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.