Wed April 1
I left the house around 10am, my mask beside me. I went first to the mall and parked outside Woolworths, and put on my mask, only to find that entrance was cordoned off. I entered at Checkers, then walked back to the Game entrance an drew out R800 from our FNB account as ready cash for the next week or so; not that we'll be spending any. Lock down is saving us money. There were long queues for Checkers and Pick n Pay - but since people were spaced out they weren't as long as they looked.
The mall was nearly empty; I took photos showing just a few people. I went into Dischem. This was my third hand sanitization; every store sanitizes on entry. I bought rusks and soy milk. In Woolworths I found many of the foods on my list, including 3 goat's milk and some nice looking meat. I didn't need to queue for Checkers. I drove to OK Foods where there were a few parking spots. People here were less security conscious, and there was no hand sanitization on entry, and few people in masks. I found the rest of my list, and drove home feeling it had been less challenging than I expected.
Now we had enough to eat, and eat quite well. We sang praises and I captured a few more songs on the Marantz. I have been in touch with Dianne, Neesa and Phil in recent days, after suggesting we set up a WhatsApp group for us, but hit a snag early on when it turned out Neesa doesn't use a smartphone, and the plan wouldn't work with one excluded. I will look at other apps. In the process of the communicaton it turned out that Phil has recorded a new album of his piano music, called 'Phil plays Crazy,' and had sent me a copy by mail. I explained to him that it wouldn't get here for a couple of months and asked him to send it by WeTransfer. This he did, and I sampled every tune, so that I might play one on CWCP Radio. As I worked through them, they seemed to get better and better, and I picked the penultimate song for broadcasting: 'On my own.' (Les Miserables), which actually brought tears to my eyes. Phil is able to extract the very essence of a tune which is sometimes strangely missing when
orchestrated and with vocals. There are several friends who bought colouring books and said they would pay by EFT, but we haven't yet seen the money. We sent friendly reminders - and they all came through, boosting the FNB account. I posted the notification of tomorrow's CWCP Radio show: 'This Thursday 2 April 2020 on CWCP Radio, The 'SA Lock Down Show,' with Angus Buchan, Marie Fourie, Dr Will Bulsiewicz. Music by Phil Copple, Lungstar Tida, and the Copples (we two). Tune in here: http://bit.ly/2HSCeBi (click on 'Listen live') 8pm South Africa, 2pm EST Ottawa, Canada, or listen later on podcast - same link - anytime.'
Lungstar Tida is a musician from Johannesburg who had sent his song 'Buya' to the station. I had L-A cut the bass which was far too prominent. I worked on producing the spoken word items, but the music will have to wait till tomorrow. Chantelle had been trying to reach us, and when I figured out which phone she was on I pumped up her air time. I sent her a text, and mercifully she answered it. Communicating with them by voice is so hit and miss, since the phone is her mother, Maria's. She is begging me to take food to her blind grandmother, which in normal times I would have done. But in lock down, the police could take action particularly against someone my age going into OVD township, and her ouma is the same age as me and in frail health. Somehow I must find a way. Chantelle also needs food, but I will start with her ouma.
We received a $100 donation from Pat Boelsma, a lady in a Christ Church Ashton prayer group who I couldn't remember. For a week we received Christian message each day from her. Then we heard from her bother that she had died of cancer. She had been the most unlikely of supporters, having just spent an hour or two with Laurie-Ann. May her joy be extra great in Heaven!
At 11 we joined a Zoom conference video call with about 15 people in the Harvest Family Network, which was set up a year ago by Brian Britton, and connects many missionaries. The technology really worked well as we all introduced ourselves and gave a little information about our situations and missions. Joel Bernard aked me what would be the best way to send us money.
Tue Mar 31
Last night I had a dream that a very large kitchen sink was overflowing but I couldn't turn off the taps, so I got into it as the only way to reach the drain plug, but was unable to do so.
In the night I went to the toilet (as is normal for me, a least once) but this time felt really dizzy, holding on to the window bars to stop falling. The light on the toilet bowl caused a brilliant image in my eyes with razor-sharp edges that remained wherther my eyes were open or shut. I have never experienced this before, but I have never taken two Ferrimed in one day. So I won't do that again. The rest of today I had no more breathlessness than usual.
I recorded our time of praise on the Marantz in case the quality would be good enough to include in the Worcester Report. This turned out to be so.
A fun task I set myself today was to edit my home movies page adding all significant videos from 2017 when I set this page up. The trigger was that I had told Louis Le Grange that I would send him a link to my historic videos. On a more dark note, he had met with business people from Germany in the week before the braii on 20 March, and that would be the only plausible way that we might have been infected. I would like to communicate with him, without asking him directly about his health, by sending him the Home Movies link.
L-A went to lie down about 11 am and didn't get up till 6, havig missed lunch. That was a first. At 8pm we joined Iris Western Cape remotely in an hour's prayer time for the world and specifically all of us. While praying I had a secular thought, that I hadn't monitored the payment of my MasterCard at month's end. After our prayer, I checked Solutions Banking to see that the MasterCard bill had been paid on 30 March; it was somewhat less than in previous months. However, for a day and a half our account had exceeded our $155,000 limit by about $80. Last month a similar situation resulted in the card being temporarily suspended, and my negotiating with Solutions Banking, who forgave us and reversed several debits. We will find out if that will be necessary again when I try and use the credit card tomorrow, when finally I must go shopping, because we only have 3 slices of bread left.
Mon Mar 30
I have my alarm set to 7:30 now we aren't able to be active in the mission field, and then doze for up to half an hour until the excitement of a new day encourages me out of bed. By 9:30 we must decide whether we want to apply for seats on a Canadian rescue flight. We are slightly angry that they give such short notice. How can one leave a country so fast? Then an answer occurs to us: this is designed for tourists who are living out of suitcases in guest houses and hotels, who can relatively easily change plans to get back home, and for whom getting stuck in South Africa could be a disaster.
We aren't in that situation. Staying in South Africa longer is not painful for us, not at all. The issues are that Laurie-Ann needs the next phase of her cancer recovery, and she would like to see her dad sooner rather than later. Our saftely level is high here, at least for the moment. How safe would it be to be with hundreds of others for a 2-day flight across the world, including several airports, and then a journey from Toronto to Ottawa. The virus has taken root in thousands who don't even know it, but not, we believe, in us. Our income continues here, but our expenses are lower. L-A had had a dream last night that she believes
was a message she should stay. In my own prayers I have received no nudges or urges to get out of the country at all costs. We will have to pay for herceptin every 3 weeks - but that should extend the window during which she should have surgery, and there is no guarantee of early surgery now in locked-down Ottawa. We agree that we are not going to book seats on the rescue plane.
We sing praises for about 20 minutes at around 10. One of my main tasks today is to thank three people who have recently given significant donations. We had not expected any of them; one was the largest donation we have ever had! While making supper I play one of Cat Stevens/Yussufs recent albums, 'Tell 'em I'm gone.' and find real gems. I had bought Roadsinger a couple of years ago, but there are four albums to explore made after his retun to music making in 2006. Later I read his Wikipedia page - what a gift of pleasure he has been to the world, and how much good he has done through humanitarian works. We left Spotify running for a couple of hours and it seemed to select all sorts of tracks that it thought I would like, and I did.
Sean Waite posted an interview with Angus Buchan from two days ago that is so good I decided to feature it on Thursday's Worcester report. Then I listened to a word of encouragement by Marie Fourie and was most comforting. She has also posted a piece by Dr Will Bulsiewicz which suggested the virus can also present as diarhoea. I had diarhoea today. I will include both of these on Thursday's show, and possibly some praise and worship from us.
I have been a little breathless for months, one of the symptoms of anemia, but today it has been worse than usual; even painful. I took a second Ferrimed about 8 pm as an experiment. I checked my temperature: 97.1°. Not a fever.
Sun Mar 29
I drew up a pencil chart of a daily routine for the next few weeks, including writing my book about redundancy, and daily praise. Then I went looking for the computer port in the Mercedes that was shown in James' video. It was there, but in a different place. I need to make sure the car battery doesn't flatten. It was good I had the tire repaired last week.
L-A had a lie in, and when she got up listened to Nik's translation of Johan's sermon for WCG. We had hard boiled eggs on buttered bread for breakfast. Then I selected about 20 music sheets, tuned the guitar and led L-A in music to the Lord for about half an hour, followed by a prayer.
I received an e-mail from Antonio Antomane confirming he could get the money to Rui. I turned on Paypal and saw Antonio's image still there and I sent $US 89.43 to him. Not much later Rui messaged me and thanked me for the 6,000 Mets he had received. The culture in Mozambque is for sharing everything, (unlike the South African poor where we have found people will steal from their mothers) so the money may benefit a few people.
We spent half an hour in praise and worship, bust the two of us. I had selected about 35 pieces, not what I've been singing for the kids. With L-A's accompanying harmony we enjoyed offering about 10 of them to Jesus.
In our afternoon, when the North American churches were having their morning services. I spent a pleasant time exploring the churches of ACNA and ANIC, my denomination. It was slightly eery - just the pastor and maybe one other on video in otherwise empty churches. In Faith Anglican Church, Embrun, Rev Arnold Mayorga brought it alive very well. This is his other parish, sister to my church BHCC, and I was pleased to see the camera orientation was correct this week.
Then I listened to George Sinclair on this morning's Good News in the Morning, on the subject The presence of idols. It was a 50 minute sermon, long even by George's standards, but I lapped it all up. Where it scored technically over all the other FaceBook Lives and YouTubes from all the churches was that it was audio, not video, leaving all the visuals to the imagination. Frankly the visuals in FaceBook Live sermons are pretty boring; it's the words where the value is. Churches would be better off broadcasting in audio, as we do on The Worcester Reports, but for this they would need Raspberry Pi's or equivalents, more expensive than someone's cellphone. From a listener perspective I would recommend not watching the remote service, but just listening to the audio once you are tuned in.
L-A received an e-mail from the Canadian government asking if we would like to book seats on a rescue flight to be leaving either Cape Town or Johanesburg or both in the next few days. They gave us till 9:30 tomorrow morning to reply. It would cost $5,000 each. For this to work for us, we must persuade Stacie Meubles to come and fetch all our furniture during the lockdown, and before we leave, which may be against the law. We must find someone to take on the responsibility of driving our trunks to Cape Town airport after we have successfully left SA. We would need to find a very trusty and kind person to continue the challenge of mending the Mercedes and then selling it. We would have to return our borrowed Toyota to Lise, for Sandy. We must plan for the possibility that we would be not allowed to board because of a fever, having by then burned our bridges. It would be very unlikely the flight would offer assistance to the disabled, and if not, the effort for L-A, and surviving such a long flight could mullify her cancer recovery progress.
We would arrive in Toronto, not Ottawa and have to go into 2 weeks self isolation. Paying $10,000 to experience all these issues would seriously dent our financial situation, needing to redeem long term investments when they are way down in value due to the pandemic, and this alone could be the most detrimental to us in the long term.
Sat Mar 28
Two days ago we received the wire transfer from Simplii, so now I sent R9,000 to cover our April rent. We still have the regular payment order in place should we need to stay here for May, but if we don't, they need to know before 20 April.
The number of deaths in SA has been revised down to 1; the other was found to have died of pulminory embolism, also a lung disease, but neither she nor her family tested positive for Coronavirus. On a lighter note, The Kiffness has been putting out a series of Coronavirus songs based on parodies of popular sonsgs like 'Africa' and 'Yesterday.'
Chantelle called and then texted asking me to take her from Avian Park to OVD. This illustrates the kind of problem that must be happening throughout SA townships. Chantelle clearly dosn't know what a lockdown is, and is telling me I must take her to her grandmother urgently. I told her that if I go the police will stop me, and fine me, or worse. She doesn't understand. Even more worrying: her parents don't understand.
I started thinking about the financial and food situation in the townships. Those who are on the SASSA grant will receive the same income under lockdown, and we are all permitted to leave home to buy food, maintaining social distancing. But of the minority who are self employed, some will spend what they earn every day, so if they can't earn they can't eat. I listened to a call on SAFM from a self-employed welder who was in exactly that position. Even if the government has set up emergency funding for such people, finding out how to access it is beyond the capability of many, such as street vendors. Chantelle's grandmother is blind; without Chantelle's help she must find new ways of coping with a difficult life.
I watched an article called How the pandemic will end. That all got me thinking about my own siblings and how they were coping, and whether I should take the initiative to find a way that would bring us into closer communication during this crisis. I wrote a letter to them, the bottom line of which was that we have a WhatsApp group for us and spouses where we share experiences and give encouragement and support to one another. I e-mailed the letter to them.
James sent a link to a YouTube suggesting that the Mercedes SBS hydraulic brake pump may have a counter that disabled it after a certain number of times it has operated, and that the counter can be re-set, solving the problem.
I made a copy of L-A's PET Scan disk on the Toshiba back-up disk. André called and we chatted for half an hour, putting the world to rights. He had listened to the Worcester Report on Thursday and reassured me that my comments on South Africa had been done in a way not to offend. George Sinclair had responded to my request to post more of his sermons to Dropbox, and I prepared and posted tomorrow's Good News in the Morning.
Fri Mar 27
This is the day that under Plan A I would have delivered our steamer trunks to Lonrho Logistics in Cape Town for freight forwarding to Montreal. But now we are following Plan B, and beginning our second day in Lockdown. One thing I did yesterday was to list the activities we can do to fill our time in Lockdown so that we have a daily routine, necessary to fend off frustration or boredom. But there wasn't any spare time to start on that yesterday. I was fully occupied on essential actions from my do list, and boredom was way over the horizon. L-A was very tired, spending several hours sleeping, and she was worried about why she would have been so tired. But she has been working very hard for 2 days amending our web site with the changes of plan. And as I found from hitting the keyboard all day long, that is tiring.
Boris Johnson tested positive for Covid-19. The first two deaths in SA from Covid-19 have been announced, and SA has the largest number of cases in Africa, more than 1,000.
L-A sent this message to Cape Gate Oncology. 'Hi Sonja, hope you and all at Cape Gate are well. Dr Hanlie told us that should we be 'stuck' in South Africa and not be able to get our flights, that I would still remain under her care. Two sets of flights were cancelled, and we tried a third time but it was impossible. We were able to arrange with our landlords to stay in April, due to the lockdown, although we're not sure where we will stay after that.
I reached out to my Canadian surgeon, who was happy about the PET scans, and told me that right now in Ottawa, they are only doing emergency surgery. My surgery would have waited for at least a few months anyway. He advised that I should continue the treatment plan that Dr H has in place during the delay - which is for me to continue herceptin injections, and I believe we would probably still be here to have my port flushed.
I know the next herceptin injection would be likely around 10th of April, but that's still during lockdown. We should probably have the injections at Cape Gate since payment and the injection can be done together (although I really like the sister who works in oncology at Worcester Mediclinic). I'm OK to wait until after the lockdown, but will do with what Dr H and Sr Jeannette say.
Kind regards, Laurie-Ann.' In reply to this we received a date Wed 8 April for the next injection, and Jeannette will send us a letter that we can show to police if stopped on the way proving that it is for emergency medical treatment.
Rui Abdul Vasco had been messaging me from Mozambique and trying to call, and I thought I should take the call. He is starving in Pemba since the base stopped serving hundreds of meals because of Coronavirus. He needed 6,000 Metricals, only about $CAD 130 at the current exchange rate to keep him alive for a few weeks. He said that I could send it via Antonio Antomane's Paypal, as I did once before. I asked him to have Antonio e-mail me. Angus Buchan was interviewed on Tygerburg Radio 104 FM, having tested positive, and also his wife. I will broadcast the powerful interview on CWCP.
Thu Mar 26
Our last day of freedom. Lockdown begins at midnight. It's hard to see how township folk and the many children there are going to comply. Once someone comes from outside with the virus it will spread dramatically. I am really worried for our girls. There were reports today of mass exits from Jo'burg of people going home to their villages to be with their families. This presents huge problems for tracing contacts of people who test positive, and also means that people in remote villages without medical services could be infected unnecessarily. The government broadcast warnings not to do this, but to stay put. Cases are rising fast - about 850 so far - but no deaths. We have heard that there is a Covid-19 patient in Mediclinic, and that there are about 9 cases in the Cape Winelands region which we are part of. We will be broadcasting my talk here to our Iris group on 8 March on tonight's Worcester Report, so I edited about half of it, 20 minutes. L-A hasn't done a WTGIG so I will think of something for the
balance of the show. We had been invited by Johan and Marie to have lunch with them at their home and we left here about 11:30, picking up our laundry on the way. If we had forgotten that, it would have been there till the end of the Lockdown, and that may have been a lot longer than the initial 3 weeks. It was great to be with Marie and Johan, who agreed to take a consignment of 20 colouring books to sell in the coffee shop and to future Father's House participants. God With Us Ministries will receive a tithe from sales, and they'll EFT the rest to our FNB account. Laurie-Ann also gave Marie a quantity of art paper. Marie gave us a lovely meal - chicken schnitzel and salad, served by candle light. That morning Johan had collected 30 bottles of a rose blended from Fourie wine with wine from a McGregor farm, and they gave us a bottle of this new creation. They have been so generous to us. Johan has a hard problem: one of his best farm workers had messaged that he was returning from Jo'burg, arriving during the Lockdown. Johan cannot afford to risk his bringing Covid-19 into the community of his other farm workers, and will have to tell him he cannot come in, at least till after a quarantine period. The farm workers will stay safe so long as someone from outside doesn't infect them. Johan wants to buy our Openview TV tuner when we finally leave, so hopefully we will see them again. Shortly after we got home, Brian called. He had installed the new hydraulic pump, but there was a problem. I said I would be there in half an hour, walking. These brake hydraulic pumps are software linked to the VIN. The second hand pump from Jo'burg would run only with the car it had been installed in, unless it could be reprogrammed for our VIN. It's hard to understand why Mercedes would have done this - the only thing it prevents is someone stealing your pump right out of your car. Brian had installed the new (old) pump, run the software, but with no result. So he put ours back in, and re-ran the software, like a reboot. But this is not as bleak as it may sound at first. Apart from the VIN reprogramming, the new (old) pump appears to be good. Though Brian doesn't have the sofware tools to switch the VIN programming to our car, the Mercedes agent in Paarl, who Brian knows, should be able to do this. I would need to drive it to Paarl, and wait while they did it. Brian said that after the Lockdown he would set this up for me. Driving to Paarl in a car without servo brakes doesn't thrill me, but I have managed to get it up and down the highest hill in Worcester. His bill for labour was reasonable, R1,477, which means we have spent R10,145 on the repair so far, which is a lot less than R38,000. I still have hope that we will get the Merc running again after the Lockdown. I drove it home.
Chantelle had a Messenger dialogue with L-A, asking if we would fix her teeth also, as we are doing for Bella. We replied that if she had Bella's teeth, and Bella had hers, we would have fixed hers instead of Bella's, but we couldn't afford to get both done, just as Laurie-Ann needs dental treatment we can't afford, and we added that Chantelle should avoid jealousy if she wants to be happy, as L-A had taught them on our final Mailbox ministry. I finished editing the interview, and recorded the continuity talks, including my brief thoughts on the Lockdown. I decided to add some pop music, starting with the title track of Laila Biali's brand new recording 'Revival.' I included "I wanna wash my hands," and The Kiffness' 'Please stay home South Africa.' a spoof on Toto's 'Africa.' The show went out faultlessly with 4 listeners, and a 5th joining after the talk. All 5 were still listening into the soaking music, a first.
I considered driving down town at midnight to see how the Lockdown started, and rejected the idea after a few nanosconds. As we would read on-line tomorrow, the police would have been ready for me it I had tried that one and I would probably be locked up by now, which is a lot worse than being locked down! Instead we watched 'Suits' and then retired.
Wed Mar 25
At 9 am the local agent for TimeFreight called to say we would receive the shipment of the hydraulic pump for the Mercedes in about 15 minutes, and the bill was R168 (half what I expected). I WhatsApp'd Brian, and when it arrived, put it in the back seat of the Mercedes and drove the car down to MMJ. Brian got working on it immediately, but Willem wasn't available to drive me home. I waited for a while drinking their excellent coffee, but eventually decided to walk home. It took me about 25 minutes, and when I arrived I was less breathless than I had expected to be, and compared with the lat time I had walked home a few months ago. Maybe my lungs are improving as a result of Ferrimed.
I picked up Bella at 11:30. She asked if we could take her cousin + baby to town. I said 'yes,' then 'no' when a 5-year old also got in, thinking this was just for a ride. They all then got out. Then Bella explained that all of them were going to a relative's home for the lockdown; it wasn't just a shopping trip. By now they were walking back up the street, so I stopped beside them and they got back in. After taking them along Durban Street, Bella was at Dr Hofmeyr's surgery in good time. She asked if I could buy her some noodles. These are good if you don't have many teeth. Once she was in the dental chair I prayed that absolutely nothing would go wrong with this complex dentistry. I didn't want to imagine how I would feel if some technical issue left Bella in a worse situation, scarred for life. But if it were doable, then Dr Hofmeyr had my full confidence. I knew he would be mighty careful. I went to Pick n Pay for the noodles and other things. Then to Demtex where L-A had heard one could buy material to make a face mask; indeed their staff were wearing rather attractive cloth masks. They showed me the cloth, but also said that Laslapples just up the road at 49 Church Street had ready-made masks. I was soon there and bought two for R20 each. Back in the car I stopped a little further up the road and returned for another two for Bella and Cathy. What would be the point of providing new teeth for Bella if she were then to suffer and die from the virus.
I got back about 12:45 and she was ready. Her mouth was full of bandages at this point so she wasn't saying much. I paid her bill so far: R 3,556. Dr Hofmeyr said that everything had gone exactly according to plan - TKOG. He had done some other work but not charged. He thanked me for helping Bella.
I brought her home via Pick n Pay where I wore my new mask just to see if it was comfortable. It wasn't too hard to wear. At this time only the odd person in Worcester is wearing a mask. Bella ate the rest of the jelly from yesterday, this time with ice cream. I presented L-A with her new face mask and we took a selfie of the two of us wearing them. Bella was tired and spent a while sleeping on the couch before having some porridge. I took her home about 5:30, to be greeted by family members without much idea about social distancing, but always happy when Bella came home. On the drive I had told her what she had to do to protect herself and Cathy. The two young children must not mix with children from neighbouring homes. I also reminded her that if she lost her grandmother, she would then be the head of the family. She had figured this out for herself. I said we would buy their air time and power during the lockdown to reduce the need for them to leave the house. In fact we will do this for any of our
girls, since we have their phone and power details stored on Powertime.
A little later she asked for power and Anthonica asked for air time.
Lovejoy, Mazvita and Eliora visited to look at our items for sale, and bought the mic stand that has been used every week for CWCP recordings. I originally bought it from Tellyfonics for use at the Avian Park Library when I would lead the My Father's House children in praise and worship. They also may buy the Breedenet satellite dish when we leave.
Tue Mar 24
Glenda Fredericks had invited prison volunteers to her office at 8am, although the exact reason was unclear. I interpreted it as a Covid-19 test, which I would like to have, just for the experience. There were about 5 volunteers who turned up, including Sean Waite. We chatted for half an hour, and then another officer arrived who told us that following the announcement of the lockdown last night, no-one would be holding programs until it was over. So they wouldn't be screening us for the virus. We drove back to Worcester.
On my way home I stopped at Grondbeurs, our landlord, but there was a note on the door saying they were closed for Covid-19. When I got home I called and got a Grondbeurs phone answering service. I requested a call back. An hour later I requested a call back again, and soon I got one from Attie, one of the managers. I explained that the lockdown meant that Stacie Meubles would not be allowed to remove our furniture, but by the same token it would mean that the next tenant wouldn't be able to move in either. Attie said he would talk to the next tenant. he called back quite quickly and said that we would be able to stay, at least for April and probably longer if the lock down continued. This is a win win win situation. If he had said no we would have tried to move either to one of the cottages that the Fouries own, or to stay with Sonja.
Then I called Breedenet and they quickly agreed to restore our Internet service for April. I was beginning to warm up to staying in South Africa a little longer.
