Tony’s South Africa Daily Journal - 2020

See my daily journal for 2018 and for 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.
Latest postings are at the top.
Jan 2020

Mon Jan 13
This was the first of Laurie-Ann's weekly chemos. Oncologist Hannetjie looked at L-A's sty and prescribed Chldramex. I had brought my computer and soon after L-A was settled in I got working on the appeal to Allianz against disallowing several of my claims. I was using the new battery. By the time it had run out two hours later I had made a good start. By now L-A was asleep. I left for the Cape Gate Mall Vape Shop. He remembered me. He had gummies but no CBP oil. It turned out they only had one bottle of blueberry flavour in all 6 Vape Shops in the region. He tried ordering it for delivery here by next Monday but in the end something went wrong with the order to do with verification. By the time I was back in the Oncology Centre, L-A was ready to go and we returned home. Shortly after I went to Fairbairn Pharmacy for new meds including Chldramex. Then I went to Dis-Chem for other meds including Texa. We watched The Good Fight. Later in the evening I noticed with some consternation that the new battery in my computer wasn't charging. This was the same symptom as the old battery. So either this new battery is defective or the fault is with the charging circuitry on the laptop. Rui Vasco from Pemba sent me a message saying he needed 5,000 Mets for a new 'bou' roof for his house.

Sun Jan 12
We picked up Janey at 9:30 and were on our way to Hillsong. I wanted to drop in on the men at the vehicle checking station but was overrulled on the basis we might be late - but in fact we arrived at 11, and the parking lot was full with the people still in church from the previous service. It was good to be back. The preacher was a member of the congregation talking about the step from acknowledging Jesus as saviour to accepting him as Lord. We saw Stephanie for the first time in a while. After the service we shopped at Wellness Warehouse, then a huge Woolworths Food on the way our of Somerset West which Janey had heard about, and then had lunch at the Punjab in Stellenbosch, a very good restaurant. we came home via Avian Park where Chanique was waiting for R100 towards her enrollment at Boland College. I also gave Bella R100 for leggings for school.

Sat Jan 11
For the second time I opened the car trunk with the key round my neck, this time for the guard on the Brandvlei gate. 15 minutes later I was in the 'B' section dining room. Ben Kotze was as friendly as ever, but we weren't going to the outside classroom. 7 men drifted in.  I suggested to one of them that they might like to invite others and his response was that he would prefer not to, so that this small group alone would come. (There is logic here; we normally don't take new people on an Alpha after the first 2 weeks, but in prison we don't enforce this).  We had some worship and then the video, 'Why and how should I read the Bible?'  Although the ambient noise was generally less, at one point the adjacent 'D' wing were singing a loud rhythmic song that sounded Christian, so I closed all the windows on that side. This TV has poor sound, and had I been watching the program for the first time I would have found it hard to follow. At the end of the video I had the men sit in a rectangular group facing one another and I conducted a Bible study based on the parable of the prodigal son. This actually went well, allowing me to help them understand the dual meanings in a story they could all relate to.  After Brandvlei, my assignment was to get Anthonica to a clothing store to buy some badly needed items of school uniform. Anthonica asked if I would take her to our home so we could read a letter she had written to us both. I read the letter. It turned out to be considerably more ambitious than she had mentioned before, but as I read it I felt we needed to help her. Getting into high school is already an achievement, but to do it from a dead-beat family is specially commendable. According to Anthonica, her mother had given her R300 to enroll in High School, but the next day demanded most of it back, threatening to beat her, so she could buy wine - she was aleady drunk. Anthonica foolishly gave it to her. The High School demands that all learners have all the school uniform including a tie and pullover! Without the uniform, they cannot attend. We went shopping. The details would take a full page. By 11:30, I should have been taking L-A to Andre and Janey's but instead I was in the mall with Anthonica. I called L-A and we made a plan. Before starting it I was able to get L-A a strawberry Annique shake. This cost R445, twice as much as I had so far spent on Anthonica's clothes, and it put things into perspective in my mind. I got a call from Computer Mania to say they had the replacement for my laptop battery which had failed when under warranty. Before collecting it we went to MacDonald's and bought burgers for the three of us and a R6 cone for Anthonica, which stopped her starving while I collected the laptop battery; nothing to pay. This will make a big difference to my efficiency in this time of load shedding. The three of us ate our burgers at our home. L-A needed to have a burger without cheese, but the only way to order it had been as a 'cheese burger - no cheese.' I drove L-A down to Andre and Janey's and then continued shopping with/for Anthonica. Eventually she had everything needed including school supplies, and she was asking me again for the money for enrollment in high school. We talked. She convinced me there was noone else she could turn to, so she got R200. I reminded her not to discuss this with her drunken mother, and to make certain no-one in the family could steal the money. She assured me she had a secret place for it. I have no doubt of her mother's capability of stealing her daughter's education for a few bottles of wine. I went home and collapsed into bed for 90 minutes. Then the phone rang; it was L-A to say they were almost done, but would I be able to take Andre shopping for a steak for tomorrow. I picked him up and we started by going to Spar, but at 5:30 on a Saturday it was closed. So we went to Checkers in the mall, and I trundled around with Andre in tow till he had what he wanted. That was hard work; I don't envy Janey. A couple of times I just told him to wait, while I found what he wanted. Soon he was home, and then we were home. I forgot to upload Good News in the Morning for tomorrow's podcast.

