Tony’s South Africa Daily Journal - 2021

See my daily journal for 2018, for 2019, for 2020, and for 2022

On 10 November 2017, Laurie-Ann and Tony Copple set off from Canada for a planned-to-be three year mission to the townships of South Africa. This daily journal begins at a guest house in Cape Town prior to their arrival in Worcester, Western Cape.
Latest postings are at the top.
Jan 2021 | Feb 2021 | Mar 2021 | Apr 2021 | May2021 | Jun 2021 | Jul 2021 | Aug 2021 | Sep 2021 | Oct 2019 | Nov 2019 | Dec 2021

Fri Dec 31 New Year's Eve

I had almost as tough a prostate night as yesterday, and am developing tactics to facilitate my 'stream.' The problem is clearly caused by lying horizontal, so if I stand and walk to the other end of the house and back I have more success. Even more important is knowing how frequently to take Uromax. One a day is too much. I sent Bella her weekly allowance, now reduced to R500. She had messaged L-A yesterday, so I am worried that sending her the full amount R1,000 for Christmas week may have just served to make the family think it could live it up a bit. They mustn't, not even at Christmas. Jamelia sent a sweet thank you message to L-A, not asking for money, but just appreciating what we have done for her family over the past year. There were no calls from Anthonica since I caught her out with the stories about her mother still being in hospital. It was a very windy day - all day - stronger that Hoogellegen or Da Vinci. Quarantine is having an effect. There have been a few times when I have said to myself. "What shall I do now?" rather than knowing exactly what was the next item on my priority list. This is a new experience for me. I even spent 15 minutes editing the audio files of music albums we had digitized four years ago. I though all the editing would have been done in the first few months as a method of relaxation, but there was never time. At noon I drove Kevin's car on a trip primarily to a liquor store to get some Four Cousin's sparkling wine for tonight. Kevin had reminded us yesterday that the fuel gauge sticks at about half-full. That's where it was now as I drove. I went to Expressmark and put in R935 of petrol, suggesting the tank had only 10% left. I was very happy to give Kevin a fill-up. Then I bought the wine plus beer and cider at Tops, and on to Checkers for veggie cheese, and some potato salad to go with ham I had bought two days ago for lunch. We had beer and cider with lunch, it being New Year's Eve. In case we might stay up tonight, we had a couple of hours in bed in the late afternoon.
2021 has been a very hard year for the world, and some of that spilled into our world, but we have been blessed by good things. Watching France24 every night makes sure we know what are the world's most serious issues, and we sometimes pray for people dragged down by them. Everyone thought Covid would be gone by now, but it's worse. Even when medical experts and world leaders set up plans and solutions, non experts and agitators fight those plans on the grounds of infringement of human rights, largely irrelevant in today's situation. If a man gets a heart attack and is told to rest, he doesn't invoke human rights to allow him not to rest. It is no different with Covid. Populism and populist leaders have taken over the stage, voted in by electorates that choose charisma over co-operative policies, believing they know more than the experts and government. The situation for international refugees fleeing incompetant and corrupt governments has become intolerable, as has the persecution of Christians, eg in Nigeria, and Muslims, eg in China. The printing of money to offset the results of the pandemic on economies will only show over future years as saving erode and inflation marches on. I could go on and on, but the Bible tells us that such things are inevitable, and may possibly point to the second coming. Therefore they should not be our over-riding concerns as individual Christians following the plan that the Lord has designed for us. His plan is primarily to prepare us for the eternal future, not to deal with today's issues. So our year has been dotted with joy as we distribute food and money for the desperately poor, as we watch the children being told about Jesus at the best possible age, and as we are healed of some very severe medical issues. I can't understand how I am still standing and filling my days and providing for Laurie-Ann's needs. She had HS and it's gone. She had an aggressive cancer and it's gone. TKOG. We also took two mini-holidays, Yzerfontain and Franshhoek (though there are those who resented our partaking in such relaxation while they were suffering in the snow).

After dinner we watched an excellent movie, The Dig, which brought us to 11:30, so we stayed up till 2022 watching the fireworks from Sydney, South Africa, Dubai and other countries.

Thu Dec 30

I felt good when I woke up at 7:30, though I'd had a tough prostate night, getting up about 8 times. I decided to try one last time to get ciabata. The Daly Bread van was there and had been loaded with some of this morning's batch. Inside the bakery a woman was finishing off the bake. She was one of the helpers at Daly Bread. I told her I was living in Kevin's house and asked for a loaf. She invited me to take my pick, I offered to pay but she didn't think it necessary. I walked back, noticing that the irrigation system had worked. I cut a couple of slices of ciabata and took them with coffee to L-A. When I checked my email I saw with wonder that the last two messages were both gifts of $1,000. This is the first time two massive donations had arrived in quick succession. One was from Steve, which he had promised months ago to fund our air tickets but we thought he would have forgotten about it in his present state. The other was from KB, a truly major supporter. Such suppport from family and friends is part of the reason for our hope that we will come through this rocky period semi-scathed if not unscathed. I keyed in actions we had come up with last night for after we arrive in Canada. We still haven't received the redemption from Investors Group to pay the condo special assessment, and Sharon Wilson from IG wanted to talk with me personally. I gave her the times I would be available, but by 3:15 she hadn't called so I emailed her. She had been unable to place an international call on their system. So I called her on Skype. I was relieved not to hear there was some issue with making a redemption other than the delay. All she wanted was to apologise personally on behalf of the company, and she did. She offered to buy us a restaurant meal when we were back but I turned her down because I am sure the problem was not caused by her. I didn't mention that a year ago, exactly the same thing had happened, a head office screw-up. Andrea Henderson visited in the afternoon, wanting to know about our lives and how we met. She brought eggs, crackers and Malva pudding, but refused tea or coffee. She did eat some strawberries I had picked shortly before she arrived. She has been a teacher more than 50 years, and recently has been drawing an extra income stream from house sitting. Maybe we should consider it. After dinner we watched 'Holiday,' and when it was finished I noticed I wasn't so weary as normal at this time of night.

Wed Dec 29

I checked the water during the night and found it was not improving. I had hoped that with the hose off, mains water would refill the tank. A thought came to me that if the bakery received its water from this house they would not have been able to bake this morning. I got up at 7:45 but couldn't brush my teeth or shave: all the upstairs taps were dry. There was a little water in the downstairs taps. I went outside and saw that the irrigation system had not run. The tomato plants that had received several hours of water were somewhat beaten down. I decided to walk to the bakery to see if Trevor had any knowledge to offer. Then the Daly Bread van came on its way from the bakery to the gate. At the gate I saw a man get out and start walking back to the bakery. As he got closer to me I saw it was Arnold. Soon we were close enough to talk. I told him I had met him two years ago, and asked if this morning's bake had gone well. He said yes. I asked if the bakery had its own water supply. He said yes, it came from 'that side,' meaning the far side of the hill. Then he said that there was a pump at the bakery that pumped water to the house, but that last night he had noticed the pump was running continually for two hours, so he switched it off. Eurika! Light at the end of the tunnel. I told him I had forgotten to turn off the water to the tomatoes and he laughted. He said he would turn the pump back on as soon as he got to the bakery. I thanked him profusely for solving our problem. If Arnold and I had not met by chance at that time and place, the problem could have lingered on with serious inconveniebce, and creating worry for Kevin. TKOG. Ten minutes later our water was back to normal, including the hot water. It was a great relief as I wouldn't need to tell Kevin of my foolishness, or call Waterboys. We had breakfast. I updated the journal and my devotions. I called the Worcester hospital and asked them how Tersia Kees was getting on. After searching their records, they told me she had come in on 19 December, and was discharged on 20th. Hmm. L-A had a rest late morning and I went out in the car again, this time with a shopping list. The car had difficulty in starting; the battery was low. It started on the second attempt, thank goodness. I bought almost everything on the list in Spar, plus a few things not on the list. I took a long way home to give the battery a boost, and I must check it at least twice a week. I had brought back pies, so we ate them for lunch intead of tomato open sandwiches. We had a message from Andrea saying she would like to visit tomorrow at 4. In the afternoon L-A worked on matters rated to ArriveCan, and we booked a Covid test (except for a date) for our arrival in Toronto. I usually don't answer James' public atheistic comments on Christian items I post on FaceBook, but in the case of his piece on materialism, I decided to do so. This is what I wrote:
'You suggest that the only options are either full blown materialism, or a constructed matrix where nothing you observe is real. These are not the only possibilities. The Bible suggested there is a spiritual world beyond the material world. One of Jesus’ most prominent teachings (as stated in the Lord’s prayer) is that the Kingdom of Heaven stands both in heaven (part of the spiritual world) and on earth (material world). You are right in saying the spiritual world cannot be measured scientifically, but it can be inferred by phenomena some of which are ‘bad,’ and some ‘good.’ A few examples are listed below. Your comments above would suggest you don’t believe in the existence of any of these. I believe in all of them.
Bad: The powers of witchdoctors, sangomas, fortune tellers, Extra sensory perception, telekinesis, telepathy, mindreading, Communication with the dead, spiritism, ouija boards, Astrology, Tarot, Hinduism, Islam, Hedonism, living for self, the determined pursuit of possessions as a major goal, Hell, demons, evil The power of Satan (source of evil) in all our lives.
Good: Heaven, the eternal resting place for souls that have been forgiven, God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit), angels, The inspiration for prophecy, Love, serving others Communication between God and man (including words of knowledge) The power of prayer. Miracles including healing.'

Anthonica called me. I asked her if her mother was still in hospital. She said yes. I told her I had called the hospital which had confirmed that she had come in on 19 December, and was discharged on 20th. I told Anthonica that lies were not always a good way to get money out of me, though they might work for a time. Then I asked her to communicate by SMS in future. I felt for her; the motivation to lie comes from her mother's needs. If she lied in this, how much more of what she has told me have been lies, including Chantelle's accusations. The situation is a microcosm of Christianity in South Africa: many know at lease some of the Gospel, but few realise they are expected to practise it. The last thing we did before our nightly time in the Word was to list all the actions we must undertake after arriving in Canada.

Tue Dec 28

At about 8 am we saw the van from Daly Bread leaving the bakery. This suggested that there was bread today, but why so early? At 8:55 I arrived at the bakery to find no-one, but the oven was hot. I took the opportunity to take photos. At 9:20 I decided it was pointless waiting longer and went back. Mid morning L-A asked for her earbuds. I had no memory of packing them on that last day in Da Vinci. I searched every suitcase. Then she said she had used them here in Kevin's house. That added impetus to the search, but no earbuds were in evidence. We both use them a lot and they are high quality. Eventually I gave up looking and sat by my computer. I glanced down. There they were, large as life on the table beside me. I record this story because it illustrates aspects of my aging memory cells. I can have no recall of some things done very recently. I had one more job to do on the GNCM website: ensuring it would renew. The accounting area said it was due in February. We are at the lowest membership level, anout $60 a year. I paid for another year. Then I tried to find how the domain was being paid. I came across some correspondence that suggested Richard had been doing it, so I emailed him. I updated the sponsorship spreadsheet with expenditure on the girls after month 8, when we had planned to have stopped supporting them. L-A started cooking our evening meal about 5:30. At around 6 I went outside and turned on the tap to water the tomatoes. We worked together on the meal: green chili beef pasta. She was making up the recipe as we worked. When it went into the oven she started on bread and butter pudding, using wild raisins Carica had given us. That went into the oven when we took out the beef pasta and started to eat. Both courses were wonderful. Had we been staying in a 4-star hotel we could hardly have enjoyed food of the quality of what we have eaten over the Christmas period. When I was doing the washing up I noticed the water pressure had fallen. We watched a movie called Enola Holmes, the sister of Sherlock, who outsmarts him and their unsavoury brother. We turned in at about 11, but when I went to wash, there was no water in the taps. Then my creaky memory cut in and I remembered turning on the hose for the tomatoes, but I had never turned it off. That was 5 hours ago. I went outside and there was no water flowing now; I turned off the tap. It appeared I had used up all the water coming into the house. There was nothing to be done about it at 11 pm; action must wait till morning, but I was a worried man as I fell asleep trying to figure out how the house water supply worked.

Mon Dec 27

I went down to the bakery about 10 to 9 but the oven was almost cold. I decided that plans had changed and there would be no bread for me today, and none for the people of Worcester. It turned out to be a holiday. Chantelle was trying to reach me but her absent mother's phone was clearly out of air time, so I sent her some and then called. She had gone to Cape Town around 17 December, and the car had been in a crash, and she had spent a week in Tygerberg. She still had bad scars on her face. What she wanted now was cash for herself and Lottie for food. She gave me the bank account number of an aunt, but the FNB app wouldn't accept it, so she have me the number for her cousin Danwill Williams, and I was able to send R20 as a test. She said he had received a notification of the R20 (I think she was lying), so I sent her R280, half for her and half for Lottie. She assured me this wouldn't be an on-going commitment. The question is, is Danwill honest? An important task today was the end-of-year programming of the GNCM Weebly site. Every year I forget how to do it, and figure it out again. After prayer I started, and finished the process. Now we have a place for the 2022 podcasts, and the link on the home page points to it. I also updated recent program posts on Twitter. I watched 'The most reluctant convert' again, this time with periodic detours to Wikipedia to read up key concepts in the film, such as materialism. It was implications of this that promted Lewis and Tolkien to reject it. It was too far fetched for them to believe that brains evolved from random movement of atoms could produce rational and creative thought. Laurie-Ann was very tired today, and spent the morning in bed. At dinner time she wasn't even keen to come downstairs, but she did. I had prepared a replica of our Christmas dinner with roasting vegetables and the rest of the chicken breasts. We finished off the apple crumble, and then returned upstairs to a visit Chesapeake Shores before turning in.

Sun Dec 26

We slept in till 9:30, and benefitted from it. As I was getting up I glanced at the Canadian power bar on the floor, and realised that I could plug it into our Canadian to South African plug, and then plug the other other power bar into it. This would give us 3 additional power outlets, which meant I could power the Pyle audio amplifier, and we could play music through the Leak Mini-Sandwich in mono. Why it's taken me a week to realise this I don't know unless it's to do with Omicron brain fog. I selected Shostakovitch's 6th symphony on Spotify. The Leak sounded good after the Dixons, now the property of Stasie Meubles. I had received nearly 30 comments to my Christmas post, and I replied to all of them. This is certainly quicker and cheaper than Christmas cards. Dave Kemp had replied to a question from me saying that his Christmas sermons weren't being recorded, and (sadly) they were last ones before retiring. I wanted something different and Christmassy for today's GNiTM, and I found a short Christmas Eve message from ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach, and then an Advent 1 service a month ago from Eternal Hope where Bishop Charlie Masters brought the message. I would use both, and call it Advent & Christmas. I got it posted before 6:30 am Ottawa time, and also added it to my Facebook. Anthonica called and I answered. She wanted to know if the R500 I had promised was on its way. She didn't sound like a starving waif, so someone has been feeding her. Chantelle tried to call me, and I sent her a text, but there was no reply four hours later. Our lunch was similar to yesterday, button tomatoes on toast. We have no soup. In the afternoon we watched the Christmas Spectacular movie from Hillsong Africa, finding it very well done and enjoyable. Dinner was part 2 of the excellent beef stew from Friday, and part 2 of the apple crumble. L-A had purchased the movie 'The Most Reluctant Convert.' While really appreciating the film, I had the thought as a missionary that if every Christian was as hard to convince as Lewis, missionaries would have given up long ago. To become a Christian can take a straightforward mixture of common sense and faith, or a minutely argued delving into complex philosophy. Lewis required the latter, but once convinced he became the formost of advocates, because he had studied the question in immense depth.

Sat Dec 25

One thing about this year's quarantine Christmas - we didn't miss out on great food. Later L-A told me it was because she wanted to bless me. But first I needed to post a Christmas greeting to the world. This year I hadn't activated the Christmas version of my home page, and we had sent no cards or e-Cards. I needed an image to convey the importance of the day. L-A really liked a beaded Christmas tree that Kevin had put on the dining room table. I photographed it many times with different landscape and mountain backgrounds, and selected one. I downloaded a Google image representing Mary and Joseph with their newborn, and made a collage with it in the corner of the landscape. Then I posted it to Facebook with a two-liner introduction. I made a saved file from FaceBook, and added it to numbers of WhatsApp groups and individuals. I emailed my siblings with a link to the saved page. Then I did something rare for me - going to the FB home page and commenting and greeting various friends. I wrote a Christmas email to Lynn because she won't see social media. It was hard to do because I haven't contacted her in a while. We began preparing our Christmas dinner late morning, she as the planner and visionary and I as the helper. As she prepared special sage sauce I snapped her at work. We had four chicken breasts, enough for two dinners. But before we got to the chicken she was preparing and oiling the roasting vegetables that Louis had brought. Soon they were in the oven for an hour. After 40 minutes I slipped the chicken in beside them. We got out the Le Roux and Fourie Savignon Blanc that Marie had brought. We thanked the Lord. We ate - and greatly enjoyed. Then it was time for dessert. Yesterday L-A had baked apple crumble. I had mine with some readymade custard that Louis had brought. Finally, coffee and clear-up. When all was back in place, we watched a movie called 'The Healer,' following Alec Healtley's change from wastrel to someone who discovered the joy of caring for others. We had enjoyed our quarantine Christmas.

Fri Dec 24

Anthonica had replied. 'She's very bad, Tony, very bad. R1200. Can you give me a call then I'll tell you the whole story. We had breakfast and then I gave L-A MLD for the first time since Da Vinci. Louis arrived about 11:30 with medicines from Carica, which included vitamin D3 and aspirin for me, and two bags of groceries. So kind. We chatted a while and he told me they were joining the Rabies at a cabin on Branvlei dam for the next few days. For the rest of the morning I made a Christmas collage for FaceBook. We haven't send Christmas e-cards so I want there to be wishes from us for people motivated to take a look on FB. I called Vanessa, and she had found seats for us to Newark on Monday 10 January. This was good. I asked her to purchase the tickets. Now we had a framework to work on in the next phase of the journey. Around 4:30 I took Kevin's Mercedes out for half an hour. The main roads had lots of hitch hikers, and cars picking them up. I helped L-A prepare beef cassolet for tonight. It's cooking in the oven (as I write). She also prepared certain parts of tomorrow's meal. I decided to call Anthonica, after having hesitated for a couple of days because I don't want to discuss where we are right now. She is working in the buchery with her father. This is good news. Everything else is bad news. She hasn't eaten in a while. Her mother gave her the bank card so I will send her R500 tonight. The car Tersia was in ended up under the rear wheels of a truck, and she is definitely badly hurt. I suggested Anthonica talk to other family members and aunts to raise the R1200 currently owed for medicines. The treatment itself should be free. I do not (yet) feel any strong ties to pay that money. If I do I will continue being the donor of choice. The buck has to stop. I doubt the hospital will discharge her in a sick state however much is owed. She never did ask where I was calling from or anything related to our situation, but she has major issues of her own for a 16 year old to handle.

Thu Dec 23

I was woken by the sound of water in pipes and at first wondered if a leak had sprung. I looked at the time and it was 5 am, and I realised it was probably the irrigation system cutting in. It ran for about half an hour and then stopped. Our breakfast was ciabata (of course) with veggie cheese for L-A, and quince (?) jam for me. Plus coffee. We heard an unusual sound, repeated. I thought it was a bird. Then I looked out the window and saw a large truck waiting to come in the gate. I opened it with the remote and it drove carefully to the bakery. I decided to go and take a look, and soon saw bags of flour being unloaded, so all was OK. I wondered how it would reverse, but half an hour later saw that it had backed into an area of the road for that purpose. Soon it was on its way and I closed the gate. Late morning I noticed I was getting the beginnings of 'that holday feeling' that comes on the 3rd or 4th day. The light chest pains from my lung condition were also less prominent today. Late morning Kevin called and I asked him to remind me where the baby proteas were. They were in a totally different area from where I had been looking. He also asked me to take his Mercedes for a drive to keep the battery charged. I went out and found the proteas, apparently none the worse for three days without watering. I brought the 'Sponsor our girls' spreadsheet up to date and then used it to calculate the total amount we had spent on the girls over 8 months, and how much had been sponsored (donated). The total expenditure was $7,181, and the amount donated was $6,911. This was closer than I could have hoped for. TKOG. The very kind sponsors were Julia L, Lisa C, Don P. Karen B, GNCM and KBC. In the case of the last two, we had chosen to allocate their gifts to this cause. The last text from Anthonica was 'I'm alone at home. Don't know what to do.' I asked her 'Is your mother still in hospital? Is she seriously hurt? How much are the bills?' Two hours later, after receiving no reply, I sent her air time. Kevin has two books on the coffee table in his upstairs lounge: Guy Tillim's book of poverty and war photographs, O Futuro Certo, and Bram Fischer, by Stephen Clingman. I appreciated Tillim's photos though they depressed me with the awful reality of life for so many. The text going with some of the pictures is very condensed and stretched me. Today I spent at least an hour reading about Bram Fischer's grandfather at the time of the Boer War. With my reduced eyesight I normally give up reading after half an hour, but I found the begonning of this book fascinating even though the one whose biography is its purpose hasn't been born yet. I cooked fish cakes with roast vegetables. Very nice. For dessert L-A had strawberries, freshly picked from the garden. After dinner we watched The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, about the holocaust. Such a powerful film about evil and the apparent gullibility of 'intelligent' men to commit evil deeds believing propaganda from their leaders. We must keep our guard up.