The left hand rear tire on the Mercedes had gone very flat. I gingerly reversed it down the driveway and parked in front of the flowerbed. I jacked up the car and got the wheel off, and put it in the trunk of the Toyota. Then I drove to Tiger Wheel & Tyre and had them take a nail out of it. Putting the wheel back on the car was not so easy; I would say it was a lousy design. Since we were going to have to keep paying the AA for several months, I decided to get my money's worth, and called them to send someone to put the wheel back on - and I watched how he did it for future reference, sitting with legs stretched under the wheel to lift it.
I couldn't figure out how to track the hydraulic pump on its journey from Jo'burg, so I called TimeFreight and they said it was in Cape Town. They gave me the number of the Worcester agent who said I should expect it about 10 am tomorrow. This would only give Brian a day and a half to install it.
Raptim Travel sent us a notice of a $100 cancellation charge that they had already taken from the TD Visa. This was our second cancellation charge in 2 weeks - the pleasures of dealing with the travel industry when airlines are cancelling flights and then cancelling more flights. But it didn't matter, because we have a roof over our heads for the duration of the lock down, and because of the news of the miraculous disappearance of Laurie-Ann's cancer, the urgency for the mastectomy is less, and we may not have to rearrange it here in Worcester. L-A messaged Dr Pitt's office in the Ottawa Hospital about the delay, and he replied that because of Coronavirus they were no longer doing cancer surgery unless in emergency. She will however need to continue herceptin injections
at R10,832 (about $860) every three weeks. Our needs for additional financial support for medical expenses will continue. Computer Mania called to say that the battery for my laptop was in! This was exciting and as it turned out, in the nick of time. I was soon round there and the new owner was very happy to give me the battery after so long.
I picked up Bella at 2:30 and brought her to Dr Hofmeyr's dental surgery for 3. This would be the first part of her treatment to change her looks radically for the better, and L-A and I were unanimous that we should do this for her. She was frightened that it would be painful, but I told her he is a great dentist and wouldn't hurt her. While she was being treated I went round to Gisela's home and delivered a colouring book and a postcard with our bank details on it. I also had time for some grocery shopping, and was back at the surgery at 4. Bella's mouth was still numb, and told me it hadn't been painful. The receptionist said that she needed to come back a second time so we set it for noon tomorrow. I brought Bella home for jelly and porridge, things she was able to eat with her now-sore gums. I hadn't made porridge since L-A stopped drinking cow's milk, but Patrick's method came back to me, and she seemed to enjoy it.
We received a generous donation from a Kanata friend by PayPal. A few days ago we had had a similar one from an Ottawa friend. We feel so blessed! Then
Pierre Coulomb e-mailed that BHCC wanted to send us more money, having just sent $500 in the last Raptim paycheck! They have been our most generous supporter. He wondered which was the best way to get the money to us. An hour later we received an e-Transfer for $700, approximately the amount for Bella's full dental treatment including the making of her plate, which would be done in a month or so. God's maths is amazing!
Mon Mar 23
Carica came at 8:45 and gave us each a 'flu shot. I had heard a radio discussion when a doctor recommended the 'flu shot because it would reduce false positives if one took a Coronavirus test. Carica had hoped to bring sanitizer, but didn't have it at that time. Later in the morning I went to the pharmacy and paid her the R200 for the 'flu shots, but she still had no hand sanitizer. She said it would be fine to mix dettol and water.
SAFM said that President Ramaphosa would be speaking to the nation this evening. SA's Corinavirus infestions rose sharply today, but so far no deaths. Godfrey asked if could come over this evening to wish us goodbye. I wanted to start packing one of the trunks today, and L-A was working with Print-on-Demand to get 'Colouring with Jesus' up on Takealot.
I e-mailed Glenda at Raptim Travel in our efforts to fly out on 31 March, or 1 April via Jo'burg. The Lufthansa flights were now cancelled, so that took out the Jo'burg route. Canada was suggesting people fly from Casablanca, but it turned out the $5,000 aid to Canadians abroad was a loan not a gift. Then Laurie-Ann called and showed me Colouring with Jesus was up on Takealot! I couldn't believe L-A had achieved this so quickly. So then we started scanning the agreements for both Takealot and Ingram, signing, and e-mailing in to Print on Demand. Ingram will enable the book to be sold world wide. The two agreements cost us about $170, but the potential is excellent, and the fact that all this marketing was achieved through on meeting and e-mail communications and a scanner is commendable. The whole world of book publishing has changed for the better.
Naz WhatsApped to say that the hydraulic pump had been picked up bt TimeFreight at 4pm.
I cooked port ribs, mashed potatoes and sautéd onions and cabbage and Godfrey ate every morsel. While eating we watched Ramaphosa announce that SA would have a 21 day lockdown for the whole country from midnight this Thursday 26 Mar to midnight on 16 April. Our minds started racing. How could we get our furniture out on 30 March to Stacie Meubles? Where would we stay if we can't leave the country with airports in lockdown? I sent a message to Glenda at Raptim to say that the time has come to cancel our booking, and to resurrect it in the future. I e-mailed U-Bag to say that we wouldn't be sending our trunks on 27 March but would would be using their service evenually after the lockdown.
We did a lot of thinking before turning in that night.
Sun Mar 22
Church today was at 44 Stockenstrom, Nik and Gisela's where our cell group meets every fortnight. WCG was closed down for at least the next few months. Although only about 10 came, it was a special time and some good memories were captured on cell phones. Pieter-Louis and Sume spoke on the subject of virus-free marriage, which was appropriate for an engaged couple who came. Carl Greyling also came.
More and more, as people get together the talk is about the effects of Coronavirus, and also on the radio and the TV news it's as if there is no other news happening.
Around 4:15 I tuned into the virtual service at Blackburn Hamlet Community Church, to watch Rev Arnold Mayorga, alone in those familiar surroundings, preach a good sermon. The only problem for watchers was that the orientation of the video was 90° to the right. I left a message pointing this out. It seems that most cellphone owners don't know that you must always take video with the phone vertically, not horizontally, or the result, when played back on anything other than a cellphone, will be rotated 90°. It is possible to edit a video with the wrong orientation to turn it the right way up, but then you get very tall thin video. This is seen often on TV newscasts, where they compensate by adding blurred areas to the left and right of the picture. If only the millions of cellphone users know this, the world's newscasts would be more watchable.
Sat Mar 21
First Saturday in ages I hadn't been going to Brandvlei prison to bring Alpha to the inmates. I watched the news at 8 and found a Coronavirus catastrophe in Italy, and the British implementing numbers of new restrictions. Our trip to UK was not looking promising.
I had to go to Checkers in the morning for groceries, and since I would be very near Computer Mania, I took with me the notice of the replacement for the replacement of my Dell battery. I gave it to a man I hadn't seen before, and when he saw I had been waiting since January, he said, "Heads will roll for this." I asked him if he was the boss, and later discovered that he was the new boss, and clearly in spring-cleaning mode. He said he would find out what was going on, and call me by Wednesday at the latest.
Then I read this on a WhatsApp from James: 'Dad, I don’t know if you’re apprised of the Coronavirus situation, but if not, you may need some info.
Number 1: LA is immuno-compromised after chemotherapy. If she gets the virus it could likely kill her. You are also high-risk because of your age. You both need to treat this virus as deadly and avoid contact with people as much as possible.
Number 2: A trip back to Canada via the UK is out. If you arrive in the UK and tell them you’re visiting your sister and have a cottage booked they will give you 1 option: find a comfy seat in the airport and wait for your plane to Canada. They don’t want you spreading the virus around the UK on your leisure travels and then presenting at an overburdened hospital requiring a ventilator that a UK resident needs.
Number 3: It would be wrong to travel to see Neesa and risk giving her a virus that might kill her. She is also high-risk. I didn’t visit Mum last month for the same reason.
Your best bet for surviving this is to stay in SA and self-isolate for 2-3 months.
I spent much of the day on this journal catching up, since every minute has been filled this past week. Towards dusk I sent this to Raptim Travel: 'Hi Glenda, please delete my last reply, and replace with this:
Yes we would like to book the routing via Jo'burg. It's a possibility Lufthansa could cancel LH 9541 to Frankfurt, if, as you hinted, all international flights are stopped for April, so if they did we would again cancel (We can't get stranded in Jo'burg).
We have now abandoned all plans to stop off in England. We would like to fly on to Montreal - Ottawa after arriving Heathrow. HOWEVER, if there is any emergency rest room where Laurie-Ann could rest on a bed for half a day or a day in the airport we would like to do that. Laurie-Ann is disabled and requires wheelchair assistance, and tires very easily, and it is possible those people might have such a rest accommodation in Heathrow. Sitting on benches makes one more tired, not less. I can survive on airport benches, if there are any. We think it very unlikely they would let us out of the airport.
If we don't go on Lufthansa on 1 April to Jo'burg, we must fly from Cape Town out of the country on 31 March. A day earlier would be impossible for us. If there is NO availability on 31 Mar, book us as soon as possible after that if flights are still scheduled, continuing on to Montreal asap (as described above).
If none of these plans work out, because of country lockdown, then we will have no option but to stay put, probably for 3 months or more and we will isolate ourselves as best we can during those months.
Arnold Mayorga, pastor at Blackburn Hamlet Community Church, e-mailed that at 10:00 am he would broadcast the sermon on Facebook Live. Here it was 4:30, so I watched for a while. The image was rotated 90° clockwise (they were using a cell phone in horizontal mode) but it was soft and clear. I posted a comment that I was watching and next time they should mount the phone vertically. A little later I had a WhatsApp from Pierre Coulomb, saying that he had seen I was watching the sermon, and that in addition to the $500 sent by the church in February, they wanted to send us another $500 and he asked the best way. I explained about the 11 April deadline at Iris and suggested e-Transfer or Paypal unless the corporate money couldn't be sent that way. Later still I got another WhatsApp from Pierre to say they were sending us $700 by e-Transfer. Now that is the exact amount to pay for Bella's dental treatment! I thanked Pierre.
Fri Mar 20
My alarm rang at 5:20, but the reason didn't spring to mind, for the first time ever. An hour later it hit me: early morning prayer group. I lept up, fast-dressed and drove to Carlo's. There were no cars there. So I drove back to Louis' - no cars there either. I went home and checked WhatsApp. Carlo had cancelled it late evening because he was sick with 'flu or similar. I felt less foolish than I would have been if he hadn't cancelled. But I might have sold colouring books to Riana and Marius.
I drove L-A to Mediclinic for her herceptin injection that we had paid for on Tuesday at Cape Gate Oncology Centre. I wasn't allowed in but I dropped her right outside and parked 15 meters away. It took about 20 minutes and she was brought out in a wheel chair. The nurse here and L-A clicked immediately; she goes to our church and knows all the sisters at Cape Gate. She does single handed what they do together.
In the afternoon I went shopping and then to FNB where I transferred another R4000 from Simplii and deposited R4200 into FNB. Then I drove down to Avian Park in one last effort to find Britney and get her to confirm she would come to the dentist next Tuesday. Noone knew where she was, or if they did they weren't telling. It's a bit like the beginning of Les Miserables.
Back home I sent the R8500 for the pump to Naz, who asked me for proof of payment, which I found on the FNB site. Later he confirmed that he would ship it out on Monday and sent me the waybill.
Louis and Carica had invited is to a braii at their Worcester West home and we arrived about 5:30. Louis was stoking up the fire. We ate very nice nibblees and drank Fourie red wine, and chatted for a couple of hours before going inside to their candle-lit dining room for braii'd lamb and breakies. Their two children Lilian and Meghan joined us. Carica offered to to bring us 'flu shots on Monday morning and we gratefully accepted. This would (probably) be our last social event before leaving SA.
Thu Mar 19
I took L-A to Touching Hearts, and then took Chantelle and Anthonica to buy more window glass. Their windows had been broken by a family member (Chantelle's sister). I had taken them to get glass a week ago, but her sister had broken some of the new glass before it was installed. One front window had been put in. The sister makes demands on the family for money for her and her boyfriend to buy drugs, and if it is not given, breaks things. This is not totally unusual behaviour in the townships, or even in the country as a whole. Trains are set alight by frustrated passengers, leaving even fewer trains to serve the people. Let's hope this second batch of glass survives. Chantelle has been visited by the police in connection with the school closure myth. Chantelle accused Anthonica of thinking up that one. I said to Chantelle in Anthonica's presence that she should not do things that are wrong, or lie, just because one of her 'friends' says so. I think they both understood. I do believe the R200 I gave Chantelle was used for school fee arrears. Chantelle said she planned to break Britney's new tooth for what she did to us, and I begged Chantelle not to do that. Marc at Advance Transportation had quoted us for freight forwarding at a price double what we had paid on the outward trip, and it was by ship rather than air. I liked that because we don't want to pay storage fees in Montreal. He told us that surface freight was more expensive than air freight. He had recommended U-Bag, and today they quoted us R14,025. I spent some time completing their export forms and insurance forms and sent them in today with our acceptance. We said I would deliver personally to Lonrho Logistics at the airport on Friday 27 March.
We heard from Raptim Travel that the Lufthansa flight from Cape Town to London via Frankfurt had been cancelled. Hundreds of international flights are being cancelled around the world, leaving passengers in chaos. if they are young and vigourous they will survive, but we are old and cancerous.
I have been communcating with Naz from SMS Cars Sales & Purchase Co Address 29 A, 13 Road, Kew, Bramley, Sandton. Cnr Louis Botha Ave 2090. Tel: 011 430 5000/1 Cell: 065 850 9110. He has three Hydraulic Brake Pumps with similar part numbers to the broken on in our Mercedes. Brian at MMJ took a look at photos of the three pumps and said any of them might work. I know it's clutching at straws but getting this car working would significantly improve our situation, and save a perfectly good Mercedes from being canabalized, so I decided to take a risk and send him the asking price of R 8500. He 'sounds' a straight shooter; not someone who would take my money and do nothing. Today I transferred the max, R4000, from Simplii to FNB, and added R600 more that came from colouring book sales. Tomorrow I will repeat that.
It was today, approximately, that I decided to join L-A watching 'Suits,' the corporate law drama. She has caught up with it from the beginning, but I was joining in the middle of season 8. It was confusing, but not baffling, and after a few days I was getting the hang of it, and watching Meghan Markle was interesting. The legal aspects I find hard to understand, and they are none of them described in simple terms in the script, but that doesn't mean I can't get the general gist.
Wed Mar 18
At Riverview, this was 'goodbye to the Copples' day. Laurie-Ann hadn't been with us for months, so the kids were very happy to see her, although there was no hugging; just elbowing, which we made into a fun thing, to encourage the children to do this in their own circles. After praise and worship, Kevin spoke, and at a point in his talk he brought in both of us to ask what were our hopes for these children. I said that I would love to come back in 10 years and see them in their mid 20s, possibly in university or working. Andy and Rachel Marshall were there, and Kevin had brought about 4 Changemakers, so it was quite a party. They were thrilled to see one of L-A's pieces featuring them, and then they got to colour it, which they all got engrossed in.
I have done this ministry every week (other than holidays) for more than 2 years, so it will leave a gap in my life - but we do have lots of photos. Some weeks ago we had stopped broadcasting the Good News in the Morning archive, through lack of time, and tonight as we just kept on with all the things we have to do to be ready to move, it was hard to see how I had had time to post and listen to 82 editions - thats 164 programs. Sadly I was the only listener all that time, so no-one will have noticed its demise, and I do have all the produced podcasts should I have time and energy to post them in the future. I can't understand why GNCM board members hadn't taken the opportunity to listen to these firt class broadcasts. The majority of what I have played exist only on our red disk; not on the podcasts on the site. On that subject, Michael Schimpf e-mailed the board of GNCM saying he was concerned that we culd be liable for copyright infringements for all the music included in the podcasts. He suggested we get a legal opinion. I replied to Dave that I agreed that would be a good idea, but we do have permission for the only music that has been played more than once, the theme by Brian Doerksen.
Tue Mar 17
When I woke up, Britney was on the Mozambique phone. I don't know how much of the night she'd spent on it, but it seems to be an addiction.
I offered Britney Special K for breakfast. She took one mouthful, and said she didn't want it, or any other breakfast. Either she is so used to never having breakfast, or during the night she had filled up on bread from the fridge. I dropped her at Jamelia's when I picked up the others for school. When I got home, Laurie-Ann discovered that R500 had been taken from her purse. It had to have been Britney, since R200 had come from Janey yesterday, and L-A knew there was another R300 there when she put the R200 in her purse.
We left for Cape Gate Oncology at around 8:15 to pay for L-A's herceptin shot to be given at Mediclinic on Friday. We also had colouring books with us. Dr. Hannetjie Koetze had said she wanted one and she bought one. Then Sonja told us that by chance Dr Hanlie could see us now, instead of in Worcester tomorrow. We were to hear the very best news. The PET scan had shown no trace of the cancer! TKOG. The key line in the report she gave us was 'No convincing evidence of residual local disease.' Hanlie was a thrilled as Laure-Ann as she told her that this was very rare, though it had also happened yesterday with another of her patients. Hanlie asked to see thw colouring book she had heard about, which gave me a chance to snap a picture of her reading it.
We went in to the chemo room and L-A paid for the herceptin shot. Then she went to say good bye to the sisters, and show then the colouring book, and Marianna bought one, paying the whole R300. I couldn't help thinking that we had now received back more than Britney had stolen.
At 2 I picked up the kids from school and took them home. I found Britney in her mother's house with a number of friends. I called her out saying that I wanted to confirm her dental appointment and I gave her a written reminder for next Tuesday at 11 for pick up. Then, with her friends present I asked her to return the money she had taken from Laurie-Ann's purse. She of course denied it, but she was sweating. I told her Laurie-Ann had forgiven her, but never wanted to see or hear from her again, and that this had made her very sad.
Raptim travel quoted us a new routing. Because American Airlines and British Airwars are in the same 'club,' they needed to switch us to Lufthansa for the flight to London, and then to Air Canada from London to Montreal to Ottawa. We agreed to this, and paid the price for the complete new schedule. We will be refunded the the cost of the previous routing, and as it turned out, the new routing was $20 less.
L-A started to cook the chicken paprikash for
Dr Therden van Heerden and Paula coming to dinner tonight. She asked me to get the two packages of chicken breasts out of the fridge - but there was only one! Soon we realised that in addition to her other transgressions, Britney must have taken half our chicken. I drove to Pick n Pay in the Mall and was able to buy one of the last three chicken breasts on the shelves. After all that the van Heerdens loved the meal and never knew how close we came to sharing much less. The conversation was excellent, and led to a recording of an interview for CWCP Radio that all four of us took part in. We discussed their 13 years in Canada - BC - and Legacy Relay that Paula is on the board for. I didn't bring up Therden's work as head of the energency unit at Worcester Mediclinic since it would have got us on to the subject of the Coronavirus. We became good friends that night, and the interview turned out to be excellent.
Mon Mar 16
Chantelle had a few children for a Mailbox Club, but she was the only one. The clubs have all but petered out. Marco hasn't been taking any interest either.
Andy Marshall came round and bought our Canon printer for R250.
Britney came to me and said that her aunt had gone to Cape Town for the night. This was the aunt who Child Welfare had asked to have her sleep there. So I agreed and brought her home, where L-A and Janey had been having time together. Britney spent all her time on the Mozambique phone setting up a new FaceBook using the name Ivanka Steenkamp. I still haven't been able to remove her FaceBook or Messenger account. I shared my ribs dinner with Britney.
Trump announced no more foreign nationals would be able to land in the US. Our tickets would take us via Phildelphia on American Airlines to Ottawa. The flight from Philadelphia to Ottawa would no longer happen. (I am not convinced this is true). We contacted Raptim Travel and asked for a re-routing that avoided the US.
Sun Mar 15
I am behind with this journal mainly because of the slightly tumultuous happenings, not all due to the Coronavirus, that we have lived through this last week.
So for the next 6 days it will be high points only. We took Bella to Hillsong, and after had hoped to take her to Tableview but we saw that Table Mountain was covered in cloud. Then we heard on the radio that much of what looked like cloud was smoke. Table Mountain was on fire.
Instead we visited Spice Route on the way home for ice cream, coffee and De Villiers chocolate.
I posted a list of items we have for sale on FaceBook.
Sat Mar 14
On Friday night I had analysed the attendance for the whole Alpha course so far, and found there were 11 who had come 7 times or more. I prepared certificates for all of them. They were Abe D, Macneil M, Lee-Wad D, Leroy W, Jason F - 10 times, the #1, Zintle M, Desmond L, Onele H, Treyton van W, Sbusiso H and Dyllan P.
Kevin and I rendezvous'd at YWAM to pick up Soraya. Before Kevin joined us Soraya told me this was the last time she would come into Brandvlei with me for Alpha. She said she needed time to clarify and prepare a Bible study program that she would like to use in the prison. I said that today was not the end of the course after all; we would have one more week, but Kevin would not be there. She said she would join me for that. Soraya has been of tremendous value throughout this course, and she has also learned how to run Alpha. Many Bible studies are done in Brandvlei, but only one Alpa course is under way, regularly reaching more than 20 men, many of whom appear to have been baptised in the Holy Spirit on this course, starting a new life as Christians. So it's hard to understand Soraya's decision. However it is her decison and I accept it.
On the way to Brandvlei we prayed, and ran over the format for today which Kevin and I had agreed during the week. After last week's session he had sensed a good opportunity for the men to share their backgrounds, if they related to a modern version of the prodigal son story as told in the song The Boxer by Paul Simon.
Vivian wasn't on duty at reception, so I was at first concerned that we wouldn't have many attenders, and possibly not a TV, which we only needed as an audio amplifier. By 9:10 we had only 10 men. I gave out certificates for 5 of them, bringing them to the front for applause. I wanted to know if Kevin might be able to use Afrikaan's 'koortjies' on a memory stick, so instead of my guitar we played the first three of them, having given out words to most of the men present at that time. They knew all of them and sang louder than the volume on the TV! This is good news. After that I handed over to Kevin, who began by surveying which would be the best language for him to use. The answer was Afrikaans. He first talked about the all-too-common story of the prodigal, particularly among inmates. Then he handed out sheets with the words of The Boxer in both Afrikaans and English. He asked for volunteers to read the two versions. Lee-Wade and Zintle offered. At this point another 14 men arrived from other wings. Kevin repeated his main points and then the two men read the words of the Boxer.
I then played Bob Dylan's version of the song on the TV. At this point I gave out a further 3 certificates. Kevin then organized the men into 6 small groups. On the sheets there were also four discussion questions for them. It wasn't long before all the groups were fully engaged in their discussions. Soraya and Kevin joined several groups to encourage and hear what was the substance of the discussions. In the final 15 minutes, Kevin brought two spokespersons from each group to the front to give the gist of what they had concluded.
I closed in prayer. I didn't know then that this would be the last time I would see any of them. When I got home I re-analysed all the attendance, taking into account today's, and added certificates for Erskin D, Hlumelo M, Xolile J, Nico S, and Lucian vN. On Sunday (tomorrow), President Ramaphosa announced a cancellation of prison visits for a month, so I will get the certificates to her that have not been given out and I hope she will arrange for them to be delivered.
This afternoon was our final ministry with the girls, and there were 8 of them, including Gadiza whom we hadn't met before. Somehow they all squeezed into the Toyota. They made their own sandwiches because many have developed their own favourites, eg toasted, with or without butter, ham or peanut butter. When they had eaten we worshipped - Bella and Marsha singing with me, while the rest coloured L-A's pieces, singing as they drew. Next, L-A spoke to then on the subject of jealousy, related to covetousness, which most of them suffer from. We ended with cake, fruit and YouTubes. They all had a good time, which continued as we drove back to Avian Park. I told them it was important that on Monday there would be several Mailbox Clubs running, since it would be the last time for me as their mentor.
Fri Mar 13
I had a list of 7 things I wanted prayer for at early morning prayer group, one of them being that the colouring book first printing would be a Wow! experience.
This is the day that the Lord has made - to collect 200 copies of 'Colouring with Jesus' by Laurie-Ann Copple. We set off about 11:00 for Print on Demand, in Parow. I was impressed in the reception area to see many issues of Joy Magazine on display for customers to read. We had been dealing with Maxine and she proved to be friendly, bubbly and efficient. She told me we would love the way the book had turned out.
