Tony’s South Africa Daily Journal - 2021

See my daily journal for 2018, for 2019, and for 2020

On 10 November 2017, Laurie-Ann and Tony Copple set off from Canada for a planned-to-be 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 2021

Thu May 13
To Paarl for L-A's MLD etc. I took calls from Bella and Anthonica both asking for food as soon as I was back in town. Then to Coffee Cab for bobertie, and to pick up L-A's Springbok jacket. Finally Goede Hoop before returning to Worcester. I had redeemed R4000 at the FNB ATM but it doesn't offer cash deposits so we detoured to the ATMs in the mall, but both were out of service. FNB had called me yesterday about a complaint I had made that there were too few ATMs in Worcester, and they were regularly not working. The lady had told me that the FNB High Street branch was back in operation. So when I got there I was initially disappointed to see the entrance hallway was definitely not back in operation. I asked an employee if maybe the ATMs had been set up elsewhare and she directed me to look next door down the street and I felt somewhat foolish when I saw the NEW FNB branch, next door to the old, with new ATMs and plenty of them. I was able to deposit the cash from Simplii. One more transfer and I will be able to pay Melanie for the new visa extensions. Back home I went out again to get basic food for Bella, Jamelia and Anthonica. Anthonica wanted more than food. There is a matric event at her school tomorrow and she had been invited to be a helper for the event, which in her mind called for some new clothes. She wasn't too greedy and although it took a lot of time, in the end the bill was only R220. I went home where L-A was fast asleep and made myself tea and ginger cake.

Wed May 12
After missing the Riverside/Avian Park kids ministries with Mella for the last two weeks under doctor Acton's orders, I was feeling a lot better and more energetic today, which is good because I had promised Mella I would be there. L-A came too. Mella had asked for extended praise and worship so I took all suitable music with me. It was disconcerting when we arrived at Riverview because there was water over much of the floor and lots of washing on the lines, but we struggled on. There was a YWAM photographer there to take lots of pictures. L-A and I were the only ones wearing masks, but that just made me more determined. We went on to the Avian Park library; the first time L-A had been there since September 2018. Only about 8 girls turned up, but we carried on as if there were ~25, the usual number. We took Mazvita home via Eliora's nursery shool and then dropped them at Mella's. Chantelle messaged about being very hungry so we got a pie and bread and took them to OVD. I explained to her why I wasn't interested in sending air time to her mother's phone, which clearly had run up a debt to Vodacom. When we got home Chantelle had messaged L-A asking me to call. She said she wanted R50 to take part in a netball competition at Paarl. I said that if she brought the organizer to our house I would give her (the organizer) R50. But when she arrived it was a different story; now she needed an additional R50 to pay for a braai. I just gave her the first R50 and recommended she be more honest in her negotiations. In the evening I sent Melanie the letters from our doctors and my April bank statement; prerequisites for the visa extensions. L-A did a lot of cooking, with me fetching things for her. Among the results was a largish ginger cake made with fresh ginger. We had a delicious taste before going to bed.

Tue May 11
It was high time I sent out another 'Sponsor our girls' appeal; in fact exactly a month since the the first one went out raising $3626 less fees and tax, and raising a ruckus at IMC. We had covered Bella's expenses and most of Anthonica's, and I was tracking all expenditure by the four families. I selected another 40 receipients, and updated the descriptive document, and then sent it. We had a very light lunch before leaving fo Bellville for me to see Dr Acton. We arrived half an hour early so I went in and paid the cash for Dr Coetzer's anaesthetist bill. Dr Acton's assistant took my left eye though a range of tests and I was surprized how sharp the various crosses and lines were in her instruments. Dr Acton ran his regular tests, having me look up, left, right and down. Then he tested the pressure in the eye. This turned out to be normal, having been high when I was last here. He was well satisfied by that. I told him I had noticed that objects in my left eye appeared 25% more distant than in my right, and he said that was due to refraction in the oil. He changed or renewed some of my eye drop prescriptions. He was happy and I was certainly happy. On our way home we detoured to Coffee Cab in Paarl, hoping to get L-A's Springbok jacket, but they were shut. We got some meat from Goede Hoop, adding some wors for Bella. Bella had messaged L-A asking for food for them for tonight, so when we got home I was busy. In the evening, after our regular episode of 'House of Cards' we finished watching 'My Octopus Teacher,' a unique and remarkable movie filmed off the southernmost tip of Africa, not a long way from where we live.

Mon May 10
We lay in till 9 - nice. At breakfast L-A realized that her episode in church must have been caused by a spoonful of egg mayonaise left over from Fridays' lunch with Bella. After breakfast I finished the individual thank you emails for the cost of eye surgery. I had a few thank yous for thank yous from yesterday's batch; very gratifying. For lunch we had a tuna sandwich. I went to the mall to start on the shopping list L-A had drawn up yesterday, partly based on the DNA test suggestions, but I began by taking a further R1000 from FNB. I drove to Woolworths and got a few things we could still afford; their prices are up sharply. Then on to Checkers to cross a bunch more things off the list and add a few, like bean sprouts, that weren't on it. Coming out of Checkers I met Kevin in the parking lot. He has been taking group after group to the mountains for character building and leadership training, making him too busy to complete the revision to his book 'Truth in Love.' I really enjoyed our chat. Shortly after I ran into Jan and Joy and we had some pleasant discussion. I realized that lockdown separation had even affected me, and that I missed communion with our many Worcester friends. I got back home with the shopping and my phone ringing; Bella wanted bread and cooking oil and a pie. I complained that I had been about to collapse into bed, but I went anyway, and took some food for Chantelle and Anthonica. Tersia persuaded me to give her R100, which I agreed to only after suggesting I give the money to Anthonica as guardian to make sure it wasn't miss-spent. In the end I let Tersia have it, but she now knew my concerns. Chantelle then roped me in to a loan scheme for her mother Maria for R200 to be repaid in 5 days on 15 May. Her father is between jobs and there's no food or money in the house till 15th. Finally. and most disruptive, Anthonica needed an A4 size photo of herself for a school project to be handed in tomorrow. I evenually gave in and took Anthonica to our home. I showed her a number of photos I had taken of her, none of which she liked for this project. So I started taking photos of her until she was satisfied. The printer had been working fine as I printed a few samples but when it came to the one she wanted, it stopped and refused to run. I know this printer well by now, but I couldn't fix the problem. Meantine it was 7:30 and both L-A and I were pretty hungry. So I explained to Anthonica I would continue after we had eaten, and set her up on Netflix. We had omelettes with yesterday's rice. As we ate I was trying to figure out the answer to the printer problem, coming to the concludion that it needed a new ink cartridge. I have one, but before installing it I turned on the computer and the printer and lots of documents spewed forth, including the photo she wanted. I checked the condition of the ink in the cartridge by printing a text document; it was fine. This printer has always been a little grainy with photos. I took Anthonica home, and on the way asked if she had learned something important from the last few hours. She said yes; don't leave things that depend on technology to the last day before you need them done. If she really hoisted that on board, she has a piece of wisom worthy of Proverbs.

Sun May 9
Up till the point in church around where the collection was taken, all seemed to be going well. Then L-A got up abruptly and said she was going to the toilet, the other side of the room. By the time she got there her diarrhea was out of control. She sat down in a stall without having time to see of the seat was up or down. It was down, so everything went everywhere. She prayed that someone would come into the toilets and her prayer was answered; an usher called Karine on washroom and toilet duty came in and L-A asked her to find me and bring me there. Soon I was with her assessing the situation. I will spare you the details of cleaning up, except to say that Karine was very sensitive and very helpful, and I couldn't detect any bad smell. It took half an hour for us to be sitting outside the kitchen watching Johan complete his sermon. We had to go home because L-A's pants and panties were soiled, and because of the unreliable state of her stomach we didn't return for cell group, the main reason LA had wanted to go to church this morning. In the morning I worked on my journal; in the afternoon I finally thanked 9 donors towards my eye surgery. I spoke with Bella and she confirmed she had been successful buying a denim skirt yesterday, and that the youth group event had been a success. We had a late call to take food to one of the girls and I stopped at OK Foods to get a pie and bread. When I came out to get into the car, a young woman who seemed to be dressed in a blanket came round to the driver's door and squatted on the road askng for food for her baby. The ones who come out at night are often sleeping on the street and in dire need. I gave her R20 and then I asked her "Since you have no money, why did you have a baby?" It's the 'elephant in the room' question that never gets asked. She had no answer but looked at me as if I was giving her an idea she hadn't heard before. I asked if she knew who Jesus was, and she did. I prayed for her and her baby.

Sat May 8
I got up earlyish for a Saturday intending to do what I'm doing now - catch up on my journal - but all too soon it was time to rendezvous with Bella at 10 to buy a denim skirt for her youth group performance tonight at her church. When I got there however she had been assigned by her grandmother to housework. She had messaged me but I don't check Messenger for urgent stuff. So we re-set it for 11:30, and I went shopping and to draw cash from the bank to pay the anaesthetist on Tuesday. I had an immediate setback, finding both the FNB ATMs at the mall out of service, but I was able to buy things at Dis-Chem, Pick n Pay and Checkers. I dropped back home and gave L-A her breakfast but there was no time to eat myself before picking up Bella at 11:30. On my way down I picked up two pies from OK for our lunch. Bella asked if we could take her friend Kayla from the same church. Both of them had been told by their youth group leader that for the performance tonight they should wear white T-shirts and blue denim skirts. Bella had found that the skirts came with a price tag of about R220. Where the church thought that township kids would get this kind of money from I don't know, but I had realised from talking with Bella about it that to admit she had no money was more than her ego could handle, so this meant I couldn't go behind her back and express surprise to the church leadership, so I was essentially blackmailed into coming up with the cash. We started with a few stores in the mall so I could pay with a credit card, but all they had were short skirts with rips in them, and even the girls realised this would not be appropriate. So I agreed to pay in cash, and we went to a store on Durban Street. Same story - no unripped jean skirts. At this point Bella proposed I give her the cash: R220 for the clothes and R20 for the bus fare home. Because I could see no practical alternative, I agreed. The big risk is that if they can't find the jeans and go home with the money, her grandmother will insist it be used for food this weekend, and Bella would be forced to explain that to me. I blame the church for putting entirely unreasonable demands on their young penniless congregation. At that moment L-A rang to remind me that Carica was coming soon to go through L-A's DNA test results. I hi-tailed it back to our front area and waited for her. When she arrived I drove her round the block and in through our back gate. She gave us a detailed and professional report from a booklet compiled specifically for L-A by DNALife (www.dnalife.healthcare) We heard what foods and supplements would support her healing, and what would do the opposite, including risking another bout of cancer. Carica wants L-A to reduce the number of pills she is taking; some of them will be working in opposition to others. At one point after a diversion about our problems finding working FNB ATMs, Carica mentioned that Pick n Pay offer cashbacks to FNB customers who pay with their FNB card. I had tried this out once. So after Carica had departed I drove to Pick n Pay Local, and withdrew R1,000; all they had in their tills. Encouraged, I drove back to the mall intending to go to Pick n Pay, but as I walked past the FNB ATMs, I noticed they were now both working, so I drew out a further $3,000. Now we are all set for Tuesday. I returned home where it was now nearly 4pm and ate the pie I had bought myself for lunch.

Fri May 7
We had Bella over to sweep and mop the floor. She also did some revision for the exams she would be taking, using the materials on the SD card on her computer. I actually suggested she do this revision, to find that she was doing it anyway. L-A and Bella had egg sandwiches for lunch. I wasn't able to take a sleep during the day; there were just no spare minutes. I had emailed Tanya at anaesthetist Dr Coetzer's office to apologize for not yet having figured out how to settle her bill of R4785.44. A last straw had been that her bank is the Investec Private Bank, not recognised by the FNB software, making it impossible to EFT. I had also mentioned that if they offered credit card payment there would be none of these problems. Tanya called me and suggested that she would arrange with Dr Acton's office to accept my payment in cash when I was there next Tuesday. Problem solved! Much of it was shopping for the girls or for us. At I write this it is two days later and I cannot recall any details of what I spent those hours doing. However, I must have searched for a working FNB ATM and not found one, based on tomorrow's journal.

Thu May 6
After L-A's physiotherapy with Este, we went to Coffee Cab, and were greeted by the owner. We ordered green bean stew, which was like the waterblommetjiebredies stew L-A makes from time to time. I went to the FNB ATM just outside their door, but it didn't offer deposits. So L-A checked out FNB branches on her phone, discovering one on Lady Grey Street, very close to the eye clinic. We drove there and I went in, where I was able to deposit notes to my FNB account, and transfer more from Simplii, though I used L-A's Simplii debit card because of the problems I had had with mine. It probably would have worked, because she realised that in counting one day since it was last used, you must add 6 hours for time difference. We were driving south on our way home when L-A realised she had left her trusty Springboks jacket at Coffee Cab. I was in the lane that turned left on the R101, and the traffic at this time was heavy, so we decided to take the R101 to shorten our route. L-A called Coffee Cab and they said they would take care of the jacket till next week when we would return. This also meant we didn't go to Goede Hoop to buy lamb for our final batch of waterblommetjiebredies. I forgot to tune into the Alpha Leadership conference repeat broadcast. Here is the link to watch it later in its entirity. A password is needed which you will see on the link. I don't have so many things on my schedule, but recenly I have missed one or two through not checking the scedule and I am not pleased with myself.

Wed May 5
I had been expecting to take Bella to her school to pick up teaching materials, but she had had the foresight to call them and they had now told her the materials would be in the form of an Internet link. That saved me an hour. In preparation for the meeting with Dr Erik I made a graph of my weight for the last 7 months showing the 7 Kg fall, including 2 Kg in 2 days very recently. I was in his office in good time and showed him my graph. He immediately suggested that the weight loss would not have been caused by TB, and then wondered if my protate cancer might have progressed significantly. He wants me to see Dr Marais again. He pressed a cryogenic pen onto the boils on my forehead, and said that if I end up having a procedure done by Dr Marais, I should ask him to remove the growth on my leg. FNB was closed due to work in their forecourt, so I went to their ATM in the mall. The LH machine, which normally can dispense cash was not doing so today, and the RH hachine was out of order. However, I was able to take out R4000 via my Simplii Card, so we now have cash. I drove to OVD and gave R100 and a pie to Chantelle. She told me that the final lesson for the Mailbox Club series had gone well, and she had enjoyed teaching. She would like to continue with a new series. I drove to Pick n Pay to get some toiletries for Bella. I was next in line to pay when the lady behind me put her credit card in the machine. I asked the cashier what just happened, and she told me the lady had paid my bill! At this point I aked the lady if I knew her; she said she didn't think so. I asked her name and she said 'Jessica.' I thanked her. The bill was R136.70. I felt something special just occurred in the Kingdom of God on earth, as it is in Heaven. I drove down to Bella to deliver the toiletries. 10 minutes later she called to say I had brought her the wrong brand of conditioner. I said I wasn't prepared to drive back to her, return the offending bottle, and then seek out her brand. She said nothing. 'Toiletries' means primarily hair products, and they are valued as much as food by girls and women here, and possibly across Africa. Writing this now I feel I was mean to Bella, but I want to discourage her from sending me on search missions for things like conditioner. This was day 1 of the on-line version of the Alpha Conference. I had received no notification of a link or password, but when I went to the conference website, there it was, live in progress. We watched / listend till the end of the session, featuring Rick Warren.

Tue May 4
Penny Soll got back to me with the following WhatsApp: 'Good afternoon, sir I believe there has been some misunderstanding. According to our license with the South African Reserve Bank, we can not complete transactions exceeding R5000 a day for persons who hold a foreign passport and sending to themselves. As such we have rejected this this transaction and our XE correspondent has been notified of the rejected status of your order. You can send your funds again just in smaller batches of 5000ZAR per transaction, we apologies for the inconveniences. Please note as well that there is a monthly limit for a self to self transaction of R25000ZAR a month, that is the total you can send to yourself a month.' I also received an email from XE.com though far less explicit, so I sent them Penny's message. I booked an appointment to see Dr Erik at 11:30 tomorrow. Richard and I had a Zoom call at 4pmn, and her assured me the donations he had mentioned form GNCM would still be forthcoming. They have not yet ended the charitable status, and I agreed to suggest to Michael that any cheques or mail for GNCM be forwared unopened to Dave. I will have to put back the names of the board direstors and the use of the word Board.

Mon May 3
Bella called asking if I could bring bread and polony. This is a sign that they are out of everything, all 5 of them, but she doesn't want to burden us with all their needs. I prepared a bag of staples, then went to Quenets to get Traxa and plasters for Cathy's HS boils, and with the help of my favourite assistant, crepe bandages and adhesive tape for her lower legs. I went to OK for bread and margerine and then delivered to Bella. I explained all the bandage stuff to her. It is far less comprehensive than Laurie-Ann's Mobiderm kits, which include 5 levels of bandage, and a lot less expensive. I managed to get through to Sikhona, and a lady called Penny Soll called me back. She understood my problems, and told me that the SA government only allowed a maximum R5000 a day (R25000 a month) to be transferred in if the sender and recipient were the same. Like me she doesn't understand why the government would want to limit money coming into the country. I attempted to communicate with XE Money Transfers, but their 'contact us' link just takes you to FAQs. In the end I wrote a warning to others on their Facebook page. This was actually picked up by someone in technical managament who asked for my customer number, which I supplied. I felt a little better today than yesterday, but the continued loss of weight may be serious.

Sun May 2
I check my weight every few days, hoping for an upward trend since my appetite is better, but today it was 56.3 Kg after being 58.5 Kg two days ago, that being an all time low. It is conceivable our old scale gave a false reading due to fricton. The longet term graph should show if it was a blip. What does this mean about the TB? Is it getting worse? These are the questions that bother me. No church for us today. At 11 I picked up Anthonica and brought her here to watch the second last Alpha program. She has become a more resilient and relaxed person since her recent Holy Spirit 'weekend.' We all watched 'Does God Heal today?' She spent a while in the bathroom with some hair proucts I had bought her on the way. She loves doing her hair. She spent from 2pm to 5 with her cousins near De Jagers. We scratched together R100 for this week's emergency allowance, leaving us with no cash. There is a delay bringing our latest wire transfer, since XE Transfers have appointed SA firm Sikhona to ID check every recipient. I registered on the Sikhona site, but it didn't give me an ID/password to allow the money actually to come in. The software is amateurish.

Sat May 1
My prostate was bothersome throughout the night, getting me up for the minimum of result about 8 times. This was strange because I had had a Uromax 2 days ago. I had another. It's May Day, and beginning to get cold here. We were back under the duvet for the second time last night. I produced GNiTM for tomorrow and then added Facebook and Blooger links to the home page of the GNCM page. Richard had noticed they had been removed, though I certainly hadn't done that intentionally. I organized my revised eye drops routine. I took Bella a bag of staples and this week's R100. She wasn't a happy girl. I sense things are getting worse foodwise for all the families. I slept much of the afternoon. XE Money Transfer have engaged South African company Sikhona to carry out ID checks on recipients of foreign wire transfers, but I was unable to register with Sikhona due to issues with their software. I emailed the 'Help' lines of both companies.

Fri Apr 30
Operation day + 1 week: time for a progress check. My appointment with Dr Acton was at noon, and we left home about 10:45 - a little tight, but the traffic was light so we just made it. Just as last Saturday I was apprehensive, but I should have been more confident. First I had a quick session with his nurse, who asked me to blank off my right eye and tell her what I saw in my left. She was holding up two fingers. Then she held up three a little further away. Finally she asked me to identify a picture and I said it looked like a man in front of a door. When I looked with my right eye, it was a large letter E! When I was with Dr. Acton I gave him one of Laurie-Ann's colouring books, saying it was a gift from my wife, the artist, so grateful that her husband can see again, and that he was so kind with his bill. He examined my eye from all angles, nothing painful, and pronounced things were all on track, except the pressure in the eye was marginally high. To deal with this he changed the eye drops regimen, giving me a prescription for two drops and a pill. I asked how he was able to get inside the eye with instruments, and pump oil in and he explained with a model eye and some real instruments. Fascinating technology developed over the past 20 years. Finally I asked him a big question. The complexity of the human eye is sometimes used to argue with those who would suggest it had reached its present state by evolution. He immediately answered that he is a Christian and believed God created the eye and everything else. Then he promised to send me a video that speaks to such things. We decided to have lunch in Ocean Basket in Plattekloof Village, which was pleasant. I was driving today because L-A's new multifocal glasses were still playing tricks with her vision and distance judgement. I had no drops in my right eye so this was safe, but I was still relieved when we reached Worcester. We stopped at Fairbairn Pharmacy where I was delighted that Carica had in stock all three items on Dr Acton's prescription. I started on them as soon as we were home, then going flat on my back for a couple of hours. James called in the middle of it and was very happy to hear the good news that the surgeon was happy with progress.

Thu Apr 29
Two more car trips today. The first to the mall for L-A to pick up her new glasses at Van Wyk, Le Roux. While she was in there I went shopping, mainly at Dis-Chem. On the way there Therden Van Heerden stopped me - head of the emergency department in Mediclinic. It was way more than a year since we last met, and we had a great conversation. He told me infections here were starting to rise again, but still a lot less than many other parts of the world. My second trip was to take Bella and Joy home after they had walked to the Deparment of Basic Education to get the materials needed to prepare for rewriting two matric exams. Basic Education had told them they must now pick up the books from their school! They stayed with us 90 minutes using wifi until I was ready to take them, after an hour in bed, and take a box of staple foods to Jamelia. I gave Bella R50 so her grandmother could get transport tomorrow to the court to sign a restraining order forbidding Leroy coming into her house. I ate a hearty spaghetti bolognaise dinner - there was nothing wrong with my appetite. I also haven't taken any Clopoman for nausea for several days. Maybe I am past the peak with TB? But my weight is still falling; it is 58.5 Kg, my new lowest ever. Perhaps there's a lag between the appetite returning and the weight increasing. I sent a thank you email bcc to the 22 donors so far who have sent us a total of $5,000 towards my operation costs. I will follow up with indivisual messages and a link to our blog describing the remarkable sequence of events resulting on my surgery 6 days ago. I must also send that to Naomi and Faan.

Wed Apr 28
I was committed to two car trips today so when I wasn't out I compensated with extra flat-on-back time. The first trip was (a) to get a new battery for the Mercedes ignition key from MMJ. The old battery was measuring 2.92 v, and should have been 3 v, not enough drop to cause a problem I would have thought. Yet the new battery got my central locking system operational again. Then (b) to Pick n Pay for some items for Lottie, and for us. Then (c) to Lottie's house with R50 for taxis and the food she needed before a day in hospital. Back home I received an update to my eye-drops usage schedule from Dr Acton's office, and I made an appointment to see him on Friday at noon for a check-in. We also received a bill for additional costs from the facility fee, and the anaesthetist's bill, somewhat lower than we were expecting. The final cost of my surgery was R84,675.40, R13,458.86 less than Dr Nieder-Heitmann's quote. This morning Cathy, Bella and two cousins were in court where Leroy was the plaintif. They were there from 9am to noon when they came to us for coffee and a boiled egg, and then returned for two more hours. A lot of time and effort for Leroy to get a reprimand. Apparently he found it funny in the dock so the magistrate said he must spend a night behind bars to wipe the smile off his face. I took Cathy and Bella home with a bag of staple foods. I updated my detached retina report, turning it into this month's blog.

Tue Apr 27
I was woken by my phone at about 9. It was Bella come to collect her R100. I let her in the gate. She looked very smart and was on her way to an interview at Checkers. I also gave her Jamelia's R100. She told us that she and Cathy were in court tomorrow where the plaintif would be Leroy, Joanna's boyfriend who had thrown a rock at Cathy. They will come to us after court for coffee so we will hear more. I walked to MMJ Motors to find them shut. I need to get a replacement battery for the Mercedes ignition key. Boland Crafts was also shut. When I got home L-A realised it was a public holiday today. Kathy sent us a generous gift for the eye surgery and James called later on Facebook Messenger video so I was able to thank him. I worked on turning my eye surgery diagnosis report into a blog piece for CopplesWesternCape.ca. This was the report Dr. Acton had read during my meeting with him last Friday. Chantelle was bugging us for money that she said Lottie needed for her monthy overnighter checkup at Worcester Hospital. She finally persuaded me to give her R50 if she came to us for it. But then Lottie called and warned me not to give her the money; very wise after what happend with the appliance payments. When Chantelle arrived at 6 I could see she had bought a new sweater - not what I gave her R100 for. I told her I would take R50 to Lottie tomorrow around noon.

Mon Apr 26
I emailed Dr Acton asking him to clarify the eye drops schedule, and thanking him for apparently cutting his surgery fee in half. Dr Norman N-H sent me a gracious reply to my email of yesterday, but didn't hint at any involvement in the low price Dr Acton charged. Chantelle came to our house to collect her weekly R100 allowance while I cannot go shopping for her or the other girls. I also gave her the Mailbox Club material for this coming Saturday, the end of this course. When I asked her again about her phone which she had said her mother wouldn't let her take it from the house for fear of losing it, she finally admitted it had been stolen right out of her house when on charge, and the most likely culprit was her brother, whom I have given money to as a traffic minder in Fairbairn Street. We have continued to receive donations towards my eye surgery. I re-messaged the people I had appealed to to sponsor our girls, reminding them that if they sent money via Iris they must not write notes on the cheque, and in a cover note they must state their gift is for the Copple's personal financial support. The crux of the CRA concern is that if they send money for, say, 'sponsor our girls,' this is not a cause that has been registered with them and is therefore kosher; indeed it could be a terrorist organization. In contrast, Tony and Laurie-Ann Copple are known to them having been processed by Iris and their financial support is legitimate. Maggie arrived about 2 driven by a friend, Keith. They would be going on to Cape Town where Maggie would be buying a 5 year old Kia. Here in Worcester Keith drove us to Q-Square. While Maggie shopped for groceries for us in Spar, I walked to Cell Repair Centre and when I arrived Amir started work on Anthonica's phone. I wasn't hopeful, but I must give him full marks for effort fixing a cheap phone. He was at it for 40 minutes and eventually pronouced it mended. He refused any more money for his labour. By then Maggie had found me there and took our empty water bottles for refilling. I was very happy about the phone but reserved most of the joy till after I would check it for myself. Maggie and Keith came up to our unit to save me carrying anything heavy, and then departed for Cape Town. I needed Anthonica's password to get into her phone, so I put it on charge till I could reach her. Eventually I called her on Tersia's phone. I was then able to make some minor changed to the settings and check that things seemed to be working. L-A did some final work on it and we added R200 air time. She had been buying air time from Vodacom on credit. R200 is half the cost of the phone new. By now I was very happy about the phone. It was getting dark and I wasn't meant to be driving but I drove to Anthonica's and gave her the phone plus a lecture on not borrowing air time from Vodacom. I also gave her R100 in lieu of other requests for the rest of the week, and food for her and Tersia. Tersia has finally found a job cleaning houses, thank the Lord. Janis and L-A had a long Zoom call in the evening to smooth out some recent issues where donors have written messages on cheques such as 'For the Girls' which is a complete 'no no' for the CRA. Donations can only provide money for our personal financial support.

Sun Apr 25
I cannot lie in bed 24 hours a day, but I can maximize the time I am lying flat, and that means absolute minimum driving and shopping. This morning we didn't attend church. We had a quiet day. The busiest thing I did was follow my eye drops and antibiotics regimes. I sent emails to Dr Norman Nieder-Heitman and Marius Van Dyk beinging them up to date. Carica brought us groceries that she blessed us with, and I took the opportunity to find out the best way to put ointment into my eye. She brought us lemonade, and L-A and I made Pimms - I had bought a bottle last week; L-A loves it.