Wed Dec 22

We got up a little earlier - 8 - so I would be at the bakery before 9 for ciabata. I was there about 8:45 and looked around. No sign of Trevor, but the oven was hot. The only noise was from birds. Since my last time here a large structure had been built - a roof without walls - to house various electro-mechanical devices. One of them turned out to be a croissant machine that he had bought defective and cheaply. So far he hadn't got it to work. though he had made progress. Trevor arrived on foot about 9:10 and said the bread would be ready about 9:30. I continued relaxing in an armchair. There was some sweet classical music playing as he worked. I watched as he opened the oven and prepared dough in the right shape for loaves. He remembered that I prefered the more rounded loaves. I said I had brought money for two loaves; one now and one next week. He took the first baked loaf to come out and put it in my bag. He said there was no charge. By now the van from Daly Bread had arrived to take today's batch of about 100 loaves. The next time he'll be baking will be 27 Dec, next Monday, and I will be there. He told me he had been hit by a hard wave while surfing earlier this year and had been under chiropractic treatment. Trevor's lifestyle is like no-one else's I know. L-A and I had breakfast based around the bread that had come out of the oven half an hour before. We have eaten Daly Bread ciabata once or twice a week for several years, but this was the best ever. I sliced it with Kevin's mechanical slicing machine which dated from half a century ago like the cutlery and many other things in his house. L-A also had Weet-Bix with the almond milk Marie had brought. Finally, Terbidore coffee. My phone rang periodically - Lottie and Anthonica. It seems they believe we are as accessible as we have been, which we are, but they are meant to be thinking we are inaccessible in Canada. Before preparing dinner I watered the plants, but still couldn't find the baby proteas. Laurie-Ann came downstars for the first time and started cutting up vegetable for macaroni bolognaise. Soon we had a problem. She had no pairer (peeler), no can opener and no measuring spoons. These were three items we had brought from Canada, and I had no memory of separating them from our general cutlery when Stasie Meubles was packing up. L-A was not happy. There was brief talk of dxxxxxx. I was certain I wouldn't find them in our suitcases, but I dutifully searched them all. In the last one which was mainly L-A's clothes, I found all three items! How they got there I shall never know, but it certainly made for a more friendly relationship as an hour later we enjoyed an excellent dinner. Instead of wine I chose my final can of Windhoek Special Draught.

Tue Dec 21

After our regular quarantine lie in, and breakfast, I sent a text to Athonica. I said "Are you in Port Elizabeth." She answered 'Yes I am." Shortly after she added "but I had to come back, because Henry and my mother were in an ACCIDENT." I replied "Is your mother in hospital?" She answered "Yeaa Tony, both of them." Next thing, she called me, but I didn't answer. It is likely they were drunk and being driven by a drunk. During the festive season here, the population ignores all common sence and finds ways to let their hair down, have 'fun,' and go into debt. Road accidents spike. I didn't want to get into any conversations with Anthonica, and least of all about such self destruction. There are also two other thoughts I had, (1) I could have suggested she shouldn't have returned from Port Elizabeth, and (2) Maybe she never went there but just used it as a story to get money from me, and is now fabricating a reason why she would still be in Worcester. Kevin sent a voice message on WhatsApp enquiring if all was well here, and giving instructions for his gardener Brian. He also asked us to put his vitamins in a bag, and Trevor would come and collect them and take them to Yzerfontein. I replied (also with voice message) that all was hunky dory but Brian hadn't come into work today. Nicole replied that there was no problem storing our consignment until we were home and through quarantines. This was a huge relief to me. Bless her. We had tuna open sandwiches with button tomatoes from the garden, and took a nap in the afternoon. Around 5:30 I went searching for the babby proteas he had asked me to water, but still couldn't find them. What made searching hard was my eyesight. My depth of vision with only one good eye is poor, and this somehow interacts with my balance, making me slightly dizzy. I attempted to plug the hole in the watering can with surgical tape, and filled the can with water. It still leaked, but with less determination. I watered all the plants that hadn't been served by the sprinkler system. We had decided on chicken korma for dinner. Marie had brought korma sauce but first I had to get the meat and skin off two large legs, and it took me 45 minutes. I put the meat in a pot with the korma sauce, and prepared rice. I lit the gas and relaxed for half an hour. There was a knock on the door and it was Trevor come for Kevin's vitamins. He asked what was the nice cooking smell. We had a good reunion chat. The last time we had spoken was when I had interviewed him for CWCP radio on 15 Aug 2019. He said that if I was at the bakery (5 minutes walk away) just before 9 tomorrow there would be ciabata for us. He had taken ivermectin to speed his recovery from Covid and said he had some if we wanted it. I took the dinner upstairs and we both enjoyed it with a glass of wine.

Mon Dec 20

We are hearing notifications from Messenger probably from the girls as we doze in the morning. We aren't answering. What they probably want is for us to send money to their bank baccounts, but were we to start, the demand would never end. In the case of Bella we have agreed to send her R500 a week for the time being. In fact we have decided to send R1000 for Christmas week, but that will be the last time before it drops to R500. The reason to send to her but not the others is because of her going up to university this January, and it is her bank account we send to. We believe and pray that the others will somehow survive. I am pretty sure that the reason Moses stopped supporting Chantelle was that he knew we were doing so, so he decided to spend his spare earnings on alcohol. May he come to his senses and realize his daughter needs part of his earnings. If Anthonica really has gone to Port Elizabeth, we don't have to worry about her. I tried making coffee with one of Kevin's coffee contraptions, and it worked, though it used a lot of Terbidore. L-A had toast and some almond paste for breakfast, and I had Wheet-Bix bought by Kevin before he left. My phone only has strong enough reception in the west bedroom, and there is a desk there so I moved my computer there. L-A's phone works fine in our bedroom, and she is handling most of the communications with the world. I did inform my siblings and James, Sydney and BHCC, and Dave Kemp. Nik and Gisela brought us medicines from Dis-Chem so L-A won't run out. I opened the gate at the bottom of the driveway with a remote controller in the house. One of the items they brought is a Pulse Oxymeter which measures the level of oxygen in the blood. L-A scored 93, which is not in the danger zone. I also scored 93. Nik is someone who would always help out a friend (or a stranger), and he recently recovered from Covid, so we have a special bond. Marie had also offered to shop for us and L-A had sent her a grocery list. She had a little difficulty finding Kevin's house, but eventually arrived. She had been more than generous, somewhat exceeding L-A's list, and insisted on gifting it all to us. The kindness of friends here is inspiring. She had brought coffee filters so we could now make coffee our way, and three bottles of Fourie wine. I called Vanessa and asked if she would try and book us on a flight near 8 January. She said seats were scarce around that time and we may have to pay more. I emailed Nicole at U-Bag to ask if she could find a corner in her warehouse to store our consignment for a few extra weeks. This was was quite an ask. In the early evening I went out to water plants. Kevin has a sophisticated sprinkler system on a timer that does all the heavy lifting but there were some plants without sprinkler coverage. What I hadn't realized was that his watering can has a leak, so I was watering my shoes while looking for his baby proteas. There are tomatoes and strawberries, though the latter are not yet ready. For dinner we had a Woolworths ready made cottage pie; it was nourishing, tasty, and there was plenty of it. I had hit a problem earlier trying to EFT Nik the more than R900 he had spent on us. To set him up for payments on FNB I needed to be able to receive a one-time-pin by text, and at that time texts weren't coming through. But now from the other end of the house all was working, so I reimbursed him. I watched the world news on France24 and a review of the events of 2021. I cannot remember a year where world leaders had been unable to solve so many massive problems. The world is a terrible state. God, however, remains in his Kingdom and for us that is far more important. We cannot solve those problems. Greta Thunberg has tried to encourage governments to deal with climate change instead of just talking about it (bla bla bla) and to my mind has been more effective than most world leaders, who are wallowing in their inadequacies. As I am writing this the next day I can see though the window the lake (dam) where I lost the Mercedes keys on 2 December 2019. They are probably still there.

Sun Dec 19

We woke refreshed after our second night at Kevin's. He would be picking up boys from Roodewal at 9, but at 8 he knocked on our door and asked if we would like tea. I only mention this because it illustrates his hospitality to his unplanned guests. We said we would get some when he was out. I got tea for us when he was gone and then we went back to sleep. The boys were here till early afternoon enjoying ministry and cake with Kevin. He is the ultimate children's missionary, taking several groups of boys each week on mountain hikes with plenty of Jesus moments. They love him. They are learning Christian leadership, and principles that the world's atheists will never know. After he had taken them back, there were two large slices of carrot cake left for us. We had it with tea. When Kevin returned, he got ready for his holiday with Rena (his mother) in Yzerfontein, and then gave me a tour of what to be aware of in the house. He showed me where the keys to his Mercedes were in case we had an emergency. He had bought food to keep us going for the next few days. He told me a sad story about his ironing. He pays a lady to iron his shirts, etc, and had taken her a load 2 weeks ago. When he went to pick them up today, nothing had been ironed, and she wasn't there. A relative told him what had happened. She had spent all his money on food for Christmas, leaving nothing for electricity. Not only couldn't they cook their Christmas meal, but also she couldn't iron his clothes. Soon he was gone (in his Audi). We rested for a couple of hours. When dinner time came, neither of us wanted a full dinner; so we had poached eggs on toast. The interesting thing was I couldn't find a frying pan, but he did have an egg poacher like I hadn't seen since childhood. He had shown me how to work the gas burners on top of his electric oven, but when I tried to light them, there was no gas flow. We called Kevin to confirm he was safely in Yzerfontein, and I asked him about the gas burners. He told me what he had said before, which was what I had done without success. If we couldn't get the stove working we would be very limited in cooking. I prayed for help. I said 'God, I know you sometimes don't help people out until you are asked, so I'm asking, etc.' I went back to the stove and very soon I had flames. Kevin's instructions hadn't been 100% accurate. He said that the gas control should be fully anti-clockwise. Instead, I found it should be only half way anti-clockwide. Thank You Lord! TKOG. The eggs were fine. We felt quite tired. In my case it was probably from carrying heavy suitcases yesterday and the day before. L-A was probably suffering Covid symptoms. So we retired fairly early.

Sat Dec 18

So we were all set to fly home tonight about an hour from now (time of writing). In the last few days we quit our rented accommodation, sold all our furniture and kitchenware to the second-hand furniture store Stasie Meubles, that we bought it from, cancelled regular payments, sold our car, said our goodbyes to Johan and Marie, spent last night in Mella's house, and were picked up at 8 am this morning by Kevin. Our 4 suitcases and other items just fitted in his car. We drove to a clinic in Cape Town to get a Covid test that would have results in 4 hours (~$440). Standard tests take 24 hours, but we had to guarantee a result from a test less than 24 hours before boarding. Then Kevin took us on a scenic tour ending at a superb restaurant where we ate outside in a cool breeze - his treat. A mutual friend, Andrea Henderson, joined us. Half way through the meal, L-A received the notification from the lab - Covid 19 DETECTED. This was the thing we feared most; we wouldn't be leaving SA today. I got my report a little later - Covid 19 DETECTED. By the grace of God we handled our demeanour well, concentrating on the great food. Andrea must have regretted accepting Kevin's invitation to lunch. Andrea and Kevin then both spontaneously offered us accommodation for the next 2 weeks, by when we sincerely hope we'll test negative after quarantining. Because Kevin could take us direct to his Worcester house today, we chose his kind offer. I called Vanessa to postpone our flight. We are now both settled in Kevin's guest bedroom He is leaving tomorrow for 2 weeks with his mother. He doesn't seem too concerned that we had been with him and Angela, and he hasn't been vaccinated, but he isn't leaving the country any time soon, and most Omicron patients have light symptoms. Kevin drove us back to his house in the Brandwacht foothills in Worcester via a couple of social visits. He insisted on helping me carry suitcases upstairs where he had readied his bedroom for our use. He even cooked us delicious chicken breasts and couscous. By now L-A had told a number of key people of our situation. I wrote a piece to my siblings and James, most of which morphed into today's journal. Thanks to the seemingly inexhaustible hospitality and the love of God through Kevin we were set for a Christmas holiday in the sun surrounded by the glories of nature - a paradise. We still had all the problems of quarantine to solve, but things could be worse - understatement! We slept well. Lovejoy posted a stack of photos on Facebook of his new car.

Fri Dec 17

We got up early. Stasie Meubles was booked to take away all our furniture, cutlery, pots and pans and plates. At 8:30 I called Riaan to hear that he was on his way to Cape Town to pick up a piece of furniture! He knew who I was, but I think he had forgotten about the booking. I should have called him sooner, but yesterday was a holiday. He said he would try and get a team to our place as soon as possible. At 10:30 two men arrived with a small truck and started work. As they worked using the front stairs, I carried our suitases and other items down the back stairs to our car, filling it. It wouldn't be our car for long. About 11:45 the men had filled the truck and drove to Stasie Meubles to offload it. They returned by 12 to take the long table and the bed and other items. They left about 12:45. L-A had her purple chair to sit on, but all other chairs had gone. I was worried about the way things had gone with Anthonica last night, and I realized I must call her. But then she called me, and there was no bad feeling in her voice at all. She wanted to know if we had any free stuff left. I said there was very little, and I had no time to bring her here. But the call had cleared the air and I was grateful. At 1:45 the men returned after their lunch break with Riaan and boxes for our kitchen stuff. They finished about 2:30. We were hungry, but waited till 3 when Monique from Grondbeurs arrived to do the final inspection. She was done by 3:30, and we walked together to the front door where we handed her the keys before we walked to the car which I'd parked across the street. We then drove towards Robertson to say goodbye to Johan and Marie and give them our Openview TV system, and some music CDs and DVDs. We had a great time together, for the last time, for about 45 minutes. Then we returned to Worcester to give Lottie two more sheets, our pillows and some other odds and ends. She was in tears under the mirror glasses. She asked me for R100 and I gave it her. We pumped some more diesel into the car so Lovejoy would have half a tank. We were at Mella's for 6 but the car was full of our stuff, so she kindly agreed to drive to Star Park in hers. We had originally planned to take her there for lunch, but we had run out of time and switched it to dinner. The three of us enjoyed one another's company and Thai curries. She had the vegetarian one. I called Lovejoy to say we wouldn't be ready for him to come by at 7 to collect the car, and he suggested I drive to his house and he would then drive me home. So when Mella, L-A and I got back to her house I took the suitcases etc. out and put them in her front room. I had been to Lovejoy's house once before and he had reminded me of the route on the phone, and amazingly I found it easily. In the car I had brought the South African electrical plugs and cables that he had bought from us, and the car documents including the transfer of owner form and the complete history since we had bought it, including the quote from Mercedes in Paarl to fix the acceleration at higher speeds and the central locking. He drove me back to Mella's and we said goodbye. We had a lot to do this evening. Not everything was in the suitcases yet, but was in additional bags and boxes. Much of what we had brought was for Mella, including teaching materials, particularly Afrikaans language learning manuals which we had collected when we were having lessons from Janey and Andre. We brought Bella's Mobicel laptop that she would store for her until she went to university. She also got food and other things we had no room for. She got a large number of colouring sheets. Riaan had asked me to send him a photo of my ID which he needed in case the police got nosey and wondered where all the new furniture had come from. L-A was very concerned about the computer work we would need to do using the airport wifi. The ArriveCan app could only accept certain information once we would have our negative Covid results. Finally we went to bed with devices charging for the big day tomorrow.

Thu Dec 16

This was the day that people who had expressed interest in buying our stuff (that we couldn't take back to Canada) could pick it up, and perhaps free stuff as well. Lovejoy, Mazvita and Eliora came to pick up the fridge that they had paid for, and free stuff, like the door snake and the wire cyclist. It was a pleasure to see Marius, who came for the cordless electric drill, and also bought the Mecano motorbike. Anthonica and Chantelle also had their picks of the free stuff, and we also took things to Bella, Cathy and Jamelia. Anthonica was very worried about her financial future. I decided to give her the R500 for the final day, this Friday. I drove Chantelle with her possessions from OVD to Avian Park with two of her friends and we dropped off her stuff. They were still in the car when they spotted Anthonica with two of her friends, and they told me that Anthonica was on her way to drink. I was instantly angry and ran after her, and asked where she was going, and whether she had spent the R500 I had given her earlier. She was very upset that I would accuse her of drinking. Then Chantelle arrived and accused her to her face. These two haven't been on speaking terms recently. I didn't know who to believe, but I slightly favoured Chantelle. I left, and Anthonica knew what I was thinking. It was not a good way to be saying goodbye to her forever. Chantelle told me her mother had disappeared. Her father was living in the house, and drinking - probably the reason Maria had gone, for safety. Because of the accident with the car hitting his arm, he wasn't working. So Chantelle was alone. Child Welfare had somehow got involved, and allocated her into the care of a couple from Cape Town who had recently moved into Avian Park. It was their house where we had just delivered Chantelle's belongings and a TV set.

Wed Dec 15

Nicole from U-Bag replied, confirming the freight-pick up was in hand and they would call us when they get here. I still had some final items to fit into the third suitcase, and then I had to label each piece with our names as receivers and a list of the contents. I hit a snag when the large scotch tape reel kept sticking down on itself, and it was only Laurie-Ann who was able to un-stick it. The job was dNow these tow have one by 9:50 and I added air-travel locks to the three suitcases. At 10 am Kevin arrived with a suitcase for Bella, and we presented him with a large bag of camping equipment. We had been required to buy it for our missionary training in Mozambique, and had used it there during our weekend in the bush bush. We brought it to SA but never used it here. We would never use it in Canada. So Kevin was the beneficiary, and he was mighty glad to have it. He even got the walky-talky and my beach shoes, as well as sleeping bags, mosquito net, and camping mattresses. He didn't get our folding chairs which we will have use for in Canada on the beach. Kevin also carried our bookcase that Joan Marais had bought down to our car and put it in the back seat - with some difficulty. The freight pick-up service for U-Bag was scheduled for arrival between 10 and noon, so I couldn't leave the house. About noon there was a call from Lottie. She was waiting at our door. I went down and talked to her through the railing. She seemed desperate for cash for something she wasn't able to explain in a way I could understand. I said it was impossible for me to help her now. I only had enough cash for Anthonica's bus ticket to Port Elizabeth, and I couldn't leave the house. I said I would come to her later in the day. I asked Webern to walk her home. At 1pm, with the shippers still not there I reported the fact to Nicole at U-Bag. Then I called Anthonica. I said I couldn't bring her busfare at 1:30, but if she would get a taxi to our house, I would give her the money. She agreed. L-A and I had lunch (meat balls and macaroni from Monday's dinner). Nicole replied apologetically that since Worcester was an 'outlying area,' collections were done in the afternoon, but - the good news - they would be arriving. That turned out to be about 4:30, exactly the time that Lovejoy and family came by to see if there was anything else they wanted to buy. While they broused the free stuff, I supervised the two men as they took first the three suitcases, and then the two trunks. They would have benefitted from having a dolly for the trunks, but all they used were their arms and hands, and they did it. Lovejoy went off with bags of stuff, and owes a further R100 for a CD, the Willie & Die Wenspan DVD, and South Aftican power bars wich I will leave in the car for him. I then drove to Joan's Salon and attempted to get the bookcase out of the car. I had limited time and I failed, even after she came out to help. I knew it was possible but I couldn't figure it out. So I went shopping for the last time for Marsha, who had sent us a list. I had no bulk supplies left so she got Pick n Pay's best, and I used up all my remaining Smart Shopper points. The extended family was all there when I arrived, except for Marsha. I asked to see her and she came out, resplendent in new braids. I told her we were leaving in 3 days and said my goodbyes with a prayer. She still has a smile and sunny disposition despite her life of hardship. Her street is now paved. I drove to OVD to see Lottie. Her problem turned out to be that she owed R250 on her funeral cover premiums. I was pleased that she has funeral cover. It will save family members a lot of money when she goes. She wanted R150 from me to go towards the payment. She was bordering on tears; I gave her R200. Chantelle was there and asked for R50 to go 'smousing,' selling stuff on the street. I didn't have R50, so I said she must come to the house when I had been to the bank. She did come later, and I hadn't been to the bank because I was expecting R10,750 from Lovejoy by EFT, so I didn't want to transfer from Canada. L-A had a R50 which I gave to Chantelle.

Tue Dec 14

I got up an hour earlier than usual, at 7, and went through the tall cupboard in the hallway where we kept a lot of electrical hardware. By breakfast I had cleared the cupboard. We are generating several streams of goods: those that will be freight forwarded that we won't need in the short term, those for the aircraft hold, those we need accessible during the 16 hour flight, and things to give away. After breakfast I drove to the Traffic Department, and after queueing 45 minutes showed my 'notification of sale of a vehicle' form to the clerk, and asked her to confirm I had filled in my part correctly. She said I had, and must remember to enclose with it my traffic register number certificate. On my way home I went to see Chantelle at OVD. After chatting, I brought her home to collect her pick of the give away items. We will remain connected via WhatsApp, though it will be spotty for her, without a phone of her own. I cancelled our AA membership, though they couldn't stop the payment due tomorrow. I paid the TV licence (R265) and requested they now take us off their books since we and our TV are leaving the country. We retired the Star Trek clock that l-A has used since the 80s, but stopped working a few months ago. The rest of the day was taken up completing the packing of the 2 trunks and 3 suitcases which will be picked up tomorrow morning by U-Bag. I sent Nicole a message to say we were ready for them. L-A's cold seemed to be marginally less of a problam as the day progressed, but still a problem.

