day. They were glad to be back in the better air quality and lower humidity of the Western Cape. When I went to pay for my parking, the machines wouldn't read my ticket. I called the parking number and was advised to press the help button on the pay console if the ticket wouldn't work there either. It didn't, but the help botton allowed us out without paying, saving about $15 since we had been there a while. We stopped at the Engen station for chocolate milks, which the Deventers swear is the best thirst quencher, and then proceded home, battling some rush-hour trafic. I was home shortly after seven. L-A had managed to 'hold it in' throughout. After getting her comfortable I went to Jan's to feed the animals. Kaysha phoned to see if the guitarist who was going to paly at her wedding on Saturday could use my guitar, because she prefered an acoustic sound to an electric sound, and his acoustic guitar has no pick-up. She had ordered a battery powered amplifier-speaker for the wedding. She invited me to attend the wedding rehearsal on Friday to make sure the technical details were fully checked out. It's Lynn's birthday tomorrow, so I selected a Jacquie Lawson card intending have it ddelivered tomorrow, but I must have missed something because it went out immediately, so I sent an email apologizing for the premature delivery.

Mon Jan 14
I don't feel too good these mornings, but I feel a lot better than L-A. I usually take my pain meds and vitamins (NuSkin Life Essentials and Overdrive) as soon as I have some food in my body, but I sense the benefits are taking several hours to be apparent, instead of 15 minutes. During those hours I have felt 'flu symptoms and lethargy. Today I felt fine by about 1 pm, which is good because I was in Avian Park by 3. L-A needs my help to get to the toilet from the bed, because when she takes an upright position after being horizontal, the puss in her carbuncle tends to spurt out due to gravity. What we hope for but haven't yet seen is a time when there is no more puss to come out. I confirmed with Danielia that her house would be available for the Mailbox Club. At 3 I was taking Jamelia and Bella to Danielia's, and when we got there there were 9 children ready for their class! I decided to have some praise singing at the beginning of their class, and set up my guitar and amp while the new attendance sheet was being completed. The children - learners and teachers - all loved the singing and sang lustily. They then got started on 'Best Friends' I then left and drove to Mannikin. It was now around 3:30 and Chantelle had joined forces with Anthonica with about 9 kids. Again I led them all in music and they too had a great time singing. Chantelle and Anthonica told me they needed school supplies and had the Walton's discount forms offering 25% off. They thought the forms meant the supplies were free. I told them I would come back around 4, and went on to see how Chrizelle and Macayla were getting on. Macayla was teaching about seven children, who were clearly engaged. There wouldn't be time for music, so I prayed with them and returned to Mannikin. Neither Chantelle now Anthonica had their signed parental consent forms, and I could have used this as a reason not to take them out of the Park. But I didn't, and soon we were at Waltons. I realized this would cost us, but I felt that it could give them both a good start in school, so it was like an investment in their education, which both of them take seriously. So I let them gather up what they wanted. They were very happy and grateful, and we did get the discount. After returning them to their homes, I got back to L-A to make sure she was OK before going out to feed Jan's animals.

Sun Jan 13
L-A unable to come to church. I watched Brian Houston, then drove down to Avian Park. Picked up Jamelia, Anthonica, and for the first time Veronica, Britney's mother. First thing she did was tell me they had no food in the house. Chantelle and a friend with a baby wanted a lift to OVD, a housing complex where they have relatives. The church was full and I couldn't even see where my guests were. After worship, Jamelia and Anthonica went to the Sunday school, and Veronica stayed to listen to the sermon. It was a unique (to my memory) study of the similarities between the life of King David and the life of Jesus. Watch it here. It ended with a plea to us all not to wait till we are perfect to spread the Gospel. You may be divorced, bankrupt, but you can still tell others about Jesus. After coffee and quiche in Milk and Honey, where I gave Veronica R30, I took them home. They wanted iced lollies, which at OK turned out to be chock ices, and chips for Veronica. In the afternoon L-A suggested watching an episode of 'Victoria' lying on the bed. After 15 mins my back wasn't in good shape, and I wondered how she was able to lie like that all day reading her iPad. We did watch, and appreciate Victoria, which was focussed on the Irish potato famine, and the objections of parliament to giving them relief, since most of them were papists. This was most upsetting to the queen, who strongly advised her prime minister to be charitable, and he was.