Sat Apr 24
I was more apprehensive today than yesterday, yet overall calm because I felt the power of prayer of many, and the promise from my verse Jeremiah 30:7. There were some urgent things we needed to do in Worcester in the morning, so about 11 we left home, L-A driving. At Cell Repair Centre, after one look at me, they sat me on the only chair in the shop. Unfortunately it turned out that Tahir's brother had clean forgotten about Anthonica's phone, so Tahir was attempting to fix it while I waited. After 15 minutes I told him I had to go and asked that he'll have it ready on Monday. It will be tough on Anthonica. Then we bought bread, pies and some mango pieces. L-A then felt she would rather continue on to Bellville right away than return home and face the back stairs. We stopped at 'Rainbow stop' and ate the pies. Continuing on, we then stopped at the Engen station west of Paarl for coffees. As I reclined in the passenger seat, L-A completed the drive and we got there 15 minutes early. Dr Acton had come in on his Saturday just to see Mr Wills and me. When it was my turn I tried not to think too much as he took off my bandage. He asked me to put a hand over my right eye and without thinking I said "I can see a man but he looks like a tree." It was wonderful. The light was getting to my optic nerve through the oil. I knew things were going to work out. He examined the eye with his machine and then pronouced that all was going according to plan. Then he told me the story of the operation. He had been aware of the eye damage from 30 years ago, and the problem with the cataract surgery, from my report, and once he got started he immediately saw the evidence of this, with parts of old sutures floating around. These he dealt with. The lens was not seating well, and he was able to deal at least partially with that. I had hoped that the problems with the cataract surgery might be fixable, but he had started off by doing this. TKOG. It is possible that when I finally reach a point of maturity with this process, the left eye may even focus as well as the right. That would be a real bonus! Then he got started on the retina, soon deciding on oil rather than gas. There were several tears in the retina which he repaired with his laser. He didn't talk about how the oil is pumped into the eye, but that must have proceeded normally. He has been performing this operation for 20 years so has enormous experience. I feel extremely grateful not just to him, but also to Dr Norman N-H for referring me. And it appears that Dr Acton has given us a hefty discount, for which Dr Norman may deserve credit, since I didn't tell Dr Acton anything about us. TKOG indeed! Dr Acton wants to see me again next Friday for a progress check. Meantime I must follow his heavy regime of 4 eye drops and two antibiotics, and keep flat on my back as much as possible so the oil stays in the right place. L-A drove me home and I went to bed, getting up for a delicious veal roast that she prepared as I slept.

Fri Apr 23
D-Day for my left eye. We rose at 6 and I had a quick breakfast. It was the last I would eat or drink until 6:30 tonight. We were ready to leave by about 7:10 so we got on our way. I drove there but Laurie-Ann would drive back. Dr Acton's reception staff had emailed me a simple but good map that showed his consulting rooms and the Cape Eye Hospital to be on the way to Tygerberg, so we were familiar with the route, and we arrived with half an hour to spare. He had a good parking facility. At 10 to 9 I went in and started on the usual routine of filling in forms. There were two receptionists and 3 or 4 patients at that time. At about 9:45 he came out and called me in to his room. He seemed kind and considerate, yet efficient and very competant. He actually read my history report carefully, asking the occasional question. Then he started his examination. When he had seen the situation for himself he explained that there are two methods of re-attachment. If it is just a few days after a retinal tear, the retina is still flexible, and gas is pumped into the eyeball to press the retina against the outer wall. The gas eventually disperses. If, as in my case, it has been two weeks or more, oil is used rather than gas which softens the retina. The oil has to be removed after a few months in a second operation. If in a borderline case, gas is used when it should have been oil, you are faced with serious problems. My operation would be at about 3pm in the Cape Eye Hospital, and I should report there at noon. Back in the reception I paid his consulting fee and (I think) his surgical fee, totalling R22,767.85. TKOG. This appears to be about half what Dr Normal Nieder-Heitman had quoted. Is there no end to the Lord's favour? I used his washroom and returned to Laurie-Ann in the car. She had eaten her sandwiches. We drove the short distance to the hospital, finding a large parking area in the shade, and settled down to wait till noon. I wasn't concerned about the process of the operation since it would be under general anaethetic. At noon I presented myself, was given a new facemask, and filled in another form. Soon a nurse took me to a ward. I took off my clothes except underpants, put on a smart maroon smock and got into the bed. She then gave me an ECG. She must have been surprized by my thin (almost emaciated) body from TB, but she didn't comment. Shortly after, another another patient came in to occupy the other bed. "Mr Wills, this is Mr Copple; Mr Copple, this is Mr Wills." He was there for similar surgery, more urgent than mine, for he went first. Then the anaesthetist for both of us came in and she introduced herself and asked questions about allergies. I dozed in bed for an hour or so until Mr Will's surgery was done, and then they wheeled me into the theatre, where I got out of bed and onto a chair which swivelled backwards and became an operating bed. The anaesthetist put a needle in my arm and a few seconds later I remember noticing I was still awake. Next thing I remember was being gently roused, and being told all was well. I was wheeled back to the ward, and then brought three cheese and tomato sandwiches and a cup of tea, which I thoroughly enjoyed. In due course a nurse helped me put my clothes on, packed up my things in a plastic bag, then took me out to the car. Laurie-Ann told me a little later that Dr Acton had come out to see her when the operation was complete and told her all was well. L-A hadn't been out of the car since we had left home that morning, and now it was nearly 7pm and dark. She drove (expertly) towards the N1. I moved the passenger seat into a semi-horizontal position so that my head was a little closer to lying on a bed. We decided to stop at Spur in Paarl and had one of their senior burgers each - delicious. With my white eye bandage on I probably scared a few children. But I was also scared. I had no way of knowing till I returned to Dr Acton tomorrow whether my sight was back in my left eye. If it was, I would be overjoyed. If something had gone wrong, since we couldn't afford to have the operation repeated, we would be faced with the prospect of trying to raise the rest of the money for something that had failed. Who would give to that? Only very special friends. I had signed seveal documents listing the myriad spectrum of things that can go wrong with eye surgery. I had really only decided to go ahead because of Naomi's prayers. Left to my own decision making process and financial planning background, I would not have gone ahead with the operation but accepted the blindness I had experienced for the last 11 days as being for the rest of my life.

Thu Apr 22
I was walking towards Quenet's to get some Fastum for Bella when my phone rang. It was Dr Norman N-H to say that he wanted to refer my case to Dr James Acton, who has even more experience than he does. Reading between the words I think the need for this surgery to go totally right the first time, otherwise putting us in a serious financial situation, may have spooked him. Anyway, he had generated a quotation that was less than the one we would have had from him at the Cure Day hospital. Dr Acton would examine me tomorrow morning at 9am, with a view to surgery at 2pm. I agreed and thanked him. An hour later I had a call from Dr Acton's office confirming the appointments and telling me not to eat or drink after 6am tomorrow. I drove to Anthonica's to take her to netball practice. Anthonica's phone hadn't stayed working. She told me it worked once, after which it would not come on, even though it had been charged. I brought it home and repeated obvious tests, then took it back to Tahir. I drove Bella on a multiple stop trip to prepare 9 CVs for interviews. We went to Sassa, to the police station, ComPro copy shop, Boland Crafts, just to submit a CV for a low level job. Bella was super efficient, and we actually delivered CVs to Pick n Pay Local and Checkers. I went shopping at Checkers before returning to Cell Repair Centre at 5:25. Tahir's brother said the LCD board they fitted was the wrong one, and he should be able to solve the problem by tomorrow. I said I would return on Saturday. I then picked up Anthonica, giving her the hopeful news about the phone. She is using her mother's phone in the meantine. We dropped down to OVD where I told Chantelle I probably wouldn't be at Mailbox club on Saturday, and I gave her the material and asked if she would handle it. She agreed. Then I took Athonica to OK and bought food for her and Chantelle before dropping her home. Then back to Da Vinci to get a few more items on Chantelle's list before taking them down to her, and a pie for Lottie. Before going to bed I made L-A a couple of ham sandwiches for tomorrow. I won't be allowed to eat or drink after 6 am.

Wed Apr 21
L-A had a physio session with Este for noon, and while she was in, I repeated the short journey of last week to the Paarl Eye Centre. I saw one of the admin staff and told her I was ready to go for the surgery. However, we could only afford one attempt. If a second attempt at surgery were necessary we would have to forego it. My question was, would that leave me in a worse situation than I am now: blind in my left eye, and the answer was 'No.' She said she would see when the Dr. could fit me in his schedule and they would get back to me. After our prayer session the night before, I was very comfortable with this arrangement, and it certainly saved me from having to return the many donations so far towards the surgery. I walked out of the Eye Centre needing a sugar fix, so wandered down the street till I found a small convenience store where I bought two packets of cookies for R1 each! I ate them. Next door was a Coke store where I got an 'original taste' for R10. These prices were lower than Worcester! We went for a snack lunch in a bistro across the corridor from De Kelder, where L-A had a mince bun and I had a lemon and sugar pancake, plus coffees.

Tue Apr 20
We were at the Eye Centre by 10 and welcomed by the busy staff. Soon I was with Dr Norman Nieder-Hertmann. The first thing I asked him was 'Am I already too late for surgery' as I referred to my list of all the happenings since I first noticed the shadow over my left eye vision. He said that 15 days was not a serious issue and he had heard of successful reattachments being done as late as 40 days. He examined me and even showed me a photo showing the retina was still in place over half the area. The main issue he raised was the statistic that a proportion of these surgeries must be repeated to be sucessful, and that cost of each repetition is the same as for the original surgery. I felt confident in him and and left with his quotation, and the phone numbers of the Care Day hospital to get the facility fee, and of the anaesthetist. When we got home I contacted them both. The full quote (surgeon's fee + facility fee + anaesthetist) was R 98,134, equivalent to $8,697. My concerns were that it could be twice that much if it didn't take the first time (and we don't have money for a second attempt), and that even if successful the vision in that eye would still be blurred. I have been blind in that eye for nearly a week, and I can still drive, use the computers and my phone, and watch TV. Should I risk all that money? Laurie-Ann had arranged a special healing and commmunion service over Zoom with Faan and Naomi, to seek guidance about my eye surgery. I came into the discussion presenting the financial reasons why I should not go ahead with the surgery at a cost of nearly $9,000, when the lens in the eye would not focus, and this surgery often has to be repeated. Naomi was undeterred by this believing my healing was already accomplished, the only question being would it be a full restoration in the next few hours, or a surgeon-assisted healing in due course. She had received the following verse for me from another prayer warrior: Jeremiah 30 v 17: For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, declares the Lord, because they have called you an outcast: ‘It is Zion, for whom no one cares!’
I wasn't healed in the night so that left me no option but to book the surgery, which I will do conveniently in Paarl tomorrow.

Mon Apr 19
At 8:30 I called the Paarl Eye Centre to clarify what Dr Keulder had meant by 'come any time and he'll fit you in.' They had expected me at 8 am! They graciously rebooked me for 10 am tomorrow. Another day lost. This gave us some extra time we hadn't expected and I spent some of it with Bella buying the rest of the clother she needed. I prepared a detailed history since my cataract surgery explaining the unfortunate delays that meant it was now 15 days since my retina started detaching. Laurie-Ann designed a poster to attract donations for the cost of my surgery. By 22 April, the combination of the newsletter and the poster had brought in $2,535, a very generous amount, but a long way short of the ~$8,692 needed for the operation. Anthonica showed me her phone (which we had bought her). The screen showed broken up patterns of light. I took it to Tahir at Cell Repair Centre and he said it needed an LCD card and a new screen; price R280. Though the new price for the phone is only R400, I said to go ahead, and I came back later to pick it up. It appeared to be working. I paid. Lynn had been trying to reach us by WhatsApp phone so we called her back. She was sure that it was far too late to attempt retian attachment after the two weeks that had lapsed already, and was angry with the doctors who hadn't told us this. Though I was concerned, I felt that medical science could have advanved since Lynn's active nursing days, so we didn't argue.

Sun Apr 18
It was (again) Tony without Laurie-Ann for church. Tony was on livestream camera and arrived by 9am, making sure kenneth had seen him. After the praise & worship, I made sure the camera was set for the appropriate wide angle view, and then wandered to translatio row, but there were no seats. Heather then gave up hers (she does speak Afrikaans!), but I could find no spare headphones. Tendai arrived at my side with a pair, having persuaded Lovejoy and Mazvita to share. Near the end of Johan's sermon, which focused on Paul's shipwreck on Malta, and the snakebite, Johan called up anyone who, like Paul, had had more than enough challenges, and yet had just received another larger one. I was in this exact situation with my detached retina, so I joined the 7 at the front. As I arrived I noticed Carlo adjusting my abandoned camera to the left, thus getting me in the picture!
Here is the video. I was prayed for by Murray who believed my healing was there for the asking. Afterwards I thanked Tendai whose thoughfulness had made it possible for me to hear the altar call. Next day I checked the YouTube of the livestream, and I am indeed visible receiving prayer.
Jamelia and Anthonica needed help in the afternoon. Jamelia is going to Tygerberg Hospital on Thursday for a check up of her heart condition, and needed a nightdress and toiletries. In the evening I watched the final episode of Succession, on Showmax, a remarkable drama of corporate business, made hard to watch by almost continuous sexual swearing (which had deterred L-A) but once you got numb to that, totally compelling and a serious warning to society in a world where the god is money-making with no compromise.

Sat Apr 17
It was Tony without Laurie-Ann for Mailbox Club in OVD, but when I arrived there was no sign of Chantelle or kids. I waited 25 minutes and then started to drive up Grey Street, almost immediately encountering Chantelle and Limique walking back from downtown, so I turned around. 5 minutes later there were about 12 ready to sing and listen, and enjoying nartjies. The music went according to plan, with our percussion shared out. I have almost no sight left in my left eye but I was able to play normally; luckily there was no wind. Then I opened L-A's Bible and read the first 3/4 of Psalm 139, which we had studied a couple of nights before. In the NLT it is a gloriously translated prayer of praise by David for all the blessings bestowed by a loving God. After reading it I commented that it is exactly a perfect expression of praise for today's church, yet written 3000 years ago, proving the the consistency of the Bible. I hope the kids all gathered in the gist of it; they certainly listened. Then I reminded them who David was - we have talked about him before in a few sessions. Chantelle taught from lesson 6 of Best Friends, of which I had brought about 7 copies which Chantelle distributed, allowing her to bring up serveral people to share the teaching. As I drove away there were 5 girls wanting to have a ride in a Mercedes, and they got a short one. After several hours work I managed to finish and post the improved, stereo, version of 'Thank You Jesus.' This was just in time to be included in our latest newsletter. I haven't edited a video with so many challenges for a long time, but the result was worth it. We joind a Harvest Family Network Zoom, with guest Will Hart giving a spirited talk about discipleship for missionaries. We had port loin roast for dinner, bought at Goede Hoop, and very nice. After posting GNiTM there was no time for any TV relaxation tonight.

Fri Apr 16
Around 2 am I got up for a pee and found that the power was off. A glance out of the window confirmed that this was not load shedding but just our unit; we had run out. I left it till morning to fix the problem. My normal fix is to log onto Powertime with my Blackberry, which I did, and followed all the steps to buy power, until it came to the final action of transferring the funds from the TD Visa. This it was unable to do - maybe an Internet issue. I repeated the process several times with the same result. Months ago I had tried to buy power at OK Foods but their system didn't recognize our meter number. I went downstairs to the accounting firm and asked them where they would buy power in an emergency, and they said at the municipal offices. So I walked there and eventually found the right clerk - but her system didn't recognize our meter number - we are a private house not a government office. They suggested buying the power from Spar. As I set off to Spar I passed a small convenience store, and they sold power, so I gave them my number, not being very hopeful after my experience with OK Foods. But it worked; my meter number was good and i got my token slip! I only bought R20 worth, and when I got home I keyed in the token. The power was restored. I called Dr Lapere's office in Claremont and made an appointment for Tuesday 20 April, with the opportunity for surgery on Wednesday. Laurie-Ann liked the sound of Dr Lapere because of his name and the fact that he had worked in Canada. I had emailed Dr Eric earlier in the week and told him the situation with my eyes, and also asked him for a Clopamon prescripion which both of us use to combat nausea. He called me into his office, clearly concerned about my detached retina in view of the fact that surgery for it is always very urgent. He wanted to be absolutely sure of the diagnosis, so called a colleague, Dr T Keulder, and asked him to see me post haste. Dr Keulder was surprised that Marius Van Dyk hadn't immediately orchestrated further treatment for me. He phoned the Paarl Eye Clinic and arranged for me to have a consultation on Monday with Dr Norman Nieder-Heitmann, with a view to surgery the next day. My journey home was hard with all the drops in the eyes, and I decided to postpone going to One-Up for bulk supplies. At home I was concermed about the ethics of cancelling one appointment for another a day earlier, but I couldn't reach Dr Lapere's office at this tome on a Friday. I called Eric and actually asked if Dr Keulder might even be getting a commission for the referral; Eric said 'No.' L-A and I discussed the situation over supper, and then returned a call from Lynn who was scandalised that the surgery hadn't been done days before, saying that it was now too late.

Thu Apr 15
We drove to Paarl for L-A's physiotherapy, and while she was in with Este I went in search of the Paarl Eye clinic where Dr Norman Nieder-Heitmann operated from. I spoke at some length with a receptionist who thought it unlikely he would be able to see me any time soon, but took my name and number and said someone would get back to me. No-one did. Chantelle called to ask if I would bring down the small number of food items I had promised earlier. I hadn't done so because I couldn't reach Lottie on her phone to confirm she was home. Chantelle said Lottie's phone had run out of power. So I went down, also taking some noodles that Chantelle wanted. A man was hovering in the area, speaking in a loud voice from time to time, but noone was listening. They clearly thought him to be mildly crazy, and Chantelle confirmed this. I asked him if I could pray for him, and his eyes lit up. I got out of the car and laid hands on him. He immediately stretched both arms into the air. I said he should relax, and lowered his hands. I asked his name; it is Joseph. I prayed a simple prayer that the demon that was in him would leave him, in the name of Jesus. It was actually a moment of peace; the first time I ever had the opportunity to practise deliverance ministry.

Wed Apr 14
Mella Ministry: games day in the Avial Park library. I had forgotten we were starting early, until Mella called me. I brought 9 from Riverview to join the Avian Park kids. There were all sorts of games laid out on tables and soon kids were enjoying them. I ran a game where they wore distoring goggles and attempted to draw various objects on the board. I marked them on the quality of their drawings and, of the 8 or 9 who played, Taylor-Ann came top, and to my eye showed actual artistic ability beyond all the rest. I took my nine home about 4 pm after basic refreshments. I spent a long time trying to re-edit the 'Thank You Jesus' video using audio from the full version of the video that Marie had sent me yesterday. The audio file was unstable. In the end I left the battle for another day.

Tue Apr 13
I was determined to catch up with computing work today, not having any scheduled activities, and I have achieved this (ie no scheduled activities) as of 6 pm. Dr Van Dyk emailed to say that he had been told by the Tygerberg staff that there were no savings to be had for me in the public hospital system for eye surgery, so I asked how to find out what would be the approximate cost for me as a private patient. We received an email from one of the people I had emailed the new appeal to, saying that she would send us a lunp sum of Bella's family's needs for the next 6 months. What an amazing gesture! If the other three girls are as fortunate, we will have hacked a huge problem. Marie sent me her video of Thank You Jesus again. I had told her that the first version she had WhatsApped ended half way through the song, so after checking that she had indeed filmed the whole of it, this time she used WeTransfer. I will keep the previous version on YouTube, but private - see link on last Sunday. I went and paid our bill at Fairbairn Pharmacy for the 'flu shots, and some drugs. I bought a phone charger at Cell Repair Centre that would work with Mobicel phones for R60 for Bella, whose charger seems to have problems. At 8:15 my plan for no scheduled items was bent when I delivered very urgent food to Jamelia's and Anthonica's families, plus power and 5 pies altogether. I also delivered Bella's new charger, which my test here had shown charged a Mobicel at about twice the rate.

Mon Apr 12
I had been not looking forward to today ever since making the appointment with Dr Van Dyk. I kept faily busy during the day transporting girls, which kept my mind off it, though part of my mind was curious to know how things would turn out. I drove there via Compro where I copied a sheet for Anthonica who had been with us for the afternoon doing homework. Bella had been here for the morning finishing off the translation editing for Colouring with Jesus 2. I was 10 minutes early for the appointment. Once in his office, he fairly quickly assessed the situation after examining the eye. The 'black band' was now covering 90% of the field of view; I was effectively blind in that eye. He soon said that I had suffered a detached retina. This may have been independent of the cataract surgery, though any surgery may be a trigger. The urgent choice now is whether to go for surgery, since after a few weeks (? may be much less) surgery would not be possible. Without surgery I would be irreversibly blind for life in the left eye. With it, the best I could expect barring a miracle was the blurred vision of the last few weeks. To me it came down to cost. It wouldn't be worth paying out a lot for an operation without a good result. I am managing OK so far on one eye; I can use the computer, drive, and watch TV. Dr Van Dyk asked if I would like him to call the Cape Town hospitals that can do the procedure, and see if I would necessarily be a private patient, and how much I should expect to pay. Anthonica wanted me to take her back tomorrow to the place where the netball championship was held to collect her medallion. (She had initially opted not to take it, but leave it for others, but I recommended she call them back and tell them she had changed her mind.) I gave her R20 for taxis and R10 for food, rather than coming out myself yet again. I finally sent out my new 'Sponsor our girls' appeal to an initial specially selected group that L-A picked from her database.

Sun Apr 11
I went to church, but not L-A. Johan's mother had died last Tuesday and he wasn't there. There was a full worship team, the return of which was much appreciated by the congregaton. I delivered some food to Lottie, and she told me Chantelle had not given her the R150 to pay her appliance installments. She was tearful. Later I discovered that Chantelle had used the R150 to buy the tights she wanted, effectively stealing from her grandmother. I phoned her mother and told her I was very unhappy with this. I certainly won't be handing out cash to Chantelle any time soon. I spent a lot of time and creative effort editing the video of our song 'Thank You Jesus.' I used sound for the first half from the iPhone and from the Blackberry for the second half. For some reason the produced version of the film shows a lag between the sound and the picture, easily detectable by watching my strumming. So I had to compensate by making a recoring of the complete sound on AR Wizzard, and then adjusting its exact position successively until the produced version was right. This would seem to be an issue with PowerDirector 18, hard to explain with such widely used software, and an issue I haven't previously noticed. Here is the result. NB: this is a preliminary version of the video with some inferior sound. I plan to upload a better version soon.

Sat Apr 10
I went shopping early and got 20 small bananas and some colour pencils. L-A came to mailbox Club and it was a great success. Padre played board guitar - using a piece of cardboard. L-A and I shared the talk with me on the resurrection to the ascencion. We handed out drawings for colouring; everyone was very keen to take part, and there were enough colour pencils for all. After the session, Chantelle told me her grandmother urgently needed R150 to pay the final installments on her fridge and cooker, so I gave her the money. Pushing her luck, Chantelle then asked for R250 for a pair of athletic tights for a netball competition. I felt I could only afford R100 having given her the R150.

Fr Apr 9
We drove to the Fouries for L-A to give them the finished colour drawing of Pomegranate. Marie was there too and we had a very good time with them, and an excellent lunch. I had brought my guitar, and we sang 'Thank You Jesus' to them. Maggie filmed it on my Blackberry, and Marie also filmed it with her iPhone. We went home with a large box of fresh vegetables, and 8 bottles of wine that we bought in the wine shop. When we got home I found that the sound from Marie's iPhone was way superior to the Blackberry sound, but she had taken the video in vertical format that I was unable to rotate 90°. What I could do was use the picture from BBY and the sound from iPhone. But there was another problem; Marie's video ended abroptly half way through the song. I spent too much time again today driving girls around. This was the finals of Anthonica's netball championships, where she was playing in the same team as her cousins who had been bereaved last week. As it turned out, that team won the championships, so kudos to Nika.

Thu Apr 8
Carica came at about 9:15 and gave us our 'flu shots. I spent several hours driving girls around. Every day this week a black mask has drawn further over the vision in my left eye. By today it had covered the right side field of view. Stimulated by the probablility that this mask would soon blank out all my vision in the left eye, I called Dr Marius Van Dyk's office, getting him personally. He was immediately concerned about the eye, but couldn't fit me in till Monday at 4pm.

Wed Apr 7
Took Bella back to Studio 88 to exchange her size 4 1.2 shoes to size 4. Luckily they had the size she needed, and they fitted. I chatted with the salesman, making sure there wasn't a pair at half the price available, and he showed me a pair at twice the price that looked identical to me. I aked him if there were many young people in Worcester ready to pay R1,600 for a pair of tekkies, and he said there were plenty. In the afternoon I joined the Riverview and Avian Park ministry with Mella (who wasn't feeling well) and Mazvita. The part I liked best was leading the Avial Park girls in worship in the library, where I played unplugged, and they sang softly and sweetly.

Tue Apr 6 - 34th anniversary of my emmigration to Canada
I asked L-A to look closely at my pupils, then turn on a light directed into the eyes, and observe what would happen to the size of the pupils. I hadn't anticipated the result. Both pupils got smaller, but the right pupil didn't get as small as the left. This told me that my problem with etreme light sensitivity was not related to the damage sustained in the left eye during cataract surgery. Fired up with the thrill of the investigation, L-A then Googled the ingredients in my Rifafour E-275 TB medication, and discovered that side effects of two of the ingredients, Isoniazid and Etambutol matched some of my current symptons. Isoniazid can cause numbness and tingling in the extremities, LOSS OF APPETITE, NAUSEA, vomiting, FATIGUE, MALSISE, and WEAKNESS, UPSET STOMACH, fever, rash. The symptons I have experienced so far are capitalized. Etambutol can cause Common (1% to 10%): DECREASED VISUAL ACUITY, optic neuritis; Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): COLOR BLINDNESS, eye pain, loss of vision, scotoma, VIZUAL DISTURBANCES; Frequency not reported: Irreversible blindness, optic neuropathy, retrobulbar neuritis. The reason for recording all this scientific information was that I realized an important thing. I had attributed the problem with my eye(s) entirely to the cataract surgery, whereas it was at least partly due to Etambutol's side effects. I have 4 medical conditions, and I should not assume that a particular sympton is always caused by any paticular condition. The various upset stomach conditions had me worried that I might have an undiagnosed problem there, but now it is clear that TB is th culprit. So I felt better after hearing these things, and very grateful to L-A for her research. I took Laurie-Ann's Mobicel to Vodacom in Q-Square to ak their technical specialist why she wasn't able to transfer from air time to data (see 2 April). He was very painstaking and discovered that the transfers on 28 March and 2 April had worked (he was able to use the data) but the network wasn't reporting the data. Nothing wrong with the phone. This may be a congestion problem.

Mon Apr 5
After getting up early to take Chantelle to her aunt's in OVD to give her my R100 from yesterday, I spent much of the day sleeping. For some reason it was extremely difficult to get out of bed. Even more strange. L-A felt the same. I did get up around mid-day because Anthonica had said she needed to go to her cousins again, but they had cancelled. Anthonica persuaded me to take her to one of the few open food stores this bank holiday and collect $100 worth of food, which turned out to be close to R200. But after going home for some lunch we both went back to bed, and I didn't get up till 6, by when I was feeling more normal. I prepared dinner based on the left-over lamb from last night. I emailed Dr Marius Van Dyk (cc Dr Eric) that I was concerned about my high sensitivity to light.