Fri Jan 10
As we were preparing to go to Pathcare, L-A read the message, 'She's gone,' from Tara. I didn't know how this expected news would affect L-A. At this stage she seemed to take it just as one more piece of bad news, but I think it will hit her later. The most comforting thing for her was that on Wednesday Tara and John had gone to see her, feeling they shouldn't wait till the weekend. Tara had read a special message of comfort from Laurie-Ann, and Carol had understood it and responded in thanks. It was 8am before we reached Pathcare, so I took the opportunity to get petrol and have the tires checked. They were all low, but one was only half the needed pressure, so it may have a leak. I bought potato bread at Daly's because the ciabatta wasn't in yet, and when we got home I found it was equally nice. After carrying in the bread, I couldn't find my new car trunk key. Evenually I discovered it had dropped into the bread bag! That was when Laurie-Ann came up with a brilliant idea - wear it round my neck with my giving key - two immediate benefits. After a coffee I drove L-A to the deVenter's where she would spend the rest of the day working with them translating scriptures relating to each of the drawings for the colouring book into Afrikaans. She would read it, Andre would translate, Janey would write the translation, then move on to the next. Meantime at home I posted the news of Carol's death on my Facebook usng the same pictures that L-A had on hers, but I added a link to the home movie from 2009 filmed by L-A when she went with Carol to Mew Yourk City to visit MOMA and see The Lion King. At 2pm I picked up Jamelea, Amelia and baby Isaiah and drove them to the hospital. To get in the gate guards ask to see inside the car trunk. This wss the first time I attempted to open the trunk while keeping the key on its chain around my neck. It was quite easy to do. Jamelia went in with them and I parked the car. Half an hour later they came out with a supply of bags for the baby that would act like a rectum. He has been on this system since his birth 5 months ago. Going home, they didn't ask, but I bought them good protein-rich ready to eat meals at OK foods. I vacuumed the office and the bedroom with the Electrolux, an excellent vacuum cleaner in good order. It was quite hard work. As I did it I listened to Tape A0 S2 Ch 2, early rock'n'roll pioneering hits at faily high volume. The Leak Mini-Sandwich has really been a blessing and I have learned to listen in mono with almost as much pleasure as stereo would have been, though this particular tape is mono of course. I texted L-A suggesting that when she was done I take her and them to Star Park Chinese restaurant. I cleaned out the bag of a year's dust and returned the machine to Yanni. A year ago I had rented an industrial vacuum cleaner for R200 for the same purpose. At about 5:30 L-A called to say they had made good progress and were ready for dinner. She will need to go back tomorrow to complete the job. The four of us enjoyed our Chinese meal and the company very much (Andre and had the pork sizzler), and I much enjoyed two Windhoek lagers. After taking them home we came home and L-A spent quite a while reading more than 150 responses on Facebook to our posts about Carol promotion to Heaven. She also heared from her cousin Cathy that she, Tara, and Nancy, Carol's younger sister, had been present with Carol when she actually passed away. This news was also a great comfort to Laurie-Ann.