Sat Jan 12
After helping L-A with what she needed while I would be out, and just managing to download the YouTube of Raise a Hallelujah, I drove to Brandvlei, on the way picking up a hitchhiker. Typical conversation: "Hello I can't take you all the way because I'm going to Brandvlei to tell the inmates how much Jesus loves them." Reply from middle aged man with tools - "Jesus must have arranged for you to pick me up. He is so good to me." Honestly, it's hard to find anyone here who doesn't either know the Lord well, or is quite happy to talk about him. People love to be prayed for, and we love praying for them. In the jail, Alrico was on duty making me very welcome. We had been moved next door, where there is more space, and Isaac had made sure I had the A/V techology I am used to. My guitar sounded great plugged into their audio amp and their singing was awesome. After the first two songs I showed them 'Raise a Hallelujah' and they loved it. Then we sang 'Father could you mend me.' 'What does the Holy Spirit do?' was today's video, which talks to our being adopted sons of God. At the end I told them the story of Jan's adoption of Joy. On the way home I stopped off at Avian Park and was able to confirm that we could use Chrizelle's house for our meeting in the afternoon, and was also able to find almost all the girls and tell them. At home I spent the intervening few hours before that meeting being a little stressed about it. How best to deal with the envy? And then I had a nudge from the Holy Spirit to talk about the ten commandments. I found a kid's version of them and printed it off. I arrived at 49 Nightingale where three girls were waiting. They bundled into the car and we went in search of the others, finding four of them. Back in No 49 I began the program with prayer for L-A, and them, then did the paperwork with my copies of the attendance sheets to switch from 'Storytime' to 'Best Friends.' Each club leader got 5 photocopies of Best Friends. At this point Chantelle arrived, so now we had all 8 leaders, which included Marsha and Britney, who I reminded them would start a new club when they have had a little more training. When the admin was done I taught on the Ten Commandments. Saving the best till last, Do not Covet, I explained what coveting was and how some of them had a problem with it; how it included being jealous when something nice happened to someone else. I pointed to my paper and told them that was a sin, carefully not looking at Chantelle. They were all paying close attention, and not even playing with cell phones. I then gave out the (cold) hot cross buns I had buttered (Macayla scraped off her butter) and Pine drink. Then I took some pictures using flash which came out very well, and they of course wanted to see them. Bella is a little camera-shy after losing her front teeth. I foolishly mentioned that two of my favourite pictures were of her when she still had them. When we went outside for some group photos - the first with the whole group - she stood in the background looking away. Strangely this enhanced the overall shape of the composition. Apart from that faux pas by me, I was much encouraged by the meeting and the cooperation they had given me.

Fri Jan 11
I was back at the early morning prayer meeting at Carlo's house, and happy to be there, though only Marius and Hilton showed up. Good prayer; good company. I mentioned colloidal silver when telling them a little about L-A's condition, and Carlo said that it was marvellous stuff, either applied topically or injested. Apparently it was used in the first world war for quick healing of burns and wounds in the days before antibiotics. I am glad I listened to Dis-Chem and Carlo rather than taking too much notice of on-line information about colloidal silver, which is universally negative. It reminded me of on-line information about apple cider vinegar, which Laurie-Ann wouldn't be without. 10 years ago it was said to have no medical benefit whatsoever. Today it is promoted positively on line with multiple benefits. Go figure! Around 9:30 the carbuncle was oozing large amounts of water, puss and some blood, to the extent I had to hold a cloth on it when she walked to the toilet. I put colloidal silver on the carbuncle. Two hours later new smooth skin was in evidence in the central area, and there was no oozing! So at the next opportunity I also put it on the boils on her abdomen, one of which had started to bleed, probably as a result of rubbing on the bed sheet when she painfully got herself down from the bed. We now had two sheets badly soiled, plus all our towels, so I took them to the laundry. I also took a copy of 'Best Friends' to Rodlyn's, and they made 20 copies for R40 while I waited. I had a rest beside L-A from 2 - 3 pm, and then drove to Avian Park to try and organize our Saturday meeting to be in Chrizelle's hour like last Saturday, but her house was locked. The wind was blowing really hard so there weren't too many people on the street, but I spotted Macayla. I told her about L-A and asked if she would speak to Chrizelle to allow us to use her house. A little later I found Anthonica and told her. Apparently her opening days as a prefect at school had gone well. I didn't see any more of our girls so I decided to come by after prison tomorrow. Maggie called L-A and wanted to come over and bring food, but I asked her not to. It would need too much activity (eg dressing) for L-A at this time. So they had a good chat. Chantelle sent a FB message to L-A complaining that I had bought shoes for (her friend) Anthonica. This doesn't bode well for tomorrow's meeting. I replied using L-A's phone and posing as her, ignoring her comment and reminding her about the meeting.