Sun Apr 4
We both went to church for 9:30 service, less well attended than Good Friday, and Johan preached another excellent message. The worship was again led by Hanlie, with Phil on piano. Much of Laurie-Ann's day was spent preparing tonight's dinner, with me fetching and carrying. Chantelle persuaded me to give her a further R100 to pay an aunt back for baking. Heather arrived about 6:15 by when the leg of lamb had been roasting for a couple of hours, and the apple crumble was all ready. The whole evening worked our well, and certainly all enjoyed the food. Heather had brought creme eggs and hot cross buns, and after dinner I shared the Pick n Pay salted caramel creme I had bought at the store yesterday - very yummy. When I walked Heather downstairs and watched as she drove off I was pretty shocked by the mechanical state of her car. However, she did get new tires after the episode with the Traffic Department I wrote about a few months ago.

Sat Apr 3
The weather was kind again for this morning's mailbox club. around 8:30 I went out for apples and a large sausage roll for Chantelle. We drove to OVD arriving about 9:50 and Chantelle was braiding someone's hair. There had been a flood in our regular spot so we went under a tree nearer the road and set up. I had about 15 apples and there were more than 15 by the time I gave them out. I was pleased to see some of our original older teens were back. We started the music and they sang with enthusiasm from the start. On 'I wanna be a star,' Padre assumed the role of a conductor and air guitarist, facing the crowd in front of me. Some of the younger kids had noticed the soot on the car's driver's door, residue from the fingerprint exercise. When the music was done, they organized their own water and cloths and started washing the car. The older kids sat on the road for my talk - it was smoother on their backsides than sitting on the stony ground, and at that stage of the morning it wasn't too hot. I spoke on the time from the crucifiction to the resurrection, emphasising the uniqueness of the latter. The kids were very well prepared in answering my questions; someone had been teaching them. One of those 'someones' turned out to be Chantelle, who told us later that she has been telling these kids stories of Jesus in other sessions. We had prayer led by Laurie-Ann and Elsee before we broke up. One more excellent session. I spent a while that afternoon working on my forthcoming 'Sponsor a family' appeal, but was concerned about the monthly amounts we have been spending on each family, between $300 and $400, and unsure if people would consider such a commitment. At 9 pm (3 pm Ottawa time) I joined Carl Wake's retirement Zoom, which included me as one of 3 prayer leaders. The event was a fitting tribute to Carl after his 31 years as the OCDC chaplain. It finished at nearly 11 pm. Here's the recording.

Fri Apr 2 - Good Friday
I joined a surprisingly well-attended service at WCC at 9:30. Ramaphosa had relaxed the church attendance quotas a little for Holy Week. My wallet was empty and there hadn't been time to get to a bank last night, so my main concern disappeared when Johan announced there would be no collection this morning. Worship was done excellently and solo by Hanlie, accompanied by Phil - the very same Hanlie from Worcester Primary School, whom I thanked at the end. Joahn asked a few internationals including Godfrey and me to come to the front when he emphasised the value of the international touch to the church. For his sermon he spoke on the significance of the blood in the Good Friday story, getting into depths what were beyond me. I used Good Friday as an excuse not to run around town as a free taxi and delivery service. I did make a couple of exceptions and I was in Avian Park when Anthonica asked if I would take her downtown. I then waited 15 minutes for her as she put on the clothes she wanted. When she and Cay-Lene were finally in the car however and I told them I wouldn't be bringing them back, she got angry and stomped off, slamming the car door. This was probably a foretaste of what is to come as we reduce our service to the girls. Today was a bank holiday and there wasn't much traffic. L-A wanted to eat fish, and I got some for our evening meal from Europa Fisheries. I watched 'Succession' and we both watched the second episode of House of Cards, the most TV I have watched in one day in 3 years. I wanted to relax, but never did feel very relaxed. I did some planning for Mailbox Club tomorrow morning, deciding on telling the Easter story of the death and resurrection of our saviour. Mella had told the entire Holy Week story to the Riverview and Avian Park kids, but that would be too long for tomorrow. L-A attempted to transfer air time to buy 200 MB of data, but just as on 28 March, the transfer didn't work.

Thu Apr 1
Police detective Francois ? visited me in Da Vinci and asked some supplementary questions to augment the report they had taken yesterday. He mentioned that it was likely the GPS had been sold by now to a middleman for R20. At 10:30 I picked up Anthonica and Bella, giving them both a pie before they even asked. Bella came to Da Vinci to earn some money, and I took Anthonica shopping for school trousers R89), and then for jeans and other accessories. 2 1/2 hours later she still hadn't found black jeans at a reasonable price (less than R225). She particularly wanted black jeans for a 21st party where the guests had been asked to wear black jeans. I had been happy to help because her only jeans now had rips in the knees that almost went right around the legs. In the end, she got underclothes and slippers, but no jeans. Integro called to say that we were not covered for the theft of the Garmin from the car (though we would have been covered if it had been stolen from the house). Laurie-Ann supervised Bella as she cleaned our floors and oven. She had 4 unexpected visitors: Chantelle and Limique, and Anthonica and Michaela, all asking for food, money and other things. All of them found their way right into our apartment. This bordered on an invasion of privacy. When I came in I ignored them all and took a nap. At 5:00 Tersia called me, surprisingly lucid and asked if I would drive her and a friend from OVD to Avian Park. I had no negative nudges and had the time so I complied and took them, relieved that as soon as we were on our way they didn't start demanding food. L-A worked hard on accounting matters, including the report I had asked for detailing a month's costs for the 4 Avian Park families. At 11:15 pm. Tersia called in tears, a complete contrast from earlier. She and some family members were being threatened by JCY gansters, and she was petrified. She asked if I would drive them to OVD where relatives had agreed to take them in. Curfew would begin at midnight, but I felt I should try and help them, so I drove down. Anthonica would stay the night with Cay-Lene. Tersia, Henry and two other adult men bnudled themselves into the car. I assured them all I would not be available to take them back to Avian Park tomorrow; they could easily walk. We arrived at OVD about 11:40, and it was a little tense while Tersia negotiated with her relatives, presumably to put up three additional men. Eventually she succeeded and I returned home, arriving about 11:58.

Wed Mar 31
Got up at 7:15 and started to draft an appeal for sponsorships of our 4 families. The costs we are incurring for food, clothes and air time are not sustainable and exceed our income. That income could be increased if we can persuade supporters to take 'ownership' of a family and their needs. These facts became apparent from the calculation of the costs of air time, data and power during February. I asked L-A if she could now calculate all costs (food, clothers, trips) for a month. At 9:15 I walked across the road to the police station to report theft of the Garmin from the car yesterday. At first I was told to be very patient before I would be likely to see someone, but after about 15 minutes a sergeant interviewed me. I gave him the report I had written last night. He asked me questions and wrote his own longhand report. I signed it. I had made an appointment with urologist Dr Deon Marais for 10:30. I arrived with my requisition from Dr Eric. He had his report at hand from my visit to him 2 years ago when he had investigated my prostate as a possible cause of my low iron. I explained that these days we had no travel insurance, but I was interested to know if the small amount of cancer he had detected on that occasion had developed. My PSA test result now had fallen to half what it had been then; a significant improvement. He did a manual inspection with his finger, confirming marginal further increase in the size of my prostate, but wasn't too concerned. In answer to my direct question, he did not recommend additional tests or treatment, and confirmed I was not in danger of serious issues arizing in the next 10 years (after which I feel they would be irrelevant). At 11:30 I dropped into Integro, and spoke with the reception lady, and gave her a copy of the same report I had given the police. Mid afternoon I received a call from a police fingerprint technicial asking to come round and check the car for prints. He parked his large white unmarked van beside mine in the Da Vinci parking lot, and got out his fingerprint kit: dusting powder and adhesive patches. He concentrated on my driver's door window which might have been touched by 'Jane' if/when she opened the driver's door. He wasn't interested in the central glove compartment.

Tue Mar 30
Anthonica again persuaded me to take her to her bereaved cousins for most of the day. They are definitely working on an environmental project. I also took frozen chicken pieces to Lottie and 2 pies to Chantelle. After picking Anthonica up at 4 we had quite an adventure. She wanted me to buy her fresh snoek for Easter, but the shop she favoured near Shoprite on Durban has no credit card facility, so we drove to Pick n Pay. What follows is a report I used the next day to lay a police charge and to make an insurance claim

At about 4:15 pm I parked in the car park of Pick n Pay on Porter St.
Narrative A – what I personally experienced.
I had come with Anthonika Kees, 15, someone my wife and I mentor and help financially. Anthonica was sitting on the rear seat. I did not lock the car because she was inside it. This turned out to be a serious mistake. I entered the store to buy fish for Anthonic’s family’s Easter meals. I returned with the fish about 4:30 to find a coloured woman (I will call her Jane) of about 30 talking to Anthonica through the car window. Anthonica appeared to have been sleeping on the back seat. Jane then turned her attention to me and said she knew me through her children who are in groups that we teach. She begged me to buy her a (loaf of) bread for her children, I agreed, and returned to Pick n Pay and bought the bread with my credit card (I buy almost everything on the card to reduce costs). 10 minutes later I returned and she was waiting outside Pick n Pay, main door. I gave her the bread. When I returned to the car, a security guard from Capital Security walked over and said he knew of Jane, and he recommended I check my car to make sure nothing had been taken. The only valuable item in the car is the Garmin GPS. I had put it into a glove compartment between the front seats rather than leaving it on the windscreen, for security reasons. I immediately checked the compartment and the GPS was gone, but the mounting clamp had not been taken, which only reinforced that the GPS itself had been there. I drove the route she would have likely taken to return to the townships, searching for her, knowing that this was pretty futile. I retuned to Pick n Pay, where the security guard then told me he had noticed Jane taking an interest in my car, and shortly after passing something to an accomplice. He know of this gang of 3 people who had worked this patch before, so that was why he had approached me earlier. Anthonica also had two useful pieces to add to the puzzle: she didn’t recognise Jane (suggesting she didn’t live in Avian Park) but she did recognise a JCY tattoo on her. I asked the Capital Security for his name and number; it is Loyiso Maiunga, 073-536-8198.
Narrative B – what may have occurred that I didn’t see.
Some minutes after I went into Pick n Pay, Jane, a professional thief of contents of cars approached the car having seen me leave it. By now Anthonica had fallen asleep in the back of the car. Jane tried the driver’s door and found it was unlocked. Watching to see that she didn’t wake up Anthonica, she opened the door. As a professional thief she knew her way around a Mercedes, and opened the central glove compartment between the front seats, knowing that it can be used for putting valuables out of sight. She immediately found the GPS and took it, not noticing that the clamp to attack it to the windshield was also in there, as a was a computer power pack. She closed the door and left the car, passing the GPS to a colleague who disappeared into the crowd, but there had been a witness – the Capital Security guard. All he had seen was a woman passing something to another person; but he had recognized these people. Having passed on the GPS, Jane then returned to the car for further pickings. When I returned from the store, instead of fleeing she assumed to role of a beggar asking for bread. Anthonica was awake by now and overheard her asking me. She also noticed she had a JCY tattoo. Once I had put the fish in the car, I said that I would get her a loaf, and walked with her to Pick n Pay main door.

In the evening I wrote the above account of the Garmin theft. Anthonica came in and had a bath. Then at 5 to 6 we drove to OVD to pick up Chantelle and take both girls to Avian Park.

Mon Mar 29
We slept till 10, feeling the better for it. TB has been no fun these last few days. Today I would need to lie down 4 or 5 times during the day. Anthonica persuaded me to take her to her bereaved cousins for most of the day. I think they are involved in a community project. As I walked into Pick n Pay I saw a young man lying on a low wall near Safraan's. He may be a casual employee of Pick n Pay, but I never say him halping a customer. I have also seen him sitting in a street gutter looking stoned, more than once. I may have mentioned him in these pages before. I resolved to engage with him on my way out, so when I was inside buying a pie, I bought a second one for him. When I returned he was now sitting instead of lying. I asked if he would like a pie and he nedded. I said I had seen him around often, and had wanted to say 'Hello.' I asked him for his name and he said 'Zirk.' And that was all - for this time. I went on my way. However, the next few times I saw him I said 'Hi' and he nodded back.

Sun Mar 28
The plan today was to to pick up Anthonica and Bella at 8:45 and take them to Hillsong. L-A tried to transfer air time on her phone to buy 150 MB of data, but the transfer didn't actually work. At about 8:30 Bella messaged L-A to say that Cathy had told her she must stay home to cook lunch for their Sunday gathering. This was the 3rd or 4th time Cathy had cancelled opportunities for Bella to come out with us. We drove to their house and I told Cathy we wanted to take Bella with us, and there were several adults visiting who could handle the cooking. It turned out Bella wasn't home but Cathy said she could come. She sent kids off in Bella's direction but nothing happened in the next 10 minutes, and soon we would be late for the service. We went to get Anthonica, but when we returned there was still no sign of Bella. I called Bella, and she said she would just be 5 minutes. 15 minutes later we realized whe had missed the first half of the service, and risking missing more. We decided to leave without her. About 8 minutes later she called and was home, so we exlained that we had no choice but to leave if we would catch enough of the service to make it worth while going at all. The drive was very hard on my eyes, yet we had to hurry, listening to Anthonica's music via Bluetooth. We arrived half an hour late, just as Phil Dooley was beginning his talk, in the overflow area in the foyer. After the service, Stephanie said 'Hi,' but I was feeling far from sociable. We took Anthonica to McDonalds where she had a Big Mac meal. Then we drove down to Strand. While we relaxed on our chairs, Anthonica froliced in the waves, fully clothed. This was her second time ever by the sea-side and she loved it. There was no wind and lots of sun. Next stop was Spice Route for coffee, cup cakes and ice cream, but the surprise was a tuneful duo: Triveno Smith, plus bass player FT Nizel entertained us very well with home grown songs and covers, so much so that L-A bought his 2014 CD 'BrighterDay.' As I learned from his website, his story bears some resemblance to that of Jermy Camp. The day had been good, but a real struggle for me. When I got home I realized I had forgotten to take my Ferrimed iron supplement that morning, so that may have been my problem.

Sat Mar 27
My weight had fallen to it's lowest ever, 58.6 Kg (129.21 Lbs) although I didn't feel bad. L-A wasn't well enough for Mailbox Club, and the weather forecast said it would rain all morning. The forecast was wrong and we had sunshine and no rain all day. I met up with Chantelle about 9:45. There were 15 kids, mainly young, waiting for us, so I started by giving out my 15 bananas to these who were on time. There was no wind (!) and they surprized me with the number of songs they knew and sang with spirit. Then I told them of the feeding of the 5,000, and the fact that food multiplication still happens today, at least in Mozambique and probably other places close to God's heart. Chantelle then taught lesson 4 of Best Friends. The kids were great and I enjoyed the whole process, even though L-A wasn't with us. I scrubbed part of the parking lot with the new Mean Machine. Later in the day when it was washed out and dried I noticed that the part I had done had reacted better than the with the previus detergent. L-A strongly recommended a movie on Showmax for tonight: 'I still believe.' This is the story of the first marriage of Christian singer Jeremy Camp, with cancer content. We both enjoyed it; she for the second time.

Fri Mar 26 - 365 days into SA's lock down
My alarm went at 6 and by 6:30 I was on the road to Mercedes in Paarl. My invoice from them dated 20 July 2020 showed they had replaced a recirculating valve (cost R7,113), less than a year ago, which had caused severe acceleration loss, and stranded us on our way to Namibia. Now we had a similar (but not the same) acceleration loss, and if the same part was to blame they would replace it for free. I also wanted them to diagnose our central locking system, which was getting worse by the week. I explained all this to a service lady and took my seat in the coffee area. I soon found that I wouldn't be able to do any computing since I had brought a machine with no battery. The nice coffee lady brought me a nice coffee and an English newspaper. That occupied me for 20 minutes, but I was expecting to be here many hours. What I had brought was ear buds, so I settled down to listen to some of the extensive music collection on my Blackberry. Anthonica had Bluetoothed me a song called 'Spirit Lead Me,' an intriguing hip hop version of Hillsong's 'Oceans.' I eventually found it under 'downloads.' Then I listened to Arcade fire, Killers and others. Two hours later, the servicing engineer gave me a report. They had disgnosed the fault, but it was not the same device that had been replaced last July. What was needed was a replacement of the air ducting manifold, cost R22,939 and a servo motor, cost R4,721, plus R2,673 of labout. In comparison, the central locking system was R2,962 and R 990 labour. To do all the work, the total was R40,818, 80% of possible sale value of the car. At that stage, all I could figure our was that we wouldn't have anything done today, but consider our options. My gut fee was that we should not have the major work done, and when we left the country, ask for a very low price for the car and show the buyer the estimate. I left Mercedes and went for Victoria breakfast at De Keldor. As I left there I realized I had left my rain jacket at Mercedes, so I went back to get it. I was saddened by the car situation, but refused to let it drag me down. After all I had several unexpected hours in the day today, and time is so precious. I paid the minimum on the TD Visa without going into Simplii overdraft. I did my twice a year exercise to calculate our net worth (assets - liabilities). I was worried that increasing costs on the girls would have eaten into our situation, but what I actually found was that the rising stock markets over the past 6 months had been quite beneficial, particularly to our registered portfolios, so that although credit card debt was up, it was almost balanced by this asset growth. Our donations have fallen significantly in the last few months. I have an idea to invide donors to sponsor one of the 4 donor families (5 if you add Lottie), getting to know them and taking some ownership. I calculated that we can come up with R8000 for the visa extensions by ~4 April after making a wire transfer today for R8000 from Simplii. I emailed Melanie and told her we will pay on that date. The next day she got back to me and told me we are about a month before the date that we can apply. I think I took food to a couple of families today, but can't remember the details.

Thu Mar 25
Normally, today would be a trip to Paarl for L-A's physiotherapy and MLD with Este, but on Tuesday L-A said she was in too much physical pain to handle it. Instead, this gave me an opportunity to accompany Bella shopping for winter clothes. After picking her and Anthonica up, and dropping Anthonica near her bereaved relatives house, Bella and I drove to Mr Price in the mall. For the next hour she selected 2 jackets, 2 sweaters, and a bra, around half her list. Meantime I sat on a display counter until moved on by management, wandered around and around the store, and was finally about to go and wait in the car when she saw me and said she had everything Mr Price had from her list. She had actually chosen significantly under-budget. She wanted to continue shopping in other stores, but I had no more stamina for standing around so we drove to the other end of the mall and I went to Checkers and Woolworths. I had another reason for not buying more then. She has only worked for us one day, and I want more of our investment back in her labour before coughing up the full figure! I don't want her to feel she's working for nothing. Today's bill was R810. Stacey from Breede Chem had my 5 Litre bottle of 'Mean Machine,' their version of SDR and I paid her in cash: R110. Another message came through from Jamelia's family asking if I could pick her up from the hospital; she had been discharged. As it happened, I could do that and was there 15 minutes later, and Jamelia and her grandmother got in. Jamelia has a new diagnosis of heart trouble, to add to her kidney problems, not good in a 15 year old. On the ride home she asked if I would get them a R100 bundle of vegetables, and the manager of Pick n Pay local (delightful lady) helped be select her bundle. I hoped that the vegetables would replace yeaterday's needs for a wash cloth etc. I spent a couple of hours on Bella's phone, including restoring photos we had backed up to her lap top a couple of months ago. Then I had some late calls for food deliveries, so again I wasn't home to heat up dinner till after 8:30. After dinner I returned Bella's phone to her, and asked her to make a list of any problems as they arise, but she certainly has Facebook and WhatsApp. When I knocked on the door it was nice to see the whole family cosily watching TV together. I was just finishing this journal when I had a series of WhatsApp calls on the Mozambique phone. This happens when noone has air time but they have data. It was Tersia, hysterial and incoherent. A window had been broken, and her neighbour was in their house demanding payment in full of a loan she had made to Tersia - R340. It was impossible to talk to Tersia; the phone was too fuzzy, but eventually I was able to speak to Anthonica. Since I was about to go to bed prior to rising at 6, I wasn't about to drive to Avian Park after 10 at night. I promised nothing to Anthonica, and felt no Holy Ghost nudges to do more that night. I did pray for their safety.

Wed Mar 24
I added up the figures for air time etc given to the girls for February. The results showed a total of R3,688! A rough estimate for the total costs since the beginning of lock down would be 10 times that much, equivalent to $3,162. Clearly we can't afford to continue this, and now, after a year is the right time to pull the plug. Our rent was paid successfully this morning, and the wire transfer came in, and we just stayed out of the red at Simplii by $4. My calculations in last night's stress had been spot on. Bella called to say her phone had deleted everything. We recommended she re-boot. Monique from Grondbeurs arrived at 10 and was very pleasant as she toured the house, listing the relatively small number of oustanding work on her pad. Then we went out the back and I moved the car to show her the status of my clean-up of the diesel spill. She didn't seem too perturbed. I had left a patch as it was originally so she could see I had made progress. I assured her I would continue the work. Then I called Stacey Williams at Breede Chem and ordered 5 litres of their oil-spill chemical. I arranged to pick up Bella's phone and see what had to be done. I noticed that her contacts were still there. When I got home I had to re-log onto our wifi, and then and re-downloaded and re-installed WhatsApp and (L-A dowloaded) FaceBook. So far things are promising that we won't have to send it back. A message came through from Jamelia's brother saying she had been rushed to hospital with chest pain, and asking if we could take her a wash cloth, toiletries and food. Apart from the problems of getting things to her in the hospital, I had ministry from 2:30, so we couldn't respond at that time. Riverview and Avian Park ministries were Mella's annual birthday party for the kids, with chicken pie, cake, and nik naks which I provided. Altogether there were abour 50 kids who turned out. The Avian Park event was held at the Avian Park library, outside the front door. I hadn't led music outside the library for 2 1/2 years. Around 6pm I had calls and requests for food from Anthonica, Lottie and Chantelle. Pick n Pay Local is open till 7 so it gets our evening business. I still find it hard shopping for several different people, but I was able to deliver Lottie's and then go home to complete Anthonica's food parcel and take her home. I was only able to start preparing our dinner at about 8:30.

Tue Mar 23
I finished cleaning cockroach residue from the rest of the cupboards - hard work. At about 10:45 I picked up Anthonica and Bella. I dropped Anthonica near De Jagers so she could be with her bereaved relatives, and brought Bella here. She is going to do some housework for us and we will buy her some winter clothes. She estimates the cost of the clothes at R1,670. If we pay her R50 an hour, that works out at 4 hours a day for 8 days. Her tasks today were to mop the floor and clean the bath. The floor hadn't been mopped since she last did it and since them we had hopefully won the cockroach war. She did excellent work and the house feels clean again. We had egg sandwiches for lunch. I also had her read the computer user's manual I had written for her laptop and phone. In the later afternoon she watched most of Holy Ghost. The final segment was garbled (next day I was able to replace it from the red disk). I picked up Anthonica at 5 and brought her here, and gave both girls a cooked supper before taking them home via several shops to try and buy Chantelle toiletries before she has a school interview tomorrow. Particularly while I am out driving, my left eye is painful, as if it has an eyelash in it. L-A examinied it and saw what could be a sty. I applied Chloramex opthalmic ointment which had been in the fridge for months, and it brought immediate soothing. Later in the day I applied it again. If it is a sty that is causing the problem I sould be able to clear it. I asked L-A for the figures on expenses by the girls and their families for air time, data and power. At 7:00 we normally have a connect group Zoom, but tonight it was cancelled. If it hadn't been cancelled, I would have needed to say 'Hello' and then leave. I checked how much we needed to transfer instantly from Simplii to FNB to pay our rent, assuming the wire transfer didn't arive in time. It turned out that after taking account of transfer fees, there was just enough in our Simplii account without going into overdraft with its costs. I drove to the FNB ATM at my regular Shell station, and successfully transferred the money. But that ATM doesn't allow deposits, so I drove fast to the mall arriving at 1 minute to 8, when I had anticipated the mall would close. The FNB ATM accepted my hadful of notes without any rejects. I went home, very relieved and started cooking dinner, about an hour later than my normal time for late dinners. But at least the rent would be paid.

Mon Mar 22
I was up relatively early (for a Monday) to collect Chantelle at 9 to bring her to our house for homework. It was 9:15 before she emerged. We drove towards Jamelia's, encountering her in the middle of a non-socially-distanced crowd in the street. I motioned for her to get in, but several of the youth also pushed their unprotected heads into the car. This angered me and I took it out on Jamelia, upbraiding her for not having a mask and saying she was exposing herself to Covid and possible death. She took all this as rudeness at her expense, and when I asked her if she wanted me to take her to get a pair of shoes (the reason I had come), she went off in a huff. Once in our home, Chantelle focused on her work till 1pm, with breaks for breakfast and a chicken and rice lunch. During the day I scrubbed the parking lot twice, and I hope I am seeing enough result to satisfy Monique at Grondbeurs on Wednesday. Although it is slightly hard work for 15 minutes at a time, the topography makes it easier than it might have been as I powerflush the scrubbed area with the fire hose and all the water naturally goes to the drain. At 2pm I took Chantelle home and brought Anthonica to the family that lost her aunt. Then I returned home to a message from Jamelia requesting food staples. I had time for a 45 minutes sleep. Then I shopped for the food for Jamelia, and picked up Anthonica, who was seen off by a cousin. It seems Anthonica has been very helpful to this family, and they did give her something to eat. We drove to OVD but Chantelle was off playing netball. Anthonica had asked me for some food staples so I decided to retun home and get them. Then we went back for Chantelle, eventually catching up with her at a netball court in Riverview, although she was off-court by then. I took them home and delivered the food to Jamelia's grandmother.

Sun Mar 21
I had promised to take Anthonica to the Christian Worship Centre so she could meet Pastor Jan van Rooyen before he baptises her. We were 5 minutes late for the service so that Anthonica had enough time to do her hair, but he saw us enter the full church and waved us towards two vacant seats on the front row. Pastor Jan introduced me to the congregation and mentioned me several times so I had to pay close attention to the service which was 98% Afrikaans. At the end he spoke to Anthonica and told us that the baptism would be next Sunday at 4 pm. at his house. He has a form we need to complete and he needs a copy of her birth cerificate. I drove her back to Manniken for hir birth certificate and was pleasantly surprised that she was able to find it. Then to McDonalds for a burger for her before taking her to our place for much of the rest of the day. She started on her homework and I went for a stint scrubbing the oil patch in the parking lot. Then I did my daily stuff clearing dead cockroaches from another meter of cupboards; up to the RH wall. Meanwhile L-A was busy in the studio working on the next Coppleblog, and her latest colouring of a drawing. Anthonica got an emergency call to say her 25 year old aunt had died. She asked me to drive her across town to their house. When I got home I took my afternoon nap, getting up just after she called to say she was ready to come back. I collected her; she had been with the bereaved family to view the body at the hospital. I asked her if she would like to rest, but she opted to view 'Overcomer.' I did a third stint with the scubbing of the parking lot. After each scrub I use the fire hose to wash the residue into the drain. I am not sure how legal this is. I forwarded our recent newsletter to my siblings plus James to make up for the fact that I hadn't sent them any email updates recently. I added a few paragraphs of very recent happenings at the start, which included wishing Dianne on her birthday tomorrow. L-A had been cooking Waterblommetjiebredies lamb stew in the crock pot since yesterday and we three enjoyed it tonight. I took Anthonica home with a pie for her mother and the task of breaking the news of her aunt's death. It had been pleasant having her company all day, but my main purpose was to save her spending the day starving with her broken mother.