Soon I was looking at a copy they had run for their own purposes, and it was indeed a Wow! experience. I was so relieved. Phil Aduwemi had done a very good job, and with regular consultation with L-A this had been the great result. But something very powerful was yet to come. Maxine clearly liked the book, and saw even more potential than we had. She introduced us to her colleague Aliza, who explained the Print on Demand concept. For a small monthly fee, they would place the book on Takealot, and when people ordered, would supply from relatively small batches that they would organize. Then, if we want to be more ambitious, for a further fee they would arrange with Ingram the British publisher for local publishing in multiple countries. Laurie-Ann would receive a royalty for every copy into our Paypal.
Since we had already paid for a print run of 200, we were poised to get started, and Aliza will send us the small print in the next few days.
We left Print on Demand setting the GPS for Sons Saul's house. We hadn't see her for 18 months, shortly after her husband of a few months had died, leaving her the house. She was alone, without a close friend, but was pastoring a church, and had been on missions in Dubai and othe Middle East countries, and India. She was definiitely sold out to Jesus - a microcosm of Heidi. At first I thought her mind was in trouble, but as our time with her continued, I felt she was for real, though hard to take. She fed us with coffee, crackers, goat's cheese and anchovie paste, all excellent. We left her around 4:30, bought burgers at a neighbouring MacDonald's, and drove home. On the news, Trump said that his recent 1-month travel ban from Europe, excluding UK, might have to include UK as a result of a spike in deaths there from Covid-19. This is getting perilously close to impacting us.
I sent a message to Dr Hofmeyr confirming that Britney needed two back tooth roots removed. He replied yes, and said he would be happy to do it. I replied how much. Then he really surprized us by saying it would be free! I made an appointment for her at 11:30 on Tuesday 24 March, the same day as Bella's appointment.
Thur Mar 12
I woke feeling good; brain functioning well - not for any reason I could think of. I told the kids I wouldn't be able to take them home tomorrow. Britney wasn't there for a lift for a second day. At 8 am the power went off. I tried to view the PET scan disk on Pink Dell but couldn't get anything of interest to show. I took L-A to Touching Hearts. Then I drove to Dr Hofmeyr's. I paid the bill for Britney - R1,409. The accountant gave me the estimate for Bella: R 3,489 for the first treatment, and R 4,335 some week's later for the final treatment. Divide by 11 for $ equivalents: $ 711. Considering this includes a partial denture with 6 teeth, it's very good value. I made an appointment on 24 March at 3pm for the first treatment. Bella will be going to university a year from now, and we intend her to look beautiful long before that. When I had dropped off Bella at her home about 2:15, Britney got into the car and showed me a letter from Jamelia saying that the other day was the first and only time she had smoked a cigarette. This I don't believe. Then Britney asked if I would take her right now to the day clinic to see a dentist to deal with the roots of her back teeth. She also said Jamelia needed to go to hospital because of stomach pains. This explained Jamelia's letter. I told Britney that it was impossible to take her now because of organizing our freight shipment, and producing tonight's program while we still had power. I reminded her that when she needs help from me or anyone else she must give advanced notice. She went off in a huff, tossing jamelia's letter into the road. Her front teeth looked really good (but she hadn't said anything about that).
I bought a chocolate cake in honour of Liam.
At 4:15 the complete De Wet family arrived, bringing a milk tart: Pieter, Wilna, Jamie, Y***, and of course Liam, who apparently had been counting the days till he saw his favourite Legacy Relay teacher, L-A, again. Wilma was wearing police uniform. Load shedding had atarted at 4, but L-A had reminded me to fill our tea caraff with hot tea before then, so there was enough for one small cup for everyone except Jamie, who didn't want one. She is a Grade R teacher at Worcester Primary. I served milk tart and chocolate cake to all except L-A, who just got the cake. We had spirited conversation. When I mentioned our car situation, Pieter phoned a friend in the car parts industry who told him the E270 was sold only in limited numbers in South Africa, which may be the reason the hyraulic brake pump is hard to source. I asked Pieter what was his profession and he said he was also in the police. So we felt pretty safe in this company. When I mentioned that Chantelle had told us that Worcester Secondary School had told her and Anthonica they had to leave last Monday, Wilna said this sounded suspicious, made a couple of calls, and that she would check it out. She took the names and addresses of Chantelle and Anthonica. It turns out that one of her responsibilities is for the area secondary schools, yet she had heard nothing about the events the girls had described. For the first time I considered that the whole exercise might have been an elaborate scheme by the girls to get R 200 from me. We gave Liam various art materials including a set of watercolour pencils. Jamie confirmed the Grade 1 large canvas from last term was hanging in the staff room.
After they left, I had just enough time when the power returned at 6:30 to complete the Worcester Report about the Hein Wagner Academy. I called Rose and got an update on the open day they had held yesterday, and included that in the program. There was a hiccough on the playback around 8:15, so we listened to the original file, and I do think the broadcast was transmitted. To me it sounded a lot better than I remembered the interview being; I had done a lot of edits.
Wed Mar 11
At 6:30 I arrived at Bella's and my passengers were all waiting. I gave Bella R20 so she could get home by taxi in the event we weren't back by 2pm. I was home by 7, taking a look at Google Maps because the Western Cape PET/CT Centre is not on a public road, but inside the huge Tygerberg Hospital perimeter.
For this reason they supplied a GPS map reference, but there were 2 digits missing for both E and S coordinates, so we knew it would be innacurate. In fact they led us to half way along a side road around a Km from the PET centre. We did have the name of a major road near the hospital, so with L-A's inate sense of direction (which I lack), and the GPS we arrived at the Centre in good time, and read off the correct map reference which I presented to the receptionist. When it was time to pay the the R18,000 bill, their machine wouldn't take L-A'a TD Visa, so it was good that my MasterCard was healthy. Her Visa was also healthy, as I proved the next morning, so it was their machine that was on the blink, although it worked for my card.
About 9:45 L-A felt confident enough to be left to continue to the scan room alone, so I drove in search of some breakfast. I ended up in a Spur and the breakfast was very nice. At 11.28 L-A texted that she was in the 'comfortable room' after having her injection, and would soon be having her scan. I was back in the foyer by noon typing out these words. I was still typing in the same seat at 2pm, with half an ear on the SABC 3 news, when there was an announcement of 3 Coronavirus patients in isolation right here in Tygerberg hospital. The TV immediatley went blank, and I wondered if someone had not wanted patients here to know - but if so they were too late. The picture came back a few minutes later. By now I trust Bella will have found herself a taxi ride home, having given up on my coming.
Maxine from the publisher called about 3 to say that the colouring books would be ready after 12 on Friday, so I said we would be there to collect them. The PET unit gave us a disk of Laurie-Ann's scan.
We arrived home at 5:30 to discover load shedding had been in process since 4, so we rested till 7 when the lights came on. I turned on the TV to hear that Coronavirus has been now labelled a pandemic by the WHO, and that there are now 13 cases in South Africa.
L-A augmented our newsletter with a report on the girls' dental treatment, and will appeal to readers to help us fund Bella's costs. I need to get those costs tomorrow.
Tue Mar 10
I told the kids that tomorrow morning I needed to pick them up at 6:30 so that L-A could be at Tygerberg for her Pet scan.
When we got to Legacy Relay, there was a barrier across the entrance that we use, because of construction. Jeanne-Marie was there and showed us we could drive to the next nearest door. Soon we were in front of the class for our penultimate time, and I took the opportunity to teach them the word penultimate. I set the Marantz to record the singing, but failed to do the set-up correctly so there was no recording. For science, in 15 minutes, I taught them that light can 'bend' in a column of water, or in a glass fibre, that numbers and all other information may be represented in binary as a series of on and off states, that telephone calls and TV can travel to Canada in 1/4 second by under-sea fible optic cables, or in 4 or 5 seconds via satellite.
Jeanne-Marie was teary-eyed when she saw us off; she won't be there next week, and is in the process of seeking a teaching job in Clanwilliam. I felt glad that at least we have her on podcast.
I called Cecil at SA Part Finder, since I hadn't heard anything. He said he was still looking for the hyraulic brake pump. I spoke to Benzo Parts, and he said he didn't have it, but I should call once a week since old Mercedes were coming in regularly. I am getting despondent about the car, which looks like being a $4,000 hit for us at a time when we can least afford it. People will support cancer costs, and fewer people will support missionary costs. But who would support car costs?
I finished editing our latest newsletter and sent it back to L-A.
I took a look at our Solutions Banking account and saw that my MasterCard now has only about $3,000 balance, so the call to them really had worked out. We are within $100 of our absolute AiO limit, so I transferred the SUS 1,000 that Tania had donated a few days ago to Simplii, and will then send it to Solutions. I'm not sure why I don't feel more nervous about living on the edge financially; it must be that God has kept us afloat so far so why would he stop now?
Mon Mar 9
I arrived at Bella's house at 3 ready for mailbox clubs. No sign of her, and Cathy hadn't seen her. I went back to sit in the car and wait - when the truth hit me - I had forgotten to pick up the kids from school, for the second time. I drove fast to Essellen Park, to find Bella, Manville, Britney and Joy patiently waitin; angry, but accepting my helting apology. Perhaps it was because it was the second time that they knew it was possible. By now they were very hungry, and mailbox clubs were only a lower priority. As we drove to OK Foods to get them burghers, I began wondering what is wrong with me that something I have done for weeks would slip my mind. Maybe I am too old and have become unreliable; perhaps too unreliable to be doing this important work. When I had dropped them off, I went round to Chantelle's in case by chance she had run a club. No. So for the second week there were no clubs, but this time it was entirely my fault. On Saturday I had tried to encourage them to get back on track, yet now I had now derailed them.
Sun Mar 8
L-A was going to be teaching prophetic art to the older Kinderkerk so we got down to Church in good time, but were held up for 15 minutes because the church leaders were in the large room in prayer. When we did get in I was at first worried that the church computer appeared to have only an HDMI connection, and L-A's HP has only VGA. Before I could stop her, Riana went in search of Kenneth, who would shortly be leading an annual Youth service. A couple of moments later I realized the HDMI outlet was an adapter from a VGA, so by the time Kenneth arrived everything was wired up. In the process Laurie-Ann had seen fit to push a large table to the front, which I could have done a lot more easily. I think she was nervous. We went to the church for the first part of the service, to find hip hop praise in progress and the whole congregation swaying/moving to the rhythm. It was fun. We stayed until the last worship song, then made our way back to the kinderkerk room, but found it locked, so waited beside
Milk & Honey for 10 minutes when the children came out. L-A's teaching, which was translated, went very smoothly. There were about 20 between the ages of 9 and 16. I left for 10 minutes to photograph Kenneth speaking to the church congregation. After the powerpoint, they were invited to meditate to soaking music and wait for Holy Spirit to prompt them with images of His choosing. About three of the kids produced pleasing images with more than a touch of divine inspiration about them. All the kids took it seriously and produced images of one kind or another, including of course some robots. On our way out to the car the girl with (in my view) the best image came up to L-A with her mother and asked if we would take a photo of her with the drawing. She turned out to me the daughter of Dr. Arnold Smith, Laurie-Ann's surgeon, to whom L-A had given a piece of art some months before.
The majority of our Iris Western Cape missionary colleagues arrived at our house for 1 pm to say gooodbye to us, including Anne-Laure Knockaert and her parents who have decided to move here from Holland. The Cape Town people weren't able to come. Everyone brought food, and L-A had made hot meat balls which went down well. The Fouries brought wine, some to drink and some for our cupboard. The Sidlauskas kids were very mature slotting in very well in the company. When we had done eating I took control and announced I would talk about our time in South Africa, and I recorded it for a future broadcast on The Worcester Reports.
Having failed to get Power Director running on my Windows 10 computer (it loaded but ran very slowly and jerkily) I decided to load it onto Pink Dell, and successfully edited the video of Marius and the band leading praise for the final event of the bi-centennial. I still must activate Power Director within 30 days.
Chantelle persuaded me to bring her to the house to do urgent homework for a couple of hours, and we fed her. However, we have told the girls that we really can't have them up any more except Saturday afternoons, because of being really stretched for time in the last 3 weeks of our time here.
Sat Mar 7
When I awoke I had the idea to play "There but for Fortune" to the men in Brandvlei, so I ripped it from Spotify and added it to the memory stick with the Alpha videos.
Kevin Daly, Soraya and I drove to Brandvlei. I was hoping that today's Alpha would be a good introduction for Kevin, although 'Does God Heal Today' uses a different format from the other sessions. Officer Ben Kotze welcomed us with a big smile, a TV, and 19 men. This was a good start. The men sang as passionately as ever. After 3 songs, I played them the recording of 'There but for fortune' by Martyn Joseph. I had two reasons: 1, to see if Kevin would be able to use praise music on a USB stick to replace my live guitar playing, and 2, to help the men understsnd one of the reasons why volunteers come into prisons. I explained the meaning of the song before playing it - that but for fortune, I could well have been sitting as one of them (and they might have been leading Alpha). Then I pushed the button and the song began, so my first objective was achieved, and for the rest of the song they were silent, keen to hear
every word. I introduced 'Does God Heal Today,' and then was having difficulty switching the source on the TV from audio to video, so Kevin talked on why healings may not always occur in the way we hope. I was still having a problem, so while Soraya added some thoughts, I asked if there was someone in the room who could get the video running. It is hard to do this without a remote, and remotes in prisons tend to be scarce. However, one of the men fixed the problem rapidly and we watched the program. At the end I asked both Kevin and Soraya if either of them had any words of knowledge for any of the men. Kevin said that he sensed that few in this group would be asking for help with physical aches and pains, but that most would be troubled by remorse for the pains they had caused in others. I asked the men in the front row to move and invited any who wanted healing prayer to occupy the front row. There were more men than space, but we got started.
As each came up, I annointed him with spikenard oil, then asked what kind of healing he needed, and Kevin's expectation turned out to be accurate. Only 3 has physical pain, including Lee-Wade with long term back pain, but all the others had aching hearts for what had resulted from their actions. All were prayed for by one or more of us. We worked quite fast, but we didn't finish the front row till anout 9:20, but Ben Koetze had allowed us to continue. Kevin was comfortable with all that had occured. It had turned out to be a good introduction to prison Alpha for him.
After dropping off Soraya, Kevin came in for coffee and fruit cake. The subject of the use of recorded praise music came up, and he asked if we had the Afrikaans koortjies that Nik had introduced at Homeless Church. I mentioned that I got music from Spotify and removed the ads, as I had with Days of Decision. I said I wouldn't have been able to buy it in a local CD store, and he mentioned that it was probably on iTunes. Laurie-Ann had gone back to bed after breakfast feeling extra tired so missed seeing Kevin. I picked up 4 of our girls for Saturday ministry and in my mind the focus was to stem the apparent degradation in the mailbox clubs to the point the previous Monday when we had no groups. During our discussion time I asked their help to identify what was going wrong. The combination of all out thoughts suggested that the clubs must start promptly at 3pm every Monday. When this doesn't happen, the chilfren are confused, not knowing if things are running late, or if there is no leader. After a couple of weeks they will go and do something else on Saturdays.
Later that evening I got to thinking about the brief discussion I had had with Kevin about ripping music from Spotify, and I sensed that he would not have considered that wholesome/honest. I still didn't have Days of Decision. I decided to buy it from iTunes. Maybe I should turn a corner in my life and start doing the right thing in regard to obtaining all my music. One advantage would be getting the individual .m4A tracks rather than an .mp3 of the complete disk all as one track.
Fri Mar 6
Godfrey thanked me for our friendship and hospitality. We drove down to Carlo's for our prayer meeting and he thanked me again publicly. I was happy to report the improvement in our car situation since a week ago when they had all prayed for it. Hilton drove him home afterwards.
At about 8:30 I carefully drove the Mercedes to Mirkhon Motors. There was a big change in the owner this time when I showed him the car details on an MMJ invoice. He said if Brian hadn't fixed it, we wouldn't look at it.
I interviewed Rose Niemand, Office Manager of the Hein Wagher Academy, which trains visually impaired people for the workplace. This had been set up on Tuesday when I was in the Pioneer School to interview Jadha Abrahams.
I can't remember why I went into Avian Park in the afternoon, but Britney and Jamelia came to the car. Britney told me that Christopher Breeze had threatened her with his knife that morning, and she was scared. I said she should report this to the police, so she and Jamelia, whose family has been sheltering her for 10 days or so came with me to the police station. We were taken into a back room, where a sympathetic mad found her earlier case on computer file. He took her details. Without an actual crime he won't be able to take action, but if there is a crime, this meeting would provide evidence. He recommended we go to Child Welfare.
Here they remembered Britney from the time they moved her and her siblings to a safe house in Roodeval, and they even remembered me. Britney was interviewed by the Avian Park case worker, with the result that she then took Britney and Jamelia to Britney's aunt's house, not far from Bella's.
This made me feel I'd been helpful. On my way home however, my Mastercard was declined twice at different stores. Once, I would have put down to the machine in the store, but twice? I had enough cash to pay, having transferred from Simplii within the last couple of days.
When I got home I looked at our Solutions banking transaction history. My MasterCard had been paid automatically on 28 February, but on 6 March this payment of about $6,500 had been reversed. I called Solutions Banking. I now think that a $1700 eTransfer on 28 Feb hadn't got there in time for there to be sufficient funds without exceeding my maximum headroom of $155,000. A very helpful consultant saw the predicament, realized I had tried hard to do things right but was not under the wire in time. After some discussion, he went beyond what I would have expected. Since there was now sufficient funds, he paid the Mastercard, backdated it to 28 March so that I would not pay interest, and cancelled a couple of penalty charges.
On my 'do list' had been the item: 'check out 'Days of Decision - A Tribute to Phil Ochs' by Martyn Joseph. As soon as it was running on Spotify I realized it was special. His voice perfectly suited these iconic songs, ad every word is crystal clear. I thought I had recorded it on the AR WIzzard, but I must have forgotten to press record, because there was nothing there when I checked.
There was a message on the WhatsApp prayer group from Godfrey to say that (Dr) Johan Truiter from church had found him a place to stay for free until the end of the month.
Thu Mar 5
Thursday has become a favourite day of the week for me, and today lived up to it.
Britney was waiting for me at Jamelia's in her school uniform. Since Joy wasn't coming we took another of Bella's friends to school. Bella was eating porridge for breakfast as we drove - a big change from a week ago. After dropping the others, I took Britney to her school, and when we arrived she said she'd been throwing up after eating for a day or so. She wanted me to take her home again but I used tough love and left her at her school. She has skipped a few days recently.
The Toyota was low on petrol so I drove to Expressmark. It took R750 worth. I was served very well by forecourt attendant Mike, and commented appropriately in the Total Expressmark web site and FaceBook. Godfrey called, reminded me I had said he could stay one night and asked if the offer was still open. I said yes, he could come tonight.
I took L-A to Touching Hearts, returned home, and drove to Bidvest in the Suzuki. Of course I forgot to top up the petrol so had to go out again, finding that the first two stations I went to were out of petrol since to price went down yesterday. Before turning in the car I drove the Mercedes a few yards. She had kindly let me park it in her lot for the whole time we had rented the Suzuki.
Jeannette gave me a cheery goodbye as I left her the keys. Then, gingerly and with my full force ready to put on the brake pedal, I drove the Mercedes out onto Russell Street, a prayer on my lips. There are four 4-way stops going west to Somerset St, and there was no cross traffic at any of them, very unusual. From Somerset it's all uphill to Hooggelegen, which is relatively safe to drive with minimum brakes. When I reached Hooggelegen village and need to go downhill quite steep, I turned the car and did it in reverse getting more breaking from the gearbox. One of the neighbours looked at me strangely, but soon the car was safely in our second driveway with the handbrake on.
There was a senior's tea at 11. Senior's anythings I don't relate to but I thought the Copples needed to make a showing and Mrs was at Touching Hearts. There was indeed tea, fruit and deserts, and Afrikaans. I was sitting next to Peter, and in our conversation he said that Mirkhon Motors might have a solution for the Merc. So after the tea was drunk I went there, where I had first taken the car before discovering MMJ. The owner heard my story, suggested that the brake pump should not be able to immobilize the car, and invited me to bring it in tomorrow morning.
On the way from school Bella told me she would not be going tomorrow since she (and Cathy) had an appointment at the hospital for a check-up of her back. Since they didn't want to go at a time convenient to me, I gave her R100 to cover taxis both ways for the two of them, with R20 extra. I told the other passengers they would have get themselves to school and back without my help.
I called Godfrey and he said he could come between 6 and 7. Between 5 and 7 I was working on tonight's program. I had expected he would call me to come and get him, but about 6:15 he knocked on the door. By now I was preparing supper and mixing down. We ate about 7:15. We all listened to the program, but about 20 minutes in the playback stopped probably due to Breedenet overload, so I switched to playing the audio file locally; I didn't want them to miss Jadha's picture of albinism. Godfrey had a bath and settled down on the couch about 9:30. He had slept in his inoperative bakkie last night and had been scared by local troublemakers probably looking for foreigners to rob.
Wed Mar 4
We went to Pathcare for 7:45 and L-A had a batch of blood tests for Hanlie to see that she is progressing. We got back to Hooggelegen immediately after Lise, in the Toyota that would fulfil our transportation needs for the next few weeks. I cooked us poached eggs on toast and coffee. I called D Hofmeyr's office to hear that the appointments for Bella and Britney were next Tuesday, not today. Soon we got on our way back to Somerset West. Lise drove, even though she hadn't driven manual transmission in 20 years. We had some good discussion on the drive. I drove back, arriving in good time to collect the kids from school.
I went to Bidvest's yard (in the Toyota) and photographed the Mercedes.
Then to Riverview to take the kids to Mella's for 'store day,' when they receive clothes and products from Topsy Turvey ministry. Having dropped then off in 2 batches (7 and 8 in the car respectively), I bought bread and took it home because L-A hadn't eaten since breakfast. I returned to Mella's to take the kids home plus large cuddly toys and a miscelleny of other treasures.
Next stop Tony's. After standing in line for a while as he served a Corrections officer who had arrived after me, I showed him my photos of the car, and my latest servicing receipt with the kilometeridge, and asked what he would give me as its scrap value. R10,000 - which is what I had expected. Then I drove to MMJ and asked Brian for some fatherly advice. He said don't scrap the car till closer to our leaving time and keep looking for the hydraulic brake pump in scrap yards, and then he gave me the names of three such places in Cape Town, SA Part Finder: 082 388 8137, Benzo Parts, 086 137 7728, and Orbit Coach Works. The contact at SA Part Finder is Cecil, and he aswered the phone, asking me to WhatsApp him with the part number. I sent similar info to Benzo from their web site. After searching for Orbit I decided they were probably no longer in business.
In the evening I edited Jadha's interview, and Laurie-Ann put the finishing toutches on WTGIG.
Tue Mar 3
Legacy Relay warmly welcomed L-A back after she missed last week. The kids are getting more affectionate as they know us better. On arrival I asked if Jeane-Marie would not take her class out to their classroom when the colouring began. My science bit followed on from refraction last week, to the eyeball including the lens and other components. L-A's teaching on the inspiration behind prophetic art got their attention. With soaking music in the background, and all the kids within earshot they drew their favourite things on blank paper. While robots were popular, a handful of them clearly seemed to have received divine guidance.
At 3 I arrived at Pioneer school. I aked a man at reception if I could see Jadha for a radio interview. He was very co-operative and made a call. I didn't know it at the time but he was the principal, Michael Bredenkamp. He also agreed we could use Elizma's office, the lady I had interviewed previously. Jadha proved to be a delightful character, and way above her years for articulation, passion, vision and a full appreciation for the challenges of albinism. She expounds these very well in the interview, which is both charming, and horrifying in places.
After the interview, Michael introduced me to Rose Niemand, with the Heinwagner Academy, which trains sight-challenged students in various skills, in association with Boland College. One that caught my ear was the only course in the world in Cyber Security for the blind. Rose agreed to an interview on Friday morning. Her supervisor is Corne du Bois. We talked about bringing experts in for the interview, but I assured her she had a more appropriate skill set than 'experts.' She mentioned that she admires Janey as a teacher.
Godfrey posted on the prayer group WhatsApp: Hie guys I'm looking for help me and my wife we have parted ways I have to move out tonight but I don't have anything to start with or a bad to sleep on even a small bad will do. I replied saying he could come to us for one night.
Mon Mar 2
Bella was 10 minutes late for the Bella Express, and Joy had already gone by the time we got to her pick-up point. I doubled back to take Chantelle to OVD from where she would walk to the hospital dentist. I dropped in at MMJ to ask if they still had the Mercedes trunk key, and Brian assured me he had put it in the ash tray.