Thu Jan 10
I was in a town somewhere in the South of France on a project with a colleague. The car got stuck in a cul de sac and I walked around to see if there was a way out - yes, but on a long narrow bridge across the bay. I returned to the car to put a large piece of art in the trunk. Scene shifts to several more men in the car and I wasn't driving. Instead of the narrow bridge they find a good road across the bay. We drive until we see the sea shore ahead, and they park on the beach, then walk towards the sea. Who are these men? One by one they turn and walk towards me. I feel nervous. Did they drive down here to kill me? I must take the initiative. I launch myself at the man in front. Next thing I know is a bang as my body lands on the floor beside my bed. But unlike the last time this happened, the cushions I had placed on my bedside table do their job and my head or face are not hit. The dream was very coherent and detailed, like my previous two dreams that knocked me out of bed. I will take a Sedatif PC homeopathic sleeping pill every night instead of every second or third. Don't get me wrong - I have no difficulty sleeping, but these pills, like Noctura in UK and Insomnia in Canada stop me sleepwalking. One result of this episode was that L-A took the opportunity to have a pee (it was about 4:30), which meant she didn't need to at normal waking up time, and was able to stay on her front until mid morning. Riana rang her to find our how she was, and L-A was comforted very much by her care and their conversation. She mentioned that she found worship to be a good antidote to times of difficulty. She had seen a new video from Bethel Music with a song that was inspired by a life-threatening medical issue for a young boy called Jackson, and how the worship leader had experienced a 'giant of unbelief' in his path as they prayed for Jackson, but then the Lord gave him this powerful song, 'Raise a Hallelujah.' Jackson recovered! I immediately decided to play the song as the finale for tonight's Worcester Report, and completed the mixdown. The last few days Cindy and I have returned to communicating, this time on Whatsapp. Apparently she is planning to visit Ghana, so needs to know things like the power supplies there. It's nice to be back in touch. We used to text a lot a couple of years ago and it taught me that texting has some advantages over other forms of communications, particuarly with a good friend. In the afternoon I visited the hospice. I don't remember seeing so many people just clinging on to life. One 37 year old with cancer looked like a skeleton. I prayed that either Jesus take him home, or totally cure him, but the status quo is unnacceptable. His sister was keeping watch in the same private room, and I chatted and comforted and prayed for her. I had messaged Gerhart Strydom yesterday about the next course, 'Best Friends' for the clubs, and he replied saying he had the materials just at 8 pm when The Worcester Report was starting. So I drove down to his school and brought them back. I will need to do some photocopying. The program went out fine, ending with the new Bethel song, Raise a Hallelujah. L-A complimented me on the reading of 'Legacy.'

Wed Jan 9
The pain from the carbuncle means that L-A is spending most of the day on the bed on her front. She can't use the computer for Ways to Grow in God, or for the accounts, and receipts are piling up. Instead of Ways to Grow tomorrow night, I had the idea to broadcast my readings of the start of 'Legacy,' by Jasper Cloete, and he was OK with it. I went to Vinkrivier, arriving about 4:30 before anyone else. Maggie arrived around 5, and the couple whom Kaysha thinks may take over the leadership of the kids' club, Flip and ....., arrived shortly after, so I had the chance to meet them. Flip went to run a soccer game for the boys, and I joined Maggie for the Alpha course. There were 3 guests including Jenny. Maggie set up the very sophisticated equipment, loaned by Mike. Battery powered everything, projector about the size of 2 cell phones with the video file on an SD card. The loudspeaker was a megaphone style piece of sh*t from a sound quality standpoint, connected with a proprietary mini 3-pin plug, so it would not be easy to substitute a better speaker. We ran 'How can I be sure of my faith?' and I think Lydia and Minmarie caught some of the concepts even if the voice track was very hard to distinguish. Afterwards we drove over to Francolin's (?) house to meet up with Kaysha. Now I have seen two of the farm cottages close up. Frog called from Pemba. He was in hospital with diarrhoea and vomiting, and his mother had died of D & V on Christmas Day. We had met her when we invited them to have a meal with us just outside the base main gate. I comforted him. Later I posted this news with pictures of him and his mother with us on the HS 24 FaceBook. I worked on the Worcester Report, finding a piece of music I had written for the intro and outro of the 'Legacy' segment. It was the beginning of Amptude #1 which I had extemporized on the keyboard back in 1991. If this by any chance winds up on the 'Legacy' audiobook, we won't have to worry about copyright. There's just 7 minutes left to complete the program, which I will do tomorrow. In the evening we watched 'Victoria' with L-A sitting partly on the 'donut' and with our one piece of plastic postioned to stop puss and blood oozing onto the couch. Every time she gets off the bed, pressure increases withing the carbuncle, forcing out more puss and blood. This is a good thing.