Thu Jan 9
Had our last lie in for a while. Up by 9 to find we were in load shedding, so we had a cold breakfast. Worked on tonight's program. At 2 I drove down to Avian Park, and was waylaid in Worcester by Anthonica. So she got her Christmas present at last. Wants me to take her clothes shopping on Saturday. I picked up Jamelia and Bella, and Amelia and baby Isaiah, and Bella's young sister. Took J, B and B's sister to the Riebeck Street swimming pool, which was almost deserted. Then I took Amelia and the baby to Worcester Hospital so she could arrange her next visit to Groote Schuur hospital. There was a notice on the wall diresting patients to various departments. One of them was for wounds. I got out my phone to take a picture but an orderly warned me off. Amelia wasn't able to arrange things, so I must take her again tomorrow. On our way home the girls were desperate for 5 minutes wifi so they all came to the house for about 15 minutes before I took them home. When I got home, load shedding was back, so I would have between 6pm and 8 to complete the production for the show. I returned the spanner and wrench which I had used to open the car trunk without a key to Yanni across the road, and borrowed his Electrolux. Everything was ready in time for the broadcast and the excellent interview with Mella Davis went out perfectly, talking about her vision for a reimagined MasterPeace Academy. After that interview I played excerpts from our first ever program when I also interviewed Mella, plus Khanyo and Mpho. This bout or load shedding cost Eskom president Mabuza his job, since he had assured Ramaphosa there would be no load shedding over the Christmas break. Tomorrow morning we heard the news that Carol had died about 5 pm Ontario time, that's midnight here. Tara send a message, 'She's gone.'

Wed Jan 8
The big task today is to replace the trunk key in the car, without which there is a serious possibility of being locked out of the car, since the electronic key is unreliable. Also it would be nice to be able to open the trunk without a wrench. However there were some things to do before leaving the house, including my devotions, and promoting tomorrow's Worcester report with Mella. These done, I went down about 10 am, but his wife said I should return at 3. So instead I went into Avian Park to give Christmas gifts to Anthonica and Marsha. Neither was around, but both Bella and Jamelia were home, so I gave Bella the photos from our Christmas dinner. The girls asked if I would take them swimming tomorrow. At 3 I was back at Lock and Key. Eugene was somewhere at the back, but his son went to the car, unscrewed the driver's seat door lock, and took out a mechanism that held the reference number of the key that was lost. He then went and worked on manufacturing a duplicate key. While he was doing that Eugene came out to work on a safe and we had a humourous exchange about losing keys. He also told me he had been in a car crash when someone ran into the back of his car and totalled it. Thank God he is all right. Soon his son came out with a new key, tested it - it worked first time without further adjustment - and returned the door lock mechanism. The bill was R500, and I gave Mrs Meier an extra R100 for her husband and son to show my gratitude. Back home I spent a couple of hours laying out a chart of which medical insurance claims had been paid, and which hadn't. Then I called Allianz to hear bad news; they have a clause that says, "Benefits are not payable for costs incurred due to any treatment, investigation or hospitalization which is a continuation of, or subsequent to emergency treatment of a sickness or injury." So where I had send in claim x part 1, Part 2 and Part 3, Parts 2 and 3 were excluded. Since claims must be made within 3 months of notifying them of an emergency, this means that all emergencies must be cured within 3 months. I find this very unfair, and in our case particularly so since we had been advised by their customer service staff to make the multi-part claims. At least today's consultant Ngole had told me the truth. I asked him for the email of the appeals department: appeals@allianz-assistance.ca. Load shedding was expected any time after 9, but we went ahead with the GNiTM archive anyway, and the load shedding didn't happen.

Tue Jan 7
The Traffic Department was my first call. After waiting in line 45 minutes, my new licence was issued in about 2 minutes. I'm not sure why thy don't have a line just for people renewing licenses. Then to Fairbairn Pharmacy to pay for iron pills Carica had delivered personally to Hooggelegen. Next, Lock and Key, but Eugene wasn't in today. I explained our lost key again problem to his wife and must return tomorrow. Then to the post office to send back the towel I had taken by mistake from the Quiver Inn in Keepmanshoop, thinking it was one of ours. Postage was R79. They said I shouldn't bother to return it but I didn't feel that was the right thing not to do. Then I walked round the corner to the police station and a very friendly policeman wrote me an affidavit that should allow me to buy a TV licence for just 6 months. Then I bought fish and chips which we'll eat tonight. Then I went to the mall to pick up the photos for Bella's family. I watched South Africa valiantly trying not to be bowled out on this last day of ther test match. I slept for a while after lunch, and at 4 felt an urge to go to the hospice, where I last went before Namibia. I fed a lady her dinner, and said goodbye to Niklaas, who is going home on Friday, as we watched the moment on TV when England won the test. Niklaas doesn't want to go home where his family smokes and apparently has no interest in butting out to help Niklaas, with chronic asthsma. I prayed for the family and him. I went to Van Wyk & Leroux to book an eye test and then to Dis-chem to see if any of their off-the-shelf glasses would help me to read. The +2 and +2.5 were closest but not as good as my present lenses.