Sat Mar 20
The second day of 'the new Tony,' and I did clear the next meter of kitchen cupboads of cockroach residue, leaving just some traces of the killer chemicals for late arrivals. We have seen very few live roaches since Thursday night's 'queen' roach; maybe there's a connection. I also checked WhatsApp, and received a confirmation that we will be welcome to join Sunday's service at the Christian Worship Centre in Avian Park. Laurie-Ann had worked hard to fashion a new shape for the Mailbox Club at OVD, adding elements of a kids' club. It meant there was more stuff to take with us, and this made us a little late. We finally arrived, bringing Chantelle and Limique, and they set about finding children. They were too successful; we soon had 35 but many of them 7 years old or less. We had food and pencil crayons for 15. We began with music, and for the first time since the start of this club was was not too much wind for me to play from music, which expanded the repertoire. Then I gave my little talk, following on from last week with Samuel's annointing of David as future king of Israel, and I expanded the concept to the conclusion that God wants to communicate with each of us, and once we are born again as one of his children, we are able to listen to him as he tells us of his plan for us, just as Samuel told David. Chantelle then gave the first session of Best Friend 1. L-A explained and read Psalm 150 showing how we worship in song, and we played 3 songs they knew from cell phones via the Blackstar amplifier. Finally Laurie-Anne's drawings were distributed for colouring, one of which features Chantelle praising the Lord. This phase seemed to have divine multiplication of resources, since everyone has a coloured pencil and soon they were concentating hard on the job in hand. There was a shortage of places to rest their drawings on as they coloured them, so I suggested that some use the car bonnet. I gave out my 15 bananas and there wasn't a riot - and there was some sharing. After the session we dropped Chantelle and Limique downtown where Chantelle works, and then drove to Avian Park to pick up Bella. We drove to Agrimark where I bought 5 Litres od Revet SDR oil solvent to try on the diesel spill. We also bought 5 samosas from a lady in a burkha selling from the back of her car, and they were lunch for the three of us. Then we drove to a house in Roodeval where Bella picked up some clothes for Cathy, and then took her home. Back in our home after a Stoney we collapsed into bed. 2 hours later I went down to the car and started scrubbing the diesel-soaked tarmac with SDR. After covering about 20% of the patch, I sprayed off the surplus with the fire hose that lives out there. We will see tomorrow whether I made a difference. At 6 we joind a HFN Zoom chat, where Brian and Valerie focused on perseverence and staying the course, an important message for missionaries. I contributed a testimony about ministering to children.

Fri Mar 19
I started the day by clearing cockroach body parts from the LH 3 cupboards in the kitchen, in preparation for Grondbeurs' inspection next week. My second task was to check WhatsApp and delete a few ancient conversations. I also noticed that WhatsApp notifications can be turned off on a correspondent basis, so I turned off notifications from a few larger groups inluding Harvest Family Network. I went to pick up Jamelia's grandfather and grandmother to take them to the Day Hospital for his 6-monthly stroke check-up. He is 59 and had a very debilitating stroke a decade ago, and is not improving. Heather arrived (in her car) at 11 and we had a pleasant conversation with her to accompany coffee. We also invited her for dinner on Easter Day. After she left I got more serious about seeking a vendor of oil spill clear-up services in Worcester, but found none. At 2:45 we went to see Dr Eric, primarily in connection with some suspicious bumps Este had felt in L-A's lower legs - blood clots? I also got a doctor's note for me to see urologist Dr Marais about my prostate. Eric sent us on to Radiology so L-A could have an ultrasound, and they navigated all over her lower (and upper) legs with the ultrasound wantd, concluding that there were no signs of blood clots. By the time we had been to the pharmacy it was after 4:30 and I wasn't hopeful about finding on line an industrial clean-up company that was still open late on a Friday afternoon. At 5:30 I went out the back in case Breede-Chem were still around (they weren't) and then crossed the road to the BP station and spoke to the man in the office, who had helped me in the past. Since the oil had been seeping in for several days my optins were limited, but he confirmed that bicarbonate of Soda is effective and suggested Agrimart would have some in industrial strength. I drove down there but they were closed. Jamelia had asked for food - any food - some hours ago and I finally had time to make her up a food parcel. I took it down and give it to the Rasta brothers to take in. I then took sausage rolls to Chantelle and Anthonica. Tersia took the opportunity to waylay me and tell me of yet another creditor wanting her money back. I countered that the only reason I had given her R240 last week was because she had said there were no more creditors. On this occasion, Tersia went away empty handed. L-A was able to delete Messenger accounts set up by girls (including Britney) on the Mozambique phone over many months, stopping the phone beeping every few seconds. A world with fewer notifications is a batter world.

Thu Mar 18
We took Chantelle with us on today's drive to Paarl for L-A's MLD. During the treatment Chantelle and I first had excellent 'Victoria' breakfasts at the Kelder, and then we went to Mercedes. I had with me their invoice from last July for fixing the car's acceleration problem. I told the foreman that I believed the same problem had returned and he told me that if it was the same unit that had failed, it would be replaced under warranty. I booked the car in for next Friday, and I will spend most of the day there while the work is being done, as I have before. We picked up L-A and had coffee at Nibbly Bits, then got sosaties both for us and for Chantelle ay Goede Hoop, and then went to Spice Route for ice cream/sorbet for L-A. We avoided parking in the rough spot we used a week ago which possibly caused the fuel line rupture in the car. It was all very pleasant, enhanced by Chantelle's excellent company. I checked my calendar and was concerned to see I was expected at a mandatory training meeting for the livestream production team at church in 5 minutes. When I got there, Kenneth informed me the meeting was last night. I felt awful; hardly able to speak coherently. I attempted to remove the oil spill with household detergent - to no avail. other than contaminating our cleaning brush. L-A completed colouring a third piece, 'Flagging;' very beautiful. Chantelle stayed with us to do homework, and then joined us for cabbage rolls. Bella called to say their cooker had failed, again, and asked for 4 hot pies. Loadshedding began at 8 and I got the pies to her 2 minutes before the lights went out. Anthonica was less lucky with a pizza which I gave her in the dark. She asked me to buy candles for her, but I refused, worried that fire is so frequent in the townships and I wanted no possibility of being responsible for supplying the cause. She is better off continuing to use her phone light. I thought about my options after my innefficiency over the missed church training, and sent a carefully constructed WhatsApp to Kenneth, saying I was resolving to be more attentive to my calendar, and WhatApp in the future. About 10 pm we were freaked out by a cockroach more than an inch long, excluding tentacles. All the others have been much smaller. We think they are gradually succumbing to the recent treatment. The cockroach was the third bad thing in my life in the past few hours. Things could only get better. We both took another D3 50,000 IU pill, 2 weeks after the first one.

Wed Mar 17
I was disturbed to see that the diesel leak from the car had caused a serious discolouration on the patking area. Someone has sent a photo of it to Grondbeurs and they have asked us to get it cleaned and also said they will inspect it next Tuesday. Today we went to Cape Gate for L-A to have a port flush. I watched the water temperature gauge during the trip and it behaved normally, but on the inclines through the pass the acceleration was definitely wanting. After her treatment by Marianna we had lunch in Steers. Anthonica persuaded me to let her come over from about 5 - 8 pm do work on a project due the next day, but she didn't join us for supper.

Tue Mar 16
Car to MMJ to fix fuel leak. We were relieved when one leaky pipe turned out to have been the cause of the problems since last Thursday. Listened to Beck on Spotify for much of the day, an artist I discovered late, so love exploring his back catalogue on Spotify. 'Angie' from customercarecott@paymentus.com gave me a
direct link to pay our municipal tax by credit card. Thanks to our rent payment and Joan Duffy paying me for a Nu Skin order, I had enough money in Simplii, I had enough balance there to pay the taz bill, saving $23 fee that would have been charged had I paid on MasterCard. It was a great relief to have actually paid this bill. I brought Chantelle from OVD to Avian Park. When I was about to drop her off in Manniken I noticed water vapour escaping form the bar bonnet, and glanced at the water temperature gauge. It was around 100°. As I drove home the draft from the radiator brought it down to 80°; still somewhat above normal, but I was alarmed to see that the engine light was now on, and I assumed that it was a warning of overheating. I left the hood up to allow the engine to cool and went up to the room. After supper - a new batch of cabbage rolls - I returned to the car with a water jug, but found that the coulant level was normal. So I took the car for a drive along the highway. The engine temperature stayed below 80° but the engine light stayed on. As I got up to 100 Km/hr. I noticed the acceleration had reduced to very low and I remembered the symptoms of the acceleration problem wich was evenually cured by Mercenes in Paarl with a new recirculating valve (for R7,113). The acceleration now was fine until higher speeds than on the previous occasion, but we would never sell the car with the engine light on. The immediate question was: 'is the car reliable enough to drive to Cape Gate/ Paarl the next two days?' Because of our experience 18 months ago with the 'acceleration problem,' I decided it was. However I didn't worry L-A with the situation tonight. In the evening L-A was working on the newsletter and Ways to Grow in God so did not join me for a 'Succession' episode. I gave her a summary of the story without the bad language.

Mon Mar 15
Bella is 19 tomorrow, but had agreed to spend some of today with us since our car will be in dock tomorrow. I piched her up at 11, and also gave Anthonica a lift to town. Bella and I went shopping for a birthday cake and found a suitable one in Shoprite, and also some Nik-Naks. I bought Daly Bread, and an almond croissant before going home. We had coffee and croissant, and some lunch before watching 'Consumend by Love;' L-A had long wanted to indrosduce Bella to Heidi Baker through the medium of this film. When it was over we watched the first two of our films from Pemba, and the film of our Western Cape outreach. This one hasn't been watched by many people, but is just as good our other misssionary training films, particularly for people who live in Western Cape. I took Bella home about 5 with a bag of staple foods from our stock.

Sun Mar 14
I was on the church livestream team for my monthly stint, and L-A was well enough to come to church for the first time in weeks, so we got there about 8:45. The service was led by the Truters, Erica delivering the sermon. Worship was from Phil, Etienne and Christine, all consumate musicians, who very soon showed that they didn't need a drummer for a great worship experience. Livestream went according to plan. At the end of the service Erica invited us to write down, at this stage of the pandemic, where we should now be seeking God's guidance. I wrote: 'The final stage of our mission, where should our focus be: Mailbox clubs, prison, something else, something new?' As we drove home I noticed the car engine light was now on from the problem with the ignition. Hopefully it won't actually break before Tuesday morning. I tried to cancel notifications from Facebook Messenger without success - the beeps that had interupted my GNiTM recording last night. I continued attempting to pay our municipal tax bill - but couldn't find the right button. I found a help section on the municipal website and actually got a reply from a woman called Angie who recommended the same site I had been on, but had been unable to send money from there to the city of Ottawa. I need to figure out the answer to this in the next 4 days when the payment is due. Tersia called in an emergency waking me from an afternoon sleep during load-shedding; she owed R240 to a woman who was threatening to smash her windows. I asked her if she had yet listed the people she owed money to, and she said this was now the only one. At this stage I wasn't getting a clear Holy Spirit message that I must help her, yet again. She put Anthonica on the line and I explained we were near our limit of getting money from Canada and if I give her cash from our FNB account we won't be able to pay our rent. None of this makes any sense to Anthonica who can just verbalize her own needs, but not comprehend ours. 45 minutes later Anthonica calls again, and again I talk to Tersia, who can only sob that the woman she owes has said she will smash their windows if she doesn't receive her money. I tell her that I can't figure out an answer, but if I do I will let her know. I had one key piece of information; that this was Tersia's only outstanding debtor. My sheet of paper for her to tabulate her finances had achieved that. I went to the computer and checked the balance and upcoming transactions on our FNB and Simplii accounts. It turned out that if I transfer R3,000 from Canada in the next week, I could give Tersia the R2400 she needs tonight. I called Anthonica and told her I was bringing the money. After my recent experience with the Standard Bank ATM, I decided to try the Nedbank ATM in the wall of our building. I drove the car out of the gate and parked beside the ATM. The first time it didn't work; I must have pushed a wrong key, because my second attempt worked fine. I drove to OK and got pies for Anthonica and Tersia, and then drive down. Tersia was almost overcome with gratitude when she saw the money - which went against her culture (showing gratitude). Shortly after 10 when we were watching TV all the lights went out: unexpected loadshedding meant we went to bed by torchlight.

Sat Mar 13
We were both determined to go to Mailbox Club OVD (after last week's was pre-empted by netball, and arrived about 9:45. Chantelle was already there and gathered up the boys and girls. Limique had the Mailbox materials in her school bag, and she was late, so we decided to make my talk the focus. We may have actually come to the end of the current course. It was very windy in front of the house so for the music we moved into the sun on the end of the house. I had forgotten my amplifier, but once they all had percussion instruments (eggs/castanets) it didn't seem to matter as they got into the rhythm. I led them on the 5 or 6 songs that I don't need music for and it went well. By now they were too hot from the sun so we moved to the front of the building. The numbers had swelled to around 15, and this seems to happen when L-A is present. She is the 'Great attractor.' Limique arrived. My talk was on friendship, and how important it is to God. I started with David and Jonathan, then go on to how we are brothers and sisters in Christ, and ended with David taking in Jonathan's disabled son for the rest of his life. While I was speaking a lady came and joined the group and started to tanslate and amplify what I was saying, and really encouraging the children. She said that we were doing badly needed work here in OVD. Then she said that what this group of 20 clildren really need (and used to have) is a lift to Manranatha church for the 10 am service on Sundays, returning at noon. They have Sunday school. Her name is Elsie Dendie, tel 079 650 8664. Afer the session we took Chantelle and Limique for the best(?) that McDonalds offers: Big Macs, fries and drinks. Chantelle has missed out on trips to Hillsong, etc, so this was a chance for her to catch up a little. When we had finished eating I took her to buy a pair of Nike sandals that wouldn't break after 3 weeks (R300). Afterwards we returned to OVD where she picked up some stuff before we took her to 'work' on Durban Street where she goes twice a week to earn a few Rand. Just as I was going to bed about 11 I remembered I hadn't posted GNiTM. Tomorrow's preacher was Dave Kemp and I hadn't even recorded his talk from Facebook. As I did this, Chantelle noticed I was on Facbook and started messaging me, each one causing a notification 'ping.' I messaged her and told her to stop - and she did! I edited out the pings before producing and uploading the show, finally getting to bed about 12:15 (after L-A, which is very rare).

Fri Mar 12
So busy for the last few days, I am now on Sunday night, trying to remember Friday, and it's hard. I have been feeling better, so I can't blame TB. L-A seems to have been better, enjoying her new gold and silver curls masterminded by Joan. I took Tersia to the Day Hospital to have her eye monitored. Anthonica came and I dropped her at her creche. When I picked her up later she came here for a while. And that's all I can recall about Friday.

Thu Mar 11
We were deternined that Bella would not miss out on coming to Paarl again, but when Este called at about 7:30 to say she couldn't make it to give L-A her MLD and physio we were in a quandry: to go or not to go. We decided to go to Paarl anyway. We picked up Bella at 10 and got on our way. Since we weren't in a hurry we went 'over the top' instead of through the tunnel, giving Bella the experience of the airplane-like views, and saving the R42.5 toll. It was slow because of many trucks saving the toll fares. Our first stop was for brunch at De Kelder. Then on to Goede Hoop for meat, including some chicken sosaties for Bella and family. Third stop was Spice Route for ice cream, sorbet, and De Villier's chocolate. Fourth stop was at the Taal Afrikaans monument, commemorating Afrikaans as a new language in the 1930s. Then we went home, this time through the tunnel. Bella had a nice trip and we enjoyed her company. In the afternoon, Anthonica came to our house to do homework. Later that evening Anthonica and Tersia called to say that they owe R150 to a woman down the street who is threatening Anhonica with violence if she doen't receive the cash tonight. I realise immediately I must help, but I want to eliminate any possibility it is a made-up story so I told Tersia I will only pay the money to the woman who lent it to her. I drive to FNB where a security guard tells me all their ATMs are off-line for maintenance work. He suggests the Standard Bank ATM up the street, and when I do I discover I am not charged an additional fee. When I arrive at Manniken Tersia takes me to the woman - who seems reasonable and sober - and I ask her how much she is owed, and she says R150, so I give her the money.

Wed Mar 10
Our new pest exterminator, Jameel, was due to visit around 11:30, and I had agreed to drive Bella and Joy to their old school at 10, and then on to the Department of Basic Education. At the school they filled in forms and collected the principal's signature. At the Dept of Education they applied to receive the revision coursework for the two Matric exams they had both failed. I left them there; after making their application they wanted to go window shopping in town. When they were done they would call me. Jameel phoned about 11:45 and I let him in the front door. He knew a lot more about pest control than anyone we met in Pest Elite. He described a technique where bait was put in many places arounf the house that the cockroaches can't resist, and it kills them, and also kills others that eat their excreta or the dead bodies of their comrades. After a week or so - no more roaches. For R600, this sounded good value to us and we booked him for Friday morning. As he left, Bella and Joy came in and had coffee and relaxation till about 2. Jamelia had booked to come here for homework at 2:30, so after dropping off Bella and joy, I picked her up. She has no phone so is dependent on friends to enable her to do her schoolwork using their devices. Using Pink Dell was a real help for her and she worked diligently for hours. We had load shedding from 5 - 6:30 and I managed to grab 30 minutes in bed. About 6:40 I took her to the take-away next door, and I ordered beef biryani for her to feed her family tonight. Her mother has TB and has gone to stay with her family in Cape Town. We then drove to OK to get some food for Chantelle and Anthonica, and I noticed there were no coins in the slot in the car. I challenged Jamelia and she denied all knowledge. I told one of the parking boys I would have no money for him and he asked for food instead. I found a bag of cheese puffs and when I came out of the shop held it up to the boys who were on the other side of the road. One of them started to run to me, closely followed by the one who had got my attention. If I hadn't given the bag to the latter there would have been a fight. I delivered Jamelia home and the food to the other girls. Back home, after dinner, L-A checked her purse which had been in the living room while Jamelia was here, and found that her only money, a R10 note, was missing. So the culprit of both thefts was definitely Jamelia, and she has stolen from our car before. I need to show her that her stealing about R16 will turn out to have been a bad decision. I tried again to send Joan Duffy's Nu Skin order, without success, so I called customer servive in Mississauga on the iPad. What had happend was the system had noted that this was my first order in Canada in some time, and had flagged it so that a check could be nade manually that I hadn't been scammed. But they hadn't reached me at my old Canadian number, so she called Joah Duffy who convinced here it was kosher so she let the order go, and removed the cautionary delay. So when I had tried to send the order again today there could have been two orders, but luckily she realised what was going on and cancelled the duplicate. Bottom line of all this is that Joan will have her order very soon. I emailed her to confirm this.

Tue Mar 9
I picked up Tersia and Anthonica at 6:45am and took them to the hospital for 7 to receive feedback from the Cate Town eye specialist. Then I went home and back to bed. At 8:30 Anthonica called to say they were ready. What they wanted when I had them in the car was coffe, so I took them to our place. As I changed course, the idea came to me to use the time it would take them to drink the coffee for a higher purpose. The specialist hadn't found any more glass in the eye, and the main thrust was that it would heal, but he asked for another assessment in a few weeks. The worrying part was that Tersia's vision in her right eye was blurred. Soon they were sitting in front of our TV, and I said I would show them (both) the next Alpha session, 'Telling others.' Some of it might rub off on Tersia. They watched it, and she listened as I had the short Q & As at intervals. When they were done, I took them home. The day was still young, and when it was done I had been into Avian Park 5 times and to the mall 3 times, accommodating the needs of Bella and Chantelle, and burning up a lot of diesel. Bella bought a pair of shoes and a black outfit for a church event. Chantelle spent several hours in our house catching up on her homework and using her (new) phone for accessing the necessary information. The schools send the learners instructions using a WhatsApp group, and create a simulated teaching environment using videos uploaded to YouTube. Where a learner doesn't have wifi access this requires a lot of data - Chantelle used 500 MB in one day. High school students actually go into school one or two days a week (to accommodate social distancing), using distance learning on the other days. This must be a real workout for the teachers. I also got some long-standing actions done, such as calling a pest exterminator, and sending Rob Burr some thoughts about Carl Wake to be used on his Retirement zoom next month. Laurie-Ann also completed the colouring of a drawing of Pomegranate homestead nesling in the mountains, which she will be giving to Marie and Johan. She hasn't lost her touch!

Mon Mar 8
I went to see Rejeanne at Van Wyk, Le Roux so she could eee whether my left eye vision could be improved further with a different prescription. The answer was 'marginally; you are't going to be able to focus with it; all we can do is make it less blurred.' The pupil was pushed out of shape by the surgery, resulting in the lens also being slightly distorted to a degree that prescription glass cannot compensate for. Rejeanne said thet my vision might be slightly inproved by a change to the prescription, and she would do it wothout charge, so I said 'yes.' Neither did she charge for this morning's work. It is my opinion that given the pre-existing condition, Dr Van Dyk did as good a job on it as was possible. After coffee at home I went to collect Anthonica for Alpha, and also to look at Tersia's eye, damaged on Saturday night. It looked bad, and I took a picture. Henry was there. On our way to Da Vinci I decided to show tht picture to Carica, and she recommended taking her to the Worcester hospital emergency. I decided to do this after the Alpha sessions. Anthonica also wanted a bath. We worked through the next 2 Alpha vidoes: 'Life,' and 'Evil,' and she listened intently. Then it was time to collect Tersia, so we drove to Manniken St. Tersia wasn't expecting to go to hospital but she got herself ready and I drove them droping them at the emergency entrance. Then I went home and had half an hour's sleep before Anthonica called. Her mother was with the doctor. They were taking this one very seriously. Anthonica was hungry. I said I would be there after dropping off some food with Chantelle. I went to Pick n Pay, then to Chantelle's and then to the hospital where again I parked outside and called them. What had happened tonight was an X-Ray and eye drops. The X-Ray image would be sent to a specialist in Cape Town for comments. I took Tersia and Anthonica home via OK to pick up pies.

Sun Mar 7
I joined the group waiting to be despatched to prayer destinantions around town to find I was allocated to the Kinghorns, bound for Mediclinic. Godfrey was in the same group. When we got there Brian sais we would spit into groups of 2 or 3 and go to different parts of the hospital. I went with Godfrey to the main door of the emergency unit, and we prayed in turn for half an hour. We then re-joined the main group for feedback before returning to church. By now I was feedling quite tired, and when the time of worship began I stood for the first song but sat for the rest. The worship leader today was a young man called Olson (?) at the start of a career in ministry, and he has a good voice. In a couple of days he leaves for YWAM in Windhoek. After the service I chatted wuth him and disovered he is Namibian and was born in Windhoek. For some time I had planned to write a circular letter that Anfre and Jeney could use for emailing to friends, introducing them to the Nu Skin products. Today I actually felt able to write the letter and send it to them. Maybe my spark of creativity is coming back after being kept in abeyance for a while by TB. I also found a YouTube that explained my difficulties in enabling new devices to pair with the Jabra Cruiser blue tooth. I continued having difficulty with sending a large Nu Skin order to Joan Duffy in PEI, though I have done this before. At 5 pm I picked up Anthonica and a cousin and Cay-Lene and returned the cousin to Brandwacht Farm (Kevins area). I bought pies for them on the way home and two more for Chantelle who phoned in. In the evening we watched the final episode of the surprisingly good TV mini-series 'Land Girls.'

Sat Mar 6
I was very relived to see that the Glo recharged fully overnight. and it has since worked normally. This almost feels like TKOG, but mainly because we had lived for 2 days expecting the worst. Since Chantelle's Mailbox Club wasn't on today (netball) we were able to run our strangest Alpha weekend yet for Anthonica. I collected her at 10, but before we got home we had taken several members of her extended family for a gathering at an address in Riverview. Tersia's sister refused to go to the Riverview location, so we took her to OVD. When we finally arrived home, Anthonica asked if she could start by having a bath, so Alpha began about 11:30 with a teach-in on the spiritual gifts and the Fruits of the Spirit. L-A shared in the teaching. As it was ending there was a panic call from Tersia to say a fight had broken out in the Riverview flat and would I take them home again. After speaking direct with Tersia I agreed. The problem was to walk home they would have to cross the territory of a rival gang which clearly scared Tersia. After dropping Tersia and another woman in Mannikin street, a cousin called Mikaela was still in the car, and Anthonica begged that she could come with us for the rest of the Alpha session. This I was much against, and quite vocal, but in the and I agreed. When they were sitting together watching "How can I be filled," they began chatting, so I removed their cell phones and put Mikaela on a chair well separated from Anthonica and gave her an egg sandwich (which she wouldn't touch and I had for lunch on Sunday). We continued with the video, and when it ended, invited the Holy Spirit's presence in force and prayed for Anthonica, moving on to the sinner's prayer. She was quite sure she wanted Him in her heart. I don't know what Mikaela made of it all, but she had now heard of the Holy Spirit. Late tonight - and we didn't hear of it till Monday morning - Tersia was at a neighbour's house, and a got into a fight with a drunk woman who slashed he in the face with a bottle, embedding glass in the flesh below her left eye. Henry later removed a piece if glass from her face.

Fri Mar 5
South Africa is a county where a woman's hair matters more than food in her mouth, and this extends to hr youngest children, who have complex and time-consuming hair-art form as soon as they are weaned. However, if you are western and have been here a while, you are also afflicted. At 10:30 I took L-A to Joan to have grey highlights added. She hadn't similar work done since the late 80s. We had saved up R450 in cash to pay for it. I ran several errands while it was being done, returning periodically to take photos. At one point she looked more like a budhist pagoda than a human. The final result clearly had several colours seemingly seamlessly woven into her locks, which are plentiful. Carica called to say I could come and pick up the Vitamin D3 prescription. This was one of the errands. When I got there she had just 3 pills, enough for one person for 6 weeks. The good news was it was only R35. When we got home we each had one pill. In two weeks time we have the choice to cut the last pill in half, or go and get a repeat of the prescription. I prepared for Alpha with Anthonica tomorrow. L-A's phone with the new battery had spontaneouly switched itself off then the clarge level fell to 40%. The next cycle it repeated the fault at 60% I took it back to Tahir, and her replaced the battery with one that he had used personally, and when he put it in it had 19% charge. I was beginning to suspect the phone rather than the battery. Overnight we left it on charge and it went to 100% While we still have a working phone I backed up the Mobicel to my laptop, including her photos from Yzerfontein. I uploaded the rest of the Yzerfontein photos from the Mobicel Glo, and everythig elso on it, since it might be on its last legs. Most of them were from Yzerfontein so I added them to Flikr. I noticed that this link wouldn't work properly on L-A's iPad, since the left and right arrows (< >) didn't show up on the iPad. This may not be a problem with the latest iPad software.