Mon Dec 13

I went to Dis-Chem and asked to see their most knowledgable pharmacist. After explaining l-A's condition she sold me Corenza Para, and ACC200, both effervescent, to be taken together 3 times a day. These will fight her cold, while Genemist was only fighting her allergies. I went to Anthonica's at noon expecting to take her to the Brandwacht Clinic, but the doctor had called her to say he had to return to Tygerberg early. So I gave her R150 to go there by taxi. Chantelle was not allowed in the library without my being present in the group. I didn't find this out till an hour later when I went down there with apples. I spoke with the librarian Namhla, and she was adamant that I or another adult who had been introduced to her must be present. I thanked her for the excellent venue that had been so beneficial for us. Now that it is is nearly summer, the outdoor venue we had used many times in OVD would suffice. Chantelle gave me a letter from Crista, Angela and Limique asking for Christmas money. I'm afraid I didn't respond. Most of the boys and girls were still outside the library and I prayed for them and they thanked me. I went to see Lottie and gave her a pair of mirror glasses. Her sunglasses only have one lens and were not doing their job of protecting her blind eyes. The ones I gace her fitted and she was happy with them. About 8:30pm I took R500 to Anthonica; including R400 for her school fees which must be paid tomorrow. She told me she had had a successful operation at Tygerberg under general anaesthetic. This was excellent news. I was impressed that she was able to get there, find the right department, and come home after the operation. In normal times I would have taken her, but we are fully committed to our own needs this final week - packing mainly - and no time for a day out.

Sun Dec 12

I brought Lottie to church. During the service, a lady sitting near her sensed she was unhappy and went to comfort her. From a very brief conversation with the lady later, I suspect she was unhappy because we are leaving. 15 minutes into the sevice, Johan called us to the front and introduced us to the congregation, commiserating with us that were returning to ice and snow in Canada. Then Pam Hugo said nice things about us (and Canada) and prayed for us very movingly. We felt our friends in Canada, particulaly those who have supported us faithfully with finances, should get some third-party feedback that there had been fruit along the way. Usually the full service live-stream is only available on YouTube for a few hours, so while it was there, L-A made a video copy on her iPad, and I made an audio copy. I also posted the link to Facebook. That link was still showing the full service until Tuesday morning, when it switched to the sermon only, and I removed it from my Facebook. After church I took Lottie for a burger at McDonald's and then drove her home via Pick n Pay for groceries. Whe I got back to church the gate was closed and it seemed deserted. L-A didn't answer her phone. After a while Heather appeared, and with her help we were able to open the gate enough for L-A to get out. We three then went for a Star Park lunch which was nice as usual. Then it was goodbye forever to Heather. Back home it was more packing.

Sat Dec 11

For many months we had anticipated a tough time in the final couple of weeks before our departure. Our main worry was would we be well enough to travel or would cancer and and lyphodema make it a serious challence. What had actually happened was nothing to do with cancer. I had a sore throat, and L-A had developed a very bad cold that made breathing through her nose very hard. She had has cold like symptoms for years, but they were from allergies to the local environment. She hadn't had a real cold in 2 years. But now she had one and it threatened her place on that plane. Her temperature was a degree high. We prayed and lived on Fisherman's Friend and other potions. Today was for packing, concentrating on the trunks and the 3 suitcases that were going with them.

Fri Dec 10

I called Vanessa and told her we were on track for departure, but what should we do if one of us received a positive Covid result? She said I should call her and she will work on switching the flight to a later date. Keshia arrived with her mother and daughter at 11 and we hit it off immediately. After reading my screed and listening to our experiences, she seemed very keen to take a supportive role when we are out of the picture. It is unlikely she would be able to arrange financial support. I will send her the information from Nik on emergency support for the very poor from the BVM. Lottie called me, almost in tears, to say Moses had ripped her off and she was in desperate need of R150. I went to the bank and drew out some cash, and then went to her house. She had needed to pay a contractor of some kind several hundred rand. She had given Moses the cash to take to him, but instead of doing so, he had kept the money for himself. The contractor arrived at her door and demanded his money, which she no longer had. I am not sure how she pacified the contractor, but what she needed right now to navigate through the mess was R150, which I gave her. It is extremely likely that Moses spent the money on alcohol, and I recommended she should never trust him with money. It is also likely that all of Chantelle's money problems for years have been caused by Moses drinking his earnings so there was nothing for his wife and daughter's needs. I spent a fair amount of time weeding our paper files, figuring out what can go in our trunks, what we need to have with us during quarantine, and what we could ditch. I also segregated the sheet music into some for Chantelle to use for leading singing in the Mailbox Club, some to bring back to Canada, and quite a lot to ditch, mainly multiple copies of word sheets. I then began packing the first trunk. We had dinner - and then the lights went out. We had used up all our units. I went out to buy R20 of power. I first stopped at OK foods, but our meter number didn't work for them, just as had happend a year ago. The grocery store across the street was able to oblige. Once we had the lights on I bought another R200 of power from Powertime. Anthonica called about 10 wanting me to pick Tersia up at 7 to get vaccinated. She had waited till she was working, so Saturday was her only day. I said I wouldn't do it. If she really wanted this she could walk to town and she wouldn't have to queue. I wondered if the fruit pickers had agreed everyone must be vaccinated. Anthonica called several more times but I ignored her. Darren Canning is stuck in 'quarantine jail' near Toronto airport having returned from Malawi, and L-A read about his awful situation on Facebook, which didn't cheer us up before we go though somethig similar.

Thu Dec 9

I got up at 5:15 and was at Anthonica's by 6. She and two friends wanted a lift to the post office to collect their R350 social grants from SASSA. When I asked how they would get home again they told me they would be spending the day in town, and would call me. I actually gave Anthoniva R10 to buy air time to make that call. What was happening here was that as soon as they had the money they intended to spend it all. I warned them that instead of their plan, they should call me to take them home. I said there were gangs hanging around the post office ready to follow people who had just received their grants, and to mugg them. I also expressed suprize that they had to collect the grants personally rather than having them sent to their banks. I was home by about 6:45 and got some useful stuff done before L-A woke up and we prepared to go to Paarl for the last time. It was a sad goodbye for Este and L-A after her final treatment. I took a photo of the two of them. We had a nice egg breakfast at Coffee Cab served by Michelle, and then drove to Spice Route. I bought the De Villiers chocolate that we had failed to buy a week earlier. That is going to Canada with us to be a comfort during quarantine. Back in Worcester I called Anthonica. Exactly what I had predicted had happened; they had been mugged by four men. Very little money had been taken from them because none of them had received their grants; they had been asked to return in a month. Anthonica still had her phone, and only one of the women had lost anything. However it had been a tough experience for them all. They had come home by taxi. Nicole got back to me from U-Bag, confirming hat we could indeed email her from Canada when we had got through all the Covid tests and were able to specify when our freight could be shipped from Cape Towm. We received a reply from the management at the Point Mall in Seapoint, who told us the contact details for Indalo Bio lab, located just outside the Point Mall, which offers Covid shots. So I called them and they confirmed a 4 hour turnround before the results arrive by email. It's expensive, about $220 each. So our plan now is to leave Worcester early with Kevin on the Saturday morning, get the shots, and spend the middle part of the day having a nice lunch for which he is treating us, postponed from tomorrow. Kevin will take us to the airport late afternoon, and will wait there till we can confirm to him we have boarded. I made a list of our girls and their details and stories. Keshia from Toevlug is coming tomorrow morning to consider taking over a friendship role in our absence.

Wed Dec 8

Anthonica got vaccinated today! Lottie was vaccinated a week or so ago and should get a R100 voucher for Shoprite. Additionally their names go into the hat for major payouts every week. The Government has realized that the only incentive that works here is money. The greater good of the community means very little. I cancelled our wifi contract with Herotel. I paid our annual Calabogie maintenance fee, and then I authorized a R15,000 redemption from our AiO non-registered funds to pay a Poulin special assessment of R14,415.05 before year end. Kevin called to say he had some Covid symptoms, and didn't think it would be wise to take us to lunch on Friday. He will have a Covid test early next week, and hopefully will be negative. I drafted a letter 'to whom may it concern' to the immigration authorities at Cape Town airport, explaining why my medical visa expired on 30 November (and L-A's on 20 December). When I was satisfied I printed it and walked over to the police station and had a very accommodating police officer apply their official stamp. This will bring me extra credibility, and may mean I don't get blacklisted - refused entry back into SA for 5 years. I emailed Nicole at U-Bag asking her to confirm what she had agreed some months ago, and I had included in my requisition to her recently, that we could email her from Canada when we had safely arrived and could estimate when we would be ready to receive our freight shipment. Only then would she actually send our stuff. In normal times, keeping freight uncollected at airports incurred heavy costs.

Tue Dec 7

We made a decision not to abandon our United Airlines bookings in favour of flying via Frankfurt. The main reason was the sheer complication of having everything ready within a week instead of two weeks. We would have to change so many things. Also, L-A had received two dreams that she interpreted as staying with the existing plan. Our friend LW in Ottawa won't be at all happy with this, having told us that we MUST come via Frankfurt. I visited Andre in the Pioneer blind accommodation to take him the box from Backpackers, the main contents being certificates and plaques. We had a long overdue chat which I think both of us very much enjoyed. He and Janey still talk every couple of days. He gave me a great compliment as I was leaving. He said that I was one of only 3 people that he was prepared to discuss matters of Christianity with. The other two were Johan Schoonraad and Pieter-Louis, the previous assistant priest to Johan. Chantelle appeared beside the car when I returned. I asked if she had gone to Tygerberg yesterday, and she hadn't. She had not been feeling well. Her symptoms sounded just a little Covid-ish and I recommended that if they got worse she should go to the hospital for a test. I gave her another R100 - she is clearly scratching around for subsistence. James called on video chat and everything was sweetness and light compared with our last chat on 28 November. Neither of us felt like continuing to argue about the truth of the Gospel. I am not the person to convince him. He told us about a newish film featuring the Beatles in their Get Back phase which has been warmly reviewed, as I found out later. He said I would really enjoy it. We'll seek it out, but he watched it on Disney.

Mon Dec 6

We have 12 days before our scheduled leaving date, and no more ministry engagements. We hope the kids won't harrass us with demands because (a) we want a simulated quarantine environment to increase the probability of passing our Covid tests on departure and (b) we just don't have the time to go shopping for them. We did more analysis of the Frankfurt alternative for getting home. We would have to go on 12th, or conceivably 13th. The price worked out at about $650 more than our tickets via Newark, with additional charges for the transit phase of about $400, and cancellation charges for United Airlines. I called Vanessa to get a comment. For some reason she would not be able to purchase the Luthansa tickets, so we would do that direct with Lufthansa. She seemed confident that our booked flight to Newark was not likely to be cancelled, but who knows in today's environment? Anthonica went to Tygerberg for a day to have an examination related to kidneys. I called her to tell her about Jamelia, whom she might see. Kidney complaints seem remarkably common among the circle of our African friends. Chantelle's aunt Sina also went to Tygerberg today for a check up on her kidneys, and Chantelle told me she would be going with her for a check up. In the afternoon we had my last semi-formal ministry in South Africa - mailbox Club in OVD/Esselyn Park library. The girls and boys were all expectant. The music section went well. Chantelle asked for my phone and she and another girl made videos. Then Chantelle taught, and at the end I asked them questions - what had it been about? (The time after the resurrection). Although we had a list of 8 names to come to McDonald's afterwards, drawn up last week, Chantelle manipulated the system so that all 11 of those present could come. This meant they would have cheeseburgers rather than Big Macs if I was not to spend far more than the R500 supplied by Jan. No matter - they all enjoyed their meals. Providing ice creams put me at just R16 over budget. I presented Matthew with an Afrikaans Bible for being the most loyal attender on the course.

Sun Dec 5

On our way to Somerset West, near the final turnoff to Rawsonville we were pulled over for a licence check. The police lady took her time, confused by my Canadian licence, though she didn't seem to have a problem with the fact that it had expired. I carry with me in the car a statement from Service Canada saying the validity had been extended because of Covid. When she finally cleared us I gave her a prayer postcard 4 police, which pleased her. We drove on to Somerset West and Hillsong for the last time, and were greeted as we came in by Anneli. It was 'annointing Sunday,' At the door to the sanctuary we were given small plastic cups with oil in them. Phil Dooley spoke on the video link about the significance of anointing, and then we were all asked to annoint ourselves. Without my experience of Alpha, at ths point I wouldn't have known what to do. Walter wasn't in church as far as I could see. After the service we chatted with Faan, Naomi and Stephanie. These relationships had been very special for us. We went to Wellness Warehouse and Montagu and then to Woolworths for a lunch sandwich. On the way home just before joining the N1, we bought nectarines from a roadside stall. I took food to Jamelia and said goodbye to her. Tomorrow she goes to Tygerberg for a month to sort out her kidney, the newly transplanted one that she might have damaged when she fell recently.

Sat Dec 4

I finished downloading the My Father's House website page by page, with all the photos. While it is not suitable for public viewing, if someone needed historical information from the site, it could be extracted from the 2 downloaded pages. As I worked on this I was very impressed by L-A's expertise in programming it. I finished in time for us to leave for Nuy restaurant, where we were invited to a goodbye lunch by Johan and Marie. It was an excellent time of fellowship and nice things being said. We got home about 2, and I worked on tomorrow's Good News in the Morning. We left for the WGC 'Love Feast.' a Christmas braai dinner for the congregation, and free. Lottie had heard about it when she had been at the church the last 3 Sundays, and she was determined to be there. I registered her a day late, but Leonie accepted the registration. This afternoon she had called Leonie and asked if her friend Katerina could come. Leonie had explained it was just for our congregation, but Lottie persuaded her. L-A and I drove down to OVD to pick them up at 4:30 as agreed, but Lottie's door was padlocked. We drove to church, and settled L-A on a table closest to the door. We had brought plates, cutlery and glasses for four, and I laid them out on the table. Then I drove back to OVD, and found Lottie and Katrina at Lottie's house. They got in and I was able to park fairly close to the church door, though the disabled spots were all taken. Soon we were seated. Lovejoy and Mazvita arrived with 2 children; Eliora had brought a friend. Johan came over and asked how we were, and he seemed very disturbed to hear about my condition. Heather arrived. It was now after 5, but the room was only partly full. I thought that it was good that we had 2 guests. Then, Chantelle came, having gatecrashed! This after I had told her she wasn't registered and she couldn't come. She had brought a polystyrene box to serve as a plate. I took a chair from a far table that was empty, and put it between Lottie and me. Chantelle is someone who 'finds a way' if she wants to do something, and she has been to our church many times. I took some photos and then went to the area where the braaing was being done, and took some more. There were quite a few out here, and some bottles of wine in evidence. There weren't many masks in evidence. Tendai and Godfrey were there, and Godfrey had clearly recovered from his recent sickness. It was now about 5:45, and it looked to me as if the meat was almost ready, but I was wrong about that. The music being played over the big speakers in the church was secular, and included a number of Beatles tracks. After another half hour Johan took the mic and announced we could come and get the food. I took 2 plates; Katerina took 2 plates, and Chantelle come with her polystyrene box, and we were relatively high in the queue. Soon we were putting salad and meat on our plates. There was boerwors and chicken. We returned to the table and ate. The chicken was still quite warm, not always the case at braais. Katerina had piled her and Lottie's plates high with meat, but this was L-A's and my second meal out in the day so we had more modest portions, and that was fine. Katerina was very attentive to Lottie, feeding her at times. Finally some ice cream lollies were distributed. Lottie really enjoyed hers. It had been a well-thought out event, leaving relatively little to be cleared up before the room was turned back into a church for tomorrow's service.

Fri Dec 3

There was a My Father's House board meeting at 2 Toevlug which I attended, though thankfully wasn't asked to take the minutes. Being at Toevlug meant that Therea Rosseau was there. Various budgetary items were dealt with, including reimbursing Kevin for the costs of recent hikes which the Mountain Club of SA is no longer able to pay. Towards the end when I was reporting on Mailbox Club activity, Theresa mentioned that one of her staff, Keysha, could be an ideal person to liaise with our girls. I posted this on a France24 Facebook comment: "It is time to end the TV news presentation habit that while someone is speaking, stock video is played and played to keep the viewer from switching channels. Any report on Covid is accompanied by endless views of people being inoculated or being tested. I have been jabbed hundreds of times in my life but have never watched the hypodermic syringe going in. I suspect that these endless videos might contribute to vaccination aversion. Being tested is way more unpleasant than being inoculated, and I suspect that seeing the patients' reactions may also dissuade some from being tested, if they have a choice." We received notification from Canadadians Abroad of the availability of Lufthansa flights to Frankfurt, and on to Canada starting 6 December until 13 December. If we were to switch to them the main advantage would be that if United Airlines cancelled the 18 December flight, for which we have tickets, it would not affect us. A secondary advantage would be one less Covid test to be taken. Janey had asked us to collect one last box of hers from Backpackers. They also gave me a second box that turned out to be Andre's.

Thu Dec 2

Paarl day, but instead of Coffie Tab we went to Simondium Guild (on the Franshhoek road) because L-A had seen a notice that De Villiers had moved their retail store there. We did have nice coffees there, but the De Villiers operation was manufacturing and admininistration, and they assured us that we could still buy their chocolate in Spice Route. We came home via Avian Park where I gave Anthonica her allowance. We lunched at McDonald's. I picked up Jamelia at 2:30 and she was accompanied by a cousin and her sister's child (her sister has a job). As we drove to Mr Price I asked why she needed new clothes when I had bought some for her when she thought she was moving to Kraifontein. I had also bought new clothes for her on at least one previous occasion. She said they had been stolen right off their makeshift washing line. She added that the thieves would have used the proceeds to buy drugs. In Mr Price she slected clothes worth R499, including jeans at R189 with slashed knees and bleached material. She said they were cheaper than standard jeans. When I was paying I queried with the cashier whether they had unslashed jeans. She took me to the display were there were several styles, and where the unbleached standard jeans cost R129. In this situation I didn't begrudge her. She must be frightened for her health, and facing a lonely month in hospital with no phone or way to communicate with her family. The clothes will give her comfort. She also asked me for R50 to pay a neighbour to drive her there since the regular inter-hospital bus was booked solid. I gave her the R50, and prayed for her outside her house. It will probably be the last time I will see her. Shortly after I got home Chantelle knocked on our door and I took her and her sister to pick up something for her sister, and then home, with her schoolbooks, which she hadn't needed for her final exam earlier in the day. Anthonica came over and told me the excellent news that she was promoted to Grade 11 after doing very well in her exams. She couldn't have achieved that without all the wifi in our house. My biggest concern about our trip home was that we could get to Newark but not be allowed to transit to Canada because of new Covid rules. Official announcents have said that the US has closed it's borders to all but US citizens. L-A had foud a tel no for United Airlines in SA, but it was not in sevice. I went to the main UA site in the US and found that the Newark to Cape Town route wasn't sceduled to start operating till about 12 December. I started a chat on the customer service line. On FAQ lists I never manage to find the answers to my particular questions, but this lady was helpful and soon understood my question. The answer she gave from the UA viewpoint is that all we needed is our vaccination certificates for us to transit. Now she clearly wasn't aware of the latest Canadian rules which require us to have another test in Newark, and not to board a plane to Canada without the results. So now I have another question for her tomorrow - will we be able to take a later flight to Toronto after presumably sleeping in our wheel chairs in Newark airport? I will also ask her to confirm we won't be refused to board the plane in Cape Town, as non-US citizens.

Wed Dec 1

I drove down early to Avian Park and gave Jamelia R20 so she could go to the hospital for a check-up, and picked up Chantelle and brought her to our house. These were necessary actions in case George phoned. He did; about 8:50. He would be at the Huguenot toll in 40 minutes. I asked him for the colour and make of his car. I grabbed the hydraulic brake pump and an apple and got on my way to the rendezvous. I saw his car almost immediately. He had worked with Mercedes 40 years so knew his stuff. He was sure my pump would work even though it wasn't the identical part number. I'm not so sure. He was clearly very keen to get it. He sent R2,800 of the R4,000 by EFT from FNB. I called L-A who looked at our FNB site and saw that it had come. He gave me the rest in cash. I said I would return the money if it didn't work, but would like confirmation from his Mercedes mechanic. I drove home and cooked sausages and eggs and beans and chips for the three of us (no beans for L-A). Chantelle stayed till about 1:30, but after I had taken her home I found she had left her schoolbooks (and one of my better pens) in the car. We had people come at 3 to view the house. I rather hoped they wouldn't like it, giving us more flexibility to stay if our flight were cancelled. At 5:15 I was at church for a music and technical staff meeting. L-A would have been welcome there but she just didn't feel like making all the effort. Lynette was the M/C and she emphasised the group as a mutually supportive family. She gave out birthday presents - chocolate - going back some months, and I was the first recipient. Next she gave me a leaving present of dried fruit and billtong. Then Kenneth went to the front, and he called me up, and gave a touching talk extolling my virtues before they will be saying goodbye to us. Then, again much to my surprise as Hanlie sat at the keyboard, they all sang a blessings song to me with arms outstretched. At the end of the event Tendai said to me that if he were giving a goodbye speech about me it would include CWCP radio, soaking prayer, our church cell group, and children's ministry. I left feeling very blessed. However this feeling was somewhat dented when I called Jamelia at her request. The hospital had examined her and said she must go to Tygerberg on Friday and would likely be in hospital for a month. It is very very worrisome if her newly transplanted kidney is not working properly. What she wanted from me however was some new clothes and shoes, as she has in the past when she is off to hospital or to stay somewhere else. I agreed to take her shopping tomorrow afternoon.