The afternoon's Mailbox Club was seriously depressing. None of the girls were ready at 3, and so their learners weren't there. Marsha got a bag of plums for old times sake. We have always had at least one club operating. Bella has ben totally reliable, but today something bad was happening at her house and I saw little chance of a club. (The next day she told me what had happened. Her sister, who lives across the street with her addicted boyfriend had come to Cathy asking for money to get drugs for her boyfriend. Saturday the grants had been paid so there is money around. In my hearing, Cathy responded loudly and forcefully to this request; I even thought I heard an Afrikaans-accented version of an F-bomb.) Anthonica asked me to take her to town to buy a new school skirt. She had R90 from her mother. I took her to 2 Pep stores but the skirts were more than R90. She had spent some of the money on a cool drink. She was worried her mother would be angry if she didn't come back with a skirt. She told me that both her parents had said the skirt I had bought her was too short. I think she wanted me to pay the difference but I had told her I wouldn't. I said, forcefully, we should go back to her home. In her frustration she got out of the car saying she would ask someone for the taxi fare home, and before I could stop her she disappeared into the crowd.
This gave me a real problem. I ran up the street looking for her but couldn't find her. I was worried someting bad could happen to her in this rape-infested country (today a rape of a 101 year old woman was reported in the news, and in a separate story a 23 year old convicted rapist of children was only given a light sentence). In the end I drove home; there was nothing else I could do. Later in the evening, Chantelle messaged L-A, and I asked her to ask Chantelle if she had seen Anthonica at home this evening. She had, which was a great relief to me. I had had visions of being the last one in her circle to see her alive, and being forced to stay in South Africa as a witness.
Lise Lourens had shared my 'Help' post and a friend of hers, Sandy Hammond, responded, and Lise put us in touch with her. She was in Botswana for a few weeks, and partly for that reason there was a Toyota RunX at her Cape Town home standing idle. I spoke with her on WhatsApp and she said she would lend it to us. Further, it is comprehensively insured. Here was a great answer to prayer and the 'Help' notice. Lise called and offered to drive the car to us, since Sandy had arranged for her to have access. After varios options were discussed she said she would drive here early on Wednesday morning.
Janey called to say there was an albino student at Pioneer school who was an activist for albinism and might be interested in an interview on CWCP. Janey gave me her number and I called her, and arranged a time for 11 am tomorrow. Janey by the way is very depressed, though the bright star in her life is full time teaching at Pioneer school.
Sun Mar 1
This is still the Worcester bi-centennial, but it is also the 25th anniversary of the founding of Worcester Christian Church. Church this morning was different! There were 3 worship songs, and then announcements and photography related to the anniversary. There was a video with interviews from long-term leaders in WCG, including Santjie Smit. Johann preached a sermon based on John 1:1 - the Word made flesh, and why he chose Peter: because Peter had a boat. Then there was a first class roast lamb lunch with wine, followed by Mulva pudding and ice cream. The logistics for all this must have been complex, with hoards of well-drilled volunteers, yet it all ran very smoothly. Our cell group sat together.
When we got home afterwards I thought L-A would rest up several hours, but in fact she stayed up the whole day, a sign of her returning strength, if not an end to pain in her legs. But there's only a small remnant of pain in her breast. It apperas at this stage that the chemotherapy has done exactly what the doctors hoped for, reducing the tumour to halt a spread to stage 4, and to make the surgery more effective.
It is clear that getting a replacement hydraulic brake pump will not be easy here in SA. This means we must find a car. I posted a 'Help' message on FaceBook, and prayed that it might bring a solution to us.
At 10 to 6 she reminded me that Marius was heading up the final praise and worship event in Church Square which I had absolutely planned to attend, so I drove down. There was only a small audience. This didn't appear to be phasing Marius and his excellent band members, including Christine Ruerink on violin and Phil on keyboard. In fact they were very tight, remarkable after just one practice. I took video and photos, and more people arrived, until there were about 140. Because the band was good, we stopped being inhibited by the small numbers and got into the worship. Paula van Heerden arrived, and Sean Waite was there at the start, but I saw noone else I recognized. The music set ran about 45 minutes, and then a pastor preached in Afrikaans. I left after 15 minutes of the sermon judging that I would be better employed getting something for L-A to eat.
Sat Feb 29 - Leap Day
L-A had a Touching Hearts session this morning atarting about 8:30, so we had to get there before I picked up Soraya for the prison. I told her about Kevin's interest about taking over from me, and she shocked me by saying she was having doubts about whether she would be continuing with prison ministry. If she leaves, his task would be extremely difficult. It is not recommended that someone lead Alpha who hasn't been on Alpha, but Kevin's other qualifications are so strong and he's a quick learner. We were happy to be greeted by Vivian at Youth Centre reception, who told us the TV was already in the room! There were 24 men
who came in all together, so today was going to be a lot better than last week. The subject was 'Telling others (about Jesus).' During the worship section I called up some volunteer singers to the front and had them sing with me on 'Father could you mend me.' the song by Ottawa inmate Howie A for which I had written the tune. It went down well here. The video was quite well received, and was done by 9:45, so we had 15 minutes for small group discussion. I split them into four, and suggested each group invite volunteers to tell their stories of how they became Christians. Soraya and I sat in on 2 groups and since my group was reticent, I told them ny story. As usual, after 15 minutes, it was hard to get the groups to stop telling their stories.
Soraya had told the group that she was feeling down when she was coming in this morning, but the men had again lifted her spirits. I hope that means she feels better about staying on with Kevin.
After dropping Soraya at YWAM I went down to Church Square and between 11 and 12:15 was able to witness and film the South African Air Force aerobatics team with three aircraft, and then the firing of the 150 years-old canon. See video.
The ministry in the afternoon was a little like the earlier days, with Marsha (!), Chantelle, Jamelia, Britney and Bella. I brought them via Church Square where live pop music was in progress for the bi-centennial, but none of them wanted to stop there for a short while. I gave them ground rules of only one in the bathroom at once. We watched 'How to make the best of the rest of my life,' but only Bella was following it closely.
I checked Whatsapp and there was a message from Kevin sent last night suggesting he come in with me this morning. This may mean he will only be able to attend one Alpha session with me.
Fri Feb 28
Jan had called a My Father's House board meeting at Mario's request so he could explain his sudden resignation, but in the even he didn't turn up at 9:30 this morning. Kevin and we were the only ones who joined Jan, yet it was a productive meeting. Mario ran the Avian Park soccer for My Father's House, which funded it for equipment, but Mario never gave any credit or recognition to My father's House, which didn't sit well with Jan. It seemed he just wanted the funding, not the association. Recently Jan turned him down for a funding request because he refused to add a reasonably sized MFH decal to soccer shirts, and a few days later he resigned.
I reported that the recording of the Mailbox Club Training was now on line and available from the MFH Facebook and web site.
I brought Chantelle and Bella to the house at about 2:45, and then drove Manville to a farm in Overhex where his sister stays, and she is ill. I returned to Worcester and stopped at Tony's. They have thousands of parts all catalogued in the owner's memory (and his name isn't Tony). He asked me to get a photograph of the unit. I drove to Bidvest, which thank goodness was still open, and took photos of the hydraulic brake pump. I showed them to Tony, and he recognized it immediately - he has one similar in his own car. But he doesn't have one for sale. I asked him if he would buy our car for scrap if it came to that and he said yes.
Back home, I searched eBay and found similar brake pumps, but not the same part number, and none in South Africa. So I registered on Bidorbuy, the South African competitor for eBay, and found nothing in the category.
L-A asked me a question about the Mercedes keys, and I realized Brian hadn't given me back the trunk key - my third trunk key. It was now too late to go there. I took the girls home about 5.
Thu Feb 27
I took the kids to school in the Suzuki. Bella was the one who asked for food, but none of them had had a bite of breakfast. I had thought that Manville and Joy came out of slightly less poverty, but they too got no food to go to school on. The last food Bella had eaten was the pie I gave her after school yesterday.
I drove to OK foods. It was too early for pies and breakfast sandwiches, but they had cheeseburgers which can be heated up. These went down well with the kids.
Back home L-A was ready for 'Touching Hearts.' Once I had moved her seat back, she was able to get in with less discomfort - but still very painful. When we were driving she was higher off the road than in the Mercedes so she had a better view.
I received a phone call from Dis-Chem at Cape Gate to say we must pay for L-A's herceptin injection due tomorrow before they will deliver it to Worcester Mediclinic. So the only answer is for me to drive to Cape Gate this afternoon, sonce Dis-Chem wouldn't accept a credit card number by phone. Then I received a second call from Esté (?) suggesting that if I am driving to Cape Gate then why not we both come and have the injection there instead of Worcester tomorrow. This seemed very sensible.
I then had a call from Brian at MMJ to say that he was now able to get the gear stick out of park, but that to take off the warning display and constant beep he would need to replace the SBC hydraulic brake pump at a cost of R38,000. I asked about the brakes and he said I would have to press twice as hard on the pedal for them to work. I said I would be down as soon as I have turned in the rental car. So I drove to Bidvest and left it with Jeanette, and then walked to MMJ.
Brian showed me the car and pointed out the hydraulic brake pump. I asked him for the part number; it is A 0054317912. He said that if I could locate one second hand, he would fit it. He recommended Tony's autoparts as a place to start, and also a firm that would buy the car for scrap if it came to that. I paid the bill - just R575 - and drove the car from the garage, immediately discovering that the brakes were in exactly the same state as when I had driven it from Worcester Pimary on Tuesday. I could drive to pick up L-A, and attempt the trip to Cape Gate, or I could drive to Bidvest and see if I could have the Suzuki back. Just the process of driving to the High Street told me that I must not drive this car for any distance, so I drove to Bidvest. Jeanette was away, probably at lunch. I called L-A and told her I would wait for Jeanette. She returned in 15 minutes. Luckily she had not yet processed my returning the car so she just gave me the key back. I asked if I could leave the Mercedes in the lot with her other cars and she said I could. So I drove to Laurie-Ann and brought her home from Touching Hearts. She had been surprized about the phone calls from Cape Gate, because she had settled a bill yesterday by credit card and thought we were all set. So she had phoned them, discovering that this R9,000 for the herceptin was a different bill. We got on our way to Cape Gate and I told her the sorry story of my morning. One casualty was that I wouldn't be picking up Chantelle at 2:20. L-A had sent her a message, and I had phoned her, but reaching the girls is never easy. The old road over DuToits Kloof pass was closed, and as we approached the Huguenot tunnel we could see smoke from wild fires on the mountain. Looking back from the other side L-A could see flames. The Cape Gate sisters gave L-A a joyful welcome, and Jeannette gave her the injection. It didn't take long. Soon we were on the way home, but approaching the tunnel from this side were shocked to see flames on or very close to the upper road, and a general smoky haze everywhere.
When we got home it took me 2 hours of work to insert the Mailbox training video into the structure of a Worcester report. There was a problen with the final mixdown. For some reason it wouldn't mix to an .mp3, so I mixed to .wma. It sounded fine, and that's how tonight's program went out, glitchless. I listened to the whole of it as it broadcast and was pleased with the quality. Someone else listened to the end of my first talk and then turned off. I believe this recording could be a key aspect of our legacy.
Wed Feb 26
I thought I might have a lie-in since Kathryn was picking up the kids, but Chantelle called at 7 am asking if she might come to our house to do homework. I said not today, but yes for tomorrow at 2:30. At 7:20 Kathryn called to confirm she had delivered the kids to Esselen Park and Gymnasium and everything had gone smoothly. I checked my phone and noticed she had texted me last night at 9 asking me to accompany her into Avian Park. I was glad I hadn't noticed it.
After breakfast I stared editing the audio files from The Mailbox Club training on 6 February. I was quite impressed both by the quality of what was said and the quality of the recording.
With everything that had been going on, I hadn't thought much about this week's broadcast, other than a possibility of interviewwing a local historian about the Worcester bi-centennial. But now I realized that we should broadcast the training - in full. I checked this would be OK with Jan. By the end of today I had the mixdown of the training, each speaker separated by CWCP interlude themes.
I had a arranged a meeting at Teacup for Kevin and Glenda to meet, though Glenda hadn't confirmed till about 10:30. I had thought I would be walking to Bidvest, and then on to Teacup, but Kevin had a meeting in the Worcester prison, and offered to pick me up after it and drive me to Teacup. Kevin and Glenda got on just fine. Kevin instructed Portia in how to make coffee (ie an Americano should have hot milk). Glenda's mother was on the next table, but because she was looking in the other direction, and had a new hairstyle, Glenda didn't realize it was she till she walked past on the way out. Introductions all round.
After leaving Glenda to eat her scone, Kevin drove me to Bidvest and I picked up a silver coloured Suzuki. I drove home for a quick lunch. I picked up Bella and Joy at Gymnasium where they had had the introduction to university planning that they'd expected yesterday. Apparently it was very helpful. I had a pie for Bella and Kyle. Bella had messaged that she was realy hungry. After delivering them home via Esselen Park I drove back into Riverview, ready to bring the Riverview kids to the OVD pool. Mella also had a car full, and Kevin came late and brought the last 3. The swim was fun for everyone. I went in the water for a while and had a couple of kids climb onto my shoulders. I got out in good time to fetch two bulk packs of ice cream. It was messy to serve because Mella's scoup was defective but they got though almost all of it. Kevin challenge the best swimmer to race down the pool, giving him 30 seconds start, and they ended in what would have been a dead heat had not I snapped a photo finish showing Kevin ahead at the end by a few inches. See photos. Again I judged there just wasn't the time to broadcast an GNiTM archive. This week has been intense. I recorded the two continuity spots for tomorrow's Worcester report, but didn't edit them.
Tue Feb 25
At 3:15 am I was woken by the sound of singing. Soon I realized it was Britney. I went into the living room to find her watching a movie on the computer, wearing our headphones and singing along. I turned off the power to the modem and hard-stopped the computer, and asked her to get into bed, explaining that if she didn't she would be extremely tired for the coming day. This story illustrates the power of the Internet over a dirt poor girl. I took the headphones into our room, which I should have done last night and I think she slept the rest of the night, though I took a while to fall asleep again after what had just happened.
I had set the alarm for 5:45 so I could take Soraya and Nathan to the school. Around 6 I made Britney's breakfast: Wheetbix and melon, then toast. She didn't like the Wheatbix or the melon. I ate her melon. We picked up Soraya and Nathan at YWAM gate. Britney knew her from Mailbox training. This was Nathan's first day at his new school, and Soraya was meeting the principal. I was early to pick up my schoolkids and for some reason they were later than usual. This wasn't a problem because I wouldn't need to go home to collect L-A for Legacy Relay. We dropped Jermaine (Jamelia's bother) at Esselen Park and then went to Gymnasium High School where Bella and Joy would be attending a day's indoctrination on university, where they would both be eligible in a year assuming they pass matric.
I then drove to Worcester Primary, which is not far from Gynnasium and stopped the car in a more convenient parking spot than normal since I was early. As I braked, the screen display in the car broke into the same emergency warning I had seen last Thursday, beeping at me with the same audio alarm for if a passenger doesn't put on her seatbelt (a daily event for Bella). I couldn't get the gear shift out of park. But I was where I needed to be to teach Legacy Relay. When I had taken my guitar and other items from the trunk and locked the car, the emergency display was still on with the audio beeping, and the sidelights were flashing.
My class went very well. Carica was there today instead of Louis and she has never seen me teach. I gave the bodhran to a girl I picked at random and showed her how it should be done - for this sort of music just one beat in the bar. She played perfectly as we sang. I had split my next section into science followed by economics. For science I use the remote from our TV to introduce them to light you can't see, eg infro red. On a white board I reminded them of the colours of the rainbow and told them how these correspond to different electomagnetic frequencies. Then we learned about ultra-violet and its dangers, and where it is in the spectrum. Then I spent 10 minutes teaching what is never taught, the lifetime graph of typical earnings, expenses, and saving for retirement. In the process they learned about graphs, what money is for, not spending all of one's income, and the purpose of banks and other financial institutions.
For art I had two recent drawings of L-A's and I explained about angels, since there was an angel on one of them, and about the widow's oil which was featured in the other as it was continually replenished. They then got busy colouring the drawings for the rest of the session. Carica told me she liked my teaching and that we would be missed.
I went back to the car and Carica accompanied me so that if it didn't start, I wouldn't be alone with no way of going anywhere. I was encouraged by the fact that the side lights were no longer flashing. The engine light was still on, saying the brakes had failed, but I was able to put the car in gear. I decided to drive very carefully indeed to MMJ Service Centre. It was less than 5 minutes away with normal driving, but my brakes were anything but normal, slowing the car only slightly with maximum pressure on the pedal. By going about 2 Km/h and protected by divine forces I made it and pulled into my normal spot at MMJ. When Brian saw the display he told me that a part had failed that was only available from Germany and the price was about R40,000. The only factor that might help is that Brian has given me worst-case estimates in the past which have materialized into lower actual costs. I got the guitar, the disability permit, and other items out and Willem drove me home in the Bakkie.
When he came in and saw Laurie-Ann, he instantly pronounced on her personal beauty. He is an encourager par-excellence. I was back at home having dodged another bullet. Imagine our situation of the problem had occured anywhere else I had been in the last few or the next few days. We prayed.
Now we had another problem - how to collect the kids from school, I posted a 'Help!' message on Facebook and two group Whatsapps. Janey was the first to respond within minutes, recommending her regular driver Kathryn Barton. I called Kathryn, arranging for her to pick me up at 1:45, and then deleted the "Help!" messages. She arrived as promised and we drove to Gymnasium High School. She parked the car and I waited by the gate. I waited, and I waited. At 2:25 I decided that Bella and Joy were not here. We drove to Esselen Park where Jermaine would be waiting, and he was - with the girls! Apparently Gymnasium had told them they weren't able to hold the special event today, and had postponed till tomorrow. The girls had no way to tell me. Kathryn drove to Pelikaan street. She normally wouldn't drive in a township on her own. The price to me for using her for a day was R100. I told her I might need her to pick them up tomorrow morning unless I could get a rental car.
I called Jeannette at Bidvest. She had no cars available before 4 pm.
Back home I checked our FNB account because if I were to call on Kathryn tomorrow I could pay her by EFT. The bank balance was only R28, so clearly I must pump it up. I called Kathryn, who I knew would be bringing back one of our neighbours from the dentist. She drove me to the FNB ATM at the mall, where I deposited R400, and then she drove me home again, at no charge, since I had already engaged her for the day.
About 4:15 I called Jeannette and, though she now had cars, they needed to be filled up and wouldn't be ready before tomorrow morning. I asked her to keep one for me.
Then I called Kathryn and asked her to pick up the kids tomorrow morning. She charged me R80 which I sent by EFT.
Mon Feb 24
After taking the kids to school I doubled back to Manikin Street to take Anthonica to the police station so that she and her father Henry could arrange to take Tersia's live-in boyfriend Henri to court physically abusing Tersia and Anthonica. But Anthonica had gone to school already. I called her father, and he was in Wellington. He had messaged Anthonica to say they could no longer make the police station that morning. Neither of them thought to let me know.
For the first time I forgot to collect the kids from school at 2, suddenly remembering at 2:35. Bella was a little angry - I apologized. They said they were all
hungry and thirsty so I spent R100 on the four of them in OK and that helped. By the time we were in Avian Park it was the start time for mailbox clubs. Chantelle had only 3 kids, but I decided to treat them in every way as special and we had some good singing, which brought in a few more. She was still holding her face from toothache. She had heard that I was taking girls to our dentist and asked if I would take her. I said it would depend on how expensive the others turned out to be. Anthonica wasn't present - she probably thought I would be annoyed with her for not being there this morning, but later when she did appear I assured her I wasn't upset with her. Back at Bella's house she was in full swing teaching her club. Cathy had one of the boys go fetch me a chair from another house. I filmed Bella teaching in her unique way. I didn't know what she was saying but her body language was powerful.
I was with girls from 2:30 till 6:30, ending up buying bread and power for several. At 6:20 Jamelia appeared with Britney and said Britney was in trouble. She got in the car alone and told me Christopher Breeze was back making life hell for Veronica her mother, and had threatened Britney. Britney has been spending her days in Jamelia's house but had nowhere to go to sleep and wondered if she could sleep at our home. I said no (having just accommodated Anthonica on Saturday night). Then Britney started crying - something I had never seen her do before, because she is very tough, and has been in fear of her life from the monster who twice tried to kill her mother.
I told her she could come for tonight - but just for the one night. I drove home with her via her house where she told her mother where she was going. She soon relaxed in our home, enjoying stir fry beef. But her real focus was on the Internet - I had to take the orange phone from her to stop her using it throughout the meal. At bed time I removed the phones from the living room, and told her she was here to rest, and not watch endless videos, and not get up in the night to use the computer. Soraya called and asked if I would take her and Nathan down to Somerset Hight School early in the morning. Laurie-Ann is suffering from swolen feet and it is extra painful for her to walk. She said that she didn't feel she could go to Legacy Relay tomorrow morning and asked me to deputize for her. It was 11 pm before I had time to plan what I would teach the children tomorrow, but God is kind and the ideas came fairly easily into my mind.
Sun Feb 23
Took Anthonica to church. Hanlie de Bruyns led worship! Johan spoke on worship, which of course is far broarder than praise music. Laurie-Ann taught prophetic art to the younger Kinderkerk class, and Anthonica went into the older one. Although she had enjoyed a cooked breakfast she wanted a burger on the way home. We got a cheese burger no-cheese for her and a R6 cone for me. Three streets later she was still hungry and I got her an OK toasted sandwich and a milk drink. I dropped her in the vicinity of Jamelia's hose and drove back to cell group. In the middle of that half of us went to Homeless Church.
Paula and Therden van Heerden had invited us for an afternoon chat in their home, where we reminisced about Canada where they had lived for 15 years but came back because it seemed the right thing to do. He is the head of energency in Worcester Mediclinic, and she is on the board of Legacy Relay. We four clicked over beer/wine and crisps, and their three children joined us for some of the time. We invited them for dinner.
Sat Feb 22
I checked my text messages at about 7:15 to see that Soraya wouldn't be joining us today for prison ministry. There was actually a benefit to this; I would be able to drive directly to Slanghoek for the Workers among young vines conference and arrive there earlier than I had expected.
On the drive to Brandvlei I picked up aa hitch hiker at Avian Park who was gangster age, and quite well dressed. He recognized the car and me and thanked me for what I am doing with the children in Avian Park. I told him that yesterday, someone like him in Avian Park had told Britney, one of our teen Bible study leaders, whom he had seen being driven by me, that he wanted to rob me - why? - 'because I have money and possessions.' At first I thought she said 'rub me' which sounded almost like rub me out. My passenger today told me that if that ever happened there were many in Avian Park who would come to my assistance.
I didn't recognize the reception staff at the Youth Centre, or the supervising staff in 'B' section, and they weren't much interested in me. It's better when Soraya comes. I asked for the TV but no TV was brought. By 9 we had just 3 attenders. I interrrupted the conversation that 3 prison officers were having (one of them was smoking) to say that we normally have 20+ people but today there were 3. Please would they get the word out to the other sections. Also, we have no TV.
I began worship with the 3 present. Around 9:15, seven more men arrived, so we had a couple more songs. I introduced today's lesson, "How can I resist evil?" I then taught the lesson verbally. One advantage was that they could all hear me clearly; if we had used a TV with such a small number in this echoing dining room, the sound would have been hard to hear. Talking to inmates about evil is always interesting, and I focussed on the fact that it is the devil at work that temps us into sin, but we ourselves have access to forgiveness. I talked briefly about real evil men and mentioned I had only ever met two in 20 years of prison ministry. I assured those present that I sensed no suggestion of evil in them! But I did refer to the current news item of a Cape Town man who has murdered an 8-year old girl and stuffed her body into a Worcester storm drain this week as an example of evil.
We broke into two discussion groups and I set them the task of individually admitting to situations where they had faller into temptation. I didn't want details, just acceptance of their fall, and how they now felt about it. In one group at the beginning no-one was ready to admit to any such history, so I deliberately left them in the hope they might be more forthright without my presence. These discussion groups are proving valuable each week to increase participation, sharing and learning. Once the discussion is under way, they don't want to stop, which is good.