Thu Mar 4
We had hoped to take Bella to to Paarl and Spice Route, but Kathy decided it was more important they go early to the post office and try an re-contact the clerk who had told them they could expect the money from the fraud at the Cape Town FNB ATM more than a year ago to be delivered with their grant today. It hadn't been. This made no sense to me since it was Capitec Bank who was refunding the money. So when I got to their house at 9 am I suggested they go and see a local Capitec bank manager, and they agreed. After dropping them at Catitec in the High Street I returned home and we went to Paarl for L-A's treatment. When it was done we bought meat at Goede Hoop but didn't go to Spice Route. I saw Bella later in the day and Capitec had given them an appointment to come back in April! This is the SA way, put off all actions till a time in the future (and then put them off again. This saves the bank clerk from actually doing any work.) I had booked an appointment with Dr Eric, feeling it was now worth R400+ for him to assess my progress so far with TB. I began by telling him the good news of L-A's cancer results. Then I said that in the 6 months since my TB had been diagnosed I had lost 5 Kg, and didn't feel well, though there had been some better days very recently. I still got very fatigued after walking up stairs. He tapped my back and told me there was still fluid around the lung. He wrote a prescription for a blood test. I also told him I had cut down on Uromax because on the day I took it my problem became worse. I explained the 2 month delay in obtaining a medical visa (extension) and asked for a letter to allow me to apply. We already had Laurie-Ann's letter from Dr Kotze. He wrote a letter referring to the one he had done for me on 2 Oct 2020. Finally I asked him for a prescription for Vitamin D3 5000 IU since Carica had said she had some , and also 50,000 IU in stock. He did it, though cautiously. I took the prescription to Carica, only to find that she didn't have the D3 5000 IU, but only the 50,000. She offered to call Dr Eric and see if she could prescribe the 50,000. I took L-A's phone to Tahir at Cell Repair Centre and he sold me a new battery (R100).

Wed Mar 3
I felt a little better when I woke up than I have for a few days. Maybe I am turning the corner on TB recovery. I attempted to put the screen protector on Chantelle's phone, but was totally unsuccessful, and realized I would have to go back to Tahir and it would cost another R50. Chantelle messaged that for her (16th) birthday tomorrow, please would I get her the ingredients she needed for a cale. Cakes, and particularly on celebratory occasions, are part of the culture in SA. Mid morning I bought cake ingredients in Pick n Pay. I drove back to Cell Repair Centre and watched carefully as Tahir put a new screen protector on Chantelle's phone. Firstly he removed the cellophane protection from the screen, that I hadn't even noticed. Then he applied the thick pastic piece to the phone after removing its thin covering. I had been trying to stick the thin covering and then discarding the actual protector! He smoother out the protector spreading the adhesive evenly. It was then that I realised I had done a bad job on Bella's phone, which was why it was fraying at the edges. Tahir refused utterly to take any money for the new protector! He hasn't made much profit out of me. Maybe he has plans for me to sponsor him to come to Canada. Back home L-A casually asked if I had set up a ring tone for Chantelle's phone, and I hadn't so I called it form my phone, and got a connestivity error message. I tried calling me from Chantelles' phone and got the same error. The Riverside children's ministry went according to plan. Mella has some new teaching materials and today's edition focused on Potiphar's wifes's attempted seduction of Joseph, in great detail. Mella use every opportunity to extract the sexual meaning and emphasising its sinful nature. In Avian Park we were in a small house with no social distancing. I probably should have refused to have any part of it but I went in and lead in a few songs. Then I left and drove to Chantelle's house with her cake ingredients. I showed her her phone, but said there was a fault on it preventing it from making calls. So in typical Chantelle fashion, she dialled my nymber, and, amazingly, the call connected. I have no idea why it worked for her when it hadn't worked for me at home; maybe TKOG. I let her heep it and said I would being the box and charger tomorrow. She was highly thrilled. She persuaded me to to lend her R100 (perhaps because I was so happy about her phone springing into life) so her mother could have some desperately needed dental treatment. Apparently her father Moses starts a new job at Shoprite next week and will receive a leaving bonus or pension payout of some sort from his old job, so maybe I'll get the money back. On previous Wednesdays after kids ministry I have felt wiped out by now, but today I wasn't too bad. I did however take an hour's nap before dinner and slept very soundly.

Tue Mar 2
Laurie-Ann's Mobicel had not charged overnight but had become hot. I tried charging it with Chantelle's charger, to no effect, suggesting the problem was the battery. Anthonica came for Alpha - sessions on How does God guide us?, and Who is the HS? Laurie-Ann was reading on the couch so she joined in. Taking her home was a chore since she asked for some staple foods after we had left, so we had to go back for them. Bella had given a list of toiletries some of which I found in Pick n Pay. After dropping Anthonica I left the toiletries at Bella's. Then I returned to Q-Square but Quenet's didn't have the rest of the toiletries. I went to Cell Repair Centre and Tahir was in an argument with a customer. The customer had brought a phone in for repair and never come back - till now: a year later. Tahir had used her phone for spare parts. Sounded reasonable to me. I commennted to her that he was an honest man and though I didn't know the details I assured her he would not cheat her. Tahir replaced the battery in L-A's phone for R100 and also sold me a screen protector for Chantelle's. He offered to show me how to install the screen protector but I arrogantly assured him I was knowledgable in that area, having installed Bella's.

Mon Mar 1 - WCC 26th anniversary
Chantelle and Bella are friends with Marsha, and reported that she had turned over a new leaf and was back in school. What she needed was a school bag. I had hesitated because the bags can be R350, but I had seen some at R100. So we told her I would pick her up at 10:30 this morning. She brought a brother with her and went to Mr Price where there was a selection of bags around the R100 mark. She chose one. She also wanted school supplies so we went to Boland Craft and thngs where she went through R284. I was happy to do this because we have given her far less than the other girls and she seems determined to stick with school. In the last few months she lost her father and suffered a miscarriage. She is 16, and speaks and writes well, and likes maths.

Sun Feb 28
I arrived at church at 8:25 and joined Pam Hugo's group for Police and Courts. A man on my left put out his hand and I responded with my elbow. I didn't recognize him with his mask on, and I said 'Who are you' which immediately sounded a little rude, particularly when he spoke to someone else and I recongnized Johan Schoonraad's voice. Our group arrived outside the courtroom; about 10 of us including 3 coloured ladies. Pam asked us to keep our prayers direct and not too long. Everyone contributed. At one point a siren went off and drowned us out for a few minutes. At the end I phoned L-A to find out oif she was strong enough to go to church, but she declined. I sat in translation row. There was an appeal for 3 more volunteers for the livestream group. Marius led the worship and Johan preached on Joy; memories of Rolland. Back home L-A read to me from the last few chapters of 'The Final Curtsey,' a fascinating book by the queen's cousin Margaret Rhodes. I didn't feel anergetic enough to do more than listen. Then I washed and moisturized her legs an approximately weekly pleasure.

Sat Feb 27
L-A wasn't up to Mailbox Club, and I felt not much better, but the show must go on! I asked L-A for an idea for my Bible story, and she suggested David and Goliath. I bought bananas and koeksisters and a pie at Pick n Pay and drove to Avian Park to pick up Chantelle, who got the pie. She also got the good news that I had bought her cell-phone, and squealed with delight. She understood when I told her that I needed time to set it up, and there were 7 days of no-questions-asked warranty, for at least some of which I should keep testing it. There were only about 7 kids for the class and only a couple of them had been before. It was way too windy to play tunes from music but I have 4 or 5 I can do without music, so they got - and clearly enjoyed - those. My David and Goliath version went down quite well. Then Chantelle did the lesson, but got through it rather fast. I missed having L-A there, after last week. Jamelia called saying she was desperate for dancing shoes and missing parts of her dance oufit. At 2 I went to pick her up, plus a brother. We started at Goodies, downtown, and then to the mall for Mr Price, etc, but she couldn't find what she was looking for. So I promised her whe would go again on Monday morning. I was impressed by her determination, and that she had decided they wouldn't find her things today, so the two of them got pies and a drink on the way home. I WhatsaApped Leoni to book onto the Sundary prayer groups and was allocated to the Police and Courts group - visible from our balcony. I decided to take a batch of the postcards for police. At about 9 pm Anthonica called to ask me for food so she could eat her pills. I'm afraid I turned down her request, suggesting she took the pills anyway.

Fri Feb 26
We managed to be packed and ready to go by shortly after 10, but then a moment of minor panic when I couldn't find the car trunk key. I had just used it to pack the trunk. I re-searched the unit, and we asked Delia to phone us if it was found there. The implication of this included not being able to lock the car. but we would be able to drive home. We left in time to get to Rena's by 10:30, and she had arranged for the gate on her rear-entry road to be open for us. We had a fine reunion with Rena and she seemed in excellent spirits. We shared about our respetive worlds. She is undecided about whether to move back to Worcester. We told her of the poverty being experienced by our girls, and she spontaneously give us R200 to help them out. As she came out to see us off, I noticed the missing car key in the driver's lock! I had used it to open the door when we were packing, and then left it there. Great relief all round! After saying goodbye, we felt better about life in general, and decided to go back to Rosemead for lunch. Then we got on our way and I drove non-stop to Worcester via Neuwekloof, the pass the rail line follows, which saved us R42 toll charge. I offloaded the car via the front door. Three teenagers who also live in Da Vinci saw all our stuff at the bottom of the stairs and helped bring it up for me, restoring my faith in humanity; this was of tremendous help to me. After having some refreshment I went out and bought a Mobicel Star for Chantelle, now that Rena had essentially halved the price for us with her gift. I also got some Woolworth's sorbet for L-A. Woolworths hadn't had it in stock when I had been in last week, so it was a relief to see they hadn't de-stocked it. In the evening I started the installation process for Chantelle's phone, discovering that it didn't need a Microsoft ID, just a Google ID. For dinner I defrosted the second batch of cabbage rolls and we enjoyed them greatly.

Thu Feb 25
We went for (late) breakfast at Rosemead Bakery, driving round much of town to find it, and were pleased to see nothing had changed in the 18 months since we were last here. We both had eggs and crispy bacon on toast, and the toast was from ciabata very similar to Daly Bread's. I had a brief chat with the owner and it turned out he knows Trevor Daly, and I suspect he shared the recipe. We lingered at Rosemead, just enjoying the ambience. The service was excellent. The rest of the day we chilled out in the guest house. At one point while L-A relazed on the stoep, I took a walk to the edge of the sand cliff and took some photos. For dinner we had the roast beef from Spar the rest of the roasting veg, and potato salad, with wine and the BBC World News.

Wed Feb 24
Another beautiful day in Yzerfontein, though it's cold in the mornings and evenings, and I am glad I brought a sweater. Rena (Kevin's mum) answered a WhatsApp to say she would be happy to have us for a coffee tomoroow at 10:30. Our bank account showed that we successfully paid our rent this morning, and also showed the monthly wire transfer had arrived from Simplii. Today L-A had planned for a drive to Simply Bee in Hopefield - Travel guide version. We got samosa and quiche respectively at the padstal near the R43, and then drove about an hour. L-A made a bee line for the products shop and bought most of them. Then we walked next door to the tea shop. It had been rearranged, with tables outside, but Yolande was still serving. We had tea (with honey for L-A), honey fudge and a honey brownie, and we binged up on bee health in the relaxing atmosphere where the bees are renowned for beeing happy. Yolande told me that the bee population has rebounded from a dip about 2 years ago. On our way home we dropped in at another padstal with a full size airplane in the garden, but didn't buy anything. On arrival back in Yzerfontein we shopped for a few groceries in Spar, where I found sorbet, goat cheese, roasting vegetables, and some nice looking slices of roast beef. We stopped at a beauty spot on the lower road beside the sea and sat on a bench for a while. Back home I took a nap, then resurrected last night's braai to cook chicken sosaties for our dinner. We saw on BBC World News that Tiger Woods had suffered major injuries from a car anihilation, and probably won't play golf again after this one, despite a tweet from Barack Obama never to count him out. I lit up the braai and cooked the three chicken sosaties we had bought at Goede Hoop. I wasn't able to get the heat going as well as yesterday, and was concerned they would be more smoked than braai'd, but actually they were fine. We has half of a bag of roasting vegetables which we cooked in the steamer, plus potato salad.

Tue Feb 23
I woke slightly less than refreshed having dreamed I had forgotten my TB meds ay home, and about 5 other daily meds. I considered my options, the only practical one being to drive home. But when I actually got up and looked for them, there they were on our table. Major relief! I used the nice shower, which was fitted with a shampoo and body wash dispenser! We had scrambled eggs. We were going to relax today, and go to Hopefield tomorrow. Bella messaged to say she had heard from Esselen Park High School that unless she paid the R250 owing on the textbook that had been stolen from her, she would not receive her Matric marks. I had gone into the school a few weeks ago and told her tale to a lady in the office, who had said she had removed Bella's name from the list of students who hadn't returned books, in view of the theft of the book. She did this when I told her the book was stolen, and I did not see that Bella should be punished because of another student's larceny. Clearly this lady then took no action, prefering the option of saying she would do something but then not doing it. So now the problem had re-surfaced. I had looked before for a good phone number for the school, but now it was very important. On the third web site I found that referenced the school, I found the number: 023 347 0174. I called the number and someone answered. Soon I was talking to a Mrs Rodman. She grasped the situation and said Bella must come in to see her. She also have me the school's bank account number in case it became necessary to EFT money, and her own direct line 084 464 602(?). By now she had my trust. I asked her if Bella's marks would go to CPUT, even if they weren't released to her, and she didn't know. I called Bella, who didn't answer so I left her a voicemail saying she should go and see Mrs Rodman asap. We heard back from Bella within 2 hours saying she had been to the school and talked with Mrs Rodman, and had then given her the R200 that I had given her yeaterday morning, which had satisfied her. So we saved R50. We continued with our 'lazy' day (meaning both of us pounding computer keyboards rather than visiting local beauty spots). It was mid afternoon when a sad Bella called me to say she had failed in two Matric subjects. Taking the rigours of distance learning in the township I though that was a pretty respectable result. I had listened on SAFM earlier when the minister of basic education said as much referring to thousands of learners whose results were less than they had hoped for. In Bella's case she would be taking the two exams again in July, and if she passed one, she could then go up to CPUT. Failure in one subject is allowed. I tried not to sound disappointed, but encouraging. However, it now was clearly good that we hadn't taken her to Bellville yesterday. It was a little later in the aftermoon when I decided to master the braai. There was far less wind, and we had some charcoal from last night's efforts. L-A turned the high quality mince from Goede Hoop into three large burger patties. Soon I had a very hot braai but without open flames and I began to cook. Everything went well, to the extent that it crossed my mind that braaing could be fun and not just a South African obsession. I put the results on two plates with the potato salad and lettuce from Spar and we enjoyed our supper. For Laurie-Ann it was a special level of enjoyment since she had been craving Bar-b-que'd hamburger. Delia visited as the sun went down and told us of her life as a regular cruise-goer. She had also been a teacher so I questioned her about the basic education system. She said that scholarships were available to poorer coloured and black children which were not based just on educational qualifications. The scholarships came along with food coupons, which sadly were sometimes sold for money. The coupons explained how Bella will survive at CPUT. The nature of the scholarships explains why she still needed matric results, but they weren't the only factor. About 11:45 pm Chantelle called L-A (who was still up!) saying she desperately needed air time to call her schoolmaster tomorrow morning that she must accompany her other grandmother (not Lottie) to the hospital.

Mon Feb 22
I don't yet have that holiday feeling. I am mostly concerned about dropping off Bella into the unknown. I went to FNB and redeemed R200, and then went to the water shop to refil one of our large bottles. I wasn't worried about sailing close to the wind on the FNB account; my larger concern is we only have ~S650 in Simplii, with two credit card minimums to be paid. We seriously need more donations; maybe the latest newsletter will bring in something. However I am also aware that Canadians are in very tight spots right now with financial worries of their own. Bottom line, our faithful God is the only answer. Bella called with the bad news that she had heard from Essellen Park High school that the Matric results had been delayed a day, and until they were received she shoudn't go up to CPUT. I had assumed that the fact she had a scholarship meant she must have already passed whatever exams she needed. This turned out to be naïveté on my part. Her Matric results were a major part of the equation. I said I would come down to see her at 10 to find out more. I also needed to get R30 to Anthonica for taxi and food money so she could ply her hairdressing trade for a further day downtown. I took Anthonica her money and then went on to see Bella. She convinced me that she should not go to CPUT today. I didn't understand enough about the education system to contradict her. This meant of course that we would not be able to take her, since we were going on our Yzerfontein break and had planned to drop her at Bellville en-route. I gave her the R200 so that when she did eventually arrive in college sho wouldn't be penniless. and we agreed I should hang onto the computer (which was in the trunk of the car) and bring it to her when she had a room there to keep it in. Back home we continued our packing, though there was now no hurry. For breakfast we ate the rest of the wors we had started on a couple of days before. By 11:30 we were ready to go. I had made 5 or 6 trips down the back stairs packing the car. without serious heavy breathing, suggesting I am getting stronger. After one false start, when I went back to turn off the geyser, we were on our way, and without the challenge of getting Bella to college. Our first stop was Goede Hoop in Parl where we stocked up on meet that we would braai during our holiday. The next stop was Wellness Wharehouse in Platekloof Village for some more Gaia Organics pure sodium ascorbate (Vitamin C) for L-A. This goes into her green drinking water bottle. Here we had a good lunch in Nando's, though the cool drinks we ordered didn't arrive till we had finished our meals. Nando's food always tastes good but their service always seems slow. Then it was one more leg on our journey to reach Yzerfontein. My dark glasses were not strong enough to prevent discomfort in my eyes from the bright sunlight, or I would have enjoyed the drive up the West Coast more. We were greeted on arrival by Delia who took us to the room where we had stayed in August 29 and 30 2019. L-A's first thought was tonight's dinner; she has had a focus for some weeks on a Bar-b-Que'd hamburger. It was the last thing I was interested in because I was still full from Nandos, I was tired from driving, and it was too windy for braaing. L-A said she would be braai-master. I drove to Spar and bought firewood since they were out of charcoal brickettes. I also bought potato salad and other foods to get us started. I arranged the firewood on top of firelighters and applied some matches, but every time there were any consistent flames, a gust of wind blue them almost out. I was ready to quit but L-A insisted on taking over, and achieved a smoked lamb chop. Eventually she gave up and I fried the chop on the cooking hob. She ate and I watched - she gave me a bite and it was really nice. After dinner I tried the TV expecting to have to unravel the mysteries of DSTV, so we were very pleasantly suprized when the BBC World News came up immediately. It was nice to see the presenters again after our several months watching France 24.

Sun Feb 21
I turned up at church shortly before 8:30 when Johan spoke to all the prayer volunteers, and then distributed them into about 6 teams destined for various local destinations. I was in the Madiclinic team, and we drove there and congregated opposite the main entrance; about 10 of us. Soon we started to pray as the Holy Spirit led us. For me it was a good place to be because of our times as patients here and the excellent nursing we had experienced. After about 20 minutes the leader distributed the elements and we shared communion. Then most of us returned to church for the 9:30 service, where Kenneth preached. I calculated that I could redeem R200 from FNB while leaving enough to cover the rent. At 8pm, a call from Bella, not to tell me her student number, but to ask for bread. Cathy won't get a grant till 5 February. They must have spent every cent on school needs. I took enough to keep then a live a few days, and confirmed all was set for Bella to leave at 10 tomorrow. I worke quite hard packing items from a list I had made earlier. By about 9:30 I was fading, but there was more to do. I swept the kitchen floor. From 10 - 10:45 I slept, then got up and washed the kitchen floor, which hadn't been done for a couple of weeks. The majority of the packing that can be done the night before was done, and my guitar and some other items were already in the car trunk.

Sat Feb 20
I WhatsApped Leoni confirming how to book myself onto tomorrow's around Worcester prayer teams. I did more work cleaning up Bella's computer, and updating the 'maintenance manual.' At a rather late time I remembered about GNiTM, only to discover that all remaining programs I twere by George were by members of his preaching team, so I used a sermon by David Avitan. I chose him from the others by the sound of his voice.

Fri Feb 19
Dropped into Mella's for R120. Nik and Gisela were there. Henrietta pregnant. Jamelia very abrupt with demands for foof, with what appeared to be a message from someone else in the family insisting on a delivery immediately; impossible for me.

Thu Feb 18
My appointment with Dr Van Dyk was at 5, and though I had been counting down the hours, when I entering his offices I felt calm; the way you feel when you know people have been praying for you. I checked with the nurse that the drops she wanted to put in my eye would not dilate the pupil - but contract it. Unlike on Monday when Van Dyk seemed at a loss as to how to proceed, today he was businesslike and clearly had a plan, which I asked him for and he shared. After more eye drops, and ointment, we moved to his laser machine, and he inserted a contact lens on a short pedestal to keep the eye open. He then shone light on the subject which seemed far less bright than on Monday, and began shooting lasers onto my eye to clear up residues from the small sinues that hold the lens in place (?) Some of this residue may have been from my original ski accident in 1983, and some from the work he did for the cataract surgery. He told me it would take seconds, not minutes, and for a second I woundered if he'd been reading this journal! The process took about a minute but compared with previous encounters I had had with him was relatively painless. It will be a few weeks before we will know if it has worked fully. It is likely the prescription my eye needs will have changed. Thank the Lord for my right eye which is allowing me to type this, and function relatively normally. He did not charge me for this work. Five minutes after I drove off he called me to say I had left my glasses there. I was either super casual or super freaked out. I drover round the block and got them. Anthonica wanted to come tomorrow for her next 2 Alpha sessions, but we reluctantly had to turn her down due to pressures of other commitments. We will continue post-Yzerfontein. She then decided that tomorrow morning she would go to town to braid hair for money, but couldn't find anyone to walk with her. Her only other option was for me to drive her. She couldn't call me because she has no air time so she sent about 10 FaceBook messages to Laurie-Ann, whio didn't see them till lunchtime tomorrow. When I finally called her I explained again that I cannot be her slave or robot, constantly on notice to help her out whenever needed.

Wed Feb 17
Somewhat to my surprize, Anya (?) called about 9:30 to say he was available to come and work on the several items of plumbing and general repair that Lizzie had identified in the house when she did the pre-inspection with me on 14 September 2020. Since then two other men had arranged to come and do the work but no-one actually did - hence my scepticism. Anya was a good technician but not good at letting customers know if he wouldn't be able to come on a day he had scheduled, which is what had happened yesterday. Anyway, when Anya arrived with a colleague, they got right down to the work, starting with the front door, which they put new hinges on so that it would open true, and engage correctly with the lock. Then Anya fixed the en-suite toilet, and provided a plug for the sink. He added a door stop in the studio, but the door itself could have done with more permanent strengthening. In the main bathroom he improved the sink drain with hydrochloric acid, and also poured some of it into the toilet, which removed some stains. The most helpful thing he did wasn't on the list; he turned down the geyser thermostat from full 'on' to 50°. I said I'd call the owner of Waterboys with that story, but Anya said he was currently doing work at his house and would tell him. All of this took less than 2 hours for the two men. I picked up Bella about 11 and brought her to our place. After coffee we settled down to watch Soul Surfer on Showmax. It is an excellent movie based on the story of how a champion Hawaiin surfer lost her left arm to a shark. The Christian contect is understated and well presented. Bella was entranced. After the film we were tight for time for me to get to Riverview. Mella had asked me to buy ice cream for the two ministry groups. After taking Bella home I got to the bulk ice cream shop on Parker Street by 2:20, chose strawberry ice cream, and was at Riverview by 2:30 to be greeted by 'Happy Birthday to You' sung by all the kids. We served the ice cream first using our spoons since I knew Mella's ice cream spoon doesn't work. Mazvita and I served the kids and they all had as much as they wanted. The rest of the ministry was shortened. I then returned to the store to buy a 5 litre vanilla and berries ice cream and rendezvous'd at the blue and white container in Avian Park. Bella called to say that Mikhail was not improving, and asked me if I would take him and Cathy to the hospital. I said I would be there in less than half an hour. Mazvita and I again gave out the ice cream. Then Mella gave the kids an impassioned talk about sin, which morphed into an anti-boyfriend semi-rant. Every boy was evil and out to impregnate them. What the 7 year old boys present made of this I'm not sure. I wasn't really keen to set up the guitar and amp for a couple of songs, so I told Mella I had received an emergency call to take a child to the hospital, and drove to Bella's, just a few minutes away. Cathy and Mikhail soon got in and I drove them near to the hospital ememrgency department. I couldn't get too close because of two anbulances blocking the road. Then I parked the car and snoozed for 40 minutes. There was no sign of them by now so I drove home via Pick n Pay Local, where a parking attendant thought I was drunk based on my movements after sleeping in the back seat.

Tue Feb 16
I got up at 7 to be ready for Anya (?) the all purpose handyman who had said he would arrive at 8am. This was a bit of a stretch after the rigours of my birthday, so when he neither arrived nor called I was a little narked. For the rest of the day I couldn't go far from the house in case her rolled up at the gate and had to be let in. Bella called to say her brother Mikhail was not well and would I take him to our doctor. She didn't have faith that taking him to emergency at the hospital would be best. I said that our doctor would cost us R400, and instead suggested taking him to Carica, explaining to her that she could recommned medicine. I don't helieve Bella was aware of pharmacists. So I picked them up and Carica came out of the normal cubical and started by taking his temperature which was normal. After several questions she recommend liquid Panado, which I bought, and we returned to Pelikaan Street. I said that if he didn't improve, we sould take him to the hospital. I collected R150 from Maria Diedericks, less R20 for power. This is the second loan she had repaid in full, giving her a good credit record with me!