Tue Nov 30

I went with Lovejoy to the Traffic Department, as we did last Monday, but this time we were able to get the new licence disk for 2022, which Lovejoy paid for. He told me that people over 60 could go to the head of the queue here, so we did. He also gave me R500 as a deposit on our fridge. I went to One-Up for bulk rice and noodles and my Mastercard wouldn't work. I returned home for L-A's card and it worked fine. I delivered a food parcel to Jamelia. I went to Pathcare and paid the outstanding invoice that was mentioned on my voicemail. I then asked about travel Covid tests. On Friday 17 December we must show up there by noon with passports. The test result will be emailed to us. She gave me the application forms which must be filled in with a black pen. There is no need for a doctor's letter. Grondbeurs called about a viewing tomorrow. I asked where we would be placed if we wanted to stay an extra month. They said this was only a problem if they had signed up the next occupant. I put together food parcels for Bella and Marsha. When delivering to Marsha I noticed her street address is 82 Pelikaan. I may have put 182 on the list I have to Yolanda. When buying in Pick n Pay I tested my Mastercard and it declined. Lottie called and I collected her from Pick n Pay local and got some food items for her before taking her home. In the evening I called Mastercard. They had temporarily deactivated my card because of some small transactions where I paid They turned the card back on but suggested I see who it was I was paying. I found they had a website so I sent them a message. It had been a hard day for me with too many calls on my time and wallet, and not enough spent on our own priorities. George Holloway emailed that he planned to collect my hydraulic brake pump tomorrow morning - we could to the pick up at the Huguenot toll station. I emailed Nik Wullschleger asking if the BVM provided any emergency relied for poor families who have completely exhausted their resources.

Mon Nov 29

In the morning, Chantelle escorted Lottie to Robertson to deal with matters that may result in money coming into Lottie's hands arising from medical malpractice that left her blind. CHantelle thinks she may receive some of the cash, but first she must open a bank account. Mailbox Club went well. I explained that next week will be my last, and loyal members will come to McDonald's. With Chantelle's help with the attendance list we even picked the lucky attenders. Chantelle and I visited Marco, who has been in touch with Jan. She wants to send R500 towards the mailbox club celebration. Chantelle came back to the house afterwards for wifi. L-A asked me to play some Ruth Fazal, and she and Chantelle had a short time of soaking. It had been a while since we had soaked but Chantelle got right into it. I had gone through all our CDs and checked they were digitized. We gave Chantelle about 7 of them to play on her new music system fron the church bring and take. Anthonica suggested I check my phone. I had 25 unread voicemails. She had 'no more space' messages when she tried to send me a voicemail. Most of the messages were from Lottie, but there was one from Pathcare and one from a man called George interested in our hydraulic brake pump. He will now email me. I missed a PNG Zoom meeting. Bella called that Joy was stranded at the mall. I eventually found her and took her home. She is working there in the De Jagers restaurant.

Sun Nov 28

Because I had to be in church early for live-stream, we did not bring Lottie this morning (although that didn't hold her back). We brought 3 colouring books and placed them on the stage, among many other quality items. There were bicycles, stereo systems, an LCD TV, computer monitors and much else. No junk. Being on camera I had a good view, and right in front of me was a good-size microwave. I sat with L-A listening to the translation of Johan's sermon. He promised he was not a prosperity preacher, but predicted a good financial future for the church and for some individuals, if we have the right heart. He also spoke about three spiritual strongholds (for which Satan is responsible) which claim the allegience of so many. (1) Hinduism (2) Islam (3) Materialism. Today's 'bring and take' event was partly to foster the right attitudes, and related to materialism. When he had finished he invited the congregation to collect what they wanted from the stage. It was then that I saw Chantelle and Lottie making their way to the front. Chantelle had connected with WGC member and OVD resident Shikira's father to help her carry off a quadrophonic sound system. She had helped get Lottie some pillows and pillowcases. Meantime I had picked up the very heavy microwave and moved it onto a chair. While this was happening Laurie-Ann watched as her colouring books were claimed by Lovejoy, Tendai, and someone she didn't know. Our swag was taken out to the car and we managed to get it all in as well as Chantelle and Lottie. I drove to OVD where first we dropped off Lottie and her pillows, and then to #44 where Chantelle carried in the audio equipment. Laurie-Ann and I went for Thai curries at Star Park. It was relaxing after the rush at church. I heard Chantelle's voice calling a couple of hours later from the street so I let her in the gate. Apparently Lottie had expressed concern over the security of the audio equipment. I agreed; in fact I worried that some of it might have vanished already. She suggested it be moved to the Diedericks house in Avian Park. A young man muscled in on picking up the items from the house and bringing them to the car, taking him all of 2 minutes. When we were ready to drive he asked R20 for his trouble. I refused and he asked R5, which I didn't have, so we drove off despite his clamourings. Maria was home, thank goodness, so we were able to put everything in their living room. However, it is still vulnerable to theft. Chantelle has no music to play on it. It will play CDs and music on a memory stick. We have some CDs she could have after digitizing though L-A may not be keen. Throughout the day, our situation of being potenially marooned here for further weeks caused an undercurrent of worry. My thoughts are that while the Newark flight is still scheduled we have hope, and that we should be able to transit on to Toronto. James called on Messenger and for the first 10 minutes or so we discussed recent events. I had decided to have a real discussion with James about our total disagreement on Christianity. I posed the question: if I were on my deathbed and he were present, and I spoke of my lack of fear of dying since I couldn't wait to be in the arms of Jesus, would he at that late stage attempt to convince me that I was deluded on all matters of faith? His answer was that that he only challenges my faith when he has a wider audience, such as social media. He believes that faith in spiritual matters could eventually lead to the self-destruction of life on earth. He gets this from statements by Carl Sagan and others. He feels a missionary compulsion to convince people of the errors of their destructive beliefs. He also added that he doesn't believe in the existence of a spiritual world. (This is a barrier to accepting Christianity). He then brought up the subject of homosexuality and whether I thought it sinful. I reminded him I was against it when I was an atheist based on the design of the human body, clearly not intended for gay sex. In a discussion I had with L-A the next morning, she mentiond the dangers to humanity not only of Hinduism and Islam, but also Chritianity in its religious form (as exemplified by the crusades). A personal relationship with Jesus is entirely different.

Sat Nov 27

By the early morning the floors were all quite dry, and during the day ahead we did not hear any flooding stories from friends. There was a knock on the door and it was Marsha, who had walked here from the hospital. Last night a man who was drunk tried to grope her and hit her on the forehead when she resisted. From the wound it looked like he had used some sort of weapon. The police had been called and they took her to the hospital, where she waited for hours, never seeing a doctor. Eventually she left and came to us. We gave her a cheese sandwich and coffee and put ointment on the wound. She rested a while and then I took her home. It seems to me that the cause of so much of SA's crime and gender-based violence is actually due to alcohol, to which so many here are adicted, and even the poorest still seem to be able to obtain. On Friday nights there are line ups outside the many licquor stores. I went to buy water and then down to Lottie's. Her house had not suffered in the rain. I brought in the two rolls of floor covering, but she didn't want me to lay them down till next week. On the way home I heard that the US had now banned travel from the affected group of countries, except for US Nationals. Would Canadian nationals transiting through US airports be banned? No-one was saying. I took Marsha home. When I returned I made a list of questions for Vanessa and then called her. She didn't know the answer to the transitting through US airports question, but she was helpful on the other matters. At 7 there was a knock at the door. Chantelle looked very sad. She had gone shopping to town with R100 of her allowance and R100 of her aunt Sina's. Some friend's of her gangster brother Faisal saw her near Food World and she saw them. There was a man and two women. She ran to Pick n Pay Local to elude them but they followed. Near Pick n Pay they attacked her, stealing the R200 from her bra. One of her aunts had witnessed this and they went to the police station to lay a charge. The police suggested moving her to a safe house. The time has come when it isn't safe for her to go shopping. She is being tageted through her brother, who has been in jail, and is a nasty piece of work. Mella sent a WhatsApp saying that a YWAM person was searching for a microwave oven, and if we saw on tomorrow at the church 'bring and take,' could we get it for her.

Fri Nov 26

We attended the prayer group at Riana's for the second time, and it was even better than the first for refreshing the soul and for refreshments for the stomach. I gave Yolanda an updated list of our girls, including Marsha, with addresses and phone numbers if they had one. Wouldn't it be wonderful if the church actually took them on as a project! Grondbeurs were bringing two prospective renters to see the apartment, so we spent a busy time putting things away temporarily in boxes and cupboards. Anthonica called about 3 to say she had not eaten today. Her mother had not taken the money to work, but neither had she told Anthonica where it was in the house. She was going to school at 4 to do an exam. I bought her a couple of sausage rolls and a cream bun. I suggested she not eat them all at once or they would make her sick. Bella asked if I would drive her to town. I picked her and her cousin up and dropped her in the High street. It is possible she bought a dress for the funeral, but she wasn't saying. If she had used her regular allowance to pay for it, I expect she'll be asking me for food before her next allowance. While I was waiting for Bella, there was a knock on the car window, and it was Thandeka Mbolekwa plus children. She had recognized me two years after Laurie-Ann and I had worked with her in Brandvlei running Alpha in the Medium wing. She is doing well; still there. I visited the store that I had taken Lottie to on 19 November, and re-examined the flooring rolls. It crossed my mind that at R60 per roll, I could afford to buy two rolls and lay one over the other. I went to Lottie's home. She has removed all the previous damaged floor covering. I said that despite visiting a number of quality flooring shops I had found nothing I could afford to buy her. The cheapest had been R1410. I then asked how she would feel about two pieces of the R60 material, one on top of the other. She agreed that would be her best affordable choice.

Breaking News: countries are banning travel from SA because of the Omicron variant. It's top of the news and we are directly affected. Initially it was European countries who banned travel from Southern African countries, but tonight we heard that Canada was following suit. Suddenly all our plans are at risk, and without firm information there is little we can do about it other than trust in the Lord.

I drove to the flooring store and bought 2 rolls of the plastic material, and I was able to get them inside the car. I decided not to take them to Lottie now because it was beginning to rain. There had been a storm warning for Cape Town, and about 11:00 there was a massive clap of thunder with lightning sounding extremely close. More lightning and thunder continued accompanied by serious deluge of rain. I went to the bathroom and was slightly shocked to see water coming in under our front door. This is on the first floor! (second for Canadians). I started to mop it up but it was too fast for me, and soon had reached the studio door and gone into the carpet. After half an hour the ferocity of the storm fell as I continued mopping, squeezing the water into our green bucket. By nearly midnight I had three quarters of a bucket of water, and I judged evaporation would complete the job. We went to bed, wondering how our township friends had fared.

Thu Nov 25

No Paarl today; gentle start to the day instead. Bella asked for a lift to town at 1pm, and I took her to Pep where she bought clothes. She asked if I would buy her a dress for a funeral she would be attending at the weekend. I declined. I then took her to a church group in Riverview, and she left the clothes in the back seat. I updated our list of Our Stuff for Sale and posted it to the website and to Facebook. I included the Mercedes even though Lovejoy has said he wants it, but her hasn't paid any deposit. Neither has Mazvita given us a deposite for the 'fridge. As I was cooking the supper, calls came in from Bella, Anthonica and Chantelle. Anthonica had been home alone all day and Tersia had the R400 with her at work. I phoned Anthonica a couple of times to hear if Tersia was back yet. At 8:30 I drove to OK foods, but called her again before buying something, and Tersia was home at last. So all I had to do was to take Bella's bag of clothes to her.

Wed Nov 24

About 9:30 Riaan from Stasie Meubles called, ready to come round and look at our furniture. Grondbeurs phoned to book a showing of the apartment for Friday. Then Riaan arrived, a couple of minutes after L-A emerged from the bedroom. He and I made our lists. Half an hour later he sent a quotation of R6,400. I replied, accepting the quote, and adding several more items that I had overlooked. Final price: R6700, + R400 for pots pans and cutlery. Mella had asked Offie to provide chips (crisps) for today's end of term party, but when he and I spoke he seemed unclear about this so I picked up 4 bags on my way down. At 2:15 I was at the Avian Park mini-mart, but there were no takers for Mella's party till 2:30 when I brought just three who had remembered. I was therefore late at 11 Sally Street, and Mella had already started the music because the video team from YWAM were ready to film. There were about 50 kids, the majority from Offie's ministry. I played quite loud which brought in a few more. Kevin brought the message, for which he had a bunch of candles as video aids, and at one stage they were all lit from the first one. He was possibly illustrating the spread of the Gospel. After his talk was food and there was plenty of it. None of these kids went home dissatisfied, and there was enough for the adults. Lots of movie clips were taken, but whether we'll ever get to see them is unknown. Laurie-Ann had a badly stuffed nose much of the day, which prevented her coming to the ministry. She also felt unconfident of being better tomorrow so she called Este and cancelled her therapy. I gave allowances in cash to Chantelle and Anthonica.

Tue Nov 23

Anthonica phoned at 8 desperate for something to eat before she goes into a day of school exams. I took her a cheese spread sandwich and a breakfast sanswich. She told me later in the day that it helped her a lot and she thinks she did well in the exam. We visited Dr Erik, probably for the last time. He promised a letter of intro for my lung condition, and a letter to facilitate getting a Tramacet and Celebrex prescription in Canada. He also wrote a prescription for L-A. To my pleasant surprise he didn't charge us. I took Bella to town to get 4 CVs stapled, then to the mall to give them out, and finally to Shoprite. Chantelle messaged L-A at 11:30 desperate for something to eat before she goes into an art exam. I was at OK Foods when the message came through but by the time I was done with Bella, she would have been in her exam, so I delivered it later, after the exam. She felt confident she had done well in the exam.

Mon Nov 22

Lovejoy had wanted to arrange the new licence disk for the Mercedes in good time, so this morning we drove together to the Traffic Department. It wasn't such a good day for him because his car had blown a water pipe, draining the engine of coolant. He had called a mechanic friend and walked to our house. We didn't have to wait at 8:30 at the Traffic Department, but I had failed to bring one of the forms for foreigners. We drove back to town and I got it from home, but Lovejoy decided he would prefer to be taken home now, and we'll organise this again at a later date. Lottie called to say that the carpenter had finished her new (old) door, and was ready to be paid. I drove down. She now has a green door. The carpenter seemed not to have discovered screws. The hinges were fixed with nails driven half way in and then bent at right angles. I suspect that when her dog starts working on the door after she has gone out it will break again. I drove to Top Carpet and established that (a) linoleum was almost unknown now, very hard to buy and very expensive and that (b) vinyl flooring would cost R1,410 for the minimum coverage Lottie would need. When I drove down to OVD in the afternoon for Mailbox Club, I first went to see Lottie and told her this, and cut off a piece of her existing flooring. Unlike the first plastic floor covering I had taken her to, hers has a cloth backing which would make it last longer. I will go back to the first place and see if they could get some. We were late starting the mailbox club but I didn't fret, armed with my new insight that almost none of them have watches. Eventually we had 4 new ones. Their names were recorded and I photographed them. Ciska was back for the first time since our first session 18 November. Both her parents had died within the last year, and she had fostered by one of Chantelle's aunts. I laid hands on her and prayed for confort. During the music, Chantelle filmed 'O Holy Spirit' and 'Rock Star.' Chantelle had done a little more preparation than usual for the teaching, which I discovered at the end was about Satan.

Sun Nov 21

Chantelle was a no-show when I tried to pick her up for church. At Lottie's, a 'carpenter' was already checking out her broken front door as I came to take her to church. I took her to the same area where she had been last week. Johan was the preacher. Towards the end of his talk he announced that next week everyone was invited to bring something to contribute to the community. If there was something brought that someone really needed, they could have it. To kick this off he then gave away bank notes to 4 people, inviting them to give them away in turn. When he got to the fifth and last one, a lady sitting near Lottie went up and he gave a note to her. She came back to her seat and gave it to Lottie! It was as we left the church she asked me what note it was, and only then I found out Johan had been giving away R50s. I asked Lottie about the visit to Robertson tomorrow that Chantelle had told about. She said it wasn't tomorrow but would be in a few days time. I took her to McDonalds for a burger, and then bought some groceries for her before taking her home. The carpenter spoke to me asking if I would be paying for her door. I asked him how much and he said R50. If he does it for that it will be good value. At 4:30, I drove Anthonica's cousin back to Aan de Dorns. She of course needed to come too because there were things she wanted to get from him. Then she needed to come to our house to type and print a sheet to go with school work. On the way to her home afterwards she said they had used up all the money from the 18th and I bought them bread and a 'footlong.' She told me that Tersia landed a fruit picking job a week ago and would be paid a week from now. This was really good news, and will cushion their situation on our departure. I was on my way home when Chantelle called asking for a pie, so I returned to OK Foods and then back to her house. I gave her the lesson plan for tomorrow's mailbox club. I asked if she was still expecting to escort Lottie to Robertson tomorrow. She said she was. I told her that Lottie wasn't going there for several days, and then asked if she still had the R100 I had given her. She said she had ...

Sat Nov 20

Anthonica had asked me to fetch her father Henry at 4 and bring him to her birthday party. However, the plan changed when I got there. Henry would take a taxi and I would drive with Anthonica to a small settlement beyond Aan de Doorns to pick up one of her many cousins. Henri's father from next door accompanied us to help find the place. We found it easily enough and brought him back. Young men in their early 20s were gathering. I doubted that any of them were Anthonica's friends. Some had brought beer. I took a few photos including a good one of Anthonica with her parents. It turned out the cake she had made at our place had all been eaten the night before. and hadn't turned out too well. After 15 minutes I went home, with instructions to return at 6:30 to take Henry and his girlfriend home, and maybe her cousin. I was back at 6:30 but Henry had decided to stay till 8:30, and the cousin would be staying till tomorrow. Chantelle asked me for R100 so she could accompany Lottie to the Robertson post office tomorrow. According to Chantelle, Lottie would be receiving more settlement cash from the eye doctor who botched an operation 15 years ago, causing her blindness. Chantelle claims that Lottie will give some or all of the money to her. She also believes she can open a bank account to keep the money in; I'm not so sure at her age. I returned at 8:30 to take Henry and his partner(?) home. I was expecting to see drunk bodies lying around, but there were none. There was no evidence that Tersia or Anthonica had been drinking, although their guests had, but not to excess from what I saw. On the way to Henry's house I told him that we were supporting Anthonica/Tersia with R500 a week, but that over the past 2 weeks she had incurred additional expenses of R1,250. I reminded him that we leave in less than a month and that he needed to step up and help her more than he does. When we arrived near Henry's house he broke down in tears over how he hadn't been able to support his daughter sufficiently, and how grateful he was to us.

Fri Nov 19

We joined a 7am prayer group at Riana's house, where I had attended Carlo's mens' group for a couple of years. It was a real joy to be back in the prayer group atmosphere, touched by Holy Spirit. I was the first one to receive, with laying on of hands. Yolanda asked me for the names of our 5 girls (including Lottie), suggesting that WCC might consider continuing some of the help we had been providing. I gave her the names on a piece of paper, and she asked for addresses and phone numbers, which I should bring next week. After the others had gone. L-A gave the second colouring book to Riana, who gave her a love gift. She is such a woman of God AND a woman of the world. I cleaned up our unit prior to inspection by Grondbeurs. They arrived at 11 and took photos for marketing purposes, and we decided on 3pm on 17 December for the final inspection once everything has gone. I drove to Stasie Meubles and the same nice lady who sold us most of our furniture 3 years ago (Ester?) said she would ask the owner to contact me. After getting an appointment with Dr Erik for next Tuesday at 9am, I bought medications from Carica, and then went to Lottie's. I drove her to the vicinity of Pick n Pay Local, and she attempted to tell me where the store was that she had bought floor covering in the past. Amazingly, since this was the blind leading the sighted, we found it, but it only had plastic approximations to lino; not strong enough. I told Lottie I would search Worcester for what she needs. I brought home roast chicken pieces and rolls for our lunch. L-A was very tired. Jamelia sent a message to L-A saying their stove needed repair, and they had been quoted R100. Marsha wanted unspecified food; the cupboards in her house were bare. I got much of what she probably needed from our living room store, and bought some extra things including a large bag of cornflakes from Pick n Pay. I drove to Jamelia's and handed over R100, and then to Marsha's. Her response while still holding 3 heavy bags of food was to ask for R200 to buy for her birthday. I decided against, not least because of a warning from Chantelle not to give cash to Marsha, who had been seen drunk or high recently.

Thu Nov 18

To Paarl for our regular routine. On our way home we went to Post-Net and collected our passports as sent back by Melanie with the new medical visas. We got back in loadshedding until 2:30, after which I picked up Anthonica so she could bake her own birthday cake. Cake is part of the culture here and good cake is sold in every grocery store so prices are competitive, but Anthonica was determined to bake her own. She came having found a 'how to bake a cake' link on YouTube. She needed ingredients (although I had given her R40 a few days ago to buy them). After I gave up trying to find them at Pick n Pay, I tried to persuade her to let me buy her a ready-made cake, but she wasn't interested. We went to Shoprite and she looked for the ingredients and found them. Back home she had advice and help from L-A as she followed the video lesson on YouTube. I went out and measured Lottie's floor area in preparation for getting her linoleum. She wants 4M x 4M, but by then it was too late to go shopping. L-A had thought the cake-making project would mean we would need to get a takeaway for dinner, because loadshedding would be back at 8, but after persuading Anthonica to have a 2 layer red velvet cake instead of a 3 layer, there was just time for our meatloaf to be baked as well.