I drove to Slanghoek, which is past Goudini in a beautiful valley where we hadn't been before. The Workers among young vines conference had neen organized by Kevin Daly to encourage and bring together those working for the welfare of children and young people. speakers were asked to share a scripture that motivated them in their work, and explain why. I was speaking at noon, but was able to enjoy several other speakers before that. My scripture was Isaiah 61:1, the last two phrases: '...to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.' I started by telling them that 4 hours before I had been releasing prisoners from darkness, and went on from there, sharing key aspects of prison ministry in the Brandvlei Youth Centre. I ended with an appeal to anyone present (there were about 15) who might know someone who could take over my role in the Youth Centre to get in touch. Imagine my surprize when Kevin Daly announced that he had been considering for some time getting into prison ministry, and now felt that this was his chance! We agreed to examine the possibilities, with a view to his coming in with me for the last couple of sessions on the current Alpha. Kevin spoke on Malachi 4:6, the last and very significant verse in the Old Testament. Kevin believes that because the hearts of the fathers (in our townships) have not been restored to their children, He has indeed cursed the land, resulting in situations such as I describe below. I got home from the conference with just enough time to buy a pie for Laurie-Ann's lunch, plus ham, bread, cakes and fruit for the Mailbox Club ministry sessions starting at 3 pm. But when I arrived at Bella's she wasn't ready because of housework chores and asked me to return later. So I went to Anthonica's. She told me that the previous evening she had heard her mother screaming from the street, and had run in the house to find Henry, Tersia's live-in lover beating her so that she was lying in a pool of blood. Henry then started punching Anthonica in the face till her nose was bleeding. Chantelle told me the next day that from her house across the street she hears Tersia screaming every night at the hands of Henry. Anthonica then told me that tonight, Saturday, is Tersia's night to get drunk, and when she is drunk she starts beating Anthonica. Anthonica wanted me to let her sleep at our house tonight. I said it would be OK as long as Laurie-Ann was happy. Living in such awful surroundings, it is amazing how well Anthonica is turning out. She has many faults but her general demeanour and determination to survive the regular violence are very impressive in a 14-year old. I then drove with her to OVD to find Chantelle, which after some delay we did. Chantelle had been taking part in an athletics tournament. We returned to Bella's and picked up Jamelia, but Bella hadn't had time to wash herself and her grandmother Cathy wanted her to do the dishes instead of coming with us. I asked her to take me to Cathy who was lying on a bed while giving these various jobs to Bella. I said I wanted Bella at our ministry, and she reluctantly gave permission. So we had 4 girls for ministry. It was now 5 pm, an hour later than normal, and I had something special in mind for them.
On the way I laid out two more ground rules. 1, no use of wifi on our phones until ministry is complete. 2, only one person in the bathroom at once. When we arrived I showed Bella to L-A's en-suite washroom so she could have a wash. L-A made the sandwiches and they ate, and then we had some good worship with Bella leading the singing loud and clear. Then came the our crucial ministry for today. Several of them had now watched the Alpha videos 'Who is the Holy Spirit,' and 'What does the Holy Spirit Do?' so it was time for 'How can I be filled with the Holy Spirit?' Bella watched in wrapt attention. Anthonica and Jamelia a little less wrapt. Chantelle watched half of it them put her head between pillows. She later told me she was suffering bad toothache. At the end, L-A and I prayed in turn for Bella, Anthonica and Jamelia and took them through the sinners' prayer. In Bella's case particularly we felt the Holy Spirit hovering near and believe she sensed this was a key moment in her life, for which she is
ready. Anthonica stayed at the house, and I took the girls back via the fairground that has recently been set up beside the west end of Russell St., for the bi-centenial of Worcester. No money was spent but the atmosphere was fun. On my way back I got fish and chips from Europa Fisheries (since Ocean Fisheries was closed) and I think they have changed the oil they were using because the bad smell was gone, and L-A, Anthonica and I enjoyed the fish. It was only R70 for the three of us. L-A and I spent the next few hours working quite hard before turning in after the 11pm BBC World News, where the program was again dominated by the Corona virus.
Fri Feb 21
At noon I picked up Janey and brought her for egg sandwiches and time with L-A. Janey had been a little depressed, but her job at Pioneer School has been going well and she seemed in good spirits.
Thu Feb 20
Touching Hearts for L-A.
I saw Jamelia at her house and asked her why she and Britney had gone back to our house a second time. She had perfectly reasonable explanation - they had made friends with Kayla (?) the teenager with the bicycle from across the street, and wanted to continue their conversation. Then I asked her what they would have done with keys to our house if Cosmos had had them. They would have got food and drinks. I said, "That would be stealing." She said, "No, it wouldn't be stealing because they were so hungry."
During the day the emergency screen in the car suddenly burst ito life, saying the brakes had failed and I must get service immediately. My guardian angels were ready for this and it happend when the car was in a safe spot with no traffic near. I was able to stop the car by major pressure on the brake pedal, but the servo assistance had clearly failed. I turned off the ignition, and turned it on again, and the engine started, but I couldn't get the gear shift out of park. I turned it off again and waited 15 minutes, and the problem had gone away. This must have been caused by a physical failure, and then the computer trying to alert me. Was it just a spurious attack, or more serious?
This was the 90th edition of The Worcester Reports, and for it we interviewed each other about the key aspects of our misssion. It's an excellent record of how we felt about things, and more spontaneous than most of the interviews, but there were no live listeners, and five days later there had been only one listener on podcast. This is the lowest listenership for any program. We actually discuss in the program our disappointment in the interest in CWCP Radio. Do our followers really think us that boring?
Wed Feb 19
Having given Bella and Amelia written appointments for the Enpilisweni Clinic this morning at 7:30 I was slightly angry with Amelia when she appeared in her dressing gown and smilingly said she had overslept. I reminded we had cancelled driving children to school to accommodate her, and I wasn't prepared to set up another appointment.
Cathy and Bella were ready, and we did drop Kyle off on the way. We arrived on time and were told by different people to go to different places, but Bella did get to see the dentist. Bella wanted to have all her top teeth removed to stop the pain. The dentist rightly said she wouldn't do it, but didn't make any other suggestions. So I decided to have Dr Hofmeyr give his opinion, and later in the day made an appointment for both Bella and Britney to see him at 3pm on 10 March. I wrote out appointments for them both.
Tue Feb 18
We had decided that at this Legacy Relay, after I had told them about the conservation of energy, we would reveal to the children that Laurie-Ann's hair was very short - the result of cancer. She wore one of the hats, and at the appropriate moment I lifted it off her head. There were gasps of surprize followed by friendly laughter. She told them about her cancer journey.
We both went for dental cleanings, taking advantage of the fact that here the price for two of us was just R828, around a third of the Canadian price, and at least as thorough.
When I picked up the kids at school I remined them that tomorrow morning all except Bella and Kyle would not receive a lift because I would be taking Bella (& Cathy) and Amelia to the Enpilisweni Clinic in Zweletemba for dental examinations.
I reported back to Cosmos that I didn’t believe the girls were responsible for taking the keys. He said that after having a drink they had then gone again to our house; why would they have done so unless they now had keys?
Mon Feb 17
I wasn't going to risk failing to get appointments in the Enpilisweni Clinic for Bella and Amelia, so after dropping the kids at school, I drove to the clinic to make the appointments. They would need to be there for 7:30 on Wednesday morning. I wrote out appointments sheets for both of them.
Only Chantelle and Anthonica were running a club this afternoon. Jamelia and Britney asked if I would take them to the Avian park library, but it was under some form of construction, and they said there was a bus there that could take them to the town library. They asked for R40 taxi fare to bring them home, and I gave it them.
Around 5 pm Cosmos phoned and asked to see me. He told me what had happened with Jamelia and Britney on Sunday. He had allowed them to go to our house to see if we were in. (This he should never have done.) They returned a little later and he called me. I asked him to send them home. They asked if he had a key for our house. He said 'No.' They then asked him for water. He let them into the office and gave them water. They were in there alone for a few minutes while he attended to cars coming in the gate. Then he saw them disappearing back to our house. They were still there hours later when we got home. Later that evening he noticed that a set of keys in the office had meen moved from one hook to another. Then, worse, he noticed another set of keys was missing from a hook fairly high up. In all, two keys were missing.
He believed they had taken two keys with them when they went to our house the second time, in the hope of being able to get into our house. I said I would go and find one or both of them and challenge them.
I drove to Jamelia's house first and her mother hadn't see her all day. She asked me when I had seen her last and I said when I had left them at the Avian Park Library. Then I drove to Britney's house. Her cousin (who had been at the birthday party) said they had been at her house shortly before, but had left to return to Jamelia's house. Despite driving around for the next 15 minutes, and been asked by a police driver why I was driving around, I failed to find them, so I went home.
Around 6 pm we received a message from Jamelia to say she was going to a church service (!?) at Britney’s house at 8. We replied that I would like to see her there at 7. First I talked to Jamelia alone, in the car, asking her how she had got in the gate and what she had done after that. Cosmos had let them in to see if we were there. They were thirsty and he had given them water in the office. Had they asked if he had the keys of out house? Yes, they had. I No, they hadn’t seen or touched any keys in the office. I asked the same questions to Britney, alone, and she came up with the same answers. Based on the way they answered my questions, I believed them. There was no shiftiness; just genuine surprise that the keys had disappeared.
Sun Feb 16
We slept well - till L-A woke us up so we could have breakfast at 8 when the restaurant opened. She needs food to be able to take her meds and we hadn't brought an Annique shake with us. Mrs Stofberg was supervising the breakfast - delightful lady with good taste in art judging by the pieces hanging, including two photos of old masters they had bought in the Louvre. Breakfast was lovely and as healthy as I wanted it - ie we still got bacon and egg. L-A particularly enjoyed some black bread. I wandered over the property with the Fuji camera capturing the beauty of extensive gardens, arbours, rock pools.
Theuns came by to see us off, and allowed me to photograph him beside the picture of him 30 years before as Springboks captain. The Guest Farm was at capacity judging by the cars parked, and I decided the best way to leave was to back all the way down the long driveway. Soon we were en route for Somerset West. We had enough time to visit Wellness Warehouse before church, and stocked up on 5 bottles of several products that L-A didn't think she'd be able to buy in Canada. We arrived at Hillsong about 11, and were able to get one of the disabled spots, and order coffees and a muffin.
It was 'Vision Sunday' for Hillsong, and a special video was shown in every location worldwide. They are now in 28 countries. We rendezvous'd with Lise Lourens at Waterstone Village Woolworths and chatted as we ate, courtesy of her generosity. About 1:30 Cosmos rang to say that two of our girls were at the gate. It was Jamelia and Britney. I spoke to both of them, told them we were in Cape Town and and that they must go home. I said the same to Cosmos. After Lise left we had some coffee and a brownie before getting on the road about 4:00. Arriving home at 5:30 we were shocked to find Jamelia and Britney sitting on the steps of our stoep.
The only explanation I could come up with was that Cosmos had decided it was safer for them to wait for us than to walk back. We gave them a sandwich and I drove them to their homes.
I have been feeling significantly more energetic and less breathless since switching to Ferrimed iron supplement.
Sat Feb 15 - I am 79!
I remembered to bring all the marriage books we had received from 'Focus on the Family,' and give them to Soraya. She was very happy with the potential for her and Celio, and also as teaching materials for their ministry.
We were delighted to greet Vivian McPherson at the reception in the Youth Center at Brandvlei (Correctional Centre). But even she was no longer able to get us into a classroom. No matter! Just like last week we had around 18 men in B Section, and they absorbed enough sound to improve the acoustic. First thing I asked them was, "Who was here from last week?" and the great majority was. So we started singing with "I have decided to follow Jesus." Then we sang "Happy birthday to me," with some mirth, after which Soraya asked for a volunteer to come and lay hands on me and give me a birthday blessing. This was all very warming.
We continued the praise, teaching them "I raise a halleluja." I introduced the video "How to make the most of the rest of my life" emphasizing the importance of changes for the new man, after last week's commitment. The video contains some strong words about the sanctity of marriage and the joy of sex within marriage. So when it was over I took the opportunity to talk to them about the destructive sexual behaviour of men towards women, particularly in South Africa. This was the perfect demographic group to hear this. In an SAFM phone-in I had caught on Valentines Day, a typical young black or coloured South African said that he expected sex from any unmarried woman who gave him 'the look' and the idea of 'no means no' was no deterrent. These young men in Brandvlei probably all come from the same culture, but today some of them really did feel themselves to be new men in Christ and were ready to hear these words.
Soraya added words from the woman's point of view. It was now still only 9:45 so I split them into two groups and asked them to discuss among themselves at least one behaviour that each felt he would be changing from now on. I sat in on one of the groups and Soraya in the other. It was cathartic for some of them as they admitted to the wrong attitudes of the past, usually due to peer pressure, as mentioned in the film. By the end I really felt God was making good progress with this particular group.
So far my birthday had gone well - but there was much more good stuff to come. After dropping Soraya at YWAM (outside the gate because the guard was absent) I went to OK foods and bought ice cream and pineapple Fanta for the girls this afternoon. We had a tuna sandwich each, and at 1pm I was passing the school where Chantelle had been taking part in an athletics competition, but there was no sign of her. I went to Pelikaan St, not expecting Bella, because she had told me she was harvesting grapes on a farm for R250 today. It turned out that Jamelia had gone with her. I drove to Manikin Street, and found Britney with a boy cousin. I agreed he could come. By now an idea was on its way into my mind, that since most of the leaders were not around, why not take the children from Jamelia's Mailbox Club and let them have the cake and ice cream? Soon we were back there. Jamelia's grandmother suggested one of the older sisters come. Soon we had 10 in the car in addition to me!
I think that is a record. When we passed the athletic ground where Chantelle had been competing we drove in - but couldn't find her - probably a good thing. The children were expectant and excited to be coming out. I told Britney she would need to help keep order, but in the event no order keeping was required. They took seats around the room as I prepared ham sandwiches. They each got half a sandwich, which they ate with juice. Britney just wanted to use the orange phone with wifi and really wasn't interested in taking part in the party, but I engaged her in serving the food.
Then I led them in the songs they knew quite well from mailbox clubs. Britney's cousin turned out to be a good singer. I noticed that Jamelia's older sister had a glazed look in her eyes, probably from drugs. The children were happy and laughing. Few of them would have been inside a non-township house before, or in a Mercedes. After the songs I served the birthday cake. I forgot to put a candle on it at the beginning, but remembered when everone had a slice, so I put a load shedding candle into what was left of the cake and had a photo op as I blew out the candle. Next, ice cream. Everyone one enjoyed that. Laurie-Ann had suggested we let them do some colouring so I set up places round the big table, laid out drawings - one modelled by Bella and one by Jamelia. They had plenty of crayons and soon were busily enjoying themselves. Around 2:40 I called them to get ready to leave which they all did with no dissention - better behaved that their leaders in that situation.
We bundled into the car and went to their home. Jamelia's parents had had a nice break. Back home it was time to go on a 1 day birthday break for me that Laurie-Ann had designed weeks ago. We headed towards Stellenbosch, but a few Km before the town arrived at the Rouana Guest Farm on the R304. We were warmly greeted by our host, Theuns. Our room was a few yards from our car. As we entered another man arrived with a bottle of sparkling white wine in an ice bucket. We got into that immediately, Laurie-Ann having noticed it came from a Worcester winery, De Wet. And it was excellent. You must understand we were in Stellebosch, world famous for wine. Anyway, that set us off on the right foot.
I had a dip in the small swimming pool. Theuns had recommended Simonsig restaurant, quite close, but it was closed for dinners. We had just passed a sign to the Ruck & Maul restaurant, Nooitgedacht.
In order to get into it, we had to walk through the 'Ultimate Rugby Museum,' the largest private rugby museum in the world. We ate a good meal surrounded by photos and jerseys of famous players. Our waitress earned herself our appreciation and tip. We drove back to the guest farm. Outside our room I noticed a photo of a Springboks captain from the 80s, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theuns_Stofberg, the owner of the guest farm! After trying to find something worth watching on DSTV, we turned in and slept soundly. We were just half way through my 79th birthday break.
Fri Feb 14
Jamelia had much earlier gone to her new school by taxi/bus when I arrived at 7, but her family didn't realize she was gone and told me she hadn't gone to school. This was her first day at a school in two weeks.
Bella and Joy were dressed in frilly skirts for the Valentine event. On the way to school we picked up other girls also going to the event. At 12:30 I picked them up. They had enjoyed theselves at school. Joy also wanted to get her ID so we stopped at her house for her form. At Bella's house she picked up her form. I dropped them at Home Affairs for an hour, shopped for my birthday cake and other things, and was back about 2:20, and soon they were done.
In the evening L-A cooked an excellent spaghetti bolognaise, which I mention because she hasn't wanted to cook anything for weeks. She is also walking around to a cerain extent without using the walker.
I have had a couple of days when I was really tired by tea time. Dr Eric had told me I shuld step up on the iron, but I was now taking 4 Siderall each morning, and I wondered if I was overdosing on iron, since Sideall is not chelated, a fact that Carica told me. I went to Dischem and they recommended Ferrimed chewable.
Thu Feb 13
Jamelia and her whole family overslept so she wouldn't be going to her new school today. I asked how they normally wake up in the morning. Turned out she had forgotten to set the alarm clock that we had given her! I offered to drive Jamelia to the new school tomorrow, to save her a bus trip, and I just want to see her get there.
When I had a car load I turned the ignition - and nothing happened. I tried a few times. Then we all prayed. I turned the key - and the engine fired! The kids were very impressed! TKOG. Trouble was, athough the engine was now running I couldn't move the gear into 'drive.' We prayed again - but His angels didn't respond. I told the kids I wouldn't be able to take them to school. Bella said they would go in a taxi, but would need the fare. I gave her R100, and they walked off up the street to where the taxis stopped.
I called the AA and L-A. Then, I tried to start the car again and it worked! I drove up the street looking for my would-be passengers but they had found a taxi already. Jamelia's mother told me that her son still needed a lift. I went back to her house and called the AA, cancelling my previous call. The boy got in the car and I and drove towards the schools. But then he told me he was sick. I took him back to his home, where he asked me to tell his mother he was sick. I think she had been pressing him to go anyway. Then, as I got back in the car and started the engine, I was
unable to get the gear lever into 'drive.' Because I had waited a while while while I was calling the AA, I waited for 15 minutes now. This was either a gearbox problem or a computer problem. After 15 minutes, I was able to get the car in gear. I drove home, had some breakfast, and called Brian at MMJ. He said come on down.
Willem brought me home in a small truck, and asked what I wanted for the car. He also said he was looking for a fridge. I showed him ours, but when I later gave him a price he lost interest very rapidly. Carica had offered to take L-A to 'Touching Hearts,' and Ronell would bring her home. Around 3:30 Brian called to say all was well with the car. They had reprogrammed the gearstick computer. The gearstick is like a game controller.
Bella had been told by the school that not turning up on Friday to avoid having to pay for the Valentine event was not an option. She must somehow raise the money. So I gave it to her.
I had received a text saying her ID was ready, so we agreed to go to Home Affairs after school on Friday. I spent some time in the morning producing the Worcester Report, adding sound from the chemo bell film at the end of the interview. I included the final chapter of 'Legacy' and spoke again on why this book is so important.
I also spoke about Joseph Shabalala and ended the program with the complete album 'Spirit of South Africa.'
About 5:30 I drove to Avian Park to tell the girls I would be picking them up tomorrow. Bella told me she'd spent all the money on taxis. She also told me Britney hadn't actually gone to her school. She had asked Bella for R10 for a taxi home, and had then spent the money on a few cigarettes. This was very disappointing to hear.
At 7 pm the State of the Nation speech by Ramaphosa was scheduled to begin, and we watched as the EFF skilfully filibustered, preventing his starting with endless points of order, till 8:30 when they walked out. This got partially in the way of the Worcester Report. Cyril refered to Joseph Shabalala in the SONA. I watched the whole speech, his third SONA, all of which I have watched.
Wed Feb 12
Bella told me that the school was having a Valentine day event on Friday with various activities including modelling clothes. She would need R100 to pay for this, but since she didn't have R100, she wasn't going to school on Friday.
Marco went to Bella's house to discuss a dance group, and he told me later that four of the girls had turned up of the girls turned up. He wants to see them again nect Wednesday.
Jamelia rang to say she had gone with her mother to her new school, but this time the principal was there and wanted an additional R50 in fees. She was asking me to provide this and wanted me to meet her at Britney's house tonight at 8 pm to give her the money. So I did this.
Tue Feb 11
In Legacy Relay science I explained refraction with the help of a magnifying glass. Jan was there to see what goes on since she is considering joining. Instead of art, L-A told them about Canada with some input from me, and we gave four Canadian flags to children who were able to answer some questions. They all got a maple candy, but several didn't like them. Half way through a bunch of the children were led off to another activty which phased us a bit.
L-A is still wearing her wig for this class but will reveal her rather attractive but 1" long hair at a future class.
I have now been doubling up on iron supplements (Sideral 15) since seeing Dr. Eric last week and am definitely feeling better, seldom breathless, and generally the way I was on Overdrive. We'll be going back on Overdrive and Life Essentials when we return to Canada.
Jamelia and her mother visited her new school and were told (not by the principal) that the initial fee was R250. Joseph Shabalala died in a hospital in Pretoria. He founded and led Ladysmith Black Mambazo. He was 8 months younger than I.
Mon Feb 10
The final chemo! I wondered if social worker Caron might give me an interview. I took recording equipment - audio and video. Shortly after we arrived, I went to Caron's office and asked her - and to my surprize and delight she agreed. We set a time: 11:45. I took photos of Marianna finding the port, and video (with Flip) of general acivity in the room. Then I went for breakfast in the mall and bought lemon flavoured gummies and sandwiches for our return trip.
Back in the lobby I worked on the point for the interview and then edited our latest newsletter. At 11:40 L-A said the chemo was almost complete. At 11:45 I was sitting next to Caron in her office. Everything went smoothly with the interview; I even remembered to take photos. We were done by 12:15. I went into the chemo room. Something was about to happen that L-A had looked forward for 5 months. I set up the Marantz to record the sound, and got ready for video with Flip. As I filmed, L-A stretched her left had up and grabbed the rope hanging down from the brass bell that patients get to ring on completion of their treatment. She waggled it and it donged a couple of times, to applause from the other patients and sisters. They wanted more, so she did it again, which added some humour to the shot, since it isn't an easy bell to make ring.
After the bell ringing she had hugs from several of the nursing sisters while I photographed.
As we got on the road I was reminded of a week ago when the car exhibited the same acceleration problem that had previously plagued it. But today it showed no such symptoms; TKOG? I can't explain how it cured itself. We got home in plenty of time for me to pick up the kids from school at 2.
Jan provided bags of apples and I was down at Chantelle's home by 3:10 where she and Anthonica ran a Mailbox Club with about 6 kids; their most for some time. Anthonica asked if she could come to our house tomorrow for homework and I agreed. When I got to Bella's, Marco was already there. First I visited Jamelia's club and provided the music, and then Bella's boys. Marco invited the leaders to meet here at 3pm on Wednesday when he planned to initiate a dance club. This was greeted with enthusiasm.
Jamelia announced that she is moving to a different school in Zweletemba. I suspect she may be scared of going back to Esselen Park after missing a week, and this is her escape plan.
Sun Feb 9
Load shedding was set to begin at 8. We (wrongly) assumed that the WCC service would be very quiet, no translation, and dark, because when we have been there when the lights went off, they stayed off. So we decided to skip church today. Five minutes later there was a soft knocking at the door. Who on earth could this be? It was Jamelia. Her grandmother had fallen sick in the night and Jamelia had gone with her to the hospital, and had no sleep all night. In the morning she had walked to our house, and must have slipped through the gate when the guard wasn't looking. I told her she could rest but not watch the iPad. I got her a cup of tea, and a little later some pilchards on toast, a popular meal here judging by the number of cans in the grocery stores. About 15 minutes later Chantelle called and asked if we were going to church. Then she said she had two batches of relatives who had asked if I could drive them to OVD from Avian Park.
I thought quickly and said i would come down. I asked Jamelia if she wanted to come, but she was far too tired, so I told her she could sleep in our bedroom since L-A was now up and wondering what on earth was going on.