Mon Feb 15 - my 80th birthday
This didn't start as bithdays should. It is also the first day back at school, and Bella had asked me to drive her brother Jayden + Cathy to school. I set my alarm for 6:45 and was a little late at Bella's due to traffic on this first day of school. Jayden (14) and Cathy got in. Cathy has virtually no English, and Jayden has some understanding but speaks very little. I sometimes wonder if he had been traumatized. Luckily Jayden knew the way and soon they both got out after I had driven quite a way, but the wrong way, down a one-way street. I drove on, did an 8-point turn on the narrow street and parked, and walked back. By then Jayden had gone in and Cathy was waiting outside the gate chatting to a friend. Around 8 I suggested we went and I got the car and drove to her. I drove her home the long way, via OK to get toasted breakfast sandwiches for her and Chantelle. I drove on to Chantelle's and gave her the sandwich and a banana. Than I brought Anthonica to our home to Alpha sessions 'Prayer' and 'Bible.' She doesn't start school till Wednesday. Anthonica had coffee and then we turned on Alpha. She was very attentive and had good answers to the periodic discussion questions. Half way through the second session, we stopped for coffee and (my) birthday cake. After the session, I asked Anthonica to read the parable of the Prodigal Son, and then I questioned her about it, ensuring she understands the story within the story. She had another hour here before I took her to Boland Stationery Supplies to buy wrapping paper for her school books, an annoying and expensive custom the schools here have foisted on students. When I had taken Anthonica home, I went to the pharmacy, and then to Munnik's for a new battery for Bella's watch (which used to be Laurie-Ann's watch). I was very happy to have the chance to see Esme again, following the memorial service. I told her it was good to see that she had found the strength to reopen, and to assure her of our prayers. L-A had asked where I would most like to have lunch (since she was payiong from her secret stash) and I had suggested Du Toitskloof restaurant. We had been there before (including with Tanya) and I remembered the ambience even more than the food. On this special visit however it is the food that stays in my memory and taste buds. We started with Loadshed beer and Du Toitskloof chardonay respectively. I chose the Smoked Salmon salad. The dressing on the salad made every lettuce leaf special, and the smoked salmon with its own creamy cheesy dressing was outstanding. L-A had an avocado salad that she declared was one of the finest salads of her life. We had dessert from the tarts and cheesecakes display; min was 'millionaires' shortbread.' All of this was on an outside table with no wind but a feeling of being the best place in the world right then. The bottom line of dining even in top notch restarants here is the price - around 60% of the Canadian equivalent. At 5:18, after buying cooking oil and washing powder for Lottie, I arrived for my 5:15 appointment with Dr Van Dyk, somewhat nervous. He had read Rejeanne's note, which mentioned the possibility of stitch material possiby not having dissolved. While in the waiting room I tested out my left eye, and found that the focus had improved in the last few days since Rejeanne had measured me. When I told the Dr. this he did some vision measurements, mentioning that he never used stitches during these operations. A few minutes later after shining lights into my eye, he saw that he had indeed used stitches, because of the long-term damage he had found in the eye from an accident I had in ~1983. He was having difficulty examining my eye because I was having a hard time keeping it open faced with his brights lights. At one point the light was so bright, just as if I were being forced to look at the sun for several seconds, that I cried out with the pain. This was too much for him. He said he couldn't see into my eye if I couldn't keep it open, and he absolutely didn't want to cause pain. I reminded him I was wearing dark glasses whenever I was out of the house because light was painful for me. He said he wasn't sure what to recommend. He thought about it for a while, and then said that he could use laser surgery to remove the residue of the stitches. He asked me to sit at his laser machine. He said that to do this he would put a contact lens into my eye, but when he tried to do this I was again overcome with the bright lights and he gave up. I mentioned that part of my problem today was that he had put eye drops in to dilate my pupils, making me more sensitive to light. He then said that I could come back in a few days and he would use drops to make my pupils smaller, which wouldn't prevent what he wanted to do. Further, he prescribed eye drops to be taken every few hours for the next few days. We set the appointment for Thursday at 5 pm. I said I would be getting prayer support to help us through and he enthusiastically endorsed that. On my way home I delivered the washing powder and oil to a grateful Lottie. I listened to an SAFM debate where the host firstly denied SA is a predeminantly Christian country, and then asked his listeners if it was right that the president should mention God in speeches, such as 'God bless South Africa,' because it 'marginalized atheists.' Most callers disagreed - I actually felt angry with the host for airing such illogical views - yet views that many Canadians would agree with. In a tolerant society, anyone, and particulatly politicians, should be able to be open about their beliefs. Atheists should not be upset if they hear people speaking about God, any more than left-handed people should be upset if most guitars are built right handed. In the evening we watched the frightening finale of 'The Undoing' (Hugh Grant and Nicole Kidman). I needed something pleasureable to end my day. Neesa had said she had never received the 2016 updated Copples & Friends Cassette Club on DVD, so I WeTransferrd my siblings and James just H1 - H9 (the original cassettes, digitised) and there was room for some Chris DeBurgh. That was all I could get into 2GB. I will send more in later transfers. I still get a huge kick out of sharing music with others.

Sun Feb 14
After announcing there would be two services at WCC, it had all changed to one, starting 9:30, in Afrikaans. As a member of the livestream team 2, I was there by 8:45 but had no duty till the end of the countdown, when I took my station on the wide angle camera. Carolyn was on Carlo's camera doing the close ups. During Johan's sermon I left my camera set, and took a seat. There was a full allowance of 50 present. Around 4pm I delivered food to Jamelia's and Anthonica's families. I also took sheets of paper with headings 'Date,' 'Expenses.' and 'Income.' Theae I delivered to the two families, saying that if they dodn't start tracking the numbers I would only provide food to the girls in future, bot the whole families. I have an impression that Chantelle's family in particular is not feeding her regularly based on the expectation that I will, but still consuming everything I bring for them more as a right than the receiving of a gift.

Sat Feb 13
I bought pies for Anthonica and Chantelle's breakfasts, and Anthonica persuided me to loan her R60. Because school starts on Monday, I had suggested to Chantelle that we switch Mailbox Club to Saturdays at 10. We wanted to share my birthday cake with the children, so I went to Pick n Pay about 9:15, and bought a R99 rectangular slab chocolate cake which I reckoned would satisfy the needs of various children. I also bought bananas. I drove to Avian Park, but Chantelle wasn't there. I drove to OVD and found her, and she went to look for the children. She discovered they were playing netball, and weren't expecting the switch from Monday to Saturday. With this change of plan, I put away the guitar and amp, and took the chocolate cake into #44, and cut off about a third of it for the Mailbox Club kids. Chantelle asked one of her friends to be in charge of cutting and distributing the cake, which at this early hour was still in good shape. I took her to town for a pie and then back to OVD. The rest of Saturday was relatively relaxed, but in the back of my mind I was counting down the days to my appointment with Marius Van Dyk on Monday afternoon.

Fri Feb 12
Nearly a year ago, Cathy had been robbed at an ATM when a woman sh didn't know offered to help her operate the ATM, and then cleaned out Cathy's account. This happened in Cape Town when Bella was in hospital there for her scoliosis operation. Cathy had reported the incident to the local bank manager This week she received a call from the bank saying her case was settled and the bank was refunding the lost money. He then said she could collect it at the post office. This morning I picked her up at 7 am and took her to the end of the line-up; about 150 people already waiting and the post office wasn't opening till 8. I tried to watch her progress from our balcony, but my eyes and the binoculars were too weak so about 7:45 I took her a sandwich. On my way back I was accosted by the young man who had latched onto Jamelia and taken movies of me with her. He was still threatening to take the picture to the police. So I sat down beside him, and chatted, asking gentle questions. When her hears I was a missionary his manner changed dramatically and he asked how could he take a course at YWAM. I asked if I could pray for him and with my hand on his shoulder, did so. From now on we will be pals. At 8:15 I went down again and Cathy was done, and waiting for me. It turned out that the teller didn't have her money; it would be sent to her bank account. I took her into our house and gave her a good breakfast before taking her home. We had set up several trips for Bella recently to see then cancelled because Cathy needed Bella in the home, but today's drive to Hermanus went ahead! First, after dropping off Cathy, I took Bella shopping at Mr Price in the mall for for some clothes for daily wear in college, and a swimsuit. Swimsuits are relatively expensive here. We were on our way along the R43 by about 11:30. I drove to Villiersdorp we got cool drinks and then L-A took over. I suggested Bella sit up front so she could chat more easily with L-A and I could doze; my favourite posture when not actually sleeping. The drive to Hermanus takes one through beautiful rolling countryside. Soon we were driving through Hermanus streeets to the Burgundy restaurant very close to the beach. It was an inspired choice by L-A. Soon I was gulping a large draft, ane we were choosing our food. The ladies had hake in different forms and I had mussels. That was a good choice for me; not too much volume and high quality. For dessert i had crème brûlée and L-A had baked apple and ice cream. We felt we had discovered a wonderful restaurant. On the next table were two couples from Manchester. At one point I asked them if they knew who won yesterday's derby Man U vs Man City but they didn't seem to know about it; later I discovered that what I had heard on the radio must have referred to a previous event. Then we drove to Voëlklip Beach, a favourite amoung surfers. Bella put on her new swimsuit and went town to the beach itself having sun with the waves, but she said it was too cold to swim. We sat on a bench and enjoyed the environment. Evenutally we thought we should return home. I bought some fruit in a Food Lovers' Market and then attempted to get Bella to her church youth group for 7; we were about 15 minutes late but it turned out that was OK.

Thu Feb 11
This was our day for Este and Goede Hoop. My eyes are definitely less roadworthy than the last time we did this a week ago, but I still drove (both ways). It was a very hot day and I dozed in the back of the car while L-A got her treatment. Este says she continues to get stronger. I bought meat at Goode Hoop and used the fleece blamket to keep it cool. I bought a coke at a Shell station. Then we drove up to Spice Route to discover De Villiers have sold their coffee shop to 'Jem,' who thought they had some almond milk but it turned out they had none. We walked on towards the chocolate factory, L-A taking a seat in the grounds. I got her a chocolate sorbet, and myself a raspberry ice cream, and 5 bars of chocolate. The chocolate stayed good in the air conditioned compartment between the front seats. On our way home we went to Nuy and bought enough wine for anothere wine lock down, then to Pathcare for L-A's blood test before seeing Hanlie in Worcester next week, and then I delivered Rejeane's letter to Dr Van Dyk's secretary. L-A atayed in the car while I shopped Pick n Pay and we ended with lots in the trunk, taking me several trips up the back stairs to bring it all home. After a break at home, I delivered food to Jamelia, and then Bella. Cathy and Bella both there so I took the opportunity to make it totally clear that when Bella in University, she won't be coming home to help with housework or grape-picking. I told them we will be buying a basic talk phone for Cathy, which went down very well. We see it as an important part of our mission to launch Bella's university career without domestic finance issues getting in the way, and it does appear that both Bell and Cathy understand this.

Wed Feb 10
For our visit to the dental hygeinist this morning we decided to use the front stairs since L-A had bandages on her legs (and conceivably could have tripped on the back stairs). We were on time but the hygeinist was 45 minutes late in starting l-A's session. Since I had an appointment at Van Wyk and Le Roux at 11:30, I postponed my date with the hygeinist leaving L-A at the dental office. When I was in Rejeanne's office I told her that the prescription in my left lens made almost no difference to my vision, and suggested she measure the lens to see if it had been manufactured wrongly. Instead she re-measured the vision and found there had been a change in the last week. Then she looked into the eye with her bright lights and saw what looked like the residue of the stitching. If so, this could be causing a change in shape of the lens destroying my focus. She said I should go back to Dr. Van Dyk for his assessment, and she wrote a letter to him explaining her findings. For all this forensic work she refused payment. In the afternoon I assisted with getting 17 Riverview Kids to Kevin's Dam for a swim. I had told Mella I wasn't up to walkin to dam from his house, but I could transport 5 of them. Everthing was almost jeopadized when our gate stuck in the slightly open position, and I called Mella, but then an other resident I have never seen came down to go somewhere in his car, and he clearly had a reset key, so in fact I was able to get to Riverview before Kevin. While the kids were swimming, I was preparing sandwiches, including 6 for the Muslims without pork. All went really well, and I took my 5 back home. These kids are well behaved and polite, though some of them had taken part in stone throwing with some white boys, infuriating Mella.

Tue Feb 9
My schedule for today was busy, but less so after Bella told L-A that her ouma had insisted she go grape-picking to earn them some money instead of coming to our house as we had planned. I delivered food to Anthonica, then was at Jamelia's expecting to drive her to Rawsonville (for which she had asked for R50 taxi fare but I said 'No'). The Rawsonville trip had been pre-empted by by a call from her school requiring her presence this morning. So I took her and 2 friends there, next door to Toeflug. I wasn't hungry at lunch time and just ate peanut butter on a slice if bread. After lunch, Chantelle had asked for a pie and a custard dessert, and then at 1:30 I rendezvous'd with Anthonica outside our house, and then picked up Janey at Lanner House. Janey needed me to take her first home to collect some money, and then to the mall. At the mall Janey went to Capitec and I first had to buy a mask for Anthonica since her's had broken, then I took her to Pep to buy a school skirt, plus those short black tights all the women wear, (passion-killers) plus panties. I got her a R22 pizza at Roman's, and then she demanded a drink so I got small cokes for us both at McDonalds. Finally we rendezvous'd with Janey at the Pick n Pay end. When we arrived at Janey's home I asked Anthonica to help her up the stairs with her purchases which saved me a fatiguing job. Then I took her home. The car had been a great help to a bunch of people today. Back at Da Vinci I was noticing that the focus in my left eye was much the same with or without my new glasses. I called the optitian and got an appointment for tomorrow to see Rejeane again. I answered some emails and from about 3 to 7:30 slept soundly before preparing supper from excellent meatloaf L-A had made on Sunday. I am somewhat concerned that I just wanted to sleep for so long, but encouraged that as I prepared the meal I felt hungry, more so than for some time, and ate almost as much as L-A did, and faster. She wasn't feeling well after suffering severe constipation.

Mon Feb 8
I dropped our laundry off at Magda's before collecting Chantelle from Avian Park and taking her to OVD for the Mailbox Club. Her mother and a brother came with us. At OVD her mother gave me the R300 that she had borrowd for Chantelle's school fees. This was the first time I remember a loan being paid back by an Avian Park family. Writing 'contracts' had worked! We had around 10 children for Mailbox, which included new ones. I tried to teach them some of the easier songs, and then gave them Johan's sermon on Fellowship in a nut shell. After all, they have good fellowship with one another already. When we were finished I took Chantelle to Dr Hofmeyr's offices to make an appointment, and they gave us one for 2:30 that day. I took Chantelle back to OVD, and then with a couple of others to Avian Park. Chantelle told me that they needed to borrow R150 so they could repair 4 windows which had shattered through not having the putty done properly. I went into the house and got a verbal agreement this time from Maria to repay me on 15th February. I picked up Chatelle at 2 and took her to the dental office. I had hoped to have been able to save the teeth from extraction, but it turned out they were too far gone. The bill was R600. In theory she could have had the extractions done free in the Zweletemba dental clinic, but had I taken her there we would hever have known if the teeth could have been saved. I took Chantelle with me to Joan's while I had a hair cut, and then to Hippo Laundry to retrieve our washing. A particularly loud motorcycle motivated me to go outside and wait till he came back, which he did after 15 minutes. I walked over and asked him if he would make less noise with his bike. His response: he had just bought it. I got the feeling that backfiring was more important to him that riding the bike. He rode off, doubling the revving up and backfires that he previously had in mind - but I didn't hear him again that night. I paid Delia De Bot R2,000 by EFT for our holiday coming up in Yzerfontein, which we are so much looking forward to.

Sun Feb 7
This was the first day open for churches after the 2nd lock down. I was too lazy to go to one of the morning prayer meetings at 8:30, but I did attend the second - English - service at church, where I sat in the front row, and enjoyed Johan's talk on Fellowship. Heather prayed for my health after the service. In the afternoon I helped out Chantelle, checking that all was ready for the Mailbox Club tomorrow.

Sat Feb 6
Charl Munnik's memorial service was at 10 at WCC. L-A had made 2 loaves of egg sandwiches which I took in for 9 am. I had volunteered to operate the camera for the live stream, partly to increase my chances of being allowed in with the numbers restrictions. Esme and the reat of the Munnik family came in about 9:45. Because of my body weakness I found it hard to stand by the camera for the more than an hour but I made it. This livestream would be kept on YouTube and watched by family members far and wide so it was important. At the end people went to comfort the family and I had the chance to say a few words to Esme. I went to Milk and Honey and had some small eats before I noticed that only the family members were there, so I slipped out. I took Janey to see Alta Human after lunch. Alta had made Janey several dresses, but when Janey tried one on it was too small, meaning all would be too small. Janey admitted that she may have put on weight, aggravating the problem. While Janey and Alta discussed the issue, I dozed on the only half chair I could find. It sounded as if Alta had already solved the problem and altered the dresses before we got there; she works half the night. When Janey was ready to go, Alta came to the door with us and delivered quite a sermon. With anyone else I might have excused myself, but Alta is good spiritual value so I decided to listen and benefit. I envy her the abilty to preach at the drop of a hat, and make sense. I took Janey home via Spar, where I picked up some pecan pies. I liked the look of their green grapes but there were no prices. When I mentioned this to the check-out lady, she sent someone to bring a box of grapes, which she said would be R17, far cheaper than Pick n Pay or Checkers. I said I would buy them, but after I had paid she noticed a couple of them were slightly bruised, and she insisted on getting me a better box, despite the fact that I made it clear I was happy with the first one. The incident was brilliant custome service; I'll go to Spar for grapes in the future.

Fri Feb 5
The plan was for Anthonica to come ovr in the afternoon for two more Alpha sessions - but it didn't work out. She called in the morning to ask if I would pick her up an hour earlier - at 1pm, because her parents would then be taking her to the mall to shop for school supplies. Since I also wanted to go to the mall, she said she would come with me. I assumed her parents would meet her at the mall. She looked funny with her new braids, but the rest of her clothes being ragamuffin. I sent to Van Wyk and Le Roux to see if my new glasses were ready - and they were! When I tried them on however I was less excited; my first impression was that I could see better without them. Howewer, I do know that you have to 'grow into' progressive lenses. So I answered the questions and wore the glasses. After a few minutes however I took them off when I realized I was liable to walk into someone. I also collected a couple of items at Dis-Chem. Anthonica called twice to ask where I was. She was very keen to drive back down town so she could meet up with her parents. She asked me for R10 taxi fare which seemed strange if she would be with her parents. She wanted to be dropped at the corner of Church Square. She was to call me when the shopping was done and she could then come over to do Alpha. She never called. One possibility was that all of this was so she could meet a boyfriend, and not her parents. Load shedding was to start at 6 so we planned our afternoon accordingly, intending to rest from 6 - 8:30. After supper of chicken sosaties from Goede Hoop, L-A started preparing two loaves of egg sanswiches for Charl's memorial service tomorrow.

Thu Feb 4
Bella messaged L-A to say sho couldn't come to Bloubergstrand today because her grandmother's legs were causing a lot of pain, and she, Bella, must stay home to cook and do housework. This didn't sit well with us because it suggested that when Bella will be in university, Cathy might feel justified in insisting she come home to look after the family. However, this morning our hands were tied because we couldn't reach her on her phone. After several alternative strategies, we decided just to do as she suggested; go without her. The incident made me redouble our efforts to make sure Cathy knows that when Bella is gone, she is gone. Soon we were on our way to Paarl for the first time in a month; Este had been on holiday. For me there was an alternative motive; I needed to know if I would last out the day without keeling over. We have set dates for a trip to Yzerfontein which is somewhat further. We both felt great to be 'on the road again.' Since L-A had taken oxycodon as she normally does before being massaged by Este, I needed to drive at least for the morning. While L-A was inside Este's clinic, I rested on the purple chair on her stoep, but didn't get much rest. When she was done, we drove to Goede Hoop butchery to replenish our supplies of first class meat. Lamb has shot up in price. My stomach had been aching and I felt that what I really needed was ice cream. We stopped at a Shell garage and I bought a Magnum. That did help, and made me really want a Coke, something I drink about twice a year. So 15 minutes later we stopped at the Engen where I bought Coke, Lipton iced tea and cashews. We both enjoyed these greatly and they sufficed to help us reach Table View, where we stopped with car tires and feet in the sand to admire the magnificent view of Table Mountain, 3/4 covered with the Table Cloth. Then on a kilometer to Bloubergstrand, and Ons Huise Restaurant. The destination well justified the journey. We had an outside table. Last time we had come here was with Lynn, and it was too cold to eat outside. But we did both order the same meals we had enjoyed so much, and we enjoyed them again. We lingered, took photos, and bought an 'African Rubic's Cube' from a seller of beach jewelry. The only cash we had, we needed to get home through the tunnel, but he had a deal going with the restaurant management that we could add it to our credit card under 'gratuity.' + 10%, and they would pay him. Before we left we sat on a beach bench and said sweet nothing's to each other. Now that the oxycodon had done it's job, it was L-A's turn to drive. The driving was done with great skill; her first experience of driving in Cape Town, but getting behind the wheel was almost touch and stop. But she made it, though it looked like the steering wheel was carving a gouge in her stomach. We got home without my feeling unduly uncomfortable or fatigued. We both slept in the early evening. I contacted Kenneth and got myself a slot on the lifestream team for Char Munnik's memorial service on Saturday, which L-A had offered to cook her special egg sandwiches for.

Wed Feb 3
When I saw Anthonica fast asleep at 9 am, I knew things were not as they should have been. When I eventually woke her, I saw she was lying on her phone, and its screen was broken. She admitted having stayed up till midnight (probably much longer) watching movies on her phone. She also admitted that she had broken the screen when she dropped it on a bathroom floor. This was the replacement screen I had bought her after she broke thr first one. L-A and Anthonica had scrambled eggs for breakfast. Anthonica and I started watching the 3rd Youth Alpha film, Cross, about 10:00, and had finished the 4th, Faith, by 11. Chantelle had asked if I would pick her up in Avian Park at 11:30. When Anthonica got in the car she asked if we would go back to the Chinese store for more hair extensions. I declined. As we left the building, Chantelle appeared beside the car. I pulled up round the corner and she got in. She asked for a lift to OVD. I took her to Lottie's. Then she asked for a lift back to Avian Park. I dropped them both at the end of Maniken Street. At 2:30 I was in Riverview for Mella's first appearance after coming back from Texas. I did my stuff with the praise and worship, ending up fighting the wind. The Mella gave out some food packages, and school supplies. We went on to Avian Park, but not to the blue and while container. We drove through the roughest roads to Folla's ministry building. There were about 25 kids, and Mella asked me to play. One of the songs I included was 'Rock Star,' and I told then that I had first heard it in the building behind them. Someone called me by name; it was Sabello, whom I had befriended back in those days. He has somehow survived, and is doing a welding course, and another course that has a cash grant with it. It was pretty amazing her would remember me. I went on to rendezvous with Marsha and Chantelle at Chantelle's house. I had brought staples for Marsha, but they were quite heavy. I had hoped to deliver them to her home, but she said noone was there. She has recently lost her father, and also miscarried a baby, yet she also has survived. When I got home I was very tired and slept 90 minutes. In the evening I uploaded today's photos.

Tue Feb 2
L-A started making carrot soup in honour of Maggie who was due to arrive at 11, and did, bearing several eatables like milk tart and garlic bread. She had recently been in Rwanda with Kaysha and Alex and told us of her experiences. Alex builds his ministry with single-minded determination. Kaysha is the only white and English speaker in the district. Her baby is her constant companion and cute. It was lovely to spend a little time with Maggie after more than a year while she has been in England. At 1:30 I went to Pick n Pay and Avian Park with some food staples for Jamelia, and came back with Anthonica for the first session in her pre-baptism training (if all works out). Maggie left shortly after Anthonica arrived. L-A went back into the studio and I gave Anthonica a short talk about what we had in mind for her, based on Youth Alpha. I had set up the video on Pink Dell and settled down to watch the first two sessions with her. It was exactly right for her. I stopped at all the discussion places and we discussed. At the end I covered some more general aspects of Christianity. About 4:30 we had finished and she asked me if I would buy her some hair extensions and the various accoutremonts. Her vision was to film herself putting up her hair and then promote it on line as a way of offering her skilla as a hairdresser. For the next several hours she certainly worked her skills with the extensions. In the middle of my cooking our supper, she asked if she could stay the night so she could complete the hair tonight, and then asked me to drive her to Avian Park, buy some mince for Tersia before the supermarkets closed, and collect her night clothes. I was impressed that she had money to buy the mince. We three ate fish cakes. Anthonica was good company. About 8 Bella messaged L-A saying she had just returned from fruit picking, but Cathy's grant wouldn't come till tomorrow so they had no money, and would I bring her noodles, wors, bread , etc. It worries me that this family of 6 is so dependent on Bella (and us) for everything, yet leaves everything till the last minute. Yesterday it would have been very difficult, but today the curfew has been reduced. I packed the staples, and drove out, noticing an open supermarket, 'High Street Fruits.' not far from our house. I drove on to find OK Foods was shut, so I returned to High Street Fruits and got when they needed. At Bella's house they were taking in the food I had brought when a man I hadn't seen before appeared at the front door, very drunk. I think he had been inside the house, or had been trying to get inside. I asked his name and he said 'Richard.' He fell against their fence. Several family members were trying to move him on. He clearly knew Bella. I told him (but I don't think he took it in) that to get drunk on the first day after the alcohol ban just showed that he was stupid. The possibility that he has some kind of hold on this family worried me, but they could hardly have funded his alcohol; I had just paid R20 for Cathy's bus rides to get her grant tomorrow. Bella made it clear it would be good if I left, so I drove on. She'll tell us the story later. Back home, Anthonica was still perfecting her braids, but had not taken any movies. She had a shower before turning in about 10.

Mon Feb 1
I rose early for the new OVD Mailbox Club though I had nothing to buy before meeting Chantelle at Avian Park and bringing her to OVD. It was a cool and windy day. As she gathered up the children I sliced Angel's bithday cake into 11, not too easy in the car. Soon we had 10 kids, but 4 of them were different from last week. Battling the wind I tried a few songs, including Rock Star, and tried teaching them Amazing Grace. I reprised my short talk from last week and added Jesus's statements about the importance of children. Then Chantelle taught the lesson as I cut up more cake. When the time came for cake I took it to them, and there were actually enough slices. Then they all got an apple, and we were done. The weather had made it hard, but we had persevered. I took Chantelle and a cousin back to Avian Park. I took the car to Tiger Wheel & Tire at 2 pm, which Rian had said was their relatively quiet time. As soon as I had given him the key, I walked along to Post Net and picked up our passports with the medical visas. It took 90 minutes or more to fit and balance the four tires, which wasn't a comfortable time, sitting in one of their average quality chairs and trying to fall asleep. I read a few pages of 'The Kingdom Way of Life' before it was too tiring on my eyes. By this time next week ... ! I withdrew R400 from FNB to pay for Chantelle's school fees. In doing this I made it impossible got Integro to withdraw the two months of premiums I owed them. I just forgot. At 6 pm I was at Chantelle's house to meet with her parents Moses and Maria. I had prepared duplicate copies of a 'contract' for me to lend them money for Chantelle's school fees. They said they needed R300. Maria would be paid on 8 February. I said I would be there at 6 pm to collect the money, before they spent it. They agreed and signed the contract. I was trying to make this look official so they would work harder to fulfil it. Then I took a photo of them - a rare family shot. When I left their house, Anthonica got into the car. She needs R600 for her school fees (same school as Chantelle). I recommended she writes a letter as from Tersia requesting until 12 February to pay, and give it to the school tomorrow. They may agree, or they may threaten not to allow her into school. We watched Ramaphosa's 8pm broadcast. 1M doses of the Astra-Zenaka vaccine had arrived from India today. (In a moment of cynicism I wondered how many schemes were being hatched right now to hi-jack some of the vaccine and make fortunes selling it to people who didn't want to wait their turn.) He is also lifting the alcohol ban and relaxing the curfew. I wondered (in another cynical moment) whether Tersia will divert desperately needed school fee money towards wine. At some stage today Integro attempted to take R2000+ from my FNB account but were only able to get R1000, charging me a R110 penalty. This was the price of Chantelle's school fees.

Sun Jan 31
Since I won't be back on the livestream team at church till 14 Feb, I walked onto Church Sqare at 8:30 to join one of the WGC prayer groups that are operating in Lock down. I was eginning to wonder if no-one was coming when the group started to congregate under a tree about as far from Da Vinci as one could be. Linda Schoonraad was the nominal leader, and broke us into 3 smaller groups for communion. Several people spoke about the Charl Munnik murder, and helpfully, before we broke up, someone who had been at his funeral (yesterday?) told us about it; the very opposite of a revengeful gathering. Nik and Gisela walked back with me across the square and I gave them the copy of 'Legacy' I had designated for them weeks ago. Nik's month without pay hasn't started yey, and before it does there will be an appeal. I watched the praise and worhip on line from WCC, and then listened to Don Crisp on GNiTM. Around middday Anthonica called and said she wanted to come back to God. She described in some detail how she needed a better life with positive things and people and Jesus around her, and she wanted to be baptised. This was beautiful to hear, and when she asked how can she get started I told her that by making this statement she was already starting. I said L-A and I would discuss how we could best walk alongside her on this new journey, and I promised to get back to her. L-A suggested the Alpha course and a pre-baptism preparation. Sshool starts on 15 February; maybe we could compact the course in our house. At the end, maybe we could baptise her, or we could arrange for her to join a baptism in a local church. Later in the day when I took her some food for tonight and tomorrow morning, I put these thoughts to her, and we came up with a date for the first session: this Tuesday 2 February at 2 pm. Maggie is coming over at 11 for reunion, lunch and shortbread, and if she is still here at 2, I can work with Anthonica while the ladies talk in the studio. I also took Chantelle from OVD to Avial Park and checked all was on track for Mailbox Club tomorrow. I set up this month's wire transfer from Simplii, necessitating our using $500 of our Simplii overdraft.