Wed Nov 17

I went shopping in the mall and bought berry sorbet for L-A at Woolworths. Then at Checkers I got some fruit. At the checkout I calmly handed in the sorbet, and watched as the salesgirl tried to swipe the barcode without success. She called over her manager who also tried - before realizing it was a Woolworth's product. Only then did I realize what I had done. Moral: After 80 it's probably a good thing to pay for a plastic bag when buying goods, particularly if en route to other stores. I joined Mella at Riverview and drove the kids round to 11 Sally St. By the time the music started some local kids had joined us. In 'God is so Good,' they were all singing random wrong notes on the subsequent 'halleluja.' So I stopped the song and taught them the right notes. After the music it was my turn to bring the message; only the second or third time Mella had ever asked me. I had chosen the subject 'Let's talk about Jesus,' adapted from my Coppleblog (paragraph 3) of September last. I had put the text on my phone for reference. I wanted my words to hit home so I was quite strict when 2 or 3 kids were giggling under their breath - I have no idea why. I sent the oldest one out for 5 minutes. The majority paid attention and even gave a clap at the end. Mella and I drove to Avian Park Library and did it again with about 9 who showed up. These kids all sang 'Good is so Good' correctly. (Mella phoned home and was told that Ronel had come around 3:30 and returned the various items Mella had lent her.) Next week the kids from both locations are all invited to Sally Street, when mixed in with Christmassy things there will be a 'goodby to Uncle Tony and Aunt Laurie-Ann' segment. At 7 I attended a WCC meeting of live stream volunteers. Kenneth gave us some encouraging viewer stats. Average no of real time viewers: 80. 1458 subscribers. Over the last 28 days: 4.4K views of average time 13 minutes. Since we started in January 2021, 76K views. Among the top 5 broadcasts is Charl Munnik's memorial service, for which I was on the close-up camera. I mentioned that it would not be hard to set up an Internet radio channel for the English translation; but it would need rather more sophistication for the translation for be available for people listening later.

Tue Nov 16

At 5am I collected Anthonica to come for wifi. We had arranged that Bella would spend the day with us from 10:30, so the only time for Anthonica to study here was before that. As soon as Anthonica was here I went back to bed and slept till 8:30. Around that time my phone rang, and it was Dr Herbst. We had left a message for him to call before we booked a second MRI for L-A, and before we had a departure date from SA. I explained that we had neither time enough nor the money to begin any new investigations into Lauri-Ann's pinched nerve. He completely agreed. He gave me quite a detailed analysis of L-A's situation, and stressed that surgery should only be a last ditch solution. If she had it once, a few years later she would need more surgery, like a domino effect. I asked him if he would write a report for her doctors in Canada to go with the radiologist report on the CT scan, and he readily agreed. I took Anthonica home by 10:30 and picked up Bella. She would spend much of the day with us. She and L-A got started watching the movie Joseph and Mary. We had ham sandwiches for lunch. Mid afternoon L-A asked Bella if she would like to go now or watch another movie. She chose movie. I had been negotiating with Ronel about picking up Mella's accounting stuff and was going to do this at 5:30 this evening from her parents' home in Worcester West. I left our house with Bella about 4:45, which would give me time to go to Fairbairn Pharmacy on the way. As soon as we were in the car Bella asked if I would buy a pair of shoes for her, and also spray and roll-on, and she wanted me to take her to her relative's house in Riverview. I expressed surprise that she hadn't told me before we had left home so we could have gone earlier. She said she was too shy. We went to Pep and took about 20 minutes for her to choose the shoes. The Pharmacy visit was now out of the question. I said she must come with me to Worcester West and she said 'no,' it was essential I took her to Riverview now, but she said she would get home from there herself. So we did that, and I was only a few minutes late at Worcester West. Ronel's father gave me Mella's house keys, a back-up drive and a stack of receipts, which I drove to Mella's. She plugged the drive into her computer and found the files of expenses and income had been updated almost to the present, which was a great relief. When I got home I tried calling Bella; I was very worried about her walking home from Riverview. There was no answer. I called a few times over the next couple of hours. Eventually L-A got a WhatsApp from her to say she was home. Another great relief!

Mon Nov 15

I went to Pep-Cell to buy a cheap phone for Lottie, and found they no longer had cheap phones, and certainly not the one I had bought her before for R155. I tried Ackermans - same situation. So I walked to Cell Repair Centre and bought a phone for R200 which seemed to have the same layout that Lottie was used to. I called Grondbeurs and gave them our notice. They will get back to us with the exit routine. I spent more than an hour trying to find the number of Lottie's new phone, and then put R40 air time on it. I am useless at operating the talk and text phones, but experience with the first one we had bought her taught me that she is far from useless, and that Chantelle is very good at them. Both of them can remember telephone numbers after hearing them a couple of times. So I took the phone down to Lottie, and reminded her not to leave it lying anywhere in her house. While I was there she drew my attention to her linoleum floor which was ragged and even dangerous if she tripped on it. I told her I would pay for another piece of lino. Around this time the lower hinge on her front door broke, and it was extremely difficult for the door to operate in any functional way. I said she should get hold of a carpenter; it needed replacing. There are probably several carpenters living in OVD who would be only too happy to deal with the door. She actually has a spare door which might work. Chantelle rounded up 7 girls and 2 boys for Mailbox Club and we got going in the library. I had forgotten my phone so there are no pictures of today's session. After she had finished her teaching I asked all of them to consider what was the most important thing they had learned, and then I asked them each in turn. I took Chantelle back to our house for wifi. She was very diligent and worked hard. She was rewarded by having lamb stew supper with us. I only gave her a small helping at first in case she didn't like the Arizona Rub spice, but when I asked if she would like more she eagerly accepted it. I called CRA on Skype around 7pm our time. I spoke to 3 people who were all helpful and knowledgable. The GST and Trillium situations arose from my reassessment in 2019 following my realization that I had failed to report my British pension income. More income - less grant eligibility. The 2020 reassessment arose from the fact that I hadn't responded to them on medical expenses, so they disallowed them. I hadn't responded because I hadn't known about them till yesterday, when they had advised me to look for messages in MyAccount. The lady I spoke to suggested I should pay the amount due and then claim it back when I sent in the medical paperwork, which I will do in Canada.

Sun Nov 14

We arrived at Lottie's at 9, and she got in the car. Chantelle passed by and I invited her also to come to church. We managed to park right next to the church door, and Chantelle escorted Lottie to a seat. Once L-A was also seated I took Chantelle for a coffee in Milk and Honey. I took some photos of Lottie and Chantelle just before the service got underway. It was good, with Kenneth preaching, taking his cue from Jesus sleeping through the storm on the Sea of Gallilee. He still guides us through stormy times. Lottie enjoyed it all. We went for burgers at McDonald's which were just what our guests needed. When we were helping Lottie into her house, it became clear to me that her front door was finally broken, either from the efforts of her dog, or general wear and tear. I told her she needs to find a carpenter. I expect we will end up paying. This is not a security disaster since she has an inner door that locks. I recceived an email from CRA recommending I check the messages for me on MyAccount. Last time I tried to get onto MyAccount they had recently instituded multi-stage verification, requiring a North American phone number. When I tried today there was a matrix system as an alternative identity checker, and it worked for me. In my MyAccount inbox were six new messages. Some related to 2019 and some to 2020. There was a reassessment for 2020 saying I owed $1282.06. They wanted to see all our medical expense slips for 2020. There were messages from GST and Trillium saying that if I paid them about $150 I would resume receiving their benefit payouts. I decided to call the CRA tomorrow to make sure I understood all of the demands. I drove to the mall and I bought ham and potato salad that she had suddenly developed a yenn for. Anthonica asked to come for wifi. I went out to look for the shop which sells the 2-hob cooking stoves. I found it, and they still sold a similar stove even cheaper than before, at R125. It's hard to imagine how it can be made and shipped for such a low price, the equivalent of $CAD 10. I drove to Anthonica's house and Tersia installed and tested the stove. It worked. I took Anthonica back for wifi. She worked long and hard at schoolwork. This is not like homework, supplementing the day's teaching. it is the day's teaching.

Sat Nov 13

Vanessa got back to us to say there were no flights to Newark on 30 November, so we'll be flying 18 December. This information allows us to really get started on the exit process. Chantelle got a message to us that Lottie's phone had been stolen. I knew we would have to get her another R150 phone. I brought Anthonica and Tersia to Foodworld. While they were shopping I bought the school supplies that Anthonica had asked for. She called as I was leaving Boland Crafts, so I picked them up a few minutes later. When we got to their home, Anthonica asked me to take her and Cay-Lene to town. I dropped them on Durban St. When I had been home a while I couldn't find my wallet. I searched and searched and prayed. I didn't think I had got out of the car when I picked up Anthonica, so I went down and searched the car. Nothing. Then I remembered I had been to Boland Crafts, and had gathered my things together, including my wallet, on a counter-top there. I could visualise it. I must have left my wallet on the counter. I walked to Boland Crafts but they had closed for Saturday afternoon. I walked home intending to go back first thing Monday. By now both of us were suffering and praying, trying not to think of the consequences of this unforced error. I went into the bedroom for something and glanced at Laurie-Ann's bedside table. There was the wallet, in plain sight where I normally placed the green water bottle. I have absolutely no memory of putting it there. The thought even crossed my mind that the Holy Spirit had sent an angel to get it from Boland Crafts. We were mightily relieved. Now I was able to go to the mall to pick up the battery for the white Blackberry. Although I showed the owner the receipt for R100 I had been charged for the battery now in my phone, he wouldn't budge on the R150 I had paid yesterday for this one. He said the last one was the last in their local stock, and today's was the last in their warehouse in Cape Town. I went to Lottie's. Her phone had been stolen by a woman she knows well, and whom she had paid R30 to escort her to the Day Hospital recently. How someone that Lottie saw as a friend would steal the phone of a friend is hard to understand. The phone of a blind person is a lifeline. I told her i would buy her another. I also asked if she would like to come to church with us tomorrow, and she was delighted. About 5:30 I went onto the balcony and saw Anthonica and Cay-Lene walking towards me along the High Street. I went downstairs and drove out of our gate, where they got in. They were in high spirits. Anthonica asked for chips, and then a pie, saying they were hungry. I had to get food for Bella at OK, so I got them sausage rolls. By the time we got to Manikin Street, she was doubled up with nausea, and Cay-Lene asked me to stop the car, and opened the car door. Anthonica vomited out of the door. I asked Cay-Lene if she had eaten anything, and she told me they had had fish n chips, doughnuts and other things. Cay-Lene had paid. Anthonica was discovering that over-eating is worse than being hungry, particularly after several days of hunger. Tersia called to say they had food and power, but their stove had failed. It is a 2-hob electrical heating stove that I had bought them 2 years ago.

Fri Nov 12

As we got up L-A told me that Este had heard there could be a 4th wave of Covid around Christmas. This morning we received a reply from Melanie saying there was no way she would write a covering letter for our visas, since they reflected what we had asked for 6 months before. This annoyed me, and I won't be rceommending her to anyone. But it also increased a thought growing in my head that maybe we should leave in November rather than 18 December. The sooner I get to see some medical specialists in Toronto the better. Lottie called mid morning and said she was at Pick n Pay Local. I said I would get there. I parked the car and she and Weeben were there with the beggar who I have given bread rolls to from time to time. He turned out to be Weeben's father! Lottie asked if I would give him a lift to OVD. She had allowed someone access to her phone to buy air time, and they had put in a different SIM card. I don't understand what is going on but I am worried that her 'friends' take advantage of her blindness. At 11 I joined a meeting Mella had called to discuss the current status of Teachers OTN. There have been recent issues which she wanted to air with her board and stakeholders (I am not on the board). The situation has affected Mella's blood pressure. After the meeting I delivered food to Jamelia's house. I wasn't expecting to see her, since she had gone with her grandmother to the hospital. But apparently, Sina the grandmother had said there was no need or benefit in Jamelia staying there with her. Last weekend, Jamelia went to stay with an aunt in Rawsonville who was dying of cancer. After 3 days she died and Jamelia was with her. Anthonica wanted wifi so I brought her over at about 4 pm. I took her photo on the balcony. I stayed out and shopped for flip-flops for Jamelia. I then drove to Cell Tec in the mall. The Blackberry battery they had sold me for R100 on 20 October was performing well, and we had decided to get another one for the white Q10, since the price was far lower than in Canada. Cell Tec didn't have another battery in stock but they ordered one to be there tomorrow. We hadn't heard back from Vanessa with our issued tickets so I called her before the end of business. My first call was not picked up. 20 minutes later I called again, and mercifully she answered immediately. She told me she had sent us the tickets and asked if they might have gone into a spam filter (I don't have one on GMail). Then I told her we had a dilemma since our visas were coming with an expiry of 30 November. She said she could switch the date to November with no extra charge if we confirm we wanted that within the next hour. We spent the next hour going through the plan I had made for our exit from SA, and then listing advantages of each option, November or December. I called Vanessa before an hour was up, and said we would prefer November, but it would have to be Tuesday 30 November. We would need the 29th for Covid shots, and before that was a Sunday. So I asked Vanessa to see if there was a flight to Newark on 30 November, and if so to book it. If not, we would stay with 18 December. I felt much better after today's progress on our travel plans. We have made a start on the homecoming. Hallelujah!

Thu Nov 11

Vanessa had received our credit card details and said she expected to purchase our air tickets today. This is good. However, we heard nothing more from her during the day, and no answer to a second message I sent her yesterday. It was Paarl day and L-A had a good session, including traction, with Este. Afterwards the regular routine: Coffee Cab and Goede Hoop. We went straight to Avian Park on our return. First I gave Marsha R100, putting a smile back on her face. Then we piched up Anthonica and Jamelia and took them to our home for wifi, after a detour to Mcdonalds for burgers. I received a message from the municipality saying they had reduced my parking fine from R800 to R400, after my mitigating circumstances letter. So I drove over to the the Municipal Court and had the pleasure of paying Tabiso, who had helped me when I came the first time. FW Declerk died this morning of mesothelioma, a cancer that affects the lining of the lungs. That got me looking for more information, and yes, some of the symptoms are familiar. I re-read the report from my CT scan, and it was right there: 'The most probable diagnosis is left-sided mesothelioma.' Some time later I checked on life expectancy after diagnosis of this condition, which was quite a shock: 1 - 2 years. I should have been diagnosed a year ago. Do the maths. Why am I still feeling relatively OK? At Pick n Pay, Elaine came up to me and told me it was her birthday. She is 54. I bought her some small flowers in a pot, which delighted her. I stopped by Jamelia's, and she told me her grandmother was going into Worcester Hospital for the next 3 days, and Jamelia would accompany her. She asked for money for food while they were here. I asked who would be taking the role of heading the family, and she said her sister. Melanie sent an image of our new medical visas, finally issued. They still have the original requested date of 30 November! I replied to her that I was surprised they hadn't added an extra couple of month of validity, and asked her to provide a letter that we could use at the airport to reduce the chance of any serious repercussions of leaving after the visa had expired. At suppertime I saw Chantelle had tried to call me several times, so I called her. She wanted to discuss something face to face to do with her teacher. When I had finished my meal I went to see her. Her teacher, who had been so good to her, including taking her to Tygerberg Hospital a week ago, was moving to a different position in the school, and Chantelle would have a new teacher. Tomorrow there is a farewell event and Chantelle wanted to contribute a 2L bottle of Coka Cola. I expressed surprize at the choice, thinking that flowers like those I had given Elaine would be more acceptable, but Chantelle was adamant, and as we found when she bought the coke down the street, it was half the price the flowers would have been. I was relieved that the problem was easy to solve, and impressed at Chantelle's genuine appreciation for her teacher.

Wed Nov 10 - The 4 year anniversary of our arrival in South Africa

I picked up Lottie and Weeben at 8 and took them to the Day Hospital. Lottie was unable to call me on her phone before she went in, so the plan was that she would ask a pharmacy person to call me when she was ready. I thought that buying a puffer at the pharmacy could surely not take a long time. I was a little concerned as Weeben led her inside. Driving back into town, I was soon reminded by the unlit traffic lights that loadshedding was now in force. I decided to get some cash out of the bank, and then go next door to McDonalds for an egg Mcmuffin, hash brown and coffee. It went down very well. L-A was very understanding when I got home and she started to get up, that she wouldn't have hot coffee, yet I had had one. As L-A ate her cold breakfast, I worked on this journal on Pink Dell, which has an excellent battery. Around 1 pm I remembered Lottie. She hadn't called or asked anyone to call me. I drove to the Day Hospital and searched for her. No luck. I drove back to town, and as I was passing Pick n Pay Local, Weeben darted out and knocked on my window. It turned out they had walked from the hospital. I don't know why she hadn't asked someone to call me, which she has done in the past. But how providential that I was now able to take them home. The pharmacy had given her two puffers for free! She had brought groceries at Pick n Pay. The two children she believed had stolen her puffer came to her door, and she gave them a piece of her mind, and they slunk off. I had time for a very quick lunch with L-A before driving down to Riverview. Mella and I filled our cars with kids and drove round to Offie's. When some local children heard the music, they came into the garage and joined us. It was a good music session, though I say it myself. Mella gave a summary talk on the Joseph story. We left for Avian Park about 3:30, and I picked up the keys of the container from a lady called Miriam at 24 Tinktinkie St. There were only about 8 kids. Marsha's sister and some relatives had noticed me and told me they were desperate for food. I give them R100. Chantelle also found me inside the container, and I gave her her R200 allowance. Anthonica called and asked if she could come to the container for her allowance. She came with her mother after everyone had left. I locked up the container and returned the keys to Miriam. It was only when I got to town that I couldn't find my guitar and amplifier. I must have left them in the container. I retraced my steps, picking up the key again, and retrieved the guitar and amp successfully. On the way home I bought a bottle of Stoneys. After supper, L-A received a message from Marsha to say that her sister had spent the R100 I had given her but the food she had bought had not reached her or her mother, who had wept over the situation. Marsha begged for some more money. I blame myself for assuming her sister would buy for the family.

Tue Nov 9

I picked up Anthonica for wifi at 10:30. This is definitely cheaper than buying her data, and once she's here I don't really mind how long she stays as long as I am also here. She is quiet and studious. When she needs a break she likes to go out on the balcony. Not having heard from Vanessa, I called her and all was well. She said that January fares would actually be higher than December. I said we want to finalize flights on 18 Dec via Newark as soon as possible. The US has relaxed its rules considerably as of 2 days ago, allowing vaccinated travellers from most countries, and there has been a significant spike in international travellers. I sent emails to Sydney and Lynn with our medical status and explained the reason we hadn't returned already. I called Dr Erik. My pleural fluid is still benign. He had contacted a thorassic specialist in Cape Town, and also suggested I see Hanlie Du Toit. I said that I don't want to see any more specialists when we now will be flying out 18 December. I don't want to pay for more consultancies, or for tests they might recommend. I don't want to be told I must start a course of chemotherapy or radiation. I will be OK to fly now and want it to stay that way. I think Erik understood my points, and he didn't try to argue me out of them. I will be asking him for a report on my status quo after the CT scan and fluid analysis. I communicated with Harry but he isn't saying if he still wants the hyraulic brake pump. Lottie and her young chaperone Weeben turned up at our door without any warning! She had been trying to call me but couldn't get through; I discovered later in the day that my phone needed a reboot. Lottie told us that two small children must have stolen her athsma puffer (she called it a pompey) when they came into her house asking for bread. Their parents must have taught them at age 5 or 6 to steal anything they could find from a blind lady who was giving them food. I took them to Durban Pharmacy, which was closed. We then went to Fairbairn Pharmacy, which had also just closed - but Carica opened up to serve us. Although she had puffers, when I said that Lottie's was a brown one, she said they were more expensive and she couldn't be sure which model was right. She came out to the car and confirmed this directly with Lottie. So we decided I would take Lottie to the pharmacy in the Day Hospital tomorrow morning, where they would have records of the right model of puffer for Lottie. Vanessa sent the itinerary with the price, R20,075. I replied with L-A's credit card details. It sounds like my concerns that it might be hard now to buy tickets were unfounded. Thank you Lord!

Mon Nov 8

We went for our final haircuts with Joan. Although it was during lockdown, she has a generator. She had also moved down the street a few doors. This is a heavy week for loadshedding. I heard a report on SAFM that part of the problem was that some municipalities were not complying with loadshedding orders, but allowing the lights to stay on for their residents. I also heard that the Minister of Energy had said that South Africa cannot comply with COP26 resolutions to cut back on the use of coal for generating power (he probably has ownership in some coal mines). After the haircuts we got lunch at McDonalds. I checked in at the municipal court to see if my request for clemency had been looked at yet. It hadn't. They said I would receive a call when they were ready. Bella asked me to take her and her father(?) downtown. At 2:15 I went to pick up Chantelle - but she was not there. I drove to to OVD but there were no Mailbox Club girls around. I waited outside the library till 3:10 but no-one came. L-A sent a message that Chantelle was now in Avian Park, so I drove there. I told her it was now too late for Mailbox Club. I asked her for details of her trip to Tygerberg, since part of me was doubtful she had actually gone. But I was wrong. Her teacher had accompanied her to Tygerberg last Friday. This lady is special! Chantelle had been taken into sugery and (in her words) fell asleep. When she awoke she had more movement in her elbow. The doctor encouraged her to do regular stretching exercises and said that she would be able to straighten her arm in time. When she asked me for money I told her her father had been drunk yesterday. She then admitted his monthly routine was to pay Maria R1,000, and spend the rest of his pay on himself including alcohol. This explains the family's financial difficulties, and the fact that Chantelle has become so dependent on us. When I put myself in her situation I can only admire her fortitude and determination somehow to keep going. I then took Anthonica (and 3 others) to town, and got new trousers for Anthonica. I also paid the Pathcare bill for the analyses of my pleural fluid. The complete treatment on 27-28 October had cost us R26,975. I bought energency rations to carry Chantelle through till my next allowance to her on 11 November. I was home in time to do our grocery shopping, though by now I was very tired. Late tonight L-A got down to making sure her GMail was operational with 2-step verification, finding that it appeared to be working correctly, using her SA number. I assume that when we we return to Canada she will be able to change the text number for 2-step verification, even though she may no longer have access to the SA number.