At Chantelle's house the story had changed. The relatives had decided they wanted to go somewhere else other than home to OVD. I asked Chantelle if she still wanted to go to our church, and she said yes. Then Anthonica turned up and I took them both. The first thing I saw and heard on stopping at the church to let them off was a large capacity generator clearly pumping lots of KWatts into WCC. After parking the car I joined the girls inside a packed church! I called L-A to see if she would like me to fetch her but she declined.
The worship was led by Johan and Erika Truter - how talented they both are. It was tight, clean and a great selection of songs (in all factors unlike last Friday). It just made us all want to praise Him! Johan (Schoonraad) preached, repeating some of his comments from last week about Australia no longer being a church-going nation. After church I took Anthonica back to Avian Park but brought Chantelle to Hooggelegen to pick up L-A and Jamelia, and then to cell group.
Except it was now 5 to 12, so L-A stayed and I went to Homeless Church, adding Mella to my passengers. When we arrived, Chantelle and Jamelia went off to a shop to buy sweets, so when they arrived bank in church with ice lollies we were in full swing. It's hard to say why they feel the need to go to a shop (for anything) before going into a church service or performance. Probably it's because they are so hungry and instinctively need to raise their blood sugar to get through the next part of the day.
I had no ministry role in the service. Nik organized the koortjies with Mella conducting/encouraging the congregation. Pastor Sangit was back from the Philipines, and gave the message, mentioning the death of his wife last year. I helped move chairs back as the homeless moved outside for their sandwiches. The girls weren't tempted to eat any sandwiches; they had tried them the last time and felt they should be left for the homeless. I took the girls home as they asked for juice but I wasn't hearing their pleas; there had been plenty of juice at Homeless church. Then I returned for the last 40 minutes of cell group.
Sat Feb 8
I confided in Soraya as we drove to Brandvlei that I was feeling somewhat tired and somewhat unreliable. I'd been pushing myself hard, and my iron situation wasn't helping. Soraya had good news - she had received the financial help needed for Nathan's school fees arrears, (though it wouldn't have come from my post).
Our benefactor Vivian McPherson at the Youth Centre last week was not on this week, and we were told (again) we wouldn't be able to use a classroom, today or ever. Expecting that only a few would therefore turn up in B Section, it was a great surprize that 27 men came in from all over the Youth Centre, including most of those from last week.
When I played one of the Koortjies, 'We bless your name,' they all sang their hearts out, and then the same with 'O Holy Spirit.' I was already feeling a lot better than an hour ealier.
Soraya and I led a study in the Gifts of the Spirit, and the Fruits of the Spirit. It took me a while to get the TV working for 'How can I be filled with the Holy Spirit,' because there was no remote.
Interestingly the TV sounded clearer and could be heard from the back. I now suspect it was the 27 bodies in the room that absorbed sound like a carpet.
After the video I invoked the presence of the Holy Spirit and invited those men, who were ready, to repeat the sinners' prayer after me. From the volume of sound about 20 of them did so. I really felt humbled that
the Holy Spirit Himself blessed us with His presence in this way.
When I dropped Soraya at YWAM I also saw Phil Aduwemi. He was booked to help L-A with graphic design for the colouring book, but load shedding had just started and wasn't due to end before 1 pm. So he said he would come over then. Back home L-A and I had cold lunches, and Phil arrived about 1:20 and got started with L-A, spending a couple of hours understanding what she needs. We offered to pay him on an hourly rate but he doesn't have one, so he suggested we pay him what feel is right.
I prepared sandwiches etc for the girls and drove down with them about 3:15. Soon Anthonica and Jamelia showed up and Anthonica said she would take Chantelle's food to her. Jamelia asked if I would take her to our house because there were problems in her house particularly with her grandfather who has been ill in bed a year but now is showing signs of mental instability.
So I did that and she rested for 5 minutes and then got into the iPad. She spent several hours with it and the orange phone on our stoep. I shared my supper with her, and she had a shower a little later. Around 8 pm she asked me to take her to her grandmother's house.
Fri Feb 7
With the Mailbox Clubs training session behind us I was feeling more relaxed, but also had nearly a week of this journal to catch up on, and a similar time since my last devotions.
At around 9:15 the final pre-chemo blood test. I posted an appeal on Facebook on behalf of Soraya for the R 3,500 which had been outstanding a few days ago for Nathan's school fees.
I brought Jamelia, Chantelle, Britney, Bella and Joy to a youth praise and worship night called 'Deeper' at WCC. 10 minutes before start time they wanted to go to a shop to buy. I foolishly agreed and it cost me R50, and they missed the start of the show. The audience was a majority of kids from Avian Park, which was wonderful. For some reason I couldn't get fully into the worship although everyone else seemed to like it fine. I now think the reason was the worship band, which were somewhat less talented that our regular praise teams in church, and made up of volunteers for this event. Reflecting on this now I'm not too impressed with myself. It suggests that I am allowing my appreciation of the musicians to affect my desire to worship the Lord. The girls were also not into the worship as they normally would be, though I'm sure they weren't as analytical as I.
Anyway, when I took them home they seemed to have enjoyed themselves.
Thu Feb 6
I had planned a way to drop off some of the kids from school after 2 pm, but taking three of them to the Mailbox Club Training scheduled for 3 pm - 6 at Jan`s house. At exactly the right moment Britney had appeared, so I took her as well. Two days before I decided to video the whole training so that if no-one turned up we could still give value to others interested in following. Then yesterday I had realized that it would be far better to make a high quality audio recording than a poor quality talking head video.
I actually arrived early with Bella, Jamelia, Joy and Britney. Bella and Jamelia were founder club leaders, and Joy and Britney wanted to be leaders. I felt it would be hedlpful to participants to gauge the calibre of our club leadership, and so it proved. After Jan's introduction, Gerhard Strydom gave an excellent and passionate defence of the Mailbox Club vision and success. Then I spoke on the history so far showing how we were evolving. At one point I brought Bella to the mic and interviewed her. After a break when I showed about 10 photos of clubs in action, Marco addressed the validity of Mailbox Club materials in this environment. He also happened to mention the need for discipleship of the leaders, which was a good lead in for Laurie-Ann's talk on our Saturday afternoon ministry with them.
L-A normally prefers to speak from a script but today she spoke really well from the heart. I did the final session, appealing to those present to help get the word out so that our existing clubs would not end up being the only clubs. As we ended I felt very proud of the four girls for their attention over more than 2 1/2 hours, and treated them to big macs and other goodies at MacDonalds. The Worcester Report went out without a hitch, and it included 'Take a Pew' from Beyond the Fringe, illustrating the value of humour and laughter as we grow in God.
Wed Feb 5
Jamelia has missed school for one reason or another each day this week so far. Today I insisted on walking into the school with her. As she appeared to be going towards her classroom, I spoke to one of the office staff about the situation when school closes early (because of the heat for example). They agreed to take my number and call me if this is going to happen.
At 10 am I was at the hospice to interview Alida Theron, the manager, who had first agreed to allow me to visit there more than 2 years ago. The interview went quite well and I discovered the Boland Hospice was a far larger organization than I had thought, with 200 employees, many acting as counsellors in other hospitals.
After taking the kids home at 2, Bella stayed with me to help at Riverview. She told me that Jamelia had come out of school when I had gone and she had missed the whole day. This is a girl who was back-termed for missing too many school days. My gut feel is that she had failed to complete homework, and didn`t want to face her teacher. We were late picking up Mella, but she still wanted me to take her into Avian park to deliver an aid package to one of her girls. This took us right past Joy's house, so when we went on to Riverview she came too.
Joy had been one of Mella's girls. Another of her girls at the time had fallen pregnant, and Mella told Joy she should have told her. For music we had more Koortjies, and then I gave the talk with Bella translating - expertly. It was the Prodical Son story. Some of the children had diffuculty in concentrating, and I didn't feel at my best. Mella scolded them (too much) after I had finished.
Bella and Joy came back to Hooggelegen for a couple of hours afterwards. Partly because of the loadshedding we are suffering every day now, and my need to prepare tomorrow's Mailbox Club training, I decided not to broadcast the Good News in the Morning archive, the first one missed other than when we have been on vacations and the home visit. Since noone else ever listens, it won't be missed. I did complete production of tomorrow's show with Alida Theron.
Tue Feb 4
Legacy Relay was at 8:15 this morning reducing our rush. We'd only seen these kids once before but they greeted us with hugs. Today's science was about the colours in light and how we see things in different colours. Art was an opportunity for them to add additional images to the pieces they were colouring.
The kids were released from school an hour early because of the heat, which hit 42 for a while today. They have no way to tell me they will be out early so they wait in the heat for that hour.
I had an appointment with Dr Eric, partly to tell him what's going on with L-A and get some Stilpane for her, which he reluctantly agreed to, and partly to get more Celebrex for me. The batch I got in Canada has lasted this far. I have done several tests of not having it, or Tramacet for a day, and every test suggested I am best on the original dose, 1 Celebrex and 2 Tramacet daily. He also told me that my breathlessness was probably caused by iron deficiency, and that I could increase the iron I am taking.
In the evening I took L-A to the first in a grief support program, but there weren't enough grievers to sustain it further. Load shedding continued ...
Mon Feb 3
Britney had walked to Jamelia's house hoping to get a lift to school, but I wouldn't take her - not enough room in the car - so Jamelia then decided she would walk with her friend rather than Britney walk alone. It so happened that Joy was not waiting for us at the usual spot - and Bella walked to her house to find out she was going with her mother. So we could have taken Jamelia and Britney.
I totally forgot to call the Enpilisweni Clinic for appointments for Bella and Amelia. We got to Cape Gate Oncology in good time for an appointment with Dr. Hanlie Du Toit, the chief Oncologist. She couldn't offer a reason why L-A was experiencing pain in her breast; there shouldn't be any. However, when she examined her she was unable to detect a tumour, and said she was very pleased with the results of the chemo so far. I asked if that meant L-A may not need surgery in Canada, but she will, and probably radiation as well.
While L-A settled in for her drugs, I went to the mall and had a full breakfast, and then got a breakfast sandwich for L-A and a strawberry milk shake for me, always my fav McDonald's product. It was delicious. While L-A completed her chemo, I worked on my talk for Thursday
's Mailbox Club training. Around noon I received a phone call from Vion at the Hooggelegen gate to say there were two girls asking to come to our house, Jamelia and Britney. I told him to tell them to go home. It was 1pm before the chemo was complete, which meant I would be late at the school. After 15 minutes the traffic was at snail's past and it was clear I would be very late for Bella and friends. We stopped at an Engen filling station for sandwiches and then rejoined the traffic. It turned out to be construction; not an accident. Around 2:30 outside Hooggelegen gate we saw Jamelia and Britney sitting on the curb! We continued on home. L-A got out; I put the guitar in the trunk and was on my way shortly afterwards, and picked up Jamelia and Britney.
They had walked to school but by the time Jamelia arrived there the gates were closed. And Britney was now having her period and wasn't going to her school for that reason. She has no sanitary pads. So they walked to Hooggelegen hoping we would take them in. I reminded them that we are often not home, particularly on a Monday, and they should only come up if they had arranged it in advance. This is of course impossible for them in an emergency situation, and none of them have phones, and if they did they wouldn't have air time.
When we arrived at school the kids were still waiting. Not happy, but waiting. It was hot.
As we reached Pelikaan Street, I remembered Jan had fruit for us that I said I would pick up at 2:30. I told Bella I would be back for the Mailbox Clubs around 3:15. I drove Britney to Quenet's pharmacy and bought her sanitary pads, and she asked for body spray as well. Now she would be able to go to school tomorrow (except she didn't). I returned to Avian Park, dropped Britney at her house, and drove down the street to Chantelle's house, where I was delighted to find a Mailbox Club in full swing being led by Chantelle and Anthonica.
This was the first time in a while they had more than a token attendance. In the middle of the praise and worship I told them all that I had forgiven someone in the room for squirting my shaving cream down the toilet. Chantelle asked if I would take her to our house for some computing and printing - as she had wanted to do a few days ago but was a no-show when I drove down for her.
Bella had no kids (unusual) but next door Jamelia and Britney had teamed up with a class in full swing. More music, then I returned to Chantelle's and took her home. I was feeling more optimistic about the clubs than a week ago.
Chantelle stayed an hour or so and went home with professional coloured note-book covers for school subjects. I began to have a feeling of frustration and desperation for time to relax without continual tasks coming my way including cooking. I'm afraid I took it out on Laurie-Ann, for a while trying to goad her, but she kept her cool. I don't know if this was caused by low iron or just plain tiredness, but not long after supper I went to bed in an effort to shake it off, whatever it was. Although some good things had happened, I was tired of the day.
Sun Feb 2
I had gone to bed early because of load shedding so had a nice long sleep. Around 5 am I decided to take just one Tramacet pill instead of two, and no Celebrex. I was feeling quite good when I got up. Around 8:15 I remembered I hadn't posted Good News in the Morning, so I got busy and had it loading by the time we left for church.
Once a month the church prays for its missionaries in the field. At the end of the service Marius and Yolande gave a talk-back and about 100 stayed to listen, which was gratifying. They showed a short movie some of which had been shot by Mario Milhomem, who had led their mission to Brazil. Mario was in one of the shots filming with his phone and holding it horizontally, resulting in about a third of the film being tall and thin format.
I would hate to think that because uninformed cell-phone video makers do this, it might even become fashionable. Chantelle called me during the service asking if we would take her and Anthonica to the swimming pool. I said 'no' about five times, but in the end we did. It didn't turn out well because I upraided Athonica for squirting my shaving cream. She of course lied that it was Bella and Jo-Marie, and then changed her tune to say
all three of them were involved. We drove them to the pool at which point Anthonica asked when was I taking them home. The agreement with Chantelle was that I wouldn't be taking them home. Anthonica then asked us to take her back home immediately, where her drunken mother an uncle were arguing. I was annoyed with Anthonica, but as I write this I can see better why it happened. I need to make peace with her.
We received a Paypal donation of $US500 from George and Ningning Dai in Shamghai. They had been our first boraders in Highmont 20 years ago, and had rmembered us. I am not sure how they found out about the cancer. This is a TKOG, and means our donations have kept pace with the cancer costs.
Gerhard Strydom had said he would call me when I would be able to collect Best Friends 2. I called him but he didn't answer. We'll work around this tomorrow afternoon. We watched the last episode of Trackers before the lights went out at 8. I had lasted out the day on just one Tramacet. I had felt breathless and strange in church but felt better later.
Sat Feb 1
Picked up S***** at 8:05 and told her we were going to give her R1,000, but any more would seriously impede our capability for funding medications. Then I asked a few basic questions and found she and her husband have no credit cards and no clue how they work. They don't want any kind of debt - which is commendable but based on ignorance of all things financial. There are no family members with any money other than what they need for the next meal. Meantime Nathan is locked out of school. I said we would put out an appeal on line on her behalf. Apparently funds can be sent to YWAM on line and they will pay the school.
I tell this story because S***** is a sister in Christ, recently married, and yet dragged down as an indirect result of her father's being a lifetime drug addict. As part of another conversation with her she told me that coloureds tend not to bother with seat belts, and the belts in the ancient cars some of them drive are often broken.
At the Youth Centre reception, the nice officer who got us into the classroom two weeks ago was back, At first it sounded like we would be in Section C, but she worked hard for us and we ended up in another classroom. Glenda had told ne that the story about the other classroom being trashed was not our fault, but it seems that as a result of the trashing by persons unknown, noone will be using that classroom in future other than the official education staff.
We had 17 men watch 'What does the HOly Spirit do?' followed by a 10 minute discussion group that they didn't want to end. Back at reception we warmly thanked Vivian McPherson (after she told us her name).
I called Marco and invited him to join us this afternoon. At 2:30 I picked him up and Anthonica and Jo-Marie as well. I went back at 3 expecting several girls but only Bella was there. The ministry time was a model for Marco to adapt and follow. The girls sang sweetly, I taught on the consequences of disobeying several of the commandments. I had to take Marco back at 4:15 for his grandmother's 80th birthday party. When I returned Bella asked if she could watch last week's Holy Spirit video for the third time, but I suggested they watch this week's, 'What does the Holy Spirit Do?' The three of them did that. There were some trips to the bathroom, and Athonica seemed to be a little hyper.
When I returned after taking them home, I found my shaving cream squirted on the bathroom wall, and a fair amount of it squirted down the toilet. Hmm.
Load shedding started at 8, and I spent the next hour writing this journal by candlelight.
Fri Jan 31
The short day for schoolkids, but I was disappointed in Jamelia and Manville, neither of whom came with us to school. Load sheddding cut in at 8 am and I set up Pink Dell to use because it has a battery. Took L-A for her blood test about 10, and Pathcare was crowded, so I went home while she was in there.
I spent most of the day finishing my report to Marie Fourie showing where, in a perfect world, missionaries might take over our four main ministries when we leave. I was cooking to the sound of 'Poles Apart' a great Pink Floyd tune on 'The Division Bell,' when the music cut out. I went into the office and saw that Pink Dell had run out of power. I hadn't plugged turned its power on after load shedding, and it had run on battery for 5 hrs 45 minutes! When power goes off we turn the computers off at the wall to avoid damage from power surges. I heard on SAFM that evertime Eskom turns the power back on they risk blowing up transformers with the surge, which adds to their financial woes.
On SAFM I listened to the COO of Eskom give a status report, and for the first time for me it sounded as if they had a plan that could work and a man with a brain. I may have been influenced by the fact that he is educated and articulate, unlike men put in positions of power merely because they are black and possibly related to the person hiring them.
He said South Africa would experience load shedding for 2 more years before ageing infrastructure was repaired. The load shedding started in Worcester at 10 am.
We had a message from S***** asking for help with Nathan's school fees - to pay off the arrears so he would be allowed to return to school rather than sitting at home. I thought and prayed about this and was led to give her about 20% of the debt plus some financial advice.
Thu Jan 30
Took L-A to 'Touching Hearts,' then I went on to Marius's in Worcester West. He took much time and trouble to serve me Brazilian coffee. I told him it was excellent before I tasted it; it was actually not at all excellent!
The interview is a good record of his mission to Brazil with Mario Milhomem and family. This was his first mission. His vision is to encourage missionaries in the field. Too many of them give up after a year.
I went to Computer Mania with my second broken laptop battery. I wasn't really expecting much, because I may have caused the problem by using the battery before putting it on charge for several hours. However they called Cape Town, and agreed to send it back. I had never managed to get it to charge above 6%. This time I got the paperwork to show that they had it.
I went shopping. L-A texted me she was ready for pick up about 12:30. We had cup-a-soup for lunch; haven't done that in a while.
After dropping off the kids I went to the post office with the receipt for my parcel when I mailed my copy of Legacy to Jasper. Much to my surprize they were able to get a tracking number, and then identified its current location as Fourways North post office. When I got home I e-mailed Jasper accordingly.
I visited Munnik's to see if they had got my watch working. They hadn't been able to rescusitate it. I persuaded them to take R50 for their trouble and then gave them the watch for spares. Charl always greets me very nicely. Time for an ice cream, and while I was eating it in McDonalds, a 6-year old girl came up to me for a conversation. She was in our new class on Tuesday at Worcester primary. She was very comfortable chatting, with remarkable social skills for her age. I told her Ouma she would go far.
Eskom announced stage 2 load shedding between 9 pm and 6 am. We would have time for a Worcester Report without the soaking prayer at the end. I edited Marius' interview and added WTGIG with 'But Gods.' When the time came for the program there were serious Internet problems, and since no-one was listening I abandoned the show half way through.
Wed Jan 29
I called The Hospice to see if Alida Theron might allow me to interview her today, and heard back that Wed 5 February would be good. So I called Marius Rabie and he said tomorrow at 9 would be good.
To the Hospice about 11 with some peaches for Moses. He is OK but I'm worried about Niklaas; he's panting all the time. Moses daughter has a job as a school admin clerk in Towes Rivier, so she can live at home and walk to work.
Went from dropping the kids home to pick up Mella for Riverview kids club. I had been practising the kootjies from Homeless Church, and we had four of them as praise time, and they knew all the words and tunes. I played them from my phone into the Blackstar and also plugged my guitar in. The sound was fine. Mella took a photo of me playing with my sun hat on, and it's good.
In the evening we watched the second episode of 'Trackers.'
Tue Jan 28
We'd hoped that our legacy Relay class for the Grade 1s might have been later in the morning, but heard yesterday that it would be the same as last term. Because I would still be taking the kids to school, it would be hard to arrive much before 7:45, but apparently that would be OK. That's what happend this morning. 35 fresh faces, including a couple who hadn't moved to Grade 2, were happy to see us. Our format was the same as before. They sang along with 5 simpe praise songs, most of which they knew. For science we had 'Let there be light,' and I switched on the headlamp, then taught them about reflection. L-A gave them an introduction to prophetic art, and then set them colouring. Jeanne-Marie has a new teacher partner, Jeanine.
Things had gone well, and we celebrated with leisurely breakfast at the Barn. My computer may have a virus causing bouts of pop up ads usually when I'm using Chrome, and partly because of that I am moving some favourites to Microsoft Edge for a trial. My only virus software is Windows Defender; Microsoft Security Essentials doesn't work with Windows 10. Win 7 seems to be continuing on OK on the other three computers.
As decided a week ago, we would be going up to Kevin's house on the mountain today for L-A to draw, and for me to look for the car key in the lake. The weather was perfect, and even better, the man with the underwater metal detector would also be there. By the time we arrived, he already was and his name was Christopher. We made a plan. I would go with Christopher to the lake, L-A would draw, and Kevin would make dinner. Christopher turned out to be a fascinating man with many skills. In addition to his metal detector, he had a powerful magnet on the end of a long piece of string. As he put on his wet suit (over all his clothes), I started tossing the magnet as far as I could and drawing it back with the string. It bring back some nails, but no key, even though we both used it for the next 90 minutes. Soon he was in the water with the metal detector. He tracked over the area that I
had been on that fateful afternoon in December. I decided to swim out to the fish farm. I had my beach shoes. I noticed it seemed closer than it had been. The water level had also fallen. This would make it a little harder to find the key. As I swam back from the fish farm I became very out of breath. I have had this problem for a couple of months now when I exert myself. I was relieved to reach shore, and lay back on my towel to get my breath back. Christopher was still searching. At one point he let go of the string with the magnet on the end, but later found it again. We called it a day about 5. One thing we now knew - it wasn't just lying there in an obvious place waiting to easily found. Back at the house, L-A had completed her drawing - really good, and soon, spagetti bolognaise was in front of us all, and an excellent red wine. Then started a marvellous conversation. Christopher van Heerden is also a believer. He has a degree in physics, has made shoes, is an adventurer, is going through divorce,
and for the last 7 years has been developing a liqueur made from protea nectar. We tried some, neat, and with fruit juice. We all agreed he could be on to a winner. He has taken out a patent. I recommended GIG to give him some business skills and sent him a link the next morning. He also said that he planned to return to the lake with additional equipment and would find the key. I got his coordnates before he left. Then Kevin told us of a new group he would be mentoring in Rawsonville tomorrow afternoon, and three Changemakers were accompanying him with testimonies. We prayed for God's grace to cover this initiative.
Mon Jan 27
The Bella express (school run), after which we even had enough time for a bite to eat before driving to chemo. Bella and Amelia need dental treatment, and I tried called the Enpilisweni Clinic 4 times from 8am. Finally they answered as we were driving the N1, saying they were now full, and I should call at 8am to get an appointment! Once L-A was settled, I went to Cape Gate Mall to buy mainly vegetables. Then I returned to the Oncology unit and worked on my report to Johan and Marie - 'After Copples.' I didn't get much done because a charming retirement-age couple engaged me in conversation, and it turned out they were emigrating to Canada.
We raced back after the chemo, and my phone rang at 2pm. Jan told me Marco had a load of fruit which must be washed before being given to children. I was 10 minutes late at the school. When I reached Avian Park Marco was waiting. We transferred many plums to my car trunk and I drove home to wash enough for the children. Back in Palikaan Street, Bella gave a lesson in leadership of a Mailbox Club with Marco present. Sadly hers was the only club actually to run - but he had seen a good one. In the next 20 minutes, driving to other club locations, we met all the other teachers walking along. They should have been teaching, but at least they met with Marco (most of them knew him)
and I was able to encourage them to come out a week from today - even Marsha and Britney took some lesson copies. I drove Marco back to his current place in Roodeval (near Changemakers) where he grew up.