Tue Jan 8
Thank goodness I can be home most of the time because L-A needs me. She sometimes comes into the living room, but that is more and more difficult as the carbuncle flexes its muscles. I went to the doctor's office around 10 to collect the new prescriptions, and also got a 'Donut' from Boshoff Orthopedics which in theory should allow L-A to sit down without bad pain. Unfortunately the carbuncle is too close to the bottom of her back for this to work well. I drove to Rodlyn's and found that they do much more than refill ink cartridges, including photocopying. The CRA had sent me an email yesterday suggesting I check my messages on 'My Account.' This is usually a chore and inconsequential so I didn't get round to doing it till this evening. Bear in mind my work on the small amount of my tax rebate on New Year's Day. Imagine my surprize and delight therefore when the message informed me that they had reassessed my return, and had sent an additional $861.98 tax rebate! Lord, thank you. I shared the good news with L-A. Interestingly this is very close to the $846.65 that was due before the end of the year for our Calabogie maintenance fee. Seems like the Lord wanted to soften the blow.

Mon Jan 7
The mornings are bad. Getting out of bed for a pee involves L-A in major pain. The carbuncle is getting worse, and the boils are oozing puss and some water. So getting to the floor from the bed will either hurt her tummy or her backside. I am talking screaming-level pain. The Propolis from Simply Bee that we had bought yesterday was effective in treating the open boils, drawing out puss and watery blood. The doctor had said he would phone when he received the lab repot on the swab from one of her boils. L-A had the good idea that I should interview Jan about the story of Joy for this Thursday. I called Jan and arranged it for this evening after 5. She mentioned that there had been violence near the library in Avian Park, and recommended I call Danielia to see if she thought it safe to hold a Mailbox club there this afternoon. I tried but failed to reach Danielia, so left a message. At 5 to 3 I was at Chrizelle's house, delighted to find that she and Macayla already had about 7 children being taught outside her house. I drove down the street to Jamelia's and Bella's amd neither of them was there. The people who were there didn't know their whereabouts. I called Danielia and left a message that my earlier message was now mute, since we had no teachers for her Club. In Mannikin Street, Chantelle was not at home. Anthonica was there on her own but with no children. What she had was a nicely written letter to me begging for school clothes: shows, socks and a tie. She was now a prefect and on Wednesday school would start. She also needed R30 relating to the first day back. I noticed cigarette butts in the room suggesting that her mother was still smoking, although Anthonica said they were old. I felt for her because she had achieved the prefect status, and clearly had come to me as a last resort. I told her I would be back. I returned to Chrizelle's and got out the travel guitar (it was hot) and led the children in 4 songs. They loved it, and so did their teachers. This was the peak moment of my day. I went back to get Anthonica, and on the way Chantelle saw me and told me she had finished the Mailbox Storytime course with her children. Since she has been the first club to start, this is possible. I drove to Anthonica's house, and of course Chantelle wanted to come. I said no. Anthonica had not, or course, yet had her mother sign the parental permission slip, so I could have refused to take her. I decided to take the risk because the chance of her mother calling the police when she got home from work was small. I drove Anthonica to various stores and bought her the shoes, socks and tie she needed. She wanted a rucksack as well but I refused. I gave her R50. She bought a meat roll and a drink and still had R30 for school. She was actually pretty happy with the shopping trip. The problem will come later where the other girls expect the same. When I got home, Dr van der Merwe had called L-A with the results of the lab test. He prescribed Cloxin, a different penecillin, and I would be be able to collect it tomorrow morning. L-A had also discovered from Diane Blenkiron that colloidal silver could help with carbuncles, and that Dis-Chem sold it. I drove to Jan's with the mic and Marantz and soon Jan was telling the full story of Joy over the last 10 years. I had hoped that Joy herself would answer a few questions at the end, and Jan was able to persuade her! Jan asked if I could feed her dogs, cats, and garden vegetables next week when they are going to Port Elizabeth. Finally I brought her up to date with the Mailbox Clubs including today's shopping trip with Anthonica. Jan mentioned that I shouldn't have been out alone with her according to YWAM guidelines. We relaxed with Victoria.