Sat Jan 30
L-A woke me shortly after midnight and I felt wonderful - I remember it the next day because feeling good is memorable and unusual. She immediately put it down to the many who had been praying for my health. Yesterday I had checked over TB symptoms on line, and I have about half of them, so I should not expect to feel too good. Around 10:30 I took some staple foods and R100 to Bella, and then to Fairbairn Pharmacy. Carica switched me from the very expensive Neurobion to the cheaper 'B Complex' to take alongside my TB meds. I went to the mall to find Pick n Pay's socially distanced line up this Saturday morning extened 20 meters into the parking lot, so I went home empty handed. Anthonica persuaded me to bring her a pie, and she got a strawberry milk as well, but as I drove there I was thinking that individual drives to Avian Park to help one of the girls are not really justifiable, and may be getting more dangerous. L-A is making soup from the remnants of our turkeys. Jamelia wanted me to buy her another set of clothes for another dance competition but I turned her down. I sent $2000 from Simplii to Solutions Banking to pay part of the Mastercard, which stands at about $5,000. This is the first time we haven't paid almost all of the M/C. Chantelle asked me to drive her to Avian Park but I turned her down. In the evening we joined a Harvest Family Network zoom. I considered telling them the shock story of Charl's death, but even as I thought about it, I sensed the Lord saying to me 'What are you doing about it?' and I realized that I must somehow reach out to Charl's mother if there is any way to reach her. I actually called the shop about 8:15 unless it was switched through to the residence, but there was no answer.

Fri Jan 29
After the unusual foot pain of yesterday, I switched from my trainers back to my sandals, and then noticed with some consternation that my orthotics were already in my sandals. I had been 3 days without orthotics. No wonder my feet had been sore. There was water pouring out of the overlow pipe from the unit over ours as we woke, but soon after there were some plumbing noises and the water stopped; someone had found the main water cock. I needed something to take my mind off the fact that I really wasn't feeing well. I found the live recording of Brian Wilson's 'Smile' from 2005 on You Tube and played it as I made bacon and eggs. Not that I felt like eating, but I know I must. I had one of L-A's Ondansetron tablets to settle the nausea, and it worked. I gradually felt better throughout the day. Around 1 pm Janey called with shocking news: Charl Munnik had been shot and killed by armed intruders to his jewelry store this morning. Charl had very recently survived Covid, to be beaten by cowardly trash who never achieved anything in life but lived by stealing and killing within the community. It is as if the community of Worcester just lost one of its brightest and best, leaving a loving family devastated. This is news today, but in 30 years it will remain no less shocking to them. In the interests of partial healing one hopes that the Worcester police will act with unusual efficiency to apprehend the villains and that the process will not be adulterated by endless delays to justice. Further, my personal wish would that the idea of allowing bail to these killers would be dispensed with in seconds. I went out around 3, starting down the High Street, where I saw a police van parked outside # 79, Munniks. I got water refills, groceries for Bella that I hadn't delivered last night, groceries for us, bulk noodles and pencils for the Mailbox Club on Monday. I drove to Bella's with her stuff and gave it to Cathy. Laurie-Ann spent some hours brining the My Fathers House website up to date. I listened to the 5 pm news on Valley FM. Although it was in Afrikaans, I could tell there was nothing about Charl's murder. So I switched to France 24, and after the news watched a program about the Musee D'Orsay which brought back many memories of our day there more than 10 years ago.

Thu Jan 28
On my first drive out, to Pick n Pay, to get pies for our lunch, two boys pointed to the rear of the car as I parked. I thought they were asking for money, but actually they wanted to tell me that my left rear tyre was very low. I did some quick calculations in my head and figured I could get home and then to Tiger Wheel and Tyre before I would be running on the rim. After eating my pie, I drove slowly to Tiger, every so often hearing an ominous rumble from the rear wheel. The specialist at Tiger, Rian, came to see me after her had examined the tyre, and gave me the news that I badly needed 4 new tyres. He then showed me all 4, and was adamant that I was currently driving illegally. He had already worked out a price for Goodyears of around R 9,000, and he needed my agreement to buy the tyres before ordering from Cape Town, for fitting on Monday. These would be the third set of tires I would buy from Tiger. I agreed. He plugged the bad tire and I then shopped in the mall, finding my feet very painful. Although there was nothing in my calendar today, I ended up visiting Avian Park/OVD four times, and was feeling weaker with every trip. The situation was made worse by the failure of Powertime yet to fix our problems, so that during the day I gave cash to both Jamelia and Anthonica for power. In response to a message I sent them about not being able to recharge by credit card, they replied that they were still working on the problem (after 2 weeks). Bella called about 8:15 asking for food for tomorrow. She had been fruit picking today, and would be tomoroow. But when I when out to get her some urgent needs, OK Foods was already closed in advance of the 9pm curfew. I drove back home, made up some bread and butter sandwiches, added 2 hot cross buns and drove to her house. She was clearly disappointed as I explained about the curfew; I don't think she knew about it. The good news to me was that she was earning a little money for the family. I drove to Anthonica's and gave her R40 for power that we hadn't been able to send with Powertime. There were plenty of people out in Avian Park just before 9 pm. as I drove home. I put some Simply Bee Foot Cream on my very sore feet before getting into bed.

Wed Jan 27
We didn't need to get up too early, but what woke me was a knock on the door. I opened it in my PJs. It was Waterboys, who we had been told would come yesterday. I expessed surprize that they hadn't called first, and shared my relief that our planned drive to Cape Town had been postponed. They came in and got started on the job, but not before I got my washing things our of the bathroom and into the en-suite washroom. As time moved on I became more and more impressed with them, not least because they didn't need to ask us for anything. Fairly early on there were 5 people there, but I think one was a supervisor. 3 men did most of the work. At 10 I gave them coffee, which they gratefully accepted, but they didn't stop work as they drank it. It was a complex job because of the unusual location of the geyser above the bath. They had 2 ladders in the bathroom, and at about 11:30 I asked if they would help us out by removing the bathroom light fitting so I could replace the bulb. The bulb turned out to be an LED shaped like a pencil; I had never seen one before. I drove to Shoprite but they had no LED bulbs, so I went to Game, where they had very similar bulbs labled as the equivalent to 400 Watts, whereas our had been 250 Watts. I bought one anyway. Around 1:30, when most of the work had been done, I asked if one of them would replace the lamp fitting, half expecting himm to say it wasn't part of his job description, buy instead he were happy to help. At the very end, he was cleaning our bath tub and making it spotless! When they had gone there was no sign of the intricate work that had taken plave the last few hours. Next day I phoned one of the principals to thank him for having such an excellent team. He mentioned that the current plumbing had gone in about 2005, and that some of it was not according to the standards of today. It was quite a relief to have this work complete, and to have a light back in the bathroom - and very bright! We received very good news about our visas from Melanie that they were just as we had requested. On a late night drive to Avian Park, just before the 9 pm curfew, I heard a strange vibration from the area of the feft side rear wheel, but i carried on driving, intending to check it when I got home. Of course I forgot.

Tue Jan 26
I picked up Jamelia's mother and her boyfriend at 6:30 to take her to Home Affairs for a new ID. As soon as she was in the car she asked for R70 to pay for the ID. I had told Jamelia that I would take them, but not pay for the ID. Faced with the immediate situation, I relented, because it was only R70 (which I had in my pocket) and I was still thinking in terms of the R200 that Lottie had extracted from me to pay for her ID. I delivered them to Home Affairs, where they faced a long wait. They understood that since they had no phone, they wouldn't be able to call me to take them home. One may well ask, why wouldn't they have even a simple vioce and text phone, (total cost R155), and the reason is they would never be able to pay for air time. The way the girls communicate is free: (Facebook) Messenger, but you need a smart phone for Messenger. Even my Blackberry runs Messenger, though it doesn't support Facebook. The point to understand, is that thousands of South Africans don't have any money, not even coins, for such things as air time. As they receive their grants, they are spent immediately on food. There is no money for anything else. When they need to travel anywhere they can't reach on foot, they must beg or borrow R10 for a taxi. We had been told by the men from Waterboys yesterday to expect them today to install our new geyser. But as the day progressed there was no call from them. I had to go out several times, but I made sure my phone was always handy. Bella's uncle lives in town and had offered to give the family R200 for groceries. I picked up Bella and one of her brothers about 10 and took them to his house. Next stop was the Durban St. Shoprite. I warned Bella that food was more expensive than she may have been used to. What she chose to buy was a little surprizing: 10 Kg of potatoes and some cooking oil - I have been supplying free potatoes to all the families for months. Then we went on to a couple of shops to get her a back pack for school. In 'Sportscene' she chose a black back pack with 'Nike' in very large white letters across the back, for R455. I suggested she coose any colour other than black, to make it easier to spot in a pile of other students' back packs, but she was adamant she wanted black, to be the same as most of the other students! At the counter I asked if we were getting a lower price for advertising Nike, and he explained that no, we were actually paying more, and if we would like virtually the same item without Nike on it, we would only pay R255. I decided Bella was getting the cheaper one, even though I sensed for some reason she thought it was worth (getting me) paying more to give free advertizing to Nike. At 1:45 I arrived to see Rejeanne Diippenaar at Van Yyk, Le Roux & Vennote, Optometrists. She was a thorough as always, testing my vision between series of two almost identical images for each eye. My impression was that none of the images presented for my left eye was crystal clear, but in comparison with the basic vision without a lens, they were spectatcular. I forgot to ask her about my floaters which still look like moving cockroaches. Maybe this I will have to live with. I will be getting progressive lenses for both eyes. When it came to discuss cocts, I offered her my previpus lenses, but because of sales deals being offered by Hoya, the price including new frames was quite a bit less than if they fitted them into my previous frames. With her help, I chose new frames in about 2 minutes. The final price was R2,100, half of what I was expecting! I paid up front, and they'll be ready about 9 February. I can't wait! We watched a program on France 24 looking at the huge challenges for students returning to universities. It promted me to load Zoom onto Bella's computer. Jan had told me that many students living away from home for the first time, give up on university after a few weeks. What a wasted opportunity if this happened to Bella! I continue to compile a computer maintenance manual for her, covering what a new user of a laptop computer needs to be aware of. It has been a useful learning curve for me to set up her lap top, and I can't imagine how first time user of a PC can manage on their own. The government hands out free computers to some student groups. Maybe what I am writing could be helpful to others, so I will post it on line, and will give Bella a printed copy - much easier to reference than an on-line document. We hadn't heard from Waterboys all day, and tomorrow we would be in Cape Town, delivering Bella to CPUT. Then, about dinner time, Bella sent the news that her start at university had been delayed several weeks because of Covid. Her grandmother Cathy had received a letter to this effect some days ago, but for reasons of her own had not told Bella about the letter till now. We knew that schools had been ordered to stay shut till 15 February, but we didn't know if similar delays had been placed on universities. So, suddenly, we weren't taking Bella to university tomorrow; but there was one immediate advantage to us, as we discovered tomorrow morning.

Mon Jan 25
In the night I mopped up more water that had come from the geyser(?) On my way to rendezvous with Chantelle at OVD I went to Pick n Pay for some apples and koeksisters (like donuts) for the kids and a pie for Chantelle. She was ready, but Lottie had refused to give her the Mailbox Club books that Chantelle had left in her house a few days ago. I drove to Lottie's and asked for the books which she grudgingly gave me as she accused Chantelle of lying, so I gently commented that she was also a liar (in reference to the ID money). Chantelle had 10 children aged between 7 and 11 who would like to learn about Jesus. She positioned them spaced out in from of the wall of #44. She took the names, and at that moment Laurie-Ann called to say that Mr Plumber had knocked on our door. He had been called by the accounting firm downstairs who discovered water dropping over their paper filing system when they came in. L-A recognized the same plumber who had helped us in Hooggelegen. He came in, removed the hardboard sheet from underneath the geyser, and turned off the main water supply, which was high up beside the geyser. Back to OVD. Before Chantelle started with Storytime 1, I gave a talk to the kids which Chantelle translated parts of when she thought they may not have understood me. I started by picking up some dirt and asking where it came from. I covered creation, animals and humans, reproduction, God's reactions to sin culminating with his visit here in the form of Jesus, and Jesus's death to atone for our sin. This was all totally new to them. I felt God had given me the right words. I then passed over to Chantelle who taught them lesson 1, in Afrikaans of course. They were following her every word. No talking, no fidgetting; a minor miracle in this culture. When she had finished I talked about prayer being talking to the creator of the universe, and then we gave out the apples and koeksisters. I had photos to remind me of how well it had all gone, and told them to be back next Monday. When I got home I was pleased and relieved to see the evidence of the flood had almost disappeared since the water had been turned off. My Plumber had told L-A that the geyser had burst. I called Lizzie at Grondbeurs (who hadn't seen my email yet) and gave her a status report. She got busy and soon organized Waterboys to install a replacement. Later in the day they came to inspect the situation in preparation. Jamelia sent a message asking if I would drive her mother and her boyfriend to get replacement IDs at Home Affairs at 6:30 am tomorrow, and would I pay for the IDs. We replied that I would take them, but not pay for the IDs. I was thinking of the R200 price tag that Lottie has asked for. I called Bella and asked if she had gone to see her grandfather, and she had. I then offered to take her to buy a backpack for university and would pick her up at 10 tomorrow. We also discussed the unreturned book that her school had demanded, or a fine of R230. Since the opening of the schools had been delayed till 15 February, it wouldn't be possible to get the money to them before Bella started at University. I suggested that if there seemed to be no repercussions when she reported to university, then she could probably forget the whole thing, but of there were any problems we would help her in getting the money to the school.

Sun Jan 24
Another relatively quiet day. I think the message is getting out that we need a bit of a break on weekends. Bella had said she was going to walk to town to see her birth grandfather, and had asked me to meet her afterwords and take her home, but we heard about 4:30 that she hadn't gone becaue she didn't feel safe enough walking alone through Avian Park. I said I would take her, so I drove out to pick her up, passing through the tail end of an ourdoor church service at Malmok and Pigeon Streets, with no sign of social distancing. I stopped with Bella on Napier Street near One-Up. There were some surely types sitting around the sidewalks. It seemed more dangerous for Bella than Avian Park. Bella got out with her phone in her hand and walked round a corner. I was worried about her safety and drove a few yards to where I could see her. She was coming back, after being asked to return tomorrow. After expressing my surprize that she had risked losing her new phone I took her home again and gave her R20 to take taxis when she went tomoroow. All she would have needed to take a taxi today would have been R10, but that was R10 more than the family had in the world that afternoon. The idea of keeing say, R100, for emergencies, is impossible for them. After watching the first part of 'Tiger' on Showmax, we were purturbed to see a small flood coming from the bathroom. Water was dripping from the ceiling above the bath, and luckily most of it was falling in the bath, but some was falling on the floor. It appeared the geyser was probably to blame, and that it was probably located above the bath. I got all our rags and some towela and positioned them on the edge of the bath in an attempt to soak in some of the water. I got out the mop and bucket and cleared the water from the tiles. Then I sent an email to Lizzie and 'maintenance' at Grondbeurs to report what had happened.

Sat Jan 23
My weight is now 60 KG (123.30 Lbs), the lowest ever, suggesting TB has not yet turned the corner. I sometimes get a stomach pain which goes after a meal, suggesting that the pain is hunger. The trouble is, although I may be technically hungry, I don't feel like eating, and have to force myself to eat. I sometimes buy things I really like even though they may not be well-balanced nutritionally, just to get some food into my body. I often go shopping on a Saturday between 2 and 3. Most shops inexplicably shut at 3 on Saturdays, so the previous hour is relatively quiet. Today I was planning to do this when Anthonica called to remind me I had promised to take her and a friend to Overhex for a birthday party at 1 pm. I waited for them from 1 till 1:25 and then ran them down to Overhex, a 15 minute drive, so I was still OK for my shopping trip. I was pleasantly surprized to find Swiss Chard in Pick n Pay, but not so happy to discover Checkers was completely out of Appletizer and Grape Tizer. Dis-Chem was out of Tena Pads. Pep had just one nappy left, which I bought for Noona. Before leaving I suddenly had a desire for frozen yoghurt, so for the first time on months I got one, lime flavoured at Marcel's. An item on SA on France 24 said that Covid in SA is exacerbated by widespread obesity here (way more than half the population), doubling the risks for obese people. The root cause is that people living in poverty buy foods that will feel as if they are filling the stomach, with no regard to nutritional value.

Fri Jan 22
Before leaving home I put R20 of air time on Noona's phone. I collected Noona and Isaiah at 6:30, and drove them to the hospital bus depot. She told me she had already started using the washable nappies for Isaiah and was happy with them! I said she should tell her friends. Let's have a nappy revolution! Disposable diapers are one of those unhealthy imports from the West, like Coca-Cola. At 10:15 I took some staple foods to Anthonica, and picked up Bella for her last day of housework and computer learning with us. She had remembered to bring her phone. Since I had successfully discovered how to transfer files from a Mobicel to a PC, and recorded it on a document that will become a short computer maintenance manual for Bella, I worked through the transfer process for her, but very soon found that it is different, and simpler, on her 'Star' than on Laurie-Ann's 'Glo.' So while I had her 'Star' here I edited the manual. Also, when I switched on her laptop this morning, up came a notice offering an app for her phone to facilitate the process of file transfer. Clearly I am not the only one who has found it unnecessarily convoluted. As I was completing this teaching exercise Lottie rang. She said she was near the post office and needed a lift home. I think her ability to get people to help her contributes to her ability to survive quite well without sight. I set Bella to sweep and mop the floor and drove out looking for Lottie. It took two more calls from my almost out-of-power phone before I saw her with a man who had accompanied her from OVD. She had successfully collected one of her grants from the post office. When I suggested she could have a bank account to receive such moneys, she shot down the idea in flames, obviously not having any experience of a bank account - she and thousands of other poor South Africans who spend significant parts of their lives queueing to collect grants. After taking her home I went to the cheapest bank, Capitec, to enquire if they would have a basic account without bank charges for Bella. No, they don't offer something that is normal at most western banks, or was a few years ago last time I checked. This probably dissuades the grant collectors I just mentioned from having an account. I put my suggestion on the Capitec FaceBook. Back home it was time for our egg sandwich lunch. While Bella and L-A were engaged in deep conversations about what she can expect in university, I started on the problem that arose when I set up Bella's Microsoft account initially, using L-A's phone number. Now we needed to change that since when we return to Canada her number will beome innaccessible. There is a facility to add another phone number, and then make it primary, but Microsoft wouldn't accept Bella's phone number, saying it was in use on one of their other accounts. I don't know how to deal with this, so I put our a request on Quora. Meantime L-A was having an excellent computer session with Bella about the myriad world of Google and the Google apps that will be useful to her. Noona had told me her bus would be back at 3, and I had said I would be there unless she called me with a different time. I attempted to sleep in the shadier back seat of the car for 80 minutes before the bus arrived. The good news was that Isaiah was fine and wouldn't need another check-up until April. Noona said she was very hungry so I got them a pie and a chocolate milk, and I also had a chocolate milk. I got home about 4:40 with some food Bella had asked for so she could cook for her family tonight. She decided it made more sense for her to do the cooking at home, so I drove her. On the way she asked if I was OK, because I was being quiet. I admitted I felt as if I was a free food service, with free delivery at whatever time was convenient to the girls, and that they now expected more than emergency food, and that I felt we were being used and were not appreciated. At 5:30 Jamelia arrived downstairs with a bunch of hangers-on boys. The boys decided it would be fun to take movie footage of me and threaten to take it to the police. I just wanted to keep out of Covid range. I couldn't get Jamelia to tell me what she wanted, and they didn't want to get into the car so I went home. By now they had moved to our back gate and were asking for water. I went upstairs and filled an Appletizer bottle with water and made three apricot jam sandwiches, but these Jamelia and her two girlfriends refused! I don't know what they wanted me to bring, but part of this performance was to impress the boys that they could whistle up food, but then refuse if it wasn't exactly what they wanted. My concern was social distancing as I offered three sandwiches to others in the group. 90 minutes later Jamelia rang again to ask to be lifted home. The whole group was still together. The three girls got in and I took them to Avian Park. It was being an exhausting day. After supper I took off L-A's bandages and bathed and moisturized her legs before going to bed and sleeping soundly.

Thu Jan 21
Picked up Chantelle after going to the bank to withdraw R800. She asked me to give a lift to two friends, suggesting it was on our way, but in fact it was near Agrimart, twice as far as Lottie's. I was happy to help since they were trying for jobs. We got to Lottie 15 minutes late and drove to Home Affairs. Her ID was falling apart and she needed a replacement, something that I didn't think would cost her, but she was adamant that she would need R200. At 10:15 I picked up Janey for a nails appointment. I then went home for breakfast and to get Lottie and Chantelle an apricot jam sandwich, and when I got back to them they were almost done. I asked Lottie if they had charged her R200, and she said yes, which turned out to be a lie, as Chantelle later explained to me. The new ID was free since she was blind. I won't confront her; I'll just be less responsive to her next request. I discussed Chantelle's plans to run a Mailbox Club, and we decided the first one could be on Monday at 9 am, before the heat of the day. I gave her the materials she would need for the first course. I will come on Monday, and bring the guitar and some fruit. I asked Chantelle if she was reading her Bible, and she said every morning after she had said her prayers. She decided to stay at OVD and asked for R10 for the taxi fare home. I then drove to Bella's and talked to her and Cathy about the R200 they had asked for. I wanted to suggest to them that it wasn't a good idea to exhaust the family finances on the funeral. Bella later told L-A I had been angry; a serious exaggeration. I did give them R200, and had now used up half the funds I had drawn from the bank this morning. We received a WhatsApp from Rita, secretary to the owner of our apartment, with a token number for our electricity meter. I keyed it in, noticing that it didn't change the number of units we had left. But when I turned on the oven and all the hobs, and the kettle, there was no blackout. I left them all on about 10 minutes. Then I replied to Rita, thanking her, and giving her an idea of why this would be so important and helpful to us in the future. I also told Lizzie at Grondbeurs.

Wed Jan 20 - Biden's inauguration as president
I spent some time in the morning going through the Mailbox materials that we still have and sorted out 3 almost complere courses, one of which Chantelle could start with. My eyes wouldn't focus as well as they could before I saw Dr Van Dyk, and the only possible cause of this I could think of was that the pupil dilation drops he had put in my eyes had an effect that had lasted more than an hour or two. Because of this I avoided working much at the computer. I did however check out Joe Biden's inauguration in the afternoon and early evening, and was impressed with his address. Before making an appointment with the optician, I wanted to look through a selection of reading glasses to see if they might be a cheaper option than custom lenses. Just before closing time I drove to the mall and checked out reading glasses in Dis-Chem and Clicks. Some of them allowed my eys to focus on objects about a foot away but were useless for distance. It seems I will need custom lenses. The first answer to my Quora question told me all I needed to know to transfer files from any Android phone to a PC. The key point was to slide 2 fingers down the screen and click 'disable USB debugging.' How the designers of Android could use such technical language to kick of a crucailly important function is beyond me. However, in a few seconds I had the Glo explorer showing up on my laptop, and was able to take all the photos and videoa off. On Friday I will teach Bella. Lottie called asking if I would collect Chantelle tomorrow morning, drive her to OVD, and then take Lottie to Home Affairs to replace her ID, which would need some money from me. Bella messaged L-A asking for R200 for family food money after they were cleaned out at the funeral. I told Laurie-Ann I had finished composing the music for her worship song, and she asked me to sing it, which I did once a capella and then with the guitar. Now I need to learn it, so I am playing praise songs for half an hour each day to get back in practice. Chantelle called asking for food, so I asked to speak to her mother who confirmed the family was completely out of food. Everything they needed urgently we had in our home store, so I drove home, made up a food parcel and drove it down. Chantelle explained that although her mother was paid once a month in the 15th they had other income streams on the other weeks, and she had spent almost all the pay from 15 January on urgent household needs. Chantelle agreed to come with me tomorrow morning to help her grandmother. We watched the final episode of The Queen's Gambit, marvelling at how good it had all been. I paid $1,500 on the TD Visa.

Tue Jan 19
I was at Jamelia's by 9, but it turned out it was just Noona and Isaiah who were my passengers to the hospital. Two hours later I returned them home and agreed to take them to the Cape Town bus at 6:30 am on Friday morning. These visits are just so the doctors can monitor Isaiah's stomach after his operation to connect his intestine to his rectum. He seems very healthy. I took L-A's phone into Vodacom and begged help with the file transfers with a PC. They were able to enable USB debugging, a step in the right direction. I had learned that nappies could be bought at Ackermans and Pep, but Ackermans in the mall had none. Pep did have them at R27. I bought 3 and went next door to the Crazy Store for safety pins. Back home I had OMO which I added to Noona's bag and drove down. I didn't see her but I told Jamelia (a) to have her ask their grandmother how to use nappies and (b) to tell her I will get her 2 more nappies if she actually uses these. My appointent with Marius van Dyk was at 4:30, and it was good that I had a busy day up till then to stop me worrying. As soon as I arrived a nurse put drops in my eyes. Soon after Dr Van Dyk had me in his office, he had focussed both my eyes on an icon in the viewfinder - and I knew everything would be OK. He examined me with another machine that shone bright light into my eyes, but then pronouced that my right eye was text book excellent, and that the left would be fine with the right prescription. He deferred my questions about glasses to Rejeane at Van Wyk & Leroux, and said I could make an appointment for next week. I was hugely relieved that he was OK with the results of the surgery. I was able to get the WhatsApp photos and one video off L-A's Mobicel using Transfer Companion (on the phone) and Droid on the PC. However, to get her other photos they wanted me to buy the software for R499. It must be possible to do this for free, as on Priv. I must continue searching. I started by asking Quora. I can't be the only person who needs to know! Across the world, how many Android phones are discarded because they fill up with media files (eg from using WhatsApp) and the owners of the phones don't know how to get their photos off, or don't have a laptop or the money for an SD card. At 7 pm we had our first Zoom call with Faan and Naomi in 2021, which was good and comforting. We shared my computer. L-A has been suffering brain fog for the last week; we prayed and I felt we should both go back on the multivitamin Spectrum.

Mon Jan 18
I did various errands for Chantelle and Anthonica, which took up much of the morning. Anthonica persuaded me to let her buy some underwhere. I bought a 32GB SD card for L-A's phone to deal with her space problems for R200 (half the price of the phone). I spend time on her phobe dealing with an error message that recommended setting a password. I thought it was referring just to the use of her second email, but it maanifested on the main phone. Late afternoon Jamelia asked for emergency food for the family. The final load shed for a while was from 8 - 10, so we have an early night.