Mon Jan 6
At last, 6 January has arrived and maybe we can solve some car problems. At 7:30 I called AA. Yes they would send a flatbed truck. Before 8, Martin of MJ's Roadside Assistance & Towing was here. He said he brought lots of Mercedes to MMJ Service Centre. Soon I was talking to Brian. I told him the good news that the acceleration and smoke problem was gone, but I seemed to have blown a gasket, or the inlet manifold. He said that was expensive. I said I'll pay. Willem brought me home; always a pleasure. Back home I turned on the test match. The Proteas have to make 480 runs in their second innings to win. They were batting well and I tuned in several times during the day. This is the life! At about 2:30, Willem rolled up in the car, all fixed! I went back with him to pay the bill. It was only R747.50. Apparently a glow plug had blown out of its socket. That was the pop I heard. He re-threaded the hole and put it back. Thank you God! And thank you Brian. TKOG. Shortly after I got home and told L-A the good news, Mella arrived for her interview. We got straight into it. The plans she has for MasterPeace are extensive. Instead of regular schooling for kids, she will offer short courses for both home school teachers and children, no less than 5 at a time. She will be reading to the children across the street at Bollieland Creche. She is determined to get children reading several years earlier. This is key to their being able to learn anything. She will bring together home schooling groups with specialist teachers so that parents will not have to teach every subject. Sounds like an excellent future for the school and Mella has fire in belly. In the evening we again watched Chernobyl.

Sun Jan 5
The GNiTM uploads had all worked, so I set about programming the Podcasts 2020 page without copying/pasting. By the time we went to church all was updated for the new year. Willhelm and wife Jolene arrived at 8:30. L-A managed quite easily to get into the rear seat, a new experience. Johan's sermon pointed out that as we become more effective at the Lord's work, the devil, who hates to see this, increases his efforts to frustrate us by all end every method. Maybe we can understand our present situation in the light of this: no transport until after 6 January when MMJ Motors opens their gates again, and not even access to a rental car. However, that saved us $100 a day since Christmas Eve, and we have managed, with a little help from our friends. Mella called in the afternoon to say she was planning a visit to Canada in July, and that MasterPeace would be giving sessions to groups of 5 or more home-schoolers on better ways of working than expecting a parent to have enough skills to teach everything. The parents of Sinegugu, Paula and Seth are aware that school is not continuing this January in its previous form. After we rang off I called her back and asked if I could interview her so she could tell the world about the new MasterPeace.

Sat Jan 4
Slept in till 10, and it was all good relaxation. Usually after 8 I am restless to get up, but without prison Alpha this morning it made sense to recharge my batteries. We had the wors for breakfast that Maggie had brought. I turned on the TV at 11:03 to watch the news but it is so short on Saturdays and I had missed the headlines, so I did something unusual for me: clicked round the other Openview channels. I noticed that Da Vinci Kids is no longer there - sad. Then on SABC 1, South Africa were playing England in the second test and I enjoyed it for an hour. Unfortunately the screen dissolved for time to time. This is usually after rain seeps into parts of the dish antenna, but we haven't had rain in a while. After Hamza was caught for 5 runs I felt bad for him and turned it off to come and mend my pyjamas with an iron-on patch, and then to write this. I watched more of the test in the afternoon, as the Proteas made quite a good show. I called Willhelm Theaart at the bottom of Deon Britz Street and asked if he would take us to church tomorrow. After watching 'The Good Fight' we watched the second episode of Chernobyl. Scary. Around 11 pm, Lynn called with some very good news. She has received cheques totalling about $5,000 from Allianz in payouts for L-A's claim going up to the start of chemo. I asked her to send me photos of the covering letter so we can see exactly what has been settled. When I was working on GNiTM I realized that I also needed to do some new year adjustments to the podcast page. I couldn't remember how to duplicate a page on Weebly. In the end I set things up for tomorrow's program and then set the uploads going while I went to bed.