Sun Nov 7

Luckily Lottie called early, by when I had remembered we were going to Hillsong today in Somerset West. I told her I was really sorry but I couldn't bring chicken before we left, but would bring her something for supper. L-A gifted both colouring books to Jeugen and Anneli; she spotted Anneli just as we arrived. She was very appreciative. In the introductory period, Jeugen mentioned Walter, a Canadian, whom he had met casually a few days ago and invited to church. Walter was just in front of us. The message was from Lucinda and all about water, both physical and living, and both essential. At the end we chatted to Walter at some length. He is in real estate in Cape Town. This was only the second time he was ever in a church service! We gave him one of our mission cards. We bought some products from Wellness Warehouse and Montagu and then headed to Woolworths for sandwiches, which we took to Strand. We found a spot from where we could see the beach and waves without getting out of the car, and enjoyed our sandwiches and coffee. After about 40 minutes we drove home. As we neared the turn-off to Rawsonville I called Anthonica. She had called yesterday saying she was desperate for a new pair of school trousers. When we got to her house I asked to see her ripped trousers, but they had been thrown away already! She had 'lost' the school skirt I had seen her in a month ago. I agreed to take her to buy another pair of trousers tomorrow afternoon. We drive to Pick n Pay Local and I got a chicken leg and a bun for Lottie. While giving it to her, Moses turned up drunk at her house. He wanted a lift and got in the back seat of our car. I through him out. So this was why he and Maria never have any money for their kids; Moses is drinking it. Anthonica called for power and Powetime wouldn't cooperate; giving an error message. I called and said she must use a R20 I had given to her yesterday as emergency money. She countered by saying she needed it for taxi fares tomorrow morning to get her new ID. I capitulated and took her R20 on a trip just for that; not my favourite thing to do. When I got home I bought power for us just to be sure I could, and it worked.

Sat Nov 6

Some WhatsApp communication with Harry confirmed that he really does think he wants the hydraulic brake pump that we have for sale, after checking the part numbers. I said I would get a quote for shipping from Post-Net. He called me and told be I don't have to worry about him because he is a police officer. We seem to be building a measure of trust. Mella sent a voice message to L-A to ask if I would take food to one of her girls, Rochelle. She gave us Abigail's number, since Rochelle has no phone, but when I called it turned out Rochelle was at a funeral. We agreed that I would bring the food to Avian Park Primary School at 3. In response to the 'sponsors' appeal, K replied and said that of course she would help. Then she said she was worried I would die in SA. I replied to her as follows:
I am not going to die any time soon, and certainly not in SA. My lungs are playing up somewhat, but not painful, and it's no worse than any time during the last year, and now we know the cause of the problem. Here's why we weren't able to come home months ago as planned. We applied for 6 month medical visas more than 5 months ago. Without them we are illegal here. The Department of Home Affairs deals with immigration matters and has not yet sent our visas. They are working at 1/3 capacity because of Covid. About 2 weeks ago, with agreement from our immigration lawyer, who had not been at all keen on our leaving without the visas, we decided to leave anyway even if we don't have the visas. The normal penalty for such a transgression is blacklisting for 5 years - no entry allowed back into SA. Even if they send them tomorrow, and have the sense to give us some extra time, we can't get away in less than a month - just too many things to do. We are probably leaving on 17 December, and have a quote for tickets, but are just checking the January prices in case they are much lower. When we do get home we will be in Toronto several months staying with and caring for L-A's 92 year old father.
I went to Post-Net and got a quote to send the hydraulic brake pump to Harry in Alexandra - or more precisely to Post-Net's nearest branch in the Grayston Shopping Centre, Sandton. Interestingly, the organization that had sold it to me was SMS Car Sales & Purchase Co, 29 A, 13 Kew Rd, Bramley, Sandton - Corner of Louis Botha Ave 2090, tel: 011 430 5000/1 Cell: 065 850 9110. Bella called wanting a lift downtown, and since I wasn't actually involved with helping anyone else at that moment I went down immediately. I took her to Shoprite, but she didn't make it clear when I should pick her up. I assumed she would call me so I returned home. Bad move. She said she told me she would be 5 minutes, and to wait. She got a taxi home. I drove to Avian Park Primary School for 3 but there was no Rochelle. After 10 minutes I called Abigail and got her mother. She said she would arrange for Leandre to come to me. 15 minutes later she was in the car and telling me that Rochelle was still at the funeral. She said she would look after the food for Rochelle. Not knowing either of them well I was sceptical, but this saga had lasted long enough already so I decided to trust her. Lottie called and asked if I would bring her some chicken tomorrow. I was home at 6 talking to James when the i-Pad switched itself off. At first I thought ot was a local Internet glitch, but then realized it was loadshedding. I went to bed, where L-A was already sleepinga, and slept soundly for 2 hours, and when I awoke drove down to Beluchi's and bought pizzas for our dinner.

Fri Nov 5

This was Day 2 of the Iris Africa Zoom, due at 2. Lottie called at 9:30 saying she had R200 to give me. That got my attenton. I drove down. Soon it was clear she had a whole other agenda, though she did give me the R200. Once a month she goes to the day hospital for a check up. She wanted me to take her and chaperone her. When we got there she was noticed by a doorkeeper who took her ID to scan it, and waved us on past many people waiting. After nearly an hour her name was called to come to one of the windows. That was the beginning of a sequence of moving from one location to another. At one point her blood pressure and weight were taken. She is 7Kg less than I at 52Kg. Her blood pressure was 207, very high, so we moved on to another area to see a doctor. After another hour it was 1:30. She was fine if I went now, and she would ask a sister to call me when she needed picking up. She is quite capable of getting help when needed and makes friends with anyone she is sitting next to. So I left and bought pies for lunch, arriving home just as the action was starting on the Iris Zoom. The surprise main speaker was Heidi, in Pemba, with a group of refugees from the awful war with Al Shabaab. We heard stories of traumatized wives being forced to eat the brains of beheaded husbands. But the work of evangelism and discipleship has continued, using technology like audio Bibles. Heidi's main conclusion was you can only win the hearts of the terorists if first you sincerely forgive them. Heidi seemed more unprepared, and more reliant on the Holy Spirit than usual, but being exposed to such things is hardly going to calm someone down. Just after it ended I received a call form a sister at the Day Hospital to say I could pick up Lottie now. She told me the Dr. wasn't too concerned about her blood pressure, and had given her some medications. For my part, spending several hours in the day hospital as she got her medical attention had been an interesting experience.

Thu Nov 4

I took Bella and Cathy downtown. I called Dr Herbst's assistant and arranged that he would call me on his return from vacation and we could discuss whether the benefits of a second MRI for L-A in our situation were worth the ~R10,000 cost. My gut feel is that it would give only marginal additional information which, in a worst case situation might require surgery, which we cannot afford in SA. J had repied to my message saying she would help but would like a tax receipt but wouldn't work with IMC. I said there is no other charity that will funnel funds to us, and I suggested she send half as much as she would like to send, so that the result is the same from a tax standpoint. I sent a similar appeal letter to L. Jamelia called to say she had dropped the toothbrush I bought her last week into the toilet. I said I would bring another one later. When looking for any message from Bella I saw a please-call-me from Chantelle's teacher. She had arranged for Chantelle to go to Tygerberg hospital for observation of her arm, which she hasn't been able to straighten since the collision with a bicycle in 2018. She asked if I would take her R100 for incidental expenses. I figured there would be time to do this before the Iris African Zoom at 2pm. But first we had soup. Chantelle was waiting when I arrived at OVD. She asked for an additional R50 for food, and then asked if I would pay her every week on the same day, but I reminded her that we had a system, and I wasn't going to change it just for her. I got home just as L-A was logging into the Zoom call. There were Iris missionaries from all over Africa and the Middle East, and then Will and Emelyn Hart and several continuity people. Surprise Sithole spoke at one point. The key address was by Will Hart: a rousing call to missionaries to do the work of discipleship they had signed up for, and not to become discouraged and return to their secular jobs as Peter had done after the crucifixion. Both Jamelia and Anthonica had asked to come for wifi, and Jamelia wanted power. I had tried to buy it on Powertime for her. but got an error message. So I bought R20 worth from OK and watched her meter as she keyed in the numbers. The meter reported 11.7 KWH, exactly as on the slip. So her meter was working and rands meant for power weren't being siphoned off to pay their municipal taxes. Harry called to say he had sent me a WhatsApp but I hadn't responded yet. I brought the girls to our place and 10 minutes later all 4 of our laptops were in use.

Wed Nov 3

I completed my first 'Sponsoring our girls - 6 month anniversary' letter and sent it to J. It was dual purpose; letting her know the successful completion of the first 6 month, and seeing if she might sponsor two more months. Over the next 2 days I hope to send similar letters to the other donors. We desperately need cash to take our credit cards off their boiling points. As food prices rise here, the needs of the families exceed their previous needs. Bella called about noon to say she had been bitten on the leg and needed medical attention. After at first suggesting she get a taxi to the Fairbairn Pharmacy, I decided to take her. When I saw it, I was pretty sure it was a large boil. This was confirmed the pharmacy who sold us a boil kit. I was home in time for a soup lunch before driving to Riverview to pick up half the kids and take them to the Esselyn Park library. Mella took the others. Ronel couldn't come out so it was just Mella and I. They worked through part 2 of a video teaching about Joseph. Then Mella and I went on to Avian Park library, but no-one turned up by 3:45, so we visited a group of kids near Folla's ministry building to give out fruit and cookies. I had a call from 'Harry' in Johannesburg who was interested in the hydraulic brake pump. I asked him to continue the conversation on WhatsApp. Vanessa got back to us with itineries to Toronto via Amsterdam or Newark, but only gave prices for December. Newark was somewhat cheaper but L-A remembers being stuck in the Newark airport overnight in a snowstorm. I replied to Vanessa asking for January prices so we could decide which month. I checked our AiO account and confirmed my Mastercard was paid. But I also noticed our maximum loan was $342 above the limit of $155,000. Because this shouldn't happen, I called Solutions Banking. We had benefited by the timing of the interest payment and the reimbursement from Simplii. This contra transaction is why I sometimes notice the AIO appears to change near the end of the month. I should pay the credit card from the AIO by the 28th of the month. What I must do now is send a further $350 from Simplii to get below the limit. I could just afford that by using almost all of the $1,000 overdraft protection, so I e-transferred the cash. In preparation for the Iris Africa Zoom event tomorrow, we prayed for Andrew and Angela Sesay, Irisers in Sierra Leone who had been allocated to us as prayer partners. I also watched a bunch of the short videos made by participants in tomorrow's conference. Mella's kids' ministry started in the Esselen Park library for the Riverview group, but when we got to the Avian Park library, no one turned up. Mella decided to visit several pockets of her previous proteges and give out refreshments. We watched the final episode of S6 of 'When calls the heart.' We had enjoyed it all very much. There are 2 more seasons out there but they aren't on SA Netflix.

Tue Nov 2

I took the car round to MMJ before breakfast, and dropped into Pick n Pay on the walk home for a few groceries. At home, after breakfast, I processed the photos from the last 2 weeks and posted them to Flickr. At about 11, Brian called from MMJ to say the car was ready; it was just being washed. I walked there and was pleasantly surprised by the bill, just R393 to do both the jobs. I went to Dr. Herbst's offices to pick up an application for L-A to arrange a second MRI in Paarl. Then I went round the corner to Radiology and got the disk of her first MRI on 25 October. I went to the mall to see if I could find a nightdress for Laurie-Ann, since her present one is way past its best before date. I visited several stores, and in Jet found a pretty one without a slogan on the front which I thought might fit. I received a text from L-A saying Bella had asked for some Med-Lemon pills for 'flu. I found them without diffiulty in Dis-Chem. I drove to Pelikaan Street, and first spoke to Jamelia. No, the phone was not hi-jacked by her brother this time, and she also needed headache pills. I drove on a few yards to Bella's and gave her the 'flu pills. Then I came home for lunch. It didn't take long for L-A to discover that the nightdress was too small. I filled up with diesel, although my tank was still 2/3 full (a lot of diesel in a Merc). Tomorrow, petrol and diesel are going up steeply. Interesting that it is scheduled for just after the municipal elections yesterday. Maybe the ANC thought they would would lose fewer votes if people hadn't just been hit with a fuel hike. Melanie replied to my message, and recommended we leave when we must and risk being blacklisted. I will give her a date when she should return the passports by if the visas aren't issued. I emailed Vanessa Frankal of VTravel to say we would like to travel in December or January back to Canada; could she provide quotes. I went out again in the afternoon and returned the nightdress. There was an announcement on SAFM that stage 2 load shedding would be back at 4 pm. I got home shortly before that, and our power stayed on, so Worcester wasn't in the first wave. Ours came at 8 pm, a minute or too before we ate a candle-lit dinner.

Mon Nov 1

I woke up about 4:30, and checked my phone. The transfer had arrived in Protonmail. I got up and went to the computer. But after transferring the $500 to the Solutions Banking line of credit, there appeared to me to be insufficient room to pay the Mastercard without exceeding my $155,000 limit. I went ahead with the payment anyway. If it was rejected I would phone Solutions Banking and try and understand better what was happening. I went back to bed, hoping I would sleep soundly rather than dream about the problem. I slept fine. We were woken about 9 by someone calling my name. I went onto the balcony but the streets were almost deserted. Then I opened the front door and Jamelia and her sister were there. They wanted (1) a glass of water (2) peanut butter sandwiches (3) a sanitary pad for Jamelia (I had taken her a packet last night but she forgot to bring a spare one with her). Jamelia is not yet old enough to vote but she has taken an interest in the election and is volunteering with the ACDP. a Christian party, with the current dubious distinction of trying to stop the vaccination of children. I spent 90 minutes keying in the kids expenditure in the past week, and then sending the allowances to Bella and Tersia. I started work on a message to that small group of very kind supporters who had responded 6 months ago to my plea for sponsors for our girls so we could afford to provide them with food and money. They would be interested to know how things have gone on that project, and if they have the means might even support them for the next 2 months. I sent the following message to our immigration lawyer:
Hello Melanie
We are looking for more advice from you about what to do. Here are some questions.
1. You said you thought Home Affairs would extend the validity of our visas if they approve them with no remaining validity. We are now less than one month from their expiry. Have you previous experience of this happening? Surely they have never been in this situation before. We assume they are not communicating with you about our case. We need 6 weeks to organize our travel, give notice to our landlord, and sell our stuff once we have visas in our hands. Travelling in December is much more expensive, so we are currently tentatively targeting January.
2. We have new medical situations which demand our return home asap. A CT scan last week has revealed a large tumour in my lung which has so far required the draining of fluid from that area 3 times, and getting much more frequent. (It is possible I never had TB although I was treated for it.) Laurie-Ann has 2 herniated disks in her neck that need treatment. Our travel insurance ran out long ago. We can't afford to ask you to obtain a third set of medictal visas.
3. What would be the likely result if we turned up at the airport without valid visas?
If you were in our situation, what would you do?
- Tony & Laurie-Ann
Mid afternoon I got back to the Mastercard situation, since the Canadian Banks would now be open should I need to call. There was no message saying I had gone over my limit. I rechecked the main line of credit from where I had paid the $500 to Mastercard. It clearly showed the receipt of the $500, and then the payment of that amount to Mastercard. I also knew that the updating of the Mastercard balance could take 72 hours. It seemed to me that the Mastercard had been paid, and what I had seen at 4:30 this morning suggesting otherwise was as a result of the 72 hours delay, and perhaps me not being alert. Worst case situation: the card would not be paid this month - not a disaster. However, I don't want any alarm bells ringing at Mastercard HQ, so paying at least the minimum is highly recommended. We received a FaceBook message from Jamelia with a list of food she requested. I was loath to go out again and was not certain that someone else in the family might have authored the message. One of the requests was 'something to cook,' a phrase we haven't seen before from Jamelia. I tried calling Jamelia but no-one was answering.

Sun Oct 31

Tomorrow is municipal elections voting day. It is also our last chance to give notice to Grondbeurs if we want to leave in December, without paying for accommodation when we won't be here. But we still don't have our passports, and neither of us wants to risk being turned back at the airport for not having our papers in oder. And Grondbeurs will be closed because voting day is a national holiday. L-A really wanted to be in church today because she hadn't been for a month, so she came. I was on camera. As we arrived Johan was right by the car, and I told him I had been sleeping in the bed he had occupied in Mediclinic. He continued his teaching on Revelation, particularly stressing that the temple was split into two areas, one for serious believers and the other for nominals and tourists. L-A went up for prayer afterwards, talking with a man called Louis who we hadn't seen before. I joined her when I had closed down the camera. By then she had told him of my lung situation. After church we went to the mall for medications and then to McDonalds for a McChicken (L-A) and a chocolate dipped cone (me). There was a message from Bella saying Cathy must go to Tygerberg tomorrow, and asking us for R200 for her incidental expenses. We drove down on our way home. It is likely she is going there for a brain scan. We prayed that things would not be too serious. It turned out she had gone to the hospital last week and they decided it may not have been just a headache. After dropping off L-A at home, I went to Pick n Pay to buy a padlock for Lottie. Hers had been stolen right off the chain she uses to secure her door. I must pay our Mastercard by tomorrow. We can't pay much more than the minimum payment $214. By going into overdraft in Simplii we could pay $500. I set up an e-Transfer to send $500 to Solutions Banking, but by the time I was ready for bed it had not yet transferred. Taking account of the time difference, I decided to set my alarm for 5:30, take my pills, and pay the Mastercard at that time while the date was still 31 Oct in Canada. I took my phone to the bedroom because I would be able to check if the money had arrived without getting up.

Sat Oct 30

Anthonica wanted a lift to Church Square at noon. I got down to my Coppleblog on 'It's the culture,' which needed just another half paragraph. Soon it was done and I sent it to L-A. Then I went on a long tiring shopping expedition for Jamelia, Lottie and us. In the last few days I have struggled with a lethargic attitude towards shopping or cooking, and general tiredness. So when I got home I had an hour's sleep. Bella sent a message that her mother needed pain pills, but no further details. We were concerned so L-A found some Tylenol and I took it down to her. I was worried that her leg lymphoma might be the cause of the pain, but she indicated that she had a bad headache. When I got home. L-A had already posted the Coppleblog, using her drawing 'Strand - Dancing in God's Grace' as the illustration.

Fri Oct 29

About 8:30 Dr Erik's assistant called and said he would like to see me at 12:15. I went to the Municipal Court on Baring St and asked the clerk, Tomiso, if it were possible to ask for mitigating circumstances to be taken into account. She gave me a form and I listed them - mainly that I thought R800 was a mighty fine for a 4 minute parking transgression. Then I drove to MMJ and admitted to Brian my escapade with the storm drain last Wednesday. He said he would take the car in on Tuesday. I was at Erik's office in good time. He showed me the CT scan of my left lung. There is a large tumour near the top, close to the heart. In fact it has pushed the heart to the right. Erik said that although some tumours in the lungs are benign, the majority are malignant. That would mean (I think) that I would have lung cancer. He did say that my previous effusions have not had any malignancy in the fluid, and we await the result of tests to see if this one does. He wants to book an appointment with a Cape Town thorassic specialist, which will be expensive, and probably not happen for a month. I agreed, believing that when we arrive in Canada, it would be better to seek further help knowing as much about the problem as possible. Dr Herbst called L-A with some preliminary feedback from her MRI on 25 October. She has at least two herniated disks. He wondered if she had ever injured her neck, but the only times were as a child, and not considered serious. He wants her to have a second MRI to get more detail in Paarl where they have a larger aperture machine that she should fit in more comfortably. L-A needs to collect some forms next Tuesday to enable him to book the second scan. Anthonica believed she was in the running for a free I-Phone 12 as advertised in a video on Tik-Tok. I was pretty sure this was a scam but I wanted to teach Anthonica not to believe things that are too good to be true. She believed she could make her application at Shoprite, and they would then deliver the phone to her home. But Shoprite knew nothing about it. I said I would check it out. Later in the evening I found a report where Snopes confirmed it is a scam. When I called Anthonica she was so sad that she wouldn't be getting a free I-Phone. I had agreed to help out Mella with a special afternoon for the kids from both Riverview and Avian Park. My first job was to collect them. I picked up about 7 from Riverview at 2pm and delivered them to Mella's. Then to the library at Avian Park where my instructions said they would be. They weren't, but 15 minutes later, two of them arrived and told me the rest were at the primary school. They had seen me turn left to the Library. I needed two trips to take them all to Mella's, the last ones getting there at 3. My job now was to teach the boys chess, but there were only 2 boys, Alruamo and Tahir, and Alrumano didn't want to learn chess. Tahir was quite keen, and I found out later played at his school. After a while two of the girls joined us. I told them a little of the history of chess, having read it up this morning on Wikipedia. Then I taught them the moves that each piece could make. Tahir had some difficulty remembering them, but he did better that the others. I then played with him, and the girls played one another. Tahir did well and I told him he has chess talent. It was quite hard work for me and I was relieved when refreshments were served. Toffee apples were very popular, but the toffee was so nice and very messy that some of them ended up with toffee faces. While I had shown some of the kids chess, the others had made attractive handbags, and Mella photographed them all with their bags. I managed to get the kids home in just two very crowded trips. I went on to take food to Jamelia, who was out at an ANC meeting in preparation for the municipal election on Monday. She had asked for R50 for a school trip, and I reluctantly entrusted her mother with the money. Back home I felt very tired for the rest of the day, and went to bed early.