Sun Jan 17
I was at church at 8, ready for the live broadcast of the 9:15 service. I am on the team once a month. Apart from the worship team, the preacher (Marius today) and the audio-visual team, the church remained empty. While awaiting the action Chantelle called me asking for food. This is the young lady I had deivered two large thick crust pizzas to last evening, saying she should keep some for tomorrow. Chantelle told me that she and two brothers had yomped the lot that night. I told Chantelle there was no way I would bring her more today. On the following Monday Chatelle told me that her parents had had some of the pizza the next day. I don't know which version of the story is accurate. The broadcasing went well. I was on the wide angle view and Kenneth was beside me on the close-up camera. Marius preached. By the end of his sermon I was quite tired of standing. The people on stage were somewhat blurred to my eyes, but the viewfinder was sharp enough. While the church broadcast was in progress, a group from the congregation were holding a prayer meeting on Church Square. Gisela was with them and Laurie-Ann 'joined' them from our balcony. seen by Gisela at one point. We heard today the great news that Charl Munnik had receovered from Covid. When I returned home, Jamelia and Bella were needing food. The funeral yesterday of Johanna's baby had exhaused the resources of the Cupido family and apparently cleaned out their bank account. It remains a mystery to me why providing good hospitality for a funeral matters so much to the poor who must often borrow or beg for the money to pay for it. Bella was at her church most of the day so I was trying to assist her family and the children, none of whom could communicate with me. Jamelia had made it easier, asking for potatoes, rice and meat. She also got garlic, which she uses for medication. The wire transfer from Canada arrived in our FNB account, suggesting that the email on Friday was a phishing attack, to which I had responded correctly. However, we also received a reply from Fraudreporting@fnb.co.za saying that the original message was legit. I replied that the Forex Department needed educating in how to communicate with the public, eg not asking for an account number by email. I am not sure how this will pan out, but having the money in our bank account is a significant comfort. Chantelle started harassing L-A about 7:30 but we didn't respond. L-A lost the telephone notifications on her Mobicel, and I was unable to download a ring-tone app. I sensed there is just not enough spare memory space on the phone so I resolved to to get her photos and videos off it tomorrow.

Sat Jan 16
Anthonica popped up at 11:30 asking for breakfast and toiletris, including soap, toothbrush and toothpaste. These last 3 made it important, but it would be tight getting it to her by 12:30, particularly since I wanted to satisfy Chantelle on this trip. I went to Quennet's for the toothache gel for Chantelle and managed to get everything else inluding 2 pies for Chantelle at OK. I found Anthonica in time, giving her a R10 to get home from a netball game. There was no sign of Chantelle. I then called on Jamelia who had said an aunt was harrassing them for the return of a R300 loan several months ago. They had R250 and desperately needed the rest. I gave her R50. At this time there was no sign of preparations for the baby's funeral next door. I drove to OVD but still couldn't find Chantelle, so I drove home via Pick n Pay - and a shock. As I got out of the car I couldn't find the all-important trunk key, vital for locking and unlocking the driver's door. Without it, the car could become fully locked and impossible to open. So I set all the doors to the unlock position while I bought the last few groceries for us. Before going home I drove to OK Foods, one of the two places where I had got out of the driver's door, and asked if anyone had handed in a key. The friendly man who squirts the hand sanitizer called the manager and I explained my situation, and he asked all the staff. We agreed that if anyone had found it they would have handed it in by now. I drove home, depressed, and made L-A even more depressed when I told her. I suggested we eat Chantelle's pies for lunch, but I didn't know what was in them. L-A tried a morsel of one and decided it was steak and kidney, which she hates. I ate the pie and made her a cup-a-soup. After lunch I went out to drive to Quenet's and search the gutter for the key, and ask if anyone had handed it in. Before driving off, I pulled out the driver's side carpet and as it came, I saw the key nestling in it. It had fallen from my pocket when I first got in the car this morning. I locked the car and went back in to show L-A the good news. She stopped praying.

Fri Jan 15
I had agreed to take Lottie to try and buy a mattress at 10, but when I arrived she said Chantelle was coming too, and asked if i would collect her from Avian Park. This I attempted but couldn't find her, and the only phone she uses is her monther's who would have been at work. So I returned to OVD and we drove into the Institute for the Blind compound. Lottie had a budget of R400 maximum, less than half their cheapest price. They recommended Journe en Almal on Baring Street, a second hand furniture store. We drove there, but the owner, John Smit had nothing under R600. He said that he did sometimes get in cheaper mattresses, so I took his phone number. I then took Lottie to Pick n Pay, and to our house to get groceries and potatoes respectively, before returning her home. It's good to see that she is using the padlock I bought her on her front door chain these days. I sent another 'Help' message to Powertime, and a lady called me from the customer service department. We were no longer in a danger zone, after setting up the account on L-A's PC, but it is inconvenient to have to use her machine every time one of the girls needs air time, so I am keen to sort out the problem with mine. I tried adding L-A's TD Visa to my account but it wouldn't load, so the problem is not related to a specific card. The Powertime lady really wanted me to load the Powertime app onto L-A's phone, which I did, but was unable to add either credit card to it. Powertime software is flaky, and I feel sorry for the CS staff having to try and solve some problems that are probably due to design flaws. A year or so ago I had been unable to buy data, only air time. I wrote a birthday letter to Lynn; she is 77. I wanted to do something more personal than an e-card so I listed her top 10 character plus-points in a hopefully humourous way. I received a disturbing email apparently form the Forex division of FNB demanding information on the reason for my current wire transfer from Canada, and asking to confirm my account number. I replied with the eason for our transfer but said if they wanted my account number they would have to phone with a very good reason, since as FNB surely theu would have access to it. I then called FNB security and they checked that no legitimate such enquiry had been flagged on my account. They said I should forward the email to the FNB Fraud department - which I did. My eyesight seems to be getting worse, in that I can't focus so well as I could before with my good (right) eye. My left eye is very marginally improved. Just 4 days before I see Dr van Wyk, and hopefully find out what's going on. James called on the iPad as L-A was preparing food for supper, so I took the call alone and we had a very pleasant chat. He was on his way to 'Nelson' air force base for a Covid innoculation. He was in and out of there very rapidly, calling us briefly again to let us know. It isn't mentioned on the news but I guess front-line military personnel are given priority, like medical staff. Loadshedding cut into the Queen's Gambit shortly after 10, right in the middle of a tense chess game, but Pink Dell continued for about 10 minutes that had been buffered, so we were able to watch Beth win. In the almost pitch dark, L-A wanted to go out on the balcony to watch the stars, so I brought her pink chair and her last Hunter's Dry cider, aided by our small blue torch. She spent about 20 happy minutes out there. Two huge trucks stopped on the High Street beneath us for 10 minutes. I went to bed and slept soundly till 9 am.

Thu Jan 14
I collected our saucepan from Cathy, but forgot to bring requested toilet paper, so decided to check out the U-Save (Shoprite). Marco was sitting outside on the step and we chatted. I suggested that he has more Covid immunity than the rest of us, having had the disease. I bought some 'Grandpa' headache remedy for Anthonica as well as toilet paper for Bella's family. You would never think from the outside or the inside that the U-Save was constructed from containers. I went on up to the mall and bought a computer mouse. All three of our mice have been misbehaving, but I was only able to diagnose the problem for sure by using Bella's mouse with my computers. I wouldn't have thought that mice would work partially. They were very bad at dragging and dropping, for example, and often seemed to fall asleep. The new mouse, by Logitech, from Game, works just fine, and cost R110. I also bought drugs from Dis-Chem, including Vitamin D3 - 1000. I guess we should each take 5 pills daily to be equivalent to the D3 - 5000s we are just finishing, but are now only available on prescription. Last night I dreamed I wrote a 'father to son' letter to James. The idea actually came from watching 'Away' and the transition of the astonauts from being antagonistic to being loving. At one stage, the suggestion was made, probably by the Russian, Misha, to contact their loved ones and tell they how they felt. Anyway, today I actually wrote such a letter to James. I recall that in the last few months my father write a similar letter to me (I may still have it) but the only part that stays in my memory is his advice not to buy life insurance, which didn't then (or now) increase his credibility with me. Eskom had anounced Stage 2 loadshedding today, from 2 - 4:30 and 10 - midnight. This is the first loadshedding in months. At 1:45 I went to bed and slept to 4:30. L-A joined me for the last hour, but she was able to draw for the first part. Claire's funeral was scheduled for 5pm at her house on Crane Street, where I had picked her up several times. Jan had suggested that instead of going into the funeral, wellwishers could drive by in their cars. When I arrived about 10 to 5, noone was driving by, but several cars were parked in the street, and about 15 people in their best clothees were waiting across the street for the proceedings to begin. There were few sign of social distancing, but there were a few masks. A man came to my car and asked if I was coming to the funeral, and I said "no," but aked him to take in a card I had written. Nik and Gisela arrived a little later. also not intending to go in. Amplifiers and a keyboard arrived, ahead of a pastor. I took a few photos from inside the car. I just wanted to 'be there for Claire' for a while, and then I left. We watched part 1 of 'The Queen's Gambit,' timing it so it ended just before loadshedding.

Wed Jan 13
I took Janey to have her toes painted in the clinic at De la Bat, and then collected Bella to spend a day with us. I had R100 to go towards the funeral of Johanna's baby on Saturday, and Bella gave it to Cathy. She hadn't eaten today so I got her a pie and chocolate milk en route. We had social time for a while after she arrived. My main objective for her was to continue her 'how to use a laptop' course, and the first segment we looked at was performance problems, introducing her to Disk Cleanup and the Optimizer. I switched Bella from training mode to house cleaning mode throughout the day. We had L-A's special egg sandwiches for lunch. We will only have probably one more chance to spend time in our house before she goes to University. By 3:30 I had covered the teachings on my list and she had made a difference to the look of the house, so she watched a movie on her computer. About 5:15 she started cooking tuna casserole for her family, but the only container we had was our main saucepan, so we lent it to her for the night. I bought another R200 worth of food for her at OK on her way home. We watched the final episode of 'Away.' featuring their arrival on Mars. This was not really a space story so much as the human stories of the astronauts. Unique in my limited experience was the balance given to one of the astronauts, Kwesi, of Jewish faith, and the acceptance by the other 6 for him to pray for them all, particularly when things were tough. This contrasts with the mini-series Mars, and (all ?) most other secular TV where God's existence is ignored.

Tue Jan 12
Jan had posted on the My Father's House WhatsApp Group that Claire Slinger was in hospital with Covid. This morning I posted that Covid cases were getting closer to us, and that I try to reach the ones for whom I have an email. Then Jan posted the seriusly sad and shocking news that Claire had died this morning. I had taken her to the Mother Church on Christmas Day, just 18 days ago. She had I had met several times in the previpus few weeks, mainly my driving her to places. She was the prime mover in the Avian Park Umbrella Group in organizing emergency food for children, and unless her helpers rise up, the children could suffer. Dr van Dyk gave me an appointment for next Tuesday for him to examine my eyes post-operation. As my left eye improves very marginally, there seems to a be a conflict with the right eye, making more things out of focus. I took food parcels to Anthonica and Chantelle, plus milk and bread to Bella. I drove Anthonica to bring her cousin back from OVD. While in OVD I saw Lottie about her need for a matress and agreed to take her to Innovation for the Blind on Friday at 10. I worked on the 2021 TD1s for IMC, and may have figured out the problems from last year resulting in the IMC income being allocated to me. Several jobs were done on Bella's computer prior to her being here tomorrow. No time for TV relaxing tonight. but L-A read our pralm as I unbandaged her legs.

Mon Jan 11
Car to MMJ because the brakes-need-attention error message was still coming up periodically. I suggested to Brian not to do unnecessary work just based on the computer message! I chatted with another customer, and later with Willem as he drove her home. We were shocked to hear that the girl twin, Jua-Nique of parents Johanna and Leroy had died. L-A thinks it may have been a cot death. There had been no reports of her being ill. Her twin brother Elrique remains healthy. I worked on our song - the chorus. But in the time available I wasn't able to satisfactorily complete the harmonies on the final line. I helped L-A make turkey paprakosh, another variation on what we were doing with our second turkey. Around 11:30 Brian called to say the car was ready. It turned out they hadn't had to change any brake linings. The problem was a dirty sensor sending false data to the computer. This was a great relief. I set up our monthly XE wire transfer. We had a serious problem with Powertime. We had R1 in the wallet, R2.70 on the Da Vinci meter, and were unable to recharge the wallet from my credit card. I sent an urgent message to customer service, and they actually called me back. They suggested I use the app on a phone rather than the program on my laptop! They said they would escallate the situation. We needed action urgently, so L-A suggested I set up a new Powertime account on her laptop using her Visa. This I did, and it all worked, avoiding what would have been a very serious issue if we had actually run out of power.

Sun Jan 10
No church today. Lock down Stage 3 is firm about that. I watched the livestream from WCC, but it was in Afrikaans. I went to P n P and noticed the quality of the audio system. Ths is the store I had complained to about the quality of their sound when playing The Jerusalema a couple of months ago. Maybe they took notice! I spoke to a couple of staff but they hadn't noticed any work being done on the speaker system. During the day we had calls from Chantelle and Jamelia needing food - any food. Jamelia even got some of my pineapple cremora tart, and a turkey samdwich. Of course these weould be shared by 5 or 6, but even a taste of something other than dry bread will be memorable for them. I had more spare time than usual, so now was my chance to find out more about the GBV song I kept hearing on SAFM. I downloaded the voice note I had made on Wednesday on my Blackberry, and made it available to my main computer. L-A got Shazam up on the iPad and I attempted to identify it. It took 4 tries on Shazam before it came up with the name 'Ungandibulali,' and the singer as Beriita, together with the Ndlovu Youth Choir. I soon found it on Spotify. I searched SAFM diligently for a link to pay for a download of the song to help the cause, but could find none. So I shared the Spotify link on Facebook which gave me the artwork. We listened to several of Berita's albums. This is probably my favourite African genre. I was very tired by evening, but was energized by a turkey korma that L-A created, followed by the last portion of creme caramel. We watched Away, and read our nightly psalm. Finally I helped L-A a little as she processed the turkey carcase that had been slow cooking a couple of days, making very rich soup stock.

Sat Jan 9
It was a warm day and I came home from a shopping trip to find L-A very hot and bothered trying to draw in her studio. The house didn't feel particularly hot to me, but her room was warm. I sugggested she move to the kitchen, so I took her computer and put it on her place setting and turned on the fan. Soon she was fine, staying there most of the day. I had bought a full sized pineapple cremora tart, just for me, to give me something that my small appetite might still go for, and I had several slices. Yummy. We heard from Heather that Charl Munnik was in hospital with Covid. Charl has been like a friend ever since I interviewed him for CWCP. I sent a personal note of encouragement to the email address on his business card. Heather also reported on Whatsapp that she had finally bought new tires for her car.

Fri Jan 8
I re-sent my November email to Grondbeurs asking when we could expect a plumber and a carpenter for faults they had noticed when we moved in, and this time copied it to Attie. I also asked if they would bring a ladder so the bulb in our bathroom light could be replaced. Having not heard from our GP surgery, I called them to hear that Gina Eloff had indeed written me a prescription but they had forgotten to call me. Janey called to ask if I would take her to the mall. After taking Janey I drove to the surgery. I asked how Dr Eric was doing and they told me he had Covid and was isolating, but may be back next week. I took the prescripions to Carica next door and also ordered another batch of Rifafour TB pills. We have heard that Covid is accelerating here in Worcester. Apparently Worcester was mentioned on SABC as a warm (if not hot) spot, with hospitals filling up. I have noticed people are being more cautious around town, and the 9pm curfew means we have been sleeping better since there is less traffic noise. Some vehicles do still come through the centre of town past our house at all hours. After having the car serviced 2 weeks ago, the brakes-need-attention disply was again coming up. They had replaced the frint brakes; maybe this warning referred to the rear brakes. I must have it attended to or a new owner would immediately see the warning. I called in at MMJ just before they closed for the day and took the one remaining slot they had next week - Monday. We watched 'The Music Lovers,' Ken Russell's fantasy on Tchaikowsky, but it does capture his tortured life and loves.

Thu Jan 7
I woke and dozed for an hour, concerned about whether my friend at Cell Repair Centre was able to have replaced Anthonica's screen. Finally my desire to know was greater than my apprehension so I got up, had a quick breakfast, and drove to Q-Square. There were no other customers, and he soon showed me the phone, looking brand new! I asked him to fit a screen protector. While her was doing this another customer came in asking to know how much it would cost to replace the screen on her rather larger phone. He said R500; she left. Soon I had had a lesson on putting on a screen protector. I said I would like to buy a second screen protector of the same size. He asked me how much he had quoted me yesterday, and I said R300. He asked me about Canada, and it seemed he wanted to emmigrate there and needed a sponsor. I told him the Canadian High Commission was closed during Covid, but I think I will find out the role of a sponsor. He told mee that the second screen protector was free. I gave him my name and email and asked his name; Tahir. I walked back to the G-Square parking lot via Daly Bread, buying our first loaf in 10 days while Trevor had been surfing(?) Probably not with the beaches closed. I bought some medications from Carica, and then drove to Anthonica's. She saw me from afar and got into the back. When she saw her repaired phone she was ecstatic. Very counter-cultural. She was less ecstatic about the school supplies, laughing about what I thought she meant by 'crayons.' Then I went on to Bella's giving her some cough syrup that had been prescribed for L-A, and some Panado pills. Then I put the second screen protector on her phone, getting it right after a couple of tries. Now there were two of our girls very happy. On SAFM I heard a report of violence in Washington during the electoral college recount, and a dramatic audioclip was played, in stereo, of gunfire. When I got home, I turned on France 24 which confirmed 3 deaths after Trump supporters had stormed the Capitol building. This event will stain Trump's legacy redder than any achievements he will claim, and a series of statements have been made by different nations decrying the abuse of democracy in the country that until now was was a model of the democratic dream. We had cap-a-soup for lunch, and L-A noticed that I kept falling asleep as I drank the soup. When it was finished I went to bed, sleeping for 3 hours. I got up at 5 feeling the way one feels after 3 hours of daytime sleep; certainly not a 'back to work' feeling. As I prepared cups of tea, my eyes fell on a packet of Moir's Creme Caramel mix. It had been in our pantry about a year, and whenever the idea of making it had crossed my mind, I had immediately dismissed it as being a task that I didn't have time for right then. But now, when I didn't feel like doing anything constructive, it felt like the perfect occupation. I collected the magnifying glesses to be able to read the tiny writing of the instructions, and took the first minute or so looking for said instructons. The problem here wasn't just related to my current eyesight problems; the writing is miniscule so as to allow more space for redundant branding logos, a common issue with food labelling for people with poor vision. Soon I was starting to mix the pudding and getting it into the microwave for 6 minutes. I did make a mistake with the caramel sauce, mixing in 4 times as much water as was called for, so we have ended up with a mixture of the two instead of the sauce floating on top of the pudding. That night for dessert I had one of the four servings; very very good, and refreshing. During 'Away' tonight they briefly played as background the pas de deux from Nutcracker, a favourite of mine, so after the show I played to to L-A. We then searched for films on the life of Tchaikowsky, and found 'The Music Lovers,' by Ken Russell and Melvyn Bragg, from 1970, a 'sister' film to the Delius film that had turned me into a lifelong fan of Delius in 1971.

Wed Jan 6
Anthonica had asked if I could visit her now the family was back in Avian Park after Christmas, and I caught up with her this morning. She needs a new screen for her Mobicel, something she has asked for for months since her cousin snatched her phone from her hand in anger and threw it on the ground. This time I said I would investigate, but I needed to take the phone with me, which would make things very hard for her and her mother, but she realised this was the only way. It turned out her 10 days over Christmas at De Dorns was an all-expenses-paid gift from her aunt, and now they are back they are at square 1 financially. But this meant that the Kees hadn't cost the Copples anything over Christmas. She gave me a written list of the school supplies she needed. I took the phone to Cell Repair Centre and he assured me he would have it done by tomorrow morning, since he had the right screen in stock. I then went to the Boland stationery shop and bought everything on Anthonica's list for about R150. Janey had asked me to take her to the mall to have her very injured nails treated at Annique's, and for shopping. Two hours later Andre asked me to take their 'Sasa' cards to her (like store cards I think) and she shopped for two hours before I brought her home. I was driving from Avian Park when I heard the SAFM public service announcement against GBV which ends with half a minute of a beautiful song that I had first heard in the company of Claire Slingers. I immediately pulled over, and recorded a voice note. I am so keen to find a clean copy of the song. 10 years ago we chased down the song Epoka. We watched the initial stages of the 'recounting' of US electoral college votes that Trump had engineered, not because he thought he might overturn the count, but it gave a chance for people loyal to him (a dwindling number) to put themselves on record. As the temperature heats up, the fan I bought from pick n Pay is proving helpful, particularly for L-A, who feels the heat more than I do.

Tue Jan 5
I was at the Traffic Department by 9, and joined the end of a long, socially-distanced queue. I had brought one of the camping chairs so I was comfortable enought for the 2 hours it took to reach the head of the queue. I was praying that I wouldn't need a roadworthy test, or any forms I hadn't brought. Finally it was my turn, and I had my new licence within a minute! I forgot to ask to have our address changed, but later decided that changing it to Da Vinci might be a mistake since the mailboxes here are a disaster. I then drove to give Jamelia the AC2000 I had bought yesterday. Finally I drove to 125 Kalkoen, which had burned on Sunday. Some men were attempting to clear mess. I spoke to a lady called Roslin and gave her some bulk food, and took a picture, and prayed for them all. The redemption had arrived in Simplii for the Poulin windows 2nd assessment $11,187,80. Actually $33,000 had arrived due to the misunderstanding on the message. I emailed Vanessa Symington at Poulin and authorized her to suck the money out of our account. She replied, adding that there would be no interest charges. I tried to buy Metagenics D3 5000 on line without success, although L=A is sure we bought it from Wellness Warehouse.

Mon Jan 4
I dreamed I had gone to 125 Kankoen to see the situation after yeatreday's fire. I took a second look at the washing powder I had used since we arrived in Da Vinci, since last week I had given half a pack of Omo to Bella. To my considerable surprize, the power I had been using was Pollyfilla, packaged in the same colour plastic bag as Omo! I collected the washing from the line and showed it to L-A, promising that she would be able to fill crackes with them. Mid afternoon: power failure. I assumed I hadn't pumped up the meter and attempted to do so with the Q10 unsuccessfully (it hadn't remembered my password). I tried with L-A's phone and was having difficulty there when my phone rang. It was Janey to ask if we had power. I looked out the window and saw there were no lights. Janey had checked that no loadshedding was scheduled. So this was a rare unexpected general power failure, and it lasted about half an hour, and was a relief, since it turned out we had plenty of power on our meter.

Sun Jan 3
No live church again this Sunday, so we both tuned into Hillsong Church on the line at 10. For me however, it was to be short lived, since Lottie called me about 10:30 to say she had walked to Pick n Pay Local for food, and would I take her home and bring potatoes and bread. While not appreciating calls from children asking me to do something immediately, I took pity on Lottie and got there in 5 minutes. She had come with a boy from OVD who had acted as her guide. I took them home. Maria had not called her yesterday to confirm what was going on, and neither had Chantelle brought her anything with the R50 I had given her. We had a leisurely day, not rushing. I went grocery shopping around midday and got pies for lunch. Our 2021 is uncertain, particularly getting from SA to Canada when the SA vaccination drive will not start before April. However, worrying about uncertaincies is pretty fruitless. We will trust in the Lord for his continued protection even though we have faced many challenges. Life in Da Vinci is far from unpleasant. I washed L-A's 'smalls' and hung them on the line on the balcony.

Sat Jan 2
As I got up I had an idea about GNCM. After a few more years of the Weebly site, I could construct a new site allowing visitors to select any podcast for playing or downloading, as well as keeping the 'Podcast of the week' feature. This would not need Weebly, saving us our main expense. Chantelle messaged several times saying she needed toiletries and other items. I called her back and the toiletries included salitary pads. She suggested coming to our house if I would give her R50. I agreed, but the organising to get here at any expected time proved hard for her. In the end she talked her way into our complex and knocked on our door. Then it turned out she also needed mayonaise and potatoes since her family were walking over to OVD to spend time with Lottie, so I gave her another R50. I resolved to write and send my response to the GNCM board today. I described how I would maintain the webside starting now with far fewer new podcasts, and drawing on the existing library for a 'Podcast of the Week' feature. I designed a spreadsheet showing the annual expenses for the next 10 years. I made it so that the total expenses for the next 4 years would be $2,000, the amount Richard had suggested they would send to me for the purpose. I updated the descriptive document to cover all the points Richard had listed in his draft, and added a number of my own. I used the Dell E6500 for the spreadsheeting since it still runs Windows 7 and Excel, and the LibreOffice Calc program on my Windows 10 machine seems less than fully compatible. Lottie called late afternoon and it seems Chantelle and the family hadn't showed up. I called Maria Diedericks and asked her to call Lottie and tell her what was going on. She said they would be going over tomorrow morning, Sunday. I finished the reports for the GNCM board and emailed them to the individual board members about 7pm. This was a major hurdle achieved, and I felt my reports were good quality. In the evening we watched the movie 'Woman in Gold' about the Gustav Klimt painting, Adele.

Now I will survey Laurie-Ann's current medical conditions. (1) Hypothyroidism, for which she has taken thyroxin since 1989, (2) ingrowing toenails, (3) tendonitis, usually in hands, or thumb, or shoulder, or the back of her knee, (4) osteo-arthritis in the knees, now requiring the use of a walker even for getting around the house, (5) Astigmatism, which affects her artwork. Could be cured by eye surgery, (6) hidradentis suppurative, HS, (7) recovering inflammatory breast cancer, (8) recovered from menapausal issues including fibroids in her uterus etc, after small operation, (9) allergies to local conditions causing itching, spots, cold symptoms, (10) lymphadema, which we attempt to control with MLD and compression therapy, (11) iron defficiency since the 90s, (12) wearing orthotics since 2011 because her feet started turning in. Although the painkillers she needs have reduced considerably since the time of the chemo, she still takes a large number of pills and pinkillers. After reading these two lists of medical conditions, one could well ask how we are able to carry out productive tasks as missionaries, or indeed, should we have ever embarked on the missionary life? Well, most of these conditions have arisen since we came to South Africa, and the quality of medical care we have both received here has been exceptional, so we are able to do good work despite the medical conditions.

Fri Jan 1 - New Year's Day
I had promised to bring Bella her phone during the morning. Before doing so I added the Google Calendar, adding an event at 11 am this morning when
I brought her the phone. Her sister Johanna and Leroy were there and I got a photo of them with the twins who we had had a role in bringing safely into the world. I did some work on my response to keeping the GNCM website going, which is overdue for sending to the board in Ottawa. The the weather is generally heating up, so I decided to assemble the Pick n Pay fan. There were still a few parts left in the box when I was done, mainly the small extensions for the four legs which I couldn't clip on, but the fan itself was working well and silently.

Since it is New Year's Day, I have decided to list our current medical problems. So here are mine: (1) TB, causing loss of appetite and weight loss, now stable, fatigue, nausea (lessening) (2) anaemia, for which I am on quite powerful and expensive Ferrimed, 2 x 100 mg tablets a day, (3) pain in my right leg, and throughout my body, caused by lower back misalligment, for which I take 2 Tramacet and 1 Celebex each morning. I seldom feel the leg pain any more, but if I cut out either Tramacet or Celebrex I have a really bad day, (4) my left eye is far from recovered from cataract surgery. Everything is quite blurred, and I am unsure if it is improving. I wear dark glasses outside the house since I am over-sensitive to light. The saving grace is that the focus in my right eye is excellent for computer work, and I can read a book with it. The surgeon predicted I would require prescription glasses for such activity. I can also drive well enough and there is even some depth of field, despite the left eye being blurred, (5) my bunnions are causing increasing discomfort, which I alleviate by switching every few days between the two pairs of shoes into which I can insert my orthotics. Occasionally I suffer a sharp pain in my left foot. (6) allergy to local conditions causing continual runny nose, but controllable with Texa Allergy medication. (7) enlarged prostate, resultig in the need for a daily Uromax tablet. I will survey Laurie-Ann's medical conditions tomorrow.


Copples in Western Cape