Sun Jan 6
My alarm was set to 4:45. L-A was determined to make this trip and subjugated her pain. She managed to get out of bed and wash herself with my help. We had something to eat - mainly to allow us to take morning medications. Chantelle had confirmed that she was with Vodacom. I say she, but it is almost certainly her mothers phone that needs data. I sent her about 300 MB from Powertime. By 5:50 we were on our way to Andre and Janey's house. At 6, Nixon, Andre's guide dog, came out to welcome us. We embarked passengers, filled up with petrol at the Durbon Street Shell station (the subsidized petrol prices had kicked in), and Garmin told us we would arrive at the airport by 7:20. It was a gorgeous day and the trip went well. Amazingly. L-A wasn't complaining of pain. We arrived at the airport parking lot by 7:45 and they said their goodbyes to L-A as they left for their holiday in Margate. I accompanied them to help with luggage. They wanted to check 3 bags, but were only allowed 2, so Nixon's bag went in the cabin with them. Once they had their boarding passes, a disability helper took over my role and one of their bags, and I concentrated on getting a few photos as they went through the security gate. From the airport, L-A and I drove to our rendezvous with Kerleed X. He had been introduced to us a year ago via Nahia Haddad in Ottawa after he had approached Pastor Andrew, who has a ministry to Somalians who have converted to Christianity. At last we were to meet him. We found his temporary lodging on Athena Street easily enough. When I stopped the car, a man got up from working on the road and asked if we had come to visit someone. He then went inside the house and brought Kerleed out. It was an emotional meeting. We drove out of the township, a dangerous area, to a more open area the other side of the N1 highway and chatted. It had to be brief because he was depending on a lift back to Uppington sometime this day to see his wife and children. He said I was the the first Christian in South Africa that he had had contact from. A local church in Cape Town has offered to sponsor him in theological studies! He plans to bring his family here from Uppington. He also says he'll be able to visit us in Worcester. If he does, he has agreed to be interviewed for CWCP. He has always wanted to tell the story of his conversion. After half an hour we took him back, and got on our way to the Somerset West mall, where there is a store - Wellness Warehouse - that stocks Simply Bee products, and L-A believed that their Propolis can sooth her boils. I got their last bottle. Then we went for coffee at Hillsong before enjoying the 11:30 service. The original plan was to bring Kerleed here. Maybe later in the year. As we got back to Worcester it was clear that for whatever reason L-A had been spared the extreme discomfort she might have expected on this trip today. But the relief wasn't to last. Once we were home the pain and suffering returned. She had discovered that the thing on her butt was a carbuncle. The way to treat it is with hot compresses to draw out the poison, so we got busy. We weren't even able to squeeze in an episode of Victoria. During the night we were up several times attending to the boils and trying to help her get a little sleep.