Thu Oct 28

At 5:30, as expected, a sister worke me to take blood pressure, oxygen and temperature. So I didn't need an alarm clock to take my Tramacet and Celebrex before returning to sleep. Even though I had rested much of yesterday, I slept well, only needing to get up once for a pee. Bacon and eggs arrived at 8. Erik came about 9 and confirmed the CT scan was organized. I tried reading but my eyes weren't up to it. I wonder if I need a new prescription for my right eye, since all is clear through a magnifying glass. So I watched CNN and dozed. Around noon, Emmanuel arrived with a wheel chair. I said I could have walked, since I was already feeling much better after losing 2 litres of fluid, but he said it was too far. We went down many corridors. The CT scanner was smaller than an MRI. Technicians explained the scanner and the fact that they would put a drip in my arm and inject something to highlight certain aspects for the scanner. A few seconds after they turned on the drip I felt a warmth throughout my body, and a metallic taste in my mouth. Scanning took about 5 minutes. I was wheeled back to my room where my lunch was waiting for me. About an hour later, a sister gave me a card for reception and said I was free to go. I told her I liked it here and wasn't in any great hurry. I packed the rucksack and walked out to the car. Then I drove to Radiology next door and paid my bills and picked up the X-Ray and CT scan discs. Next stop, home. Anthonica and Tersia had called during the morning, so after a chat with my sweetheart I went down to them. Anthonica wanted air time since she hadn't been to us for wifi in several days. Tersia said that my money from 25th hadn't arrived and they badly needed cash. I realised that with her sore foot it would be hard to get to the ATM in the Mini Mart so how would she know if the money had arrived? I told Athonica that it was urgent that she download the Capitec app.; Tersia has no phone. I drove to Bella's and she confirmed she had received her allowance on 25th. Around supper time Anthonica and Tersia called again to say that Tersia had been to the ATM and that the money was in. But when I then said they must now have plenty of cash, they said no, suggesting they had been drawing out cash even though they thought the money had not arrived. This all sounded suspicious to me. I went to FNB and drew out enough cash so that I could pay them cash next time, saving them having to rely on getting to the ATM. I felt unusually weary in the evening. L-A thought it might have been a side effect of the CT scan.

Wed Oct 27

I rose in good time to be at Mediclinic by 8, having no breakfast because I figured I could get one from them. This was my third time with the same purpose so I am familiar with the routine. Soon I was lying on a bed in one of the rooms facing the driveway so I could see our car from the window. I did get breakfast. Apart from a couple of visits checking my vitals I stayed there dozing till about 11. While one of the sisters was doing her stuff, Johan Fourie called, but I wasn't able to speak with him right then. A sister gave me a Covid test. Then I was wheel-chaired by a charming orderly Emmanuel through to Radiology and into the same room I had been before. I had a pre-procedure X-Ray which showed me that the fluid hadn't advanced further in the last few weeks; it was 3/4 of the way up my left lung. This corresponded with how I had been feeling. The surgeon gave me some local anaesthetic, followed by the pipe to go into the sack with the fluid. None of this was painful, unlike the first time it was done. While the fluid drained out he and I chatted and he said he could stop for a while if my breathing got hard. That is exactly what happened, and after a 5 minute break an assistant turned on the tap again to fill another bottle. As on previus occasions, I felt very breathless. I had an 'after' X-Ray, which showed my pleual fluid was still half way up my left lung, but taking more fluid now could lead to a collapsed lung. I was wheeled back to my room by Emmanuel. I lay down and waited for lunch, and when it came the breathlessness was already subsiding. Lunch was good, as are all the Mediclinic meals. During the early afternoon Dr Erik came by. He had seen the X-Rays. He said the we really need to do more analysis to figure out why I am repeatedly filling up with fluid. He was fairly clear that we need a CT scan of the lung - heart area. He said he could arrange it today or tomorrow while I was here. I agreed. My thinking was that I would prefer to return to the mercies of OHIP with a clear diagnosis rather than a mystery. For the rest of the day I dozed, read my book (The Kingdom Way of Life), watched CNN (the least uninteresting channel available), and listened to SAFM on my phone. Supper was nice and after it I called L-A and Johan. At bed time a sister came in and asked how old I was. She raised the barrier on one side of my bed to stop me falling out, at the same time telling me she could leave the barriers down if I signed a waiver. Since I expected to be getting up in the night, I signed it.

Tue Oct 26

I had got up and was typing this journal at 9:05 when loadshedding started unexpectedly. I went back to bed and we dozed for an hour, when the power returned, much to our surprise. I didn't want to miss a call from Radiology, so I went into the kitchen and started cooking toast for L-A and bacon and eggs for me. Anthonica had asked yesterday if she could come today for wifi, but there had been no point during loadshedding. I called her and asked when she would like to come, and she said noon. After dropping her near our gate, I bought some additional items requested by Lottie and Jamelia, plus pies for us three. Jamelia wanted meaty bones, and I parked in a non-parking spot near the shop. I have never seen any parking enforcement on Durban Street, but today was the day. For the 4 minutes I was in the shop, I earned a R800 parking fine. There's nothing like that to depress one for a while. Back home, my phone rang and it was Radiology, to say they would like to carry out the draining tomorrow. They weren't able to say how long I would be there for, but would call back. That began a series of calls from Dr Erik's receptionist, and Radiology, with the final result that I must present myself to Mediclinica at 8am with my vaccination certificate, and that I would be unlikely to leave before Thursday morning. The way I have been feeling today, thia was all good news. I took Anthonica home at 4:30, when we were back in loadshedding. Chantelle wanted me to take her to OVD to get some school notes from a classmate covering today's lessons, which Chantelle had missed. I took her, but the friend had changed her mind about lending her notes, so we returned empty handed. As we drove, Anthonica called to say her mother had injured her foot and needed to go to hospital. When I get there Tersia was in some pain from her toes, after dropping some bottles on them in a friend's house. As we drove to town, she changed her mind and asked that we go to the Durban Street Pharmacy, rather than wait in the hospital for hours. We arrived at 6, as they were closing, but Tersia yelled for them to reopen for her - which they did! She got personal attention from the pharmacist, and we left with a bag of bandages, disinfectants and ointments; R150 on my credit card. I went home and cooked ostrich burgers for dinner.

Mon Oct 25

At 10:45 L-A had an MRI of her cervical spine area to provide information for Dr Herbst that will hopefully allow him to diagnose the seriusness of her pinched nerve. This has been giving her pain in her neck and arm for a month, though since she cut down on time spent on her laptop, the pain has been reducing. I dropped her at Radiology and went on an errand or two before going home. She texted me when it was over and I picked her up. She had not had a pleasant time. The MRI machine was too narrow for her. The technician eventually had to raise her arms above her head for the half hour of the scan, very uncomfortable for her. She worried that that scan might not be possible, but they told her it had been successful. This was the same machine I had been in on 7 Aug 2018. She was quite tired after the scan, and not in a state to enjoy the OVD Mailbox Club in the afternoon. I had been unable to reach Chantelle to confirm she would be ready. A stranger answered her phone when I called the number. So I had a back-up plan for this afternoon, preparing one of the Mailbox Club lessons that I have in English. However, it wasn't necessary. She was ready and waiting for me at 2:30. We drove to the Esselen Park Library. I asked her why I get a stranger when I call her number. Apparently she had lent one of her many aunts her SIM card. Then I asked about her phone, and she admitted it had been stolen. She went to a party in Avian Park and she thinks it must have slipped out of her pocket, and someone took it. She didn't have the nerve to ask if we would get her yet another phone. I have a message for the women's garment industry: design clothes that include a pocket to hold a cell phone securely. Then she partly redeemed herself by saying she had been preparing today's teaching and had not lost the lesson that I had given her on Saturday. She went to round up the kids, coming back with most of those from last week, and two new ones, a total of 9, including one boy, Matthews. I told them we must sing quietly, and in general they did, but with certain songs they just got enthusiastic. They added dance moves to some of the songs, and didn't want to sit while they sang. When we got to the teaching section, Chantelle had them mainly reading in unison from the lesson, since there were copies for everyone. At the end I gave out apples, and Matthews volunteered to help me put away the chairs. I took Chantelle back to Avian Park, with her R200 allowance for this week. On the way she asked for a pie, so I took her to OK Foods, and she bought one with the money I had given her. Bella called about 6:15 asking for a lift to town, which turned into my buying her R200 worth of groceries. Her allowance hadn't yet arrived, and although she had a store card with money programmed into it, it didn't work in Pick n Pay Local. I will reduce her next allowance accordingly, and I reminded her that since her cash flow today was R200 better than expected, she should have that amount of leeway a week from now and not have to come to me for help again.

Sun Oct 24

L-A got up with me, and was into the lounge with me, but although there was plenty of time to get to church she just didn't feel up to it. So she watched the worship on Live Stream and I watched it in person. Johan was back with us and preached on Revelation, reminding us that the predominant theme is Jesus, the Lamb of God is on the throne. Sitting near me was a man I hadn't seen before. His name is Julius Katsande, and Lovejoy had invited him. He is also from Zimbabwe. This was his second time here. We had a good conversation before the service, and walked to the cars together afterwards. Lovejoy told me he was interested in buying our car, so I suggested he come to our house at 2. Julius turned out to be a musician and recording artist, and he gave me a CD. When I got home I ripped it and will return the original to him. Anthonica called and wanted R100 for a school trip project, needing the money immediately. These are the kind of things we can't continue funding, and I told her. I took some food items to Jamelia. She told me that she had slipped on wet tiles and hurt herself in the area of her kidney. She had gone to the local hospital, and they had arranged for her to go to Tygerberg tomorrow. It would be a tragedy if her newly transplanted kidney has been compromised. I moved the car to Adderley Street, after carrying the front wheel cowling up to our apartment. I didn't want it to be put out with the garbage tomorrow. I had decided to delay taking the car into MMJ until the following week when there was less going on. I had also discovered that in addition to ripping off the cowling, my encounter with the storm drain had also damaged the pull cable which opens the bonnet, making it impossible to open the bonnet. Lovejoy, Mazvita and Eliora arrived at 2. We got into the car and I drove towards Worcestsr West. It turned out Lovejoy was familiar with automatic transmission. We switched drivers and he drove back, via Debonaire's Pizza, where he has one of his part time jobs at weekends. They liked the car and the price. Mid December would be the ideal time for them to take it over, which could work well for us. He would be able to drive us to the airport, saving car rental charges.

Sat Oct 23

Anthonica started calling at 7:30. Finally at 9 I answered to find that she wanted a lift to town for shopping. What encouraged me was that she and Tersia still had R200 of the allowance from 18 October, so I picked her and Kay-Lene up at 9:30. I needed diesel, so they got off at the Shell station. I judged that it wasn't worth going home before coming back to get them, so I parked across the street, listened to music, and watching a cople operating a fruit stall. The girls returned about 10:45 and I took them home. we had breakfast. At noon, Lottie called. I took her and a friend to buy shoes and tights for the church event tomorrow. Pep had what they wanted, within the R100 I had given her yesterday. L-A has been significantly restricted in the use of her computer, so as not to aggravate her pinched nerve. Despite this she published Ways to Grow in God through Wisdom onto the Coppleblog section on WTGIG is attracting growing international readership. I figured out how to apply for the social grant for Bella. The first thing was to use Chrome, not Edge. There were a few other challenges. I would hate to have been doing it on a cell phone. When I finally sent the application I felt confident I had done it correctly. Sadly, Bella never received any money, nor any notification from SASSA.

Fri Oct 22

On Thursday I noticed Jamelia had used about a third of a roll of toilet paper. This morning I noticed some of it had been used to bundle up something in the garbage basket. I unravelled it, and found ...... a DIY pregnancy test kit. That got my concerns up. We went to Paarl for L-A's MLD and she was able to report on the visit to Dr. Herbst. That situation seems to be moving satisfactorily. On our return to Worcester we went to Radiology to try an book the MRI prescribed by Dr. Herbst, but they were closed for lunch. We were peckish so we went to McDonalds for chicken burgers to fill time until Radiology would be open. I went in and paid the R10,031 for the MRI. There was a message from Jamelia with a long list of requested foods, very reminiscent of a list she used 2 days ago; I couldn't believe she needed these itmes again so soon. I called her. Her brother had got onto her phone and sent this list. I asked her for the most important items. When I arrived at her house, I asked her to get into the car and we had a fatherly chat about the pregnancy test. What she told me was that she had a boyfriend, and they had had sex once. This scared her enough to get the pregnancy test. I suspect that one of the reasons she had asked to come to our house was to use it, instead of risking her grandmother finding it. I reminded her (as I have with all the girls) that becoming pregnant would ensure poverty for many years and wreck chances for further education. Jamelia assured me she appreciated this, and it would not be happening again. I also reminded her that her boyfriend's motivation and hers were very different, and that he would likely be long gone our of her life if she tuned out to be pregnant. She said the result of the test was negative; I hope that turns out to be true. Anthonica had asked yesterday if she could come for wifi. I collected her; she was here a couple of hours. Marie messaged L-A to say that there was an Iris Africa virtual event 4-5 November and she would like a short video about our ministry that could be used along with similar videos from other Irisers. We decided to do it immediately without time-consuming preparation and see how well we could do in one take. We used Flip Video on a tripod and both got in the picture (though we couldn't see the picture). Remarkably it all turned out well and I just had to trim it and remove a redundant few seconds in the middle, which I did with the Windows 10 Video Editor. Soon it was done and up on YouTube. I took food to lottie, who asked for R100 for a church event where it sounded like she may be a guest of honour, and she wanted new shoes and tights. One of the shoes she was wearing was seriously falling apart. I had no cash in my wallet, but that needed to be fixed. I drove to the bank, and then back to Lottie's to give her the money.

Thu Oct 21

Took potatoes and rice to Jamelia's family and brought her here for wifi. On the way went to Radiology to make an appointment for an MRI for L-A. It will be on Monday morning. Mike de Malpas Finlay, my Navy friend, had initiated a discussion on climate change with a recent video with Greenpeace Founder Dr Patrick Moore, a climate change denier. This prompted two firm responses from climate change believers in our Navy veterans group. Then more from deniers. I sent a warning message that this debate could cause acrimony in the group. Here's what I wrote: Mike I am concerned about how this issue is proceeding within the group and sense danger. So far we have had comments from several articulate and intelligent members disagreeing with one another, and all certain they are right. I believe this can split long term friendships. There are other current international controversies raging that have already split families and whole communities, such as Brexit, vaxxers vs anti vaxxers, Trumpists and anti-Trumpists, populist vs traditional government. All of these have something in common. Thanks to the ease of communications today, everyone likes to spread their personal opinions, only a portion of which can be 'right.' These opinions, right or wrong, go viral like nuclear chain reactions. The much smaller groups of genuine experts who actually comprehend fully these issues are also denigrated by the larger group! Experience, learning and track record are no longer valued. The only result at the end of the day is people no longer talking to people whom they once respected and may have been close friends with. The debates seldom advance the level of knowledge, but often spread misinformation and even conspiracy theories. I vote we close the discussion, and stick to Navy-related matters. He replied that our people were too mature to allow this to dent their relationships. We'll see. I made egg sandwiches for lunch. Jamelia finished her work around 3, and spent some time in the bathroom, using up half a roll of toilet paper. I took her home a little later. In the afternoon I started to write an article for our Coppleblog about the legacy of culture here, sometimes seeming inexplicable to western eyes, but often having worked for many generations. Bella contacted us about dinner time asking for power. After dinner she called me direct. It's only three days since she received R1,000 from me, so I asked if they had used up all that money. She said "No." I said that I can't buy power for her as well as give money, except sometimes just before an allowance is due and they have run out of money. I think she understood.

Wed Oct 20

My phone hadn't charged overnight, and seemed to be having a battery problem. When it was charging, it got hot, a confirmation that the battery was dying. It had lasted since the phone was new, though it spent its first years in L-A's white Blackberry Q10. Anthonica wanted to come for wifi (again) so I drove down. On the way, L-A called me. Bella had been messaging her several times this morning, saying she needed a lift to town, but when I turned up at her home at about 10:30, after picking up Nieka, she wasn't ready to come. She wanted to deliver a CV to Esselen Park High School, but sid she needed 25 minutes to wash. I was keener to get Anthonica to our place so I could progress my work, so I told Bella it would have to wait. I'm not sure why she hadn't washed earlier if she wanted to go out. Anthonica was soon settled in with Pink Dell. Jamelia also messaged wanting wifi, but it will have to be tomorrow. It's much more disruptive for us to have more than one of them. At 12:30 I called Bella to see if she still wanted a lift, but apparently CVs had to have been in earlier today. Again, I'm not sure why she didn't walk to the school to beat the deadline, or tell me earlier about the deadline. We three had tuna sandwiches for lunch. At 2, by when Anthonica had accomplished most of what she needed to do, I drove her home, and then went to Riverview to pick up kids for Mella's ministry. Today they were to be in the Esselen Park library where Chantelle and I had been on Monday for the Mailbox Club. Mella was also driving. Between us we took about 8 to Esselen Park Library. Mella had taken food in; I thought that wasn't allowed. Maybe she got away with it. They watched a video on the story of Joseph, whom they had been learning about for months. I returned home, and had about 45 minutes before taking L-A to see spinal surgeon Dr Herbst, as arranged by Dr Erik a month before. She went in, and I went shopping in the Mall. We needed more egg noodles, which are only available in Checkers. After getting them and other items, I asked in Cell Tec there if they had a new battery for my Q10. Much to my surprise, they had! I was concerned that it was only R100, and may not last long. However, at that price, it was a bargain and I bought it. Blackberries are very rare in SA, but this shop advertises that it can service them. I drove back to Dr Herbst's consulting rooms and a minute or so after parking, L-A came out. She had got on very well with him, and he said she had done exactly the right thing with Este, including the recent traction. He did a number of exercises with her. He believes she may be able to avoid surgery. We were both very relieved by this. He gave her a requisition for an MRI scan to make sure. It was about 5:30 and we both felt hungry, so we went to Star Park and had Thai curries. Only problem was that when I was parking the car, driving in reverse, I managed to put the front nearside wheel in the storm drain. I put the car in 'drive' and floored the accelerator. It got the car out of the ditch, but ripped off a large expanse of under-engine plastic cowling which a passer-by drew my attention to. I put it in the trunk and then joined L-A in the restaurant, where we very much enjoyed our Thai curries. I tackled the SASSA website again. I tried using Chrome instead of Edge, and the site now correctly positioned itself on my screen. Progress! Early in the process it asked for your cell number, so I keyed in Bella's. Then it said it would send a one time pin (OTP) to the phone. I phoned Bella and asked her to watch out for an SMS. She replied to L-A on Messenger with the OTP, but when I keyed it in it was invalid. It must have timed out. We tried several times more, but weren't successful.

Tue Oct 19

Anthonica called wanting to come over for wifi. I had bought 350MB data for her two days ago which cost R60 and she had used it in an evening, so I brought her here. It was cheaper and she gets to use a laptop she's familiar with instead of a cell phone. It reinforced in my mind what a crushing blow township kids are at without wifi when they are trying to get an education. Anthonica is determined. I edited L-A's October newsletter, which is not a quick job, and sent it back to her to have the photos added. To reduce the pain in her neck and arm she is severely limiting the time she spends on her computer, which is giving her relief. There were two messages from Kevin. The first announced that HADA had approved the proposed budget. The second thanked me for the updated minutes. I assume Jan had immediately actioned Kevin's modified minutes and sent them to HADA, and they had responded almost immediately. This was strange because their Board meeting wasn't until 23 November. However, our objectives had been achieved. I spent some time trying to apply to SASSA for the R350 grant for Bella. I became somewhat frustrated with the SASSA web site. It wouldn't place itself on my screen correctly and and I couldn't get to the drop down for the grant application. I tweeted my problem to #SASSA. James sent a bunch of audio tracks that his band of air force men had recorded, and played three of them for a dinner for the Battle of Britain anniversary. I was pleasantly surprised and I copied them for furure listening. I analysed the results of 'Sponsor Our Girls' six months after it was initiated. We had expected to be leaving about now, so I had divided the funds that had come in to last for 6 months. Here's a chart that shows we did reasonably well:

	Total for 6 months	Funded
	Bella:     R 26,215	26,611
	Anthonica:   16,346	14,669
	Jamelia:      8,052	 5,599
	Chantelle +  11,852	10,988
	Total      R 62,466	57,869
		   $  5,578	 5,167
We intend to continue doing this, though unless more sponsors pop up out of the blue we will have to fund it ourselves. Four families survived hunger, and got school fees, cell phones, and dental work, accompanied by the love of God.

Mon Oct 18 - Six months from when the 'Sponsor our girls' appeal delivered actual cash.

I rose at 8. I was hungryish but didn't want to eat so I hit the computer. After a while enough appetite returned to have some corn flakes. At 10:30 I delivered food to Jamelia and brought Bella here to make an English version of her CV. I called Dr Erik's office to say it was probably time to organize my third pleural effusion. I called Namhla, librarian at the Esselen Park Library and she confirmed we could indeed come this afternoon. Kevin still hadn't replied to sy if he was OK with my draft minutes, so I sent them to all board members. I was at Chantelle's house by 2:30, but she hept me waiting till 2:45. She had her friend Yunah with her, who wanted to join the class. She had lost the lesson plan for the first session of 'Ondersoekers,' so she would be teaching with no preparation. We arrived at 3 and she asked to go and bring the kids. She had said she would ask Limique to do this, but I have my doubts if she did. However, Chantelle managed to russle up a fine goup of keen girls and boys and by the time I had arranged the chairs in the room they were sanitizing and having their temperatures taken by the receptionist. As they came ito the room, I had them fill in the attendance sheet, stick on a name badge, and then I took photos of each of them. When I started leading them in praise and worship they sang with enthusiasm and spirit, and maybe a little too loud on some songs for a library. Chantelle took photos with my phone before leaving the room to look for one of them who had gone to find a washroom and not returned, so when we had finished the music, I talked to them about the last three commandments. Chantelle returned and taught the lesson, and they were quite attentive. I took some photos. When we finished we left the building and I gave them apples. They had all enjoyed it and said they would be back next Monday. I returned to the room and stacked the chairs. Namhla came and said 'Hello' and asked questions about Ronel's booking for the same room for Wednesday with the Riverview kids. She also asked if we could sing a little softer! I took Chantelle and Yunah back to Avian Park. I was happy with the way things had gone, and back home posted the photos to Flickr and Facebook. Kevin got back to me with two messages. The first apologised for not having responded sooner, and the second contained a major update to my version in mark up mode. He also sent this to Jan. I worked on incorporating all his suggestions. I then sent out the updated version plus his budget proposal, which he had also edited, to the Board.