At home I started washing plums. Jan had said the Avian Park Clinic would distribute them. I found it on Google Maps and went down there. It was closed by now, but a man I met knew where the key lady lived, and he took me there. She was happy to receive the fruit, and it was washed and in better condition that if I had delayed bringing it later than tonight.
We still haven't received our rent from Liam Murta because his pay has been delayed in the Phoenix government pay fiasco. I had calculated that we needed his $1,400 to pay my Mastercard at month end, but when I looked at the Simplii balance, we had just received our Iris pay, which would cover the Mastercard so we wouldn't have to pay interest. I made the e-Transfer to Solutions banking. This actually was a TKOG; without it I could not leave Mastercard monthly payments on automatic direct debit.
Sun Jan 26
Great to have L-A accompany me to church and to receive a good welcome from her fans. We popped back home to collect some eclairs for cell group before joining this first group of the new year. At 5 to 12 some of the group went to run the Homeless Church but I didn't join them this time. They returned an hour later and shortly after I shared 8 things we'd been blessed with in the last 2 months.
I cooked L-A what I thought was a good dinner based on Chicken schnitzel but when I asked if she liked it and whether it was wise to be eating large meals when she took no exercise, she said what she needed was much more fresh vegetables.
We have now watched all 3 seasons of 'The Good Fight,' so L-A suggested Trackers, by Deon Meyer. The first episode is 90 minutes, and I was engrossed. It's a 'made for Shomax' series.
Sat Jan 25
Soraya and I arrived at the prison before 8:30 hoping and praying that we would again be able to use the outside classroom. The duty officer was someone I don't remember seeing before. She told us there had been complaints after last Saturday that we had left the classroom in a poor state - things out of place or missing, and something written on the blackboard. A decision had been made that we would not be able to use the classroom in the future. I said that we were always careful to leave the room in good order, and that I had written on the board "Welcome to Alpha."
As I explained to her, when we do it in the classroom we get more than 20 inmates, but when we do it in B Section our numbers had dropped to 7. She said that all the same people would be invited. Today we had 7 men turn up - at least they were the loyal core members. One man, Abe Dewee, has been there for every class on this course. I asked for a volunteer to open in prayer, and one did - very well.
We had our praise and worship and they all joined in with enthusiasm. I introduced the Holy Spirit weekend, and then we watched the video. "Who is the Holy Spirit?" This is my favourite of all the 15 videos in the Alpha Film Series - it is like a history of the universe showing how vital has been the work of the Holy Spirit since before time began. The production is awesome. With the terrible acoustics of the "B" Section dining room, much of the sound was hard to hear. I had the men really close to the TV to improve the signal/noise ratio. They did follow most of the video and they certainly stayed engaged.
After it ended we regrouped in a circle and discussed what we had learned, as in a regular Alpha small group. Their questions were perceptive. Soraya joined in strongly with the discussion. Around 10 am I asked for another volunteer to close us in prayer, and after a short delay, another did so. Some of this is actually easier with the smaller number of attenders, but I felt that, after the 20 people who had come last week, there were 13 spiritually hungry young men out there in the Youth Centre who might have been able to experience this magnificent introduction to the Holy Spirit, but were denied the opportunity, partly because I dared leave "Welcome to Alpha" on the blackboard, and someone complained. I wonder if that person could have any idea of the implications of his/her attitude for the eternal lives of 13 men.
I drove to OVD about 2:40 to find Chantelle and a friend of her's who she felt could be a Mailbox Club leader. I couldn't find Chantelle but on my way to Avian Park I heard a familiar honk - it was Marco. I invited him to come and witness our Clubs on Monday at 3. Jan and Kevin have been warming him up for his return to My Father's House and taking a mentor position like me for the teens. He said he'd be there. I drove to Pelikaan St to pick up our girls for Saturday ministry in our house, something thy haven't done since before the Christmas holiday. Only Bella, Janelia and Anthonica were there. I had devised something different for them. We started with the Afrikaans praise songs I had accompanied at Homeless Church last Sunday. Nik had given out the website on the cell Whatsapp group - Koortjies - so I had printed off the words, and played the songs right off the site. They knew all of them and sang along. OK, so maybe we can use them in the clubs, and give the leaders more repertoire for after we've gone. Then I told them we would be discovering a lot more about the Holy Spirit. They knew him as inspiration for Laurie-Ann/s prophetic art. I ran the Alpha video we had used in the prison that morning, starting after Charlie Mackesy's testimony. All three watched with rapt attention. At the end, Bella asked to watch it again, and this time took notes. It had clearly impacted her greatly. I feel the girls will build in stories of the Holy Spirit into their lessons.
We had been invited to dinner by Carica and Louis at Jan's house to meet two missionary friends of theirs, Brian and Jessica. Over a braii (of course) we had a great conversation. They were on their way tomorrow to Somaliland to oversee the arrival of bulk food. He was scottish and had started in the hippie lifestyle in the 60s in California. I was intrigued when he said that one day he was at a friend's home, and Bob Dylan was there. It was during Dylan's Christian phase (which may never have ended according to one report) and he was intent on discovering as much as he could about Christianity. This made quite an impression on Brian
nudging him towards the faith which today is his total focus.
I started scanning the drawings for Laurie-Ann's colouring book. Scanning them in their ring binders takes patience.
Fri Jan 24
I set my alarm for 5:45 and was dressed by 6 when I looked again at the clock. I should have been at the early morning prayer group's first session of 2020 15 minutes ago, and I should have set the alarm for 5:15. Anyway, the four present when I got there forgave me and started talking in English. We finished by 6:45 so I was able to get to pick up the kids for school by 7. It was Friday so there were less than a third of the normal numbers walking to school. Nik later told me that the teachers disuade the children from coming on Fridays so they have more time for marking.
Back home after my devotions I spent a while getting the podcasts up from last night's program, and was very happy with it. We went to Pathcare for 10 am for L-A's pre-chemo blood test. So far the blood tests have always shown that her blood is behaving. This is a comfort because in other aspect of her health she has been haing a tough time for a couple of weeks. I am doing all the cooking because it is just too hard for her to walk around the room any more than is essential. She isn't sleeping very well because lying in bed causes pain in various places. She is well enough to do things sitting at the table, such as drawing or web work.
I put the Koos van der Merwe sing Bob Dylan CD in the car stereo and listened whenever I drove for the next few days. I e-mailed the link to the show to Maggie (re dog), James (Legacy and Dylan), Dave Leibold (Dylan).
The teachers at Worcester Primary School whom we worked with had suggested we might be able to have classes this term for both Grade 1 and Grade 2 (last terms's Grade 1), but today we heard the news via Carica that the Grade 2 syllabus was too tight for us to have a part in it. We would just be teaching Grade 1. L-A was sad because she had bonded closely with several of the children, and even promised them she'd be seeing them this term. But it was not to be.
Thu Jan 23
I got up at 5:30 and was at Bella's house by 6 as agreed. I drove her and Cathy to Home Affairs on Adderley Street. This was when Bella said that she couldn't find her birth certificate, but would be able to buy a new one. I was skeptical. There was a framed notice near the entrance adorned with crossings out and corrections, but it was possible to see that they now opened at 8, but not on Saturdays. There were 4 people already in line, waiting at the right hand end of the building. I asked them if they were all waiting for Home Affairs to open at 8; they were. I suggested they start the line beside the entrance, so that newcomers would go to the end and existing queuers would remain where they were.
Then I took one of our camping chairs from the trunk and installed Cathy in it at the end of the line up. It took her generous weight. She immediately struck up a conversation with the others. I gave her the cheese sandwich and a peach and some chocolate that I had brought with me. I gave another 'breakfast' to Bella. I knew neither of them would have had breakfast and probably no dinner last night.
Bella stayed in the car with me while Cathy kept their place in the queue, but only one or two more had come by about 7:15. Bella seemed confident that she could buy a new birth certificate for R70, so I gave her R100. I installed Bella in the line next to Cathy on our other camping chair. I needed to be back at home to get L-A her breakfast and then take her to the first 'Touching Hearts' session. I told Bella I would be back between 8:15 and 8:30. At home I got L-A her daily Annique shake and toast. The course didn't actually start till 8:30, and when we got there she had to climb about 20 steps, but she was determined. When I got back to Home Affairs, Bella and Cathy had completed phase one of the ID application, but we then needed to go to Child Welfare, The police station, a copy shop, and back to Home Affairs.
Around 10:15, outside Home Affairs, I got a strong urge to call Worcester Christian Church to see if Lizette Kloppers might even now give them some food to help them get to the next grant at the end of the month. I called Leonie. She said Lizette was usually out on her farm. but she had just walked into the church! I talked to her, reminding her of the Cupido family and telling her briefly of their recent financial disasters - the theft of their grocery stock, the cleaning out of their bank account at the ATM in Cape Town, and the fact that they were now starving. Lizette said she would have food by 11 am! TKOG. I told Cathy and Bella the good news before driving them home. L-A had texted me that she could be picked up after 10:30 - this first session was a short one. One of the kind men in the house helped her down the steps. She seemed well peased with
Touching Hearts and its local leader Ronell. I drove her home, and around 11:30 went to the church to pick up two large bags of groceries from Lizette. I supplemented them with a large bag of maize meal and drove them down to the hungry folk in Bella's house. Bella never did make it to school. Home Affairs had told me school learners in uniform are given priority, but I think Bella just didn't want to walk in late. I still brought the others home at 2 pm, which included Jamelia. The medicines from the pharmacy seemed to be working. They had all walked to school.
We still had no interview for tonight's Worcester Report. Janey had told us how André had taken the departure of his guide dog Nixon back to the guide dog society with a lot of sadness and had even suggested to L-A that I might go and spend some time with him. Around lunch time a win-win idea came to me. If André would be prepared to be interviewed, he could express his feelings, and maybe even help others in similar situations. This might be cathartic for them both. I called him and almost to my surprize he agreed. Early in the afternoon I went to their house and soon we were sitting in his study and I was asking him to tell how he was feeling. This was his third interview on CWCP, more than anyone else, so I had started off by congratulating him. Janey came in and listened but didn't speak; she was also mourning Nixon. Two days before he had been taken back to the Cape Town guide dog association, the main reason being that they could no longer afford his food since he went on a special diet,
because he wasn't getting sufficient exercise working.
André delivered an interview which as I listened I realised I wouldn't need to edit, it was so articulate. This fact was the key to my being able to produce the program in time for tonight's show. Towards the end I noticed a box of CDs including one called 'Koos van der Merwe sing Bob Dylan.' I asked André if I could borrow it.
After getting the production in hand for the show, including chapter 11 of Legacy, I sampled the first track on the album, Tamboerynman, and after a few seconds of 'Hey Mr. Tambourine Man.' in Afrikaans decided to play the whole album in the soaking prayer section at the end. For some reason I couldn't rip it right then, so when the program went out and got to the end of Legacy, I broadcast the album playing on Pink Dell. For the podcast, which I didn't complete till tomorrow morning, I was able to rip the disk, and I just included the more well known Dylan songs.
Wed Jan 22
Jamelia was still sick, but wanted me to take her to the hospital. So after dropping the others at shool, I took her to emergency, but she wasn't sick enough for them, and not eligible in the main reception without an appointment. We went to the day hospital but she was told she must come back next week to make an appointment. So after all that I took her to Fairbairn Pharmacy, and Carica immendiately saw she was suffering from stomach cramps, and sold us some meds.
Carica also apologised profusely for the mix up at legacy Relay. I took Jamelia home. Half an hour later she messaged L-A saying she was cold and alone and would I come and get her. We decided to ignore the message. We know that that girls all want to be in our house under any pretext.
I collected the others from school at 2, told them that tomorrow morning they must walk to school since I would be with Bella getting her ID. I got them home, then returned to Riverview for Mella's kids club. I had bought 60 peaches for them which Mella said she would reimburse me for. Soon it appeared that girls from Avian Park should have arrived - but hadn't - so Mella asked me to get them from Folla's soup kitchen. I brought 9 of the smaller ones in the car, and the larger ones were already walking.
This all made for quite a large and photogenic group. I led them in worship and then helped Mella feed them. There was no message today. She also gave out school supplies.
I had an idea to post the audio from the funeral as last week's CWCP broadcast podcast, even though we hadn't actually broadcast. So I set to work editing the sound. It would be a shorter program than normal, dedicated to the funeral, and allow other relatives and friends to hear it. Since we had run our own funeral service I had a photo from that I could post, together with Myron Madey's photo showing the flowers, including the ones we had sent. I managed it all, and publicised it on FaceBook. I shared it on Brian McBride's Facebook since he had now accepted my friend request. It stayed on his FaceBook just 24 hours before he deleted it. Go figure! I can't figure him out. However I am very grateful for him taking the video and sending it since it allowed Laurie-Ann to have a degree of closure. She needed to know that her eulogy was indeed there, and now she does know.
Tue Jan 21
I had told the kids that I'd be picking them up a 7 am from now on, mainly because of Legacy Relay. Jamelia was crying from stomach pain as she got in the car. When we arrived at the school she wouldn't get out so I took her with me and when I got home she lay down on the couch.
I told Bella that I had phoned Home Affairs and they no longer opened on Saturday mornings. Instead applicants for IDs now would probably take a day off school to apply. We agreed that I would take her on Thursday morning, also at 6 am.
L-A and I went to Worcester primary School, a little late, but when we arrived we weren't expected - it was athletics day. It was nice to see Jean-Marie and she explained that we should have been told. Being home again was a good thing for Jamelia. We gave her some Eno's and it helped.
At 10:30 I was at MasterPeace Academy, but not to discuss school. Mella told me of her plans for a speaking tour in Canada in July, and after catching her vision I agreed to cooperate by seeing if church people I knew might welcome her as a speaker in Toronto and/or Ottawa. I said I would introduce her. This might even turn into a chance for me to report back briefly and I could certainly build up the great work Mella has done and will do. Mella also had me record one of her poems, called 'Manners.' She has big plans for book publishing and already has one book recorded by Audioshelf on my recommendation.
By 1:30 Jamelia was feeling a little better so I took her with me to the school, picked up the others and took them home. A week ago we had arranged to visit Kevin for two reasons: for L-A to draw the mountains, and to search again for the original Mercedes key. I had done a test in the sink that showed these keys sink, so it must be down there somewhere. But today the weather was overcast and the light no good for drawing, so we postponed it a week. By chance her had met a man with an underwater metal detector, and that should greatly facilitate the search.
I continued working on the funeral video and was able to download 3 photos and the first (short) video once I had updated my Dropbox from 2GB to 2TB. I paid one month's fee for this, about $11, and will cancel the upgrade before the month is up. I was able to rotate the video format and produce an acceptable aspect ratio of about 1 :1. I haven't yet tried to get Powerdirector to run on Windows 10 so I edited the film on the Dell E6500 very slowly, and even added a still shot that Myron had sent to open the film and added some sound to it.
I was able to watch the longer video in Brian's Dropbox but it was painful and boring because of the tall thin format. But what I was able to do was extract the sound from it, with reasonable stereo quality.
Mon Jan 20
There were 7 in the car when I drove them to school this morning, including Britney, and Jamelia wasn't there because she was sick. I gave Bella a peanut butter sandwich but she doesn't like peanut butter so she stayed hungry. When we arrived I sensed Bella was uncomfortable that more kids had latched onto the free ride. She asked if I would pick her up at 6 am on Saturday and take her and her grandmother Cathy to Home Affaird to apply for Bella's first ID.
L-A not in good shape again today, but she had also forgotten to take Nurika for the last 2 days. We left for Cape Gate at 8, and I drove a little faster than usual to get her there for 5 to 9. When she was settled I went to the mall to collect the CBD oil ordered a week before, and to get egg MacMuffins and a chocolate muffin which she enjoyed back in the chemo room. Brian McBride e-mailed to say he had sent the video of the funeral, plus some photos, via Dropbox! This was great to hear.
The chemo room was a bit crowded by then so I went into the lobby with Pink Dell and worked on a report requested by Marie Fourie of the ministries we do that need others to take over when we leave. L-A was done by noon and we drove straight home, eating ham sandwiches I had brought. This was a practice run for next week when chemo would start at 10 but we would need to be home for 2 to pick up Bella etc. from school. Today we had plenty of time.
When I did get to the school Bella asked where her sandwich was. I don't think there is any food in their house at all. She also asked that we just take the original group in future: Joy, Jamelia, Manville and her brother. I agreed.
On my way home I bought a large pack of cheddar from Innovation for the Blind and made her a sandwich which I took down at 3 for the Mailbox clubs. I'd forgotten to get fruit but it was too late now. Bella asked me to pick her up at 6 am on Saturday to take her to Home Affairs to apply for her first ID. Sounded odd to me that a government department would operate on a Saturday. Chanique and Bella brought their clubs together for music - really good. Then I played for Jamelia's group. Chantelle and Anthonica were leading a group of one. They wanted me to bring them home so they could laminate their school books. I declined. Anthonica reported all had gone well at her new school.
Finally I got the chance to check out Brian McBride's message from this morning and that's when problems started. I couldn't log into his Dropbox folder. The files were 4GB and I only had 2GB spare on my Dropbox. So I paid one month's fee to upgrade my Dropbox to 2TB. I wasn't able to download the videos yet to my hard drive but I did catch a glimps of one of them and was very disapointed - he had filmed it with his phone horizontal so the result turned out thin and tall - exactly what I had asked him not to do but he hadn't seen any of my messages.
Tomorrow I'll try again to download the files in the new Dropbox. I feel depressed about this, not least because Brian hasn't answered a single message I have sent him. Just doesn't want to communicate or take any notice of my suggestions.
Sun Jan 19
L-A not well enough to come to church. I think it is a combination of grief for her mother's death and not being at the funeral, and the chemotherapy. I went and the praise and worship was being led by someone who looked familiar, Hanlie Bruyns, Grade 1 teacher in Worcester Primary, but I didn't know she was with our church. After a while during worship I walked nearer the front, but I still wasn't sure with my cataracts.
I drove to Homeless Church for noon. It was raining. During the praise and worship I accompanied on guitar some Afrikaans praise songs that Nik has been using for several weeks on his stereo. I thought it sounded quite good. Then I gave the message, on prayer, loosely based on the Alpha talk about prayer. We brough the food into the church because of the rain. I wondered if the Afrikaans praise songs would be known in the prison or known to our girls.
Jamelia and Britney sent a message to L-A about 7:30 pm asking for food, having not had any since yesterday. After some hesitation I drove to OK Foods and spent R70 on two nourishing meal. I sat them in the car to eat so as to be sure no parent would demand some. We had a good chat. Jamelia told me that it was her grandmother who had assured me she didn't drink, not her mother, so that clears up a mystery. Britney told me that her mother's violent boyfriend Christopher Breeze, who had stabbed her, was back living in the house and bringing no income. Britney was scared, and her had probably theatened Veronica with physical harm if she didn't allow him.
What should I do that wouldn't result in the children being moved again. Surely there should be a restraining order on him?
Insurance payment of $5,403.84 from L-A's pre-cancer claim came in from Allianz, and I paid $7,850 on the TD Visa. Bella sent a messgage begging me to bring her a sandwich in the morning.
Sat Jan 18
Soraya was ready to return to Brandvlei so I picked her up at 8. I had her wedding pics on the stick and a couple of B & W printed copies. So good to have her with me again, though I worried that if the numbers were lower than last week she would lose interest. We prayed against that and for a powerful session. As soon as we arrived at 8:30, the officer at reception told us that we would be in the outside classroom. This was such good news. Glenda must have caused this to happen, since I hadn't yet asked for it.
There were new instruction with the 'Alpha' file, now called the 'Pastor Tony Copple' file, to list the names of all attenders.
We had 20, plus a prison officer, and the men put their names on the official list. I was so happy to see so many, but had no idea why it had jumped from 7 last week, unless the word had got around that Soraya was back! I started by making a big fuss of her, back from getting married, and showed them the two B & W printout pictures. I wasn't able to show the wedding pics on the TV screen, which wasn't a surprize; it depends on the TV, and this was the same cheap one we had used for the last few weeks.
We had a spirited praise and worship session, and I had enough printouts of the songs for most people to read them.
Soraya's marriage at age 42, after 20 years of praying for a believing husband, is an example of how God guides us, and she gave a detailed and excellent account of how low she had once been before being saved. When we started the video, "How does God Guide us?" the sound was fine because in the classroom there is no background noise. They watched with full attention. When that was done I put them in three small groups and said they should tell each other examples of when they felt God had guited them. Lee-Wade asked Soraya if he might give a testimony, so we put him on next. He did it in Afrikaans and everyone wanted to hear it.
We were on a roll by now so we asked for a volunteer to close in prayer, and several hands went up and I chose one. I managed to leave the Pastor Tony Copple file in the classroom, though until I got home I thought I might have brought it home. I hadn't.
I phoned the admin desk in the Youth Centre and told the lady who had arranged for us to use the outside classroom that I had left the file in there.
I collected 5 girls at 2pm and brought them home. After food and music I tried to fire them u with the importance of what they were doing in their Clubs, and told them a little of the changes to expect that Jan had told us about at the board meeting. Then they gave me the best news of all in answer to a question - Bella, Jamelia and Chantelle said they had continues with their clubs over the Christmas holidays, completing the first 7 lessons in Best friends 1. I never had expected this. Bless them
We went to see Doc Maclean, US/Canadian acoustic blues singer in At the Courtyard, a cosy and unusual restaurant and music venue in McGregor, near Robertson. Here are the pics. Even though he hadn't seen Laurie-Ann since she interviewed him for CKCU about 2004, he came traight over to say "Hello" when her arrived. We enjoyed the evening - food, wine and music very much, even though it was pouring with rain outside.
Fri Jan 17
Today began four days of rain in Worcester, something we have not seen before, and they followed several days of hot.
Some of Laurie-Ann's first words this morning were that she felt numb and empty, without the ability for feel anything, the day after her mother's funeral.
This was the first day of taking the kids to school that I knew when they would come out. On Wednesday and Thursday they had been let out early because of the heat - but I didn't know that would happen, so I'd kept them waiting.
Many of the 44 schools in Worcester close early on Fridays - 12:30 - but one result of this is that many decide not to attend. As we drove to school there were many fewer kids walking.
Today it was good they came out early because we had a My Father's House board meeting at 2pm. Things are looking good, from Jan's report. These is just one signature in the municipality holding up the approval for containers to be dropped on her land in Avian Park. There is money in the bank for the first stage, and she will set up a GIG loan for the toilet block.
Marco wants to come back and Jan would like him on the board partly to include local ethnicity. From my and L-A's point of view this would be excellent because he could take over the mentorship of the mailbox clubs.
Thu Jan 16
Sad day for L-A when her mother would be cremated and she - Laurie-Ann - could not be present. I went to the Hospice taking some peaches for Moses who had called to say he was back, and we chatted for a while before I spoke with the others including Nicklaas, who seemed to be having trouble breathing.
Then I went to Van Wyk and LeRoux to get my eyes tested. Rejeanne Dippenaar tested me carefully and then let me compare what she recommended with what my eyes are at present, and I could hardly tell a difference. I certainly wouldn't want to pay for R3000 glasses for such a minor improvement. So then she looked again at the lenses in my eyes and found cataracts in both. Not yet serious, but enough to cause the problems I am having reading a book or labels on foods and medicines. She gave me an introduction to an opthalmologist and eye surgeon, Dr. Marius van Dyk, 32 Russel St, 082 905 5547. So I called him. An initial meeting would cost R750, and each cateract surgery R2,100, a total of around $4,000. I decided to just keep on using magnifying glasses, at least till I return to Canada.
This visit to Van Wyk and LeRoux would turn out to have serious benefit for me as the cateracts developed and I was able to read less and less. The fact that my prescription was OK had saved me the cost of glasses, and cateracts don't inhibit reading on a computer screen nearly so much, because the screen creates its own light, and cateracts inhibit light. And they didn't charge me for the testing, bless them.
I made preparations for paying L-A's TD Visa. This involves seeing how much will be needed to pay my MasterCard at month, which I want to keep doing automatically, so that I can figure out how much we can afford to pay to TD, which was automatic but is not now since our medical expenditure exceeded income. Having done the calcs, showing I could pay about $7,000, I noticed that the payment date had gone back from 17 January to 21 January, so that gave me more breathing space.