Fri Jan 3
I woke up intending to start the day with my devotions, after Johan's challenge on New Year's Day, but also planning to contact Audioshelf and find out the status on the 'Legacy' audiobook. Then an idea came that I first should check Amazon. I did and found to my delight that the 'Legacy' audible had already been posted to Amazon, and therefore also to other on-line retailers. This is great news! I had worried that there were more hurdles, but there weren't! I am a published audiobook narrator! So - on to my daily devotions, which I enjoy. Compared with yesterday I am feeling good, having taken meds this morning. I'm less breathless, though it's hard to see how that would be affected by pain meds and anti-inflamatories. Jan came to visit L-A to arrange the switch to herself of the annual costs of the My Father's House website. I knew that the first payment towards the new windows in our Ottawa condo was due soon, but now my main computer is back on line and everything seems to be working, I was able to find the details. The due date is 15 January and the amount is ~$15,000. I already had felt we should withdraw $20,000 from our All-in-One, mainly for the windows but the residue to pay off L-A's medical debt. So I e-mailed Janet at Investors Group and authorized the redemption. Then I e-mailed the condo office and asked how I should send the money, and they said thay could draw it from our same bank account that our condo fees are taken from. Since this is the same account where Investors Group will deposit the funds, eveything will work just fine. I thought it would be nice for Bella's family to have prints of the photos from their dinner here, so I called Kodak Superfoto and e-mailed them.

Thu Jan 2
I decided not to take my pain meds today, so struggled a bit all day, not so much with pain in the leg, but because I felt an overall 2 degrees under par. I get breathless when I exert myself these days, and decided that it's time I go and see Dr. Eric when the car is driveable. Maggie drove over form Worcester to see us, and brought some groceries L-A had said we needed. I asked Maggie how much the groceries were, but she wouldn't let me pay, however much I insisted. I said that we couldn't ask her again to buy things for us, to help her understand we really did want to reimburse her. I let it go. She has a very kind heart. I spent some hours preparing today's Worcester Report. I decided that when it was ready I would have another look for the interview I had done with them before they started out on their language training in Portugal. I spot checked every OMH recording between 2006 and 2012. Then almost as an afterthought I checked other programs I had hosted on CKCU. One of those was the Christmas Day edition of Special Blend, and there in the comments field I saw 'Hendersons.' That was it! The time was now 6 pm and we would be eating soon. I adjusted two of the continuity talks and added the 30 minute interview from 12 years ago at the end. The re-mixdown finished at 7:45 - we were ready. It's a good program.

Wed Jan 1, New Year's Day
I was woken by my phone ringing. I looked at the time: 1 pm. Who rings me at 1 pm in South Africa? I thought about Carol, Laurie-Ann's mother, dangerously ill in a Toronto hospital. But the caller was local, from Avian Park. Anthonica wanted to wish us a happy new year. My heart melted in relief. I had been so soundly asleep I had totally forgotten it was New Year. Looking back, she was our only new year caller. Carica and daughter picked us up at 8:50 for church. Johan and others came over to translation row to greet Laurie-Ann. He preached on one New Year's resolution: 15 - 30 minutes with the Word as the first thing done each day, making a plan for how much you read from which parts of the Bible and sticking to it. I already have
the plan, but have failed in recent months to do it daily, but I resoved this will change. On the way home we stopped at OK for more basics. I got the scanner working and scanned our collection of kid's colouring and other art. I continued with the Windows 10 transition, and by about 5:30 it was essentially done, and I produced tonight's program using Windows 10. To my great relief, apps like Adobe Audition, WavePad editor, and the scanner software ran fine under Windows 10. There were one or two challenges, such as the machine trying to boot from the USB, but I fixed that by bringing up the boot diagnostics using F12. I broadcast and listened to the GNiTM archive, and ended the day watching YouTubes of live concerts by the Grateful Dead (1989), The Killers, and The National. I think my favourite was the Dead, who just played their music, and I prefer the music on CD of both the National and The Killers. In The Killers live show from Glastonbury 2019 there was so much overproduction of lights and live show gyrations that songs I love to listen to didn't come across so well. I think my era of seeing bands live has run its course.


Copples in Western Cape