Sat Jan 5
Although she had a better night than the previous night, L-A was too sore to come to Brandvlei. I brought a couple of hitch-hikers to the Brandvlei corner. I was able to plug my guitar into their amp again, so from now on I don't need to take the Blackstar. After music and jokes (which they loved), I explained how the Alpha Weekend is done outside jails, and then We had the Intro to the Weekend, and 'Who is the Holy Spirit.' This is one of my favourite pieces of Christian video. At home I prepared what I would be teaching the Mailbox leaders in the afternoon. L-A is a little better, but will she be well enough to come to Cape Town tomorrow when I (we?) take Andre and Janey to the airport? Following the altercation with police last Sunday evening on Mockingbird Street, I prepared some permission notes for Avian Park parents to sign if they were entrusting their children to me. Becuase of L-A's indisposition I had told our girls that we wouldn't be bringing them to our house this afternoon. Instead I met them as planned in Chrizelle's house. Actually I had to collect Chantelle, Britney and Anthonica who hadn't got the message. Everyone was there except Jamelia. I had brought little cakes and a large fizzy orange. I first handed out the permission notes for their parents to sign. They all appreciated the need. Then I reinforced our mission with Mailbox Clubs, and I believe they took it in and appreciated the importance. The group was paying serious attention. Then I ran over the key parts of each Mailbox Club session. I confirmed that the clubs would re-start this coming Monday, and suggested that if they saw any of their learners in the streets they should remind them. I left them at about 3:45 - it had been a very good meeting. I decided to try again to install Whatsapp Web on my laptop computer. Many months ago I had tried and got the impression ir wasn't supported on my not-the-latest system software. But Phil Adewumi had said that wasn't the case. So I followed the simple intructions, and not too long after it was working. What a difference in my efficiency compared with the Mozambique phone's tiny on screen characters. It was shortly after this that I received a message from Cindy saying she had reloaded Whatsapp on her phone. So I sent her a message, and soon after got a reply. The reason this is important is that I have had great difficulty emailing her since she left investors Group. In the evening we watched another episode on 'Victoria' while I worked on L-A's feet as I do periodically. Chantelle messaged L-A about 9:45 and asked for some phone data. This was a first! I had L-A reply and ask how much she needed, and to say this one one emergency response; not the beginning of a regular source of supply. She needed R20 worth of data - somewhat less than I had envisaged. L-A then asked her which company had given her phone number. We went to bed about 10:30 after setting the alarm for 4:45, having not heard back from Chantelle. I still wasn't confident that L-A would be coming on tomorrow's trip to Cape Town with Andre and Janey ...

Fri Jan 4
L-A had a dreadful night with the painful boils, which do respond to Ibuprofen gel, of which, thank goodness, we have plenty. Around 9 am I called the doctor's office, and was put through direct to Dr van der Merwe. I told him she had a temperature of 103, and the boils were very painful. He assured me that the anti-biotic should have done its job by tomorrow and she'll feel better. L-A cancelled our Afrikaans lesson. There had been no reponse from Mella about Mpho's end of term report. Around 12:30 I drove to Zweletemba to Mandisa's house and gave her Mpho's report. He and Khanyo (and Mandisa) were very happy to see me and we spent some quality time. Kanyo did very well at Worcester Primary last term and has fitted in with the other students. Mpho thinks he will be going there this coming term. Mandisa had been suffering recently from the same boils as L-A, but after taking the anti-biotic she had recovered quickly and was fine now. She says it is caused by the heat. I went on to Kleinplasie to see Heather and pick up from her 3 more purses, one for Jamelia who has broken her phone screen. Back home there was a FaceBook message from Bella saying she was home if I wanted to bring her Christmas presents. So I took the Afrikaans Bible and the purse made by Heather and went to her house. She was very happy with the gifts. I told her and Jamelia I was planning to have our Saturday meeing in Chrizelle's house since l-A was unwell. I then went to Chriszelle's and she said we could indeed meet there. Shortly after I saw Anthonica and Chantelle and told them the same. This had been a good visit. In the evening we watched the second program in the second season of Victoria.

Thu Jan 3
We were in Dr van der Merwe's office, together, at 10:30. He examined her, and said that it was a blood condition, and may have originated by an infection in her nose (she has no pain there). He prescribed penicillin, Stilpane, and Naseptin for the nose. He took a swab of pus from one of the boils to send to the lab. After collecting the prescriptions (and more Tramacet for me) from Fairbain Pharmacy, we went to the Traffic Department, and successfully renewed the car licence disc in about 3 minutes, far less time that I had expected after my experiences a year ago. I spent the afternoon completing the editing of Alex and Kaysha's interview, and then working on the 20 minutes of time left to fill. My plan was to use a series of historical audio recordings from Tape B1, but when I plugges in the red disk, B1 was nowhere to be found. Either I had failed to digitize it, or it was misfiled. The time was now 6:30 and I needed a new plan, and fast. I searched for New Year's Day songs (there aren't many) and found Abba's from 1980, a nice tune. When I had done a back-up a few days ago, I had come across a recording made by L-A of me speaking to the children in Avian park library about what it means to be a Christian. I checked it out and felt it would do nicely, showing our audience exactly what is involved in preaching the Gospel in the townships. So I got the recording from the red disk and rapidly made three 'tonytalk' continuity pieces, and was soon doing the final mix-down. We were 15 minutes late in starting the prelude music, but that's OK. L-A got up around then, and we both listened to the show as it went out. Sounded good to me. During the Alex/Kaysha interview there were a peak of 6 people listening live, more than for any other program. Sadly all of them tuned out immediately the interview was done. Why do people do that? It's good quality radio. After the show I got the podcast ready and decided to put a link to my Falling in Love radio program from CKCU four years ago. We watched the first program in the second season of Victoria on the iPad.