Carol's funeral started 8pm our time, and we had asked Brian McBride to put it on Facebook Live to we could 'be there in spirit' with a boost from technology. His wife Cathy let L-A know that he didn't want to do that but would make a video. One good reason for this would be that the plan wasn't dependent on Wifi in the funeral home. So at the time the funeral service would be starting we list a candle and placed beside it a fridge-magnet photo of Carol and Laurie-Ann. I had found the Angical book of alternative Services on line and it was now on the i-Pad. We conducted a service, with me as priest and Laurie-Ann as congregation. Then she read her eulogy, and I gave a eulogy.
It was the best we could do from our end. We looked forward to seeing photos and the video in due course. That was optimistic. Because of the timing we did not broadcast The Worcester Report.
Wed Jan 15
Rang two alarms for 6:30 to ensure I woke to take Bella to school. I actually had some spare time so could make it 6:45 tomorrow, despite the traffic holdups outside Worcester Primary School. Bella and two friends were ready. I gave Bella R150 towards school registration as previously agreed by L-A with her. The first thing they did was ask for food, but I explained this was not possible for three people five days a week, and that the agreement was for transportation only. Nevertheless my heart ached for them going to school without breakfast. We went via Riverview to avoid queues on Durban and were there in good time.
Bella agian asked for money so I agve her R5. I set the co-ordinates on the GPS favourites, though t was just round the corner from OVD. Going home I decided to get the slow puncture fixed in the rear LH tire so went to Tiger. As I watched rugby they took a nail out, and as a bonus checked all my pressures including the spare. I also had two cups of coffee. I was feeling fine, back on meds so this was a nice way to start my day.
L-A was still asleep when I got home. On the computer I removed Avast, leaving Windows Defender to watch over security. Avast was forever sending me scary messages, and it's a bad idea to ahve more than one security system; not sure why PC Partz woild have done that. I clicked on an option on Windows Defender and found myself needing to log into my Microsoft account. This still has my e-mail set to firstname.lastname@example.org, so I started the long tedious process to chanage this. As I write this they are checking what I put in and in; maybe I will have a working Microsoft account for the first time in years. Sadly I soon had a reply saying that I had provided inadequate information and must try again. Support for Microsoft Security Essentials, which we use on our Win 7 machines will end this month so I need to replace it on those machines; not sure what with.
Tue Jan 14
I decided to make this a no-painkiller day. By mid morning I was not in any leg pain but I felt a degree under - which was helped by a couple of cups of coffee.
We received requested from both Jamelia and Bella for power and I sent them R20 with with Powertime. Then we had Chanique asking for food and we responded that we can't help everyone. Later I spoke to her on the phone. My impression now is that she saw us primarily as a source of emergency cash, from what she had observed with Jamelia's and Bella's families, her neighbours. She hasn't witnessed the ministry over 18 months, which has led to oue decision to help these two girls (and Anthonica) more generously, and she has only been one of our girls for a short time. After our brief conversation I had the impression she now accepts these facts.
L-A posted our latest newsletter (which I had spent some time editing in the last two days). As usual she had done a great job, particularly with the graphics. I felt nauseus most of the day, but only marginally increased muscle pain. This is significant. Maybe my need for painkillers is reducing. I think the nausea was from other causes. It helps me keep in mind how L-A must feel most of the time, not to mention her knees. And yet somehow she keeps on keeping on. Her passion for missionary work and travel overrides her physical pain.
Mon Jan 13
Today was hot, and the next few days. Our house is well insulated and even without air conditioning stays relatively cool. We turn on the aircon for part of the day, and at night we sleep under just a sheet.
This was the first of Laurie-Ann's weekly chemos. Oncologist Hannetjie looked at L-A's sty and prescribed Chldramex. I had brought my computer and soon after L-A was settled in I got working on the appeal to Allianz against disallowing several of my claims. I was using the new battery. By the time it had run out two hours later I had made a good start. By now L-A was asleep. I left for the Cape Gate Mall Vape Shop. He remembered me. He had gummies but no CBP oil. It turned out they only had one bottle of blueberry flavour in all 6 Vape Shops in the region. He tried ordering it for delivery here by next Monday but in the end something went wrong with the order to do with verification.
By the time I was back in the Oncology Centre, L-A was ready to go and we returned home. Shortly after I went to Fairbairn Pharmacy for new meds including Chldramex. Then I went to Dis-Chem for other meds including Texa.
We watched The Good Fight. Later in the evening I noticed with some consternation that the new battery in my computer wasn't charging. This was the same symptom as the old battery. So either this new battery is defective or the fault is with the charging circuitry on the laptop. Rui Vasco from Pemba sent me a message saying he needed 5,000 Mets for a new 'bou' roof for his house.
Sun Jan 12
We picked up Janey at 9:30 and were on our way to Hillsong. I wanted to drop in on the men at the vehicle checking station but was overrulled on the basis we might be late - but in fact we arrived at 11, and the parking lot was full with the people still in church from the previous service.
It was good to be back. The preacher was a member of the congregation talking about the step from acknowledging Jesus as saviour to accepting him as Lord. We saw Stephanie for the first time in a while. After the service we shopped at Wellness Warehouse, then a huge Woolworths Food on the way our of Somerset West which Janey had heard about, and then had lunch at the Punjab in Stellenbosch, a very good restaurant.
we came home via Avian Park where Chanique was waiting for R100 towards her enrollment at Boland College. I also gave Bella R100 for leggings for school.
Sat Jan 11
For the second time I opened the car trunk with the key round my neck, this time for the guard on the Brandvlei gate. 15 minutes later I was in the 'B' section dining room. Ben Kotze was as friendly as ever, but we weren't going to the outside classroom. 7 men drifted in. I suggested to one of them that they might like to invite others and his response was that he would prefer not to, so that this small group alone would come. (There is logic here; we normally don't take new people on an Alpha after the first 2 weeks, but in prison we don't enforce this). We had some worship and then the video, 'Why and how should I read the Bible?' Although the ambient noise was generally less, at one point the adjacent 'D' wing were singing a loud rhythmic song that sounded Christian, so I closed all the windows on that side.
This TV has poor sound, and had I been watching the program for the first time I would have found it hard to follow. At the end of the video I had the men sit in a rectangular group facing one another and I conducted a Bible study based on the parable of the prodigal son. This actually went well, allowing me to help them understand the dual meanings in a story they could all relate to.
After Brandvlei, my assignment was to get Anthonica to a clothing store to buy some badly needed items of school uniform. Anthonica asked if I would take her to our home so we could read a letter she had written to us both. I read the letter. It turned out to be considerably more ambitious than she had mentioned before, but as I read it I felt we needed to help her. Getting into high school is already an achievement, but to do it from a dead-beat family is specially commendable. According to Anthonica, her mother had given her R300 to enroll in High School, but the next day demanded most of it back, threatening to beat her, so she could buy wine - she was aleady drunk. Anthonica foolishly gave it to her. The High School demands that all learners have all the school uniform including a tie and pullover! Without the uniform, they cannot attend.
We went shopping. The details would take a full page. By 11:30, I should have been taking L-A to André and Janey's but instead I was in the mall with Anthonica. I called L-A and we made a plan. Before starting it I was able to get L-A a strawberry Annique shake. This cost R445, twice as much as I had so far spent on Anthonica's clothes, and it put things into perspective in my mind. I got a call from Computer Mania to say they had the replacement for my laptop battery which had failed when under warranty. Before collecting it we went to MacDonald's and bought burgers for the three of us and a R6 cone for Anthonica, which stopped her starving while I collected the laptop battery; nothing to pay. This will make a big difference to my efficiency in this time of load shedding.
The three of us ate our burgers at our home. L-A needed to have a burger without cheese, but the only way to order it had been as a 'cheese burger - no cheese.' I drove L-A down to André and Janey's and then continued shopping with/for Anthonica. Eventually she had everything needed including school supplies, and she was asking me again for the money for enrollment in high school. We talked. She convinced me there was noone else she could turn to, so she got R200. I reminded her not to discuss this with her drunken mother, and to make certain no-one in the family could steal the money. She assured me she had a secret place for it. I have no doubt of her mother's capability of stealing her daughter's education for a few bottles of wine.
I went home and collapsed into bed for 90 minutes. Then the phone rang; it was L-A to say they were almost done, but would I be able to take André shopping for a steak for tomorrow. I picked him up and we started by going to Spar, but at 5:30 on a Saturday it was closed. So we went to Checkers in the mall, and I trundled around with André in tow till he had what he wanted. That was hard work; I don't envy Janey. A couple of times I just told him to wait, while I found what he wanted. Soon he was home, and then we were home. I forgot to upload Good News in the Morning for tomorrow's podcast.
Fri Jan 10
As we were preparing to go to Pathcare, L-A read the message, 'She's gone,' from Tara. I didn't know how this expected news would affect L-A. At this stage she seemed to take it just as one more piece of bad news, but I think it will hit her later. The most comforting thing for her was that on Wednesday
Tara and John had gone to see her, feeling they shouldn't wait till the weekend. Tara had read a special message of comfort from Laurie-Ann, and Carol had understood it and responded in thanks.
It was 8am before we reached Pathcare, so I took the opportunity to get petrol and have the tires checked. They were all low, but one was only half the needed pressure, so it may have a leak.
I bought potato bread at Daly's because the ciabatta wasn't in yet, and when we got home I found it was equally nice. After carrying in the bread, I couldn't find my new car trunk key. Evenually I discovered it had dropped into the bread bag! That was when Laurie-Ann came up with a brilliant idea - wear it round my neck with my giving key - two immediate benefits.
After a coffee I drove L-A to the deVenter's where she would spend the rest of the day working with them translating scriptures relating to each of the drawings for the colouring book into Afrikaans. She would read it, André would translate, Janey would write the translation, then move on to the next.
Meantime at home I posted the news of Carol's death on my Facebook usng the same pictures that L-A had on hers, but I added a link to the home movie from 2009 filmed by L-A when she went with Carol to Mew Yourk City to visit MOMA and see The Lion King.
At 2pm I picked up Jamelea, Amelia and baby Isaiah and drove them to the hospital. To get in the gate guards ask to see inside the car trunk. This wss the first time I attempted to open the trunk while keeping the key on its chain around my neck. It was quite easy to do. Jamelia went in with them and I parked the car. Half an hour later they came out with a supply of bags for the baby that would act like a rectum. He has been on this system since his birth 5 months ago. Going home, they didn't ask, but I bought them good protein-rich ready to eat meals at OK foods.
I vacuumed the office and the bedroom with the Electrolux, an excellent vacuum cleaner in good order. It was quite hard work. As I did it I listened to Tape A0 S2 Ch 2, early rock'n'roll pioneering hits at faily high volume. The Leak Mini-Sandwich has really been a blessing and I have learned to listen in mono with almost as much pleasure as stereo would have been, though this particular tape is mono of course. I texted L-A suggesting that when she was done I take her and them to Star Park Chinese restaurant.
I cleaned out the bag of a year's dust and returned the machine to Yanni. A year ago I had rented an industrial vacuum cleaner for R200 for the same purpose. At about 5:30 L-A called to say they had made good progress and were ready for dinner. She will need to go back tomorrow to complete the job. The four of us enjoyed our Chinese meal and the company very much (André and had the pork sizzler), and I much enjoyed two Windhoek lagers.
After taking them home we came home and L-A spent quite a while reading more than 150 responses on Facebook to our posts about Carol promotion to Heaven. She also heared from her cousin Cathy that she, Tara, and Nancy, Carol's younger sister, had been present with Carol when she actually passed away. This news was also a great comfort to Laurie-Ann.
Thu Jan 9
Had our last lie in for a while. Up by 9 to find we were in load shedding, so we had a cold breakfast. Worked on tonight's program. At 2 I drove down to Avian Park, and was waylaid in Worcester by Anthonica. So she got her Christmas present at last. Wants me to take her clothes shopping on Saturday. I picked up Jamelia and Bella, and Amelia and baby Isaiah, and Bella's young sister.
Took J, B and B's sister to the Riebeck Street swimming pool, which was almost deserted. Then I took Amelia and the baby to Worcester Hospital so she could arrange her next visit to Groote Schuur hospital. There was a notice on the wall directing patients to various departments. One of them was for wounds. I got out my phone to take a picture but an orderly warned me off. Amelia wasn't able to arrange things, so I must take her again tomorrow. On our way home the girls were desperate for 5 minutes wifi so they all came to the house for about 15 minutes before I took them home.
When I got home, load shedding was back, so I would have between 6pm and 8 to complete the production for the show. I returned the spanner and wrench which I had used to open the car trunk without a key to Yanni across the road, and borrowed his Electrolux. Everything was ready in time for the broadcast and the excellent interview with Mella Davis went out perfectly, talking about her vision for a reimagined MasterPeace Academy. After that interview I played excerpts from our first ever program when I also interviewed Mella, plus Khanyo and Mpho.
This bout or load shedding cost Eskom president Mabuza his job, since he had assured Ramaphosa there would be no load shedding over the Christmas break.
Tomorrow morning we heard the news that Carol had died about 5 pm Ontario time, that's midnight here. Tara send a message, 'She's gone.'
Wed Jan 8
The big task today is to replace the trunk key in the car, without which there is a serious possibility of being locked out of the car, since the electronic key is unreliable. Also it would be nice to be able to open the trunk without a wrench. However there were some things to do before leaving the house, including my devotions, and promoting tomorrow's Worcester report with Mella.
These done, I went down about 10 am, but his wife said I should return at 3. So instead I went into Avian Park to give Christmas gifts to Anthonica and Marsha. Neither was around, but both Bella and Jamelia were home, so I gave Bella the photos from our Christmas dinner. The girls asked if I would take them swimming tomorrow.
At 3 I was back at Lock and Key. Eugene was somewhere at the back, but his son went to the car, unscrewed the driver's seat door lock, and took out a mechanism that held the reference number of the key that was lost. He then went and worked on manufacturing a duplicate key. While he was doing that Eugene came out to work on a safe and we had a humourous exchange about losing keys. He also told me he had been in a car crash when someone ran into the back of his car and totalled it. Thank God he is all right. Soon his son came out with a new key, tested it - it worked first time without further adjustment - and returned the door lock mechanism. The bill was R500, and I gave Mrs Meier an extra R100 for her husband and son to show my gratitude.
Back home I spent a couple of hours laying out a chart of which medical insurance claims had been paid, and which hadn't. Then I called Allianz to hear bad news; they have a clause that says, "Benefits are not payable for costs incurred due to any treatment, investigation or hospitalization which is a continuation of, or subsequent to emergency treatment of a sickness or injury." So where I had send in claim x part 1, Part 2 and Part 3, Parts 2 and 3 were excluded. Since claims must be made within 3 months of notifying them of an emergency, this means that all emergencies must be cured within 3 months. I find this very unfair, and in our case particularly so since we had been advised by their customer service staff to make the multi-part claims. At least today's consultant Ngole had told me the truth. I asked him for the e-mail of the appeals department: email@example.com.
Load shedding was expected any time after 9, but we went ahead with the GNiTM archive anyway, and the load shedding didn't happen.
Tue Jan 7
The Traffic Department was my first call. After waiting in line 45 minutes, my new licence was issued in about 2 minutes. I'm not sure why thy don't have a line just for people renewing licenses. Then to Fairbairn Pharmacy to pay for iron pills Carica had delivered personally to Hooggelegen. Next, Lock and Key, but Eugene wasn't in today. I explained our lost key again problem to his wife and must return tomorrow. Then to the post office to send back the towel I had taken by mistake from the Quiver Inn in Keepmanshoop, thinking it was one of ours. Postage was R79. They said I shouldn't bother to return it but I didn't feel that was the right thing not to do. Then I walked round the corner to the police station and a very friendly policeman wrote me an affidavit that should allow me to buy a TV licence for just 6 months. Then I bought fish and chips which we'll eat tonight.
Then I went to the mall to pick up the photos for Bella's family.
I watched South Africa valiantly trying not to be bowled out on this last day of ther test match.
I slept for a while after lunch, and at 4 felt an urge to go to the hospice, where I last went before Namibia. I fed a lady her dinner, and said goodbye to Niklaas, who is going home on Friday, as we watched the moment on TV when England won the test. Niklaas doesn't want to go home where his family smokes and apparently has no interest in butting out to help Niklaas, with chronic asthsma. I prayed for the family and him. I went to Van Wyk & Leroux to book an eye test and then to Dis-chem to see if any of their off-the-shelf glasses would help me to read. The +2 and +2.5 were closest but not as good as my present lenses.
Mon Jan 6
At last, 6 January has arrived and maybe we can solve some car problems. At 7:30 I called AA. Yes they would send a flatbed truck. Before 8, Martin of MJ's Roadside Assistance & Towing was here. He said he brought lots of Mercedes to MMJ Service Centre.
Soon I was talking to Brian. I told him the good news that the acceleration and smoke problem was gone, but I seemed to have blown a gasket, or the inlet manifold. He said that was expensive. I said I'll pay. Willem brought me home; always a pleasure.
Back home I turned on the test match. The Proteas have to make 480 runs in their second innings to win. They were batting well and I tuned in several times during the day. This is the life!
At about 2:30, Willem rolled up in the car, all fixed! I went back with him to pay the bill. It was only R747.50. Apparently a glow plug had blown out of its socket. That was the pop I heard. He re-threaded the hole and put it back. Thank you God! And thank you Brian. TKOG.
Shortly after I got home and told L-A the good news, Mella arrived for her interview. We got straight into it. The plans she has for MasterPeace are extensive. Instead of regular schooling for kids, she will offer short courses for both home school teachers and children, no less than 5 at a time.
She will be reading to the children across the street at Bollieland Creche. She is determined to get children reading several years earlier. This is key to their being able to learn anything. She will bring together home schooling groups with specialist teachers so that parents will not have to teach every subject.
Sounds like an excellent future for the school and Mella has fire in belly. In the evening we again watched Chernobyl.
Sun Jan 5
The GNiTM uploads had all worked, so I set about programming the Podcasts 2020 page without copying/pasting. By the time we went to church all was updated for the new year.
Willhelm and wife Jolene arrived at 8:30. L-A managed quite easily to get into the rear seat, a new experience. Johan's sermon pointed out that as we become more effective at the Lord's work, the devil, who hates to see this, increases his efforts to frustrate us by all end every method.
Maybe we can understand our present situation in the light of this: no transport until after 6 January when MMJ Motors opens their gates again, and not even access to a rental car. However, that saved us $100 a day since Christmas Eve, and we have managed, with a little help from our friends.
Mella called in the afternoon to say she was planning a visit to Canada in July, and that MasterPeace would be giving sessions to groups of 5 or more home-schoolers on better ways of working than expecting a parent to have enough skills to teach everything. The parents of Sinegugu, Paula and Seth are aware that school is not continuing this January in its previous form.
After we rang off I called her back and asked if I could interview her so she could tell the world about the new MasterPeace.
Sat Jan 4
Slept in till 10, and it was all good relaxation. Usually after 8 I am restless to get up, but without prison Alpha this morning it made sense to recharge my batteries. We had the wors for breakfast that Maggie had brought. I turned on the TV at 11:03 to watch the news but it is so short on Saturdays and I had missed the headlines, so I did something unusual for me: clicked round the other Openview channels. I noticed that Da Vinci Kids is no longer there - sad. Then on SABC 1, South Africa were playing England in the second test and I enjoyed it for an hour. Unfortunately the screen dissolved for time to time. This is usually after rain seeps into parts of the dish antenna, but we haven't had rain in a while. After Hamza was caught for 5 runs I felt bad for him and turned it off to come and mend my pyjamas with an iron-on patch, and then to write this.
I watched more of the test in the afternoon, as the Proteas made quite a good show. I called Willhelm Theaart at the bottom of Deon Britz Street and asked if he would take us to church tomorrow. After watching 'The Good Fight' we watched the second episode of Chernobyl. Scary.
Around 11 pm, Lynn called with some very good news. She has received cheques totalling about $5,000 from Allianz in payouts for L-A's claim going up to the start of chemo. I asked her to send me photos of the covering letter so we can see exactly what has been settled.
When I was working on GNiTM I realized that I also needed to do some new year adjustments to the podcast page. I couldn't remember how to duplicate a page on Weebly. In the end I set things up for tomorrow's program and then set the uploads going while I went to bed.
Fri Jan 3
I woke up intending to start the day with my devotions, after Johan's challenge on New Year's Day, but also planning to contact Audioshelf and find out the status on the 'Legacy' audiobook. Then an idea came that I first should check Amazon. I did and found to my delight that the 'Legacy' audible had already been posted to Amazon, and therefore also to other on-line retailers. This is great news! I had worried that there were more hurdles, but there weren't! I am a published audiobook narrator!
So - on to my daily devotions, which I enjoy. Compared with yesterday I am feeling good, having taken meds this morning. I'm less breathless, though it's hard to see how that would be affected by pain meds and anti-inflamatories. Jan came to visit L-A to arrange the switch to herself of the annual costs of the My Father's House website.
I knew that the first payment towards the new windows in our Ottawa condo was due soon, but now my main computer is back on line and everything seems to be working, I was able to find the details. The due date is 15 January and the amount is ~$15,000. I already had felt we should withdraw $20,000 from our All-in-One, mainly for the windows but the residue to pay off L-A's medical debt. So I e-mailed Janet at Investors Group and authorized the redemption. Then I e-mailed the condo office and asked how I should send the money, and they said thay could draw it from our same bank account that our condo fees are taken from.
Since this is the same account where Investors Group will deposit the funds, eveything will work just fine. I thought it would be nice for Bella's family to have prints of the photos from their dinner here, so I called Kodak Superfoto and e-mailed them.
Thu Jan 2
I decided not to take my pain meds today, so struggled a bit all day, not so much with pain in the leg, but because I felt an overall 2 degrees under par. I get breathless when I exert myself these days, and decided that it's time I go and see Dr. Eric when the car is driveable.
Maggie drove over from Worcester to see us, and brought some groceries L-A had said we needed. I asked Maggie how much the groceries were, but she wouldn't let me pay, however much I insisted. I said that we couldn't ask her again to buy things for us, to help her understand we really did want to reimburse her. I let it go. She has a very kind heart.
I spent some hours preparing today's Worcester Report. I decided that when it was ready I would have another look for the interview I had done with them before they started out on their language training in Portugal. I spot checked every OMH recording between 2006 and 2012. Then almost as an afterthought I checked other programs I had hosted on CKCU. One of those was the Christmas Day edition of Special Blend, and there in the comments field I saw 'Hendersons.' That was it! The time was now 6 pm and we would be eating soon. I adjusted two of the continuity talks and added the 30 minute interview from 12 years ago at the end.
The re-mixdown finished at 7:45 - we were ready. It's a good program.
Wed Jan 1, New Year's Day
I was woken by my phone ringing. I looked at the time: 1 pm. Who rings me at 1 pm in South Africa? I thought about Carol, Laurie-Ann's mother, dangerously ill in a Toronto hospital. But the caller was local, from Avian Park. Anthonica wanted to wish us a happy new year. My heart melted in relief. I had been so soundly asleep I had totally forgotten it was New Year. Looking back, she was our only new year caller.
Carica and daughter picked us up at 8:50 for church. Johan and others came over to translation row to greet Laurie-Ann. He preached on one New Year's resolution: 15 - 30 minutes with the Word as the first thing done each day, making a plan for how much you read from which parts of the Bible and sticking to it. I already have the plan, but have failed in recent months to do it daily, but I resoved this will change.
On the way home we stopped at OK for more basics. I got the scanner working and scanned our collection of kid's colouring and other art. I continued with the Windows 10 transition, and by about 5:30 it was essentially done, and I produced tonight's program using Windows 10. To my great relief, apps like Adobe Audition, WavePad editor, and the scanner software ran fine under Windows 10.
There were one or two challenges, such as the machine trying to boot from the USB, but I fixed that by bringing up the boot diagnostics using F12. I broadcast and listened to the GNiTM archive, and ended the day watching YouTubes of live concerts by the Grateful Dead (1989), The Killers, and The National. I think my favourite was the Dead, who just played their music, and I prefer the music on CD of both the National and The Killers. In The Killers live show from Glastonbury 2019 there was so much overproduction of lights and live show gyrations that songs I love to listen to didn't come across so well.
I think my era of seeing bands live has run its course.
Copples in Western Cape