Wed Jan 2
Laurie-Ann's rash is responding to the Quadriderm, but the boils - if that's what they are - are getting worse and multiplying. And they are painful. She has one on her backside that makes getting into bed very hard for her. We tried painting them with baking powder paste this morning. It is meant to draw out the pus. It did seem to give some relief. I picked up Janey about 1:30 and brought her to our home where she spent the afternoon praying with L-A and watching 'Loving Vincent.' My larger ink cartridge had run out yesterday, so I was using the emergency cartridge. My ink refilling company had been closed over the holiday season, and I called the number today to hear that he had shut up shop. However the lady who answered the phone told me about Rodlyn's in Fairy Glen who also refil cartridges. And that's closer to Hooggelegen. At about 3:00 I set out direction Robertson with L-A's four framed art pieces - Sintra among them - plus the three from Doxa. I wasn't expecting to be able to hang them this afternoon in the Fourie Vignerons cafe, but in fact it turned out successful. There was a wooden batten which Sintra went on with two picture hanging hooks, and is pretty secure. The other locations all were on hard plaster, but much to my surprize the small nails in the little hooks all went in well enough to take the weight. I gave the list of prices and commissions for the cafe to Rita, the lady who has served us coffee so many times as we went on to the Vinkrivier kids' club. I then joined Kaysha, Maggie and newly arrived from USA Karrie, and we discussed the future for the club when Kaysha has gone to Rwanda. We know that we need an Afrikaans speaking preferably male leader for the club to flourish, and we prayed for God to provide one. Neither Maggie nor I feel called to that role, but we would be happy to continue in supporting roles. Kaysha, Karrie and I then drove to club member Jenny's home to encourage her following her month in a Cape Town psychiatric ward. She looked and sounded fine. It was very interesting to visit this farmworkers home, with mother and original father (!) still present, plus 4 or 5 younger kids, including Keenan, whom we know from kids' club. They have a stone house on a hillside, reachable by climbing a dirt path from the road. The idea surfaced that Jenny could assume more of a leadership role. She is about 22 and speaks Aftikaans and English fluently. I was home by 7 and took Janey home. L-A and I dined at about 8 on turducken - very nice - then I started working on The Worcester Report.

New Year's Day
L-A asked if I would do some on-line searching for the rash she is experiencing. I faily soon found a condition called Hidradentitis Suppurativa, with photos very like her rash. Commercial holiday here, which I forgot when I went out to the chemist - so came home again. Have to be careful driving because my licence is out of date, so the less driving the better. For some months one of the more important items on my do-list has been to re-examine my income tax return and figure out why my rebate was a lot lower than UFile had predicted. I haven't tried to do this till now because I felt it would be a detailed forensic exercise and take much time. But when I looked at my notice of assessment and compared it with my tax return I saw immediately where the problem may be. The total income on the NoA was $9K more than on my return - which would translate into the lower tax rebate. I checked each figure carefully and finally it dawned on me that I hadn't included my CPP and OAS in the income that I had reported. So I checked the scans of T-forms that had been sent by Janet at IG, and there was no sign of a T4-CPP or T4-OAS. That was why I hadn't reported it. But I did know the exact amounts from my expenses and income spreadsheet, and the total exactly matched the discrepancy. QED. What is very interesting is that the CRA had corrected the error, since they would have had access to the T-forms. Strangely, though, they said nothng about the cause of the error in the NoA letter - just that there were errors in the income. The bad news is that I can't claim another $3,000 rebate, but the good news is that I don't have to claim another $3,000 rebate, which will save me a lot of time. I have been putting on L-A's prescription ointment three times a day, and I think that the rash is improving. However she is developing boils on her stomach, and today she has one on her finger. Are these connected with the Hidradentitis Suppurativa? I called the doctor's office and they were able to book her in for 10:30 on Thursday with Dr van der Merwe. Mandisa Whatsapped me asking if she could have Mpho's end-of-term report, and I Whatsapped Mella. I prepared the GNiTM archive broadcast for tomorrow, and the computer battery indicator was flashing oddly. The battery is shot, but could still cause problems. So I did a back up in case I am in trouble.


Copples in Western Cape