Sun Oct 17
Went to church without L-A. Hanlie led the music really well, and Kenneth preached, really well. Johan seems to be on holiday. Kenneth's sermon took as its text Paul and Silas being thrown into jail, but singing songs of praise to God, and then seeing their chains drop off in an earthquake. In his talk he focussed on singing songs to God in times of trouble. He ended with a morph into 'I raise a halleluja,' which soon the whole congregation was singing. You can see it here. After church I bought food for Lottie. Bella messaged L-A needing bread, polony and power - tomorrow she will receive her allowance from us. When I reached her house, there was a man hanging about, the man whom I had taken to hospital who had later stolen her hair straightening kit. I expressed my disgust at him and told him to leave. The only trouble was - he was the wrong man. He was the father of Bella's sister's child. I was highly apologetic and I think the women explained to him who I thought he was. Cathy came out as I was about to drive off. complaining that I hadn't brought fat spread (margerine). That was because Bella hadn't asked for it. I drove to one of the mini markets and got some for them. On my way home I bought a chickenburger from McDonalds for L-A. As I drove into our gate I saw several of the homeless people who stay nearby passed out on the pavements from alcohol. Hard to say where they got the money to buy it. I had the last of the tongue that I had bought a few weeks ago at Goede Hoop, when I was looking for beef steak. I had drafted the MFH board meeting minutes yesterday and sent a copy for him to vet, but he hadn't yet replied. By evening I wasn't feeling very well, having deteriorated throughout the day. It was a combination of stomach nausea with fatigue and some dizziness. I decided to phone the doctor tomorrow and arrange for a third pleural draining.

Sat Oct 16
I am attempting to write this the next day, Sunday, and I recall absolutely nothing. I probably took some food to Lottie and Anthonica, but cannot remember doing so. I had no spare time; it was a full day. I remember that. My brain has been losing a lot of memory cells. My short term memory behaves like the cache memory on your laptop. It will store one piece of information only, such as 'Tony, please fetch me my water bottle.' But if L-A then asks me to do something else, like 'Please make me a cup of tea,' the water bottle request is deleted to make room for the new request. When I am helping her prepare food, she now knows only to give me one request, let me carry it out, and then she can ask me for the next ingredient. For years I have worked from lists, and I have developed methods that compensate for short term memory loss. If I didn't have this journal, and you asked me what I did last weekend, I wouldn't have a clue. Am I worried about this? Not really. At 80, I expected to have lost a few faculties, including memory. Now if you tell me what I did after breakfast yesterday, I might then be able to recall all subsequent activities in the day. One of the compensating mechanisms, with this journal, is to write it progressively throughout the day, or at least to to do it all last thing at night or first thing in the morning.

Fri Oct 15
I drove to the Esselen Park Library but the librarian Namsha was out on errands. I was however able to discover there was no video projector there from one of her staff. I will tell Mella, who has also booked this library. The really sad news in that during lockdown they had been burgled and all technical equipment, including computers, stolen. However, no books had been taken. How some South Africans love to destroy their one hope for the future: education. I went home and made some final preparations for this afternoon's MFH Board meeting. Anthonica called and asked if I could bring her some pain pills for her squished fingers and a pie. I called Theresa Rosseau and she told me she wasn't able to come; Covid issues had made her life very busy. She suggested resigning but I may have persuaded her not to since there was no downside to keeping her name on our Board. About 1:15 I phoned Namsha and she was back. She remembered me and agreed that we could use her presentation room for Mailbox club on Mondays at 3, now we are down to Lockdown level 1. Bella had called and asked that I print off some copies of her CV with a few amendments. So after lunch (for me tongue and salad) I drove to Avian Park with three tasks. I forgot the Stoneys for refreshments; it remained in our fridge, but while I was in OK getting a pie for Anthonica I remembered it, and decided it would be quicker to buy another bottle than go home. I gave Anthonica her pie and two Tylenol 1 tablets. She asked me to come back when my meeting was over. I drove to the Christian Worship Centre. We had Jan van Rooyen, Marco Ruiters, Kevin Daly, Tobias Jonkers and me. Theresa and Laurie-Ann were absent. After the preliminaries, during which I offered to take the minutes, I outlined the web site situation and the three options going forward. It soon became very clear that no-one in the room felt it was worth the money to pay for the site to remain up beyond January. The main reason: web sites are seldom used by small organizations here, who are quite happy to rely on FaceBook. That dealt with the main reason for our meeting, but Pastor Jan suggested we spend some time reviewing the coming 6 months. The key things that came up were a recommedation from Kevin that we not build a building and then hope to create a projet to go in it (even if HADA were prepared to fund it - unlikely). The building should be the last eventuality, and only if the project was already successful. The plans for hiking and outward bound didn't need a building. Skills training could be delegated to other organizations like Change Makers. In fact we would be a funder for other groups who have the resources. No building required. Marco suggested one of the projects we should look at was resurrection of the 4 soup kitchens that Jan Buchanan and he had set up in the worst stages of Covid. When we departed after a couple of hours I deliverd the CVs to Bella and then went to Anthonica. Since I had refused her for wifi today, I gave her money for data and for a taxi fare and for food for tonight. At home, after supper, we watched Bill Johnson on open the recent Open Heavens conference with a powerful talk on open Heavens in the Bible. It was all new to me, and fascinating.

Thu Oct 14
Paarl day. We thought Paarl would have loadshedding but Eskom cancelled loadshedding for further notice. We went to Coffee Cab as usual. Back home my first job was to go shopping for the remaining items on Marsha's list, including 2KG of frozen chicken, and to take the goods to her. I also gave her R150 for her school fees after she confirmed she had been attending school reguarly. She and her mother are in a far better state than two days ago. I brought Anthonica back for wifi, and got the photos of her school awards ceremony off her phone. I also put the music files from her old phone onto her new one. She has alreasy amassed loads of videos and photos leaving her with very little space on her new phone, but on the plus side she hasn't cracked the screen (yet). When I dropped her off, Tersia was there and I again explained that somehow they must learn not to eat all the food in a couple of days when I am only funding them once a week. Suddenly Anthonica squealed; she had closed the rear door of the car with her fingers still in the path of the door. She was quite brave because very soon the fingers were swollen. I said we should go directly to the hospital, but I think she knew that they weren't broken. I said she must call me if they got worse. Chantelle was there, so I asked her to get the word out to the OVD kids that we would be back on Mondays at 3pm. She said she would enlist Limique's help.

Wed Oct 13
I went grocery shopping in the morning, and selected music for today's kids' ministry. I arrived at Mella's house at 2:10 to pick up her and Ronel, plus the refreshments. Mella had suggested the kids walk round to Opie's house, but when we got to Riverview, I don't think any of them had. She walked round calling names, and they came out of the woodwork. Fortuitously one of the parents (?) with an SUV arrived and offered to drive kids to Opie's. With his car and mine we transported them. Opie's garage door was open so we all went in. He welcomed us graciously. Loadshedding had started at 2, so I needed to have light to read the music, so that meant we should be at the far end. Once again the Blackstar battery-powered amplifier proved essential. Soon we were making and singing music. Some kids in the street heard it and came and joined us. Opie had told me this would happen when Ronel and I had met him, and he welcomed it. We now had a group of about 20. After the music, which went well, Ronel continued her series on learning from the life of Joseph, and that also went well, judging by the attention. I had forgotten my phone today, but Mella took loads of photos for the Teachers of the Nations FB. We drove on to the Avian Park Library, arriving about 3:30, and had a group of about 8 girls and Susan's baby. After my leading praise and worship, Mella gave a fire and brimstone talk about abortion. I doubt if teaching like this is being given to children anywhere else in South Africa, and not in North America either, except perhaps in Texas, where Mella comes from. When she had concluded, I also spoke to the girls, telling them how fortunate they were to have received this information when so many never hear this before some of them will have an abortion. Mazvita wasn't there this afternoon, and I know she and Lovejoy have moved out of Mella's house to their own rented accommodation. I also noticed they had left the Team Teachers of the Nations WhatsApp group. I took Mella and Ronel home, and then went home myself, to quite a surprise. Chantelle, Marsha and Chantelle's brother were inside, and L-A was making them peanut butter sandwiches. They had come to the house and knocked on the door, but Laurie-Ann was asleep in the bedroom and didn't hear them. Since the front door wasn't locked (we are in a gated community) they walked in. Then L-A did wake up, startled and none too pleased. They of course were very hungry, hence the peanut butter sandwiches. But now I was home, the real reason for their visit emerged. Marsha and her family hadn't eaten in 5 days, and Chantelle took pity on her friend and brought her to us, assuming we would help her out. Marsha had been one of our Mailabox Club leaders for a time, and had recently lost her father. Her mother is 59 and not working. The child grant for Marsha had been sent to her father, and stopped when he died, though it should be possible to switch it to her mother. Meantime there is no money and no food. Prompted by Chantelle, Marsha had made a long list of what food she needed. Some of the items where available in our living room store so I packed them up. I told Chantelle the good news that we would be able to restart her Mailbox Club in the Esselen Park Library, probably next Monday. Then we drove to Pick n Pay and I bought most of the items on her list. She said the U-Save very close to where she lives had a special on basic foods for R99. We drove there, but it had closed. We drove on to her house, and I gave her R100 to get the special in the morning, and R50 for power. Neither she nor her mother have a phone, so we can't send her power from our Powertime app. She also had school fees of R150 due on Friday but I said I wouldn't fund that; I hoped that another relative might step up for the school fees.

Tue Oct 12
Loadshedding was from 8 to 10:30, so naturally that was when I got out of bed. The first order of business was to reply to Kevin's budget proposal, suggesting discussion was needed about the website costs before the budget could be finalized. The phone rang; it was Chantelle saying her teacher was ready to collect her school fees. I told her I was doing very urgent things for an hour but would see her after that at about 11:30. I wrote a screed in 5 short paragraphs explaining all that the MFH board needed to know about the website costs. My conclusions were that if they wanted to continue the site for 2 years it would cost 3.5% of the expense budget, and for 1 year it would be 2.2%, payable this January coming up. Jan van Rooyen suggested a board meeting at his church this Friday at 2 to discuss. I drove to Chantelle's school at 11:35, met her teacher, and paid the balance of her fees, R150. I had brought Chantelle a peanut butter sandwich (though she'd asked for a pie). Then I collected Anthonica for wifi time. I clarified tomorrow's ministry with Mella. She planned to take the Riverview kids to Opie's house, and she asked if I would call and asked him. I go no answer on his phone. On the way back to Avian Park with Anthonica I bought braids for her. She particularly wanted them for a school awards cermony tomorrow evening. I told her I would love to come to it. Mid evening I tried again to reach Opie and this time I was successful. He was very OK with our bringing our kids tomorrow.

Mon Oct 11
Chantelle arrived at our front door, mainly because she wanted her weekly allowance, and I wanted to continue treatment of her face. One of the attackers had bitten her (!) on her right cheek, and the marks had now become prominent bruises. I put on Bonogon for general healing, then waited for half an hour and added Arnica for the bruises. She stayed around for an hour or so. Her uncle had died a couple of days ago. He lived on a farm in Overhex. She had enjoyed a good relationship with him and she wanted to skip school and spend a week with his daughter on the farm, and she wanted R100 from me to fund this. I didn't want her to miss school and I didn't want to give R100 for something only vaguely related to food and hunger. We drove to her school to pay school fees; I had agreed to pay R150, and Lottie had given her R100. Instead of stopping at the entrance to Esselen Park High School, Chantelle asked me to drive on to the T-junction at the end of the street, and then turn right and stop near a multi-story building. She went in and I waited. She found that her teacher was away visiting a relative in hospital. I suggested driving to the school office in Esselen Park High School to pay the fees, and she said there was no point, but I pulled rank and we went anyway. The school gate was closed but a man came out happy to speak with us. What transpired then between the three of us was that Chantelle's teacher was not on the staff of Esselen Park High School, but was a private tutor who happened to live in the vicinity. This explained why we were paying her personally. I wasn't disappointed, having met her and been impressed, but still don't know how Chantelle negotiated it after she decided she had to move from her previous school. As we drove to Avian Park, she brought up the subject of staying on her uncle's farm. In the end she agreed to go there just on Friday, and I gave her R50 for taxi fares. Kevin sent an email with a proposed budget for the new style MFH, focussed on hiking and outward bound, and asked for comments. HADA had turned down our proposal for buying a property at Hawston, and significantly reduced the funding for alternatives, and Kevin's proposal was such an alternative.

Sun Oct 10
I felt generally unwell today. Mild stomach nausea and mild dizziness and not wanting to eat were my main problems. I went to church alone, though L-A was up and about before I left. My weight seems to have started going down. After church I delivered food to Jamelia, most of which came from our store. It turned out she didn't get much of the food. She called us tomorrow morning to say it was all finished. In the afternoon I processed several weeks of invoices from expenses by the girls. I progressed a piece I am writing to send to my siblings (who don't use social media!) to update them. Lottie called wanting food. Loadshedding started at 4, when I took stuff to Lottie. As I arrived she had dropped her phone on the concrete floor. She keeps it in her bra, and had leaned forward a little too much. She had been trying to put it together again but the battery was in the wrong way round. Luckily nothing was broken and I soon had it working again. The phone (which we gave her) is a safety lifeline for her. Since cracking my own screen that fateful night - 6 Sept - I have been less critical of others who crack their screens. The Blackberry crack has progressed but doesn't look like it will obscure the screen any time soon. It is really hard for women who don't always have pockets in their fashionable but impractical clothes. I got home by 4:30 and slept with my boots on till the end of loadshedding at 6:30. After a jambalaya dinner we watched The Bucket List, a 2007 movie generally disliked by the critics, but we loved it, and it is very appropriate for South Africa, who would learn that blacks and whites can live together in total harmony, but they aren't there yet. Laurie-Ann had been watching her 'Night Sky' app, and mentioned that she would just love to see the Southern Cross before we left this hemisphere. I participated to a #vaccinecertificate debate on Twitter with this: "We should use ANY METHOD to get more people vaccinated including vaccine certificates, making antivax promotion illegal, and no more stressing that vaccination is voluntary. The reasoning of antivaxxers is laughable. They are the greatest danger to us. #VaccineCertificate." There was loadshedding tonight from midnight to 2:30. This didn't affect me at all, and L-A came to bed before midnight, which is not alwaays the case. As she was resting in bed before dozing off, she had a clear view of the sky, unpolluted by street lamps. Right there in her field of view was the Southern Cross!

Sat Oct 9
I was up and about by 7:30 in advance of the 8am loadshedding. I had a hot breakfast and boiled water and made toast for L-A. However, she hadn't come to bed till after 1 so I didn't expect to see her up before 10:30 when the power would be back. Chantelle knocked on the door about 9:45. She had been mugged last night on Grey St, after selling her goods. A group of young gangsters had seen her selling and assumed she had money from the proceeds, but she had none. They scratched her face with a knife, not to kill, but to frighten her. She had bruises on both cheeks. I had her wash her face, then I applied saline solution, and then Bonogon. I will see her again in a couple of days to check it is healing. I gave her R200 for her weekly allowance, though last week I had given her an extra R100 which I said I would deduct, but I didn't have the heart. I drove down to Jamelia's at 10:30. She told me that last night she had been called to the hospital because her father was having trouble breathing. She had been there all night. By morning he had recovered. He awaits the result of a Covid test. She would probably like to go back there some time during today after she has rested. These are big burdens for a teenager, but she is no stranger to burdens. The next item on today's schedule was a braai at Gospel Mission Church, where Bella goes for her youth group. I went into Pick n Pay on the way and bought some salad. When I arrived at her house, Bella wasn't there. She had assured me I should pick up our plate(s) of meat there. Cathy didn't know where she was. I drove up Myna St., but couldn't find the church; I had left the street number on a piece of paper at home. I returned to Bella's house, and phoned her, but there was no answer. I changed plans and drove to Anthonica's, and she was ready after doing her hair. L-A called to say Jamelia had asked for R50, so we drove there. The R50 should mean I won't have to take her to the hospital. However, her sister Amelia's baby Bernelee was ill and needed to go there, so I took them to emergency, where I was boxed in by 3 ambulances for 15 minutes. We drove on and I dropped Anthonica near her youth group. All this time, patient Laurie-Ann had been at home expecting a braai'd lunch. I decided to get chicken legs and fresh rolls from Pick n Pay local, and when I got home we enjoyed them with the salad. I was typing this journal at 4pm when loadshedding cut in. I had known, but forgotten. It was my cue to catch up on sleep, and soon I was dreaming. Athonica woke me about 5:45 asking for pick up at Mediclinic at 6. The youth group activities had been cancelled and she and friends had walked to the mall, and then back downtown. I had wanted to meet the leaders, but it was not to be, today. She asked for some cheesecake. Because of loadshedding, there were no pies at OK so she had their very delicious cheesecake. After dropping her, I called Bella again - no answer. I drove to Gospel Mission Church which I now knew to be 43 Myna St, and spoke to someone there, who knew nothing about a braai earlier. I wonder what happened to my R150? Around 8:30 Jamelia sent L-A a message asking where was the food? I didn't know she had asked for food, and I had no plans to go down at this time of night. I suggested she would have to wait till tomorrow, but in the meantine, send us a list. Amelia called from the hospital at 9pm to say she was ready to be picked up. She and Bernelee had been there many hours, and I had assumed they had gone home in a taxi. Suddenly it would be possible to kill two bird with one stone. Jamelia had come up with a list, and 6 of the 9 items were things we had in our home store. Soon I had them packed and was on my way to the hospital. They were waiting outside the gate. The doctor had prescribed an antibiotic, and Amelia was to see if it would do the trick over the next few days. If not, she must return to the hospital. When I got to their house, Jamelia was asleep. She had gone to see her father today, so no wonder she was tired. I left the food and said I would return with the other items tomorrow.

Fri Oct 8
We lazed and dozed till 10 - very pleasant. Bella had called at 8:30, and in my doziness I couldn't make out why she needed R150. She also messaged L-A asking for pills for a stuffy nose, and power. After we had finally risen and had a small breakfast and sent her R50 of power, I drove down. The R150 was for expenses for her church, Gospel Mission Church, 2 streets away, to buy meat for the braai tomorrow. I said I would advertize it on FaceBook, and also told her we weren't seeing enough of her these days and missed her. On the way home I stopped at Pick n Pay for some bacon amd also got some chicken burger patties that I hadn't noticed before. I cooked up the bacon with beans for my breakfast. To tell the truth I didn't enjoy them as much as I expected. The strange experience of being hungry but not wanting actually to eat, and sometimes the taste being umpleasant, was déjŕ vu from the height of my TB, and it had returned, though less strongly than before. I didn't leave the house for the rest of the day since we were expecting Cristo to examine our kitchen fluorescent light prior to changing the tube, which is way too high for me to reach. When Anthonica called wanting me to take her to her youth group with 5 minutes notice, I said no, which was a serious disappointment for her. Instead I took advantage of the time at home to tackle some issues with the GNCM site that had needed my attention for a while, but I hadn't had a clear day to get down to it. The issue was that the column of years for which we have podcasts, 2012 - 2021, plus one more category, the very best podcasts, was now too tall for my screen, and probably therefore for a proportion of the screens out there. For weeks I have tried to figue out a solution, always worried that I couldn't risk deleting any of the files. I had attemped to archive the site, but the process didn't work for me. This morning, well rested and with a clear head, I suddenly realized how to do it, and it wasn't all that hard. It only took 5 minutes and I was ready to 'publish' the site. Then I went to the regular view of the site and was deligted to see it had worked! I didn't stop there. I fixed a number of smaller issues, including operating the Twitter page that Richard had always handled in the past. He has opted out of further website involvement and it's all down to me now. I still need him to give me control over the FaceBook page, and sent him a request. Loadshedding is back. We had it in the early hours of this morning which didn't affect us at all, and we will have it at 8 tomorrow morning. So I need to be up before that.

Thu Oct 7
As I had agreed with Mella, I got to her house at 9am to set up the guitar. She opened the shutters in the front room so there was enough light for me. At 9:20 I drove to Riverview and collected the first 5 and brought them to Mella's. Then back to get the rest. Taylor-Anne was coy. She was on the list, and was hanging around, but never got in the car. We started the music with the full version of Oceans, which Soerita had asked for weeks ago. I gave out L-A's bodhran and the eggs. I was playing quite well and the guitar + amp sounded good. Not as many were joining in the singing as usual until we got to 'Rock Star.' After about 20 minutes singing they commenced their creative activities; making jewelry and sowing scarves and a bow tie for Alrumano. I slipped out and went home to get breakfast for L-A. Chantelle knocked on our door hoping to extract a further R100 from me but she was out of luck and left empty handed. She is very good at making her case, but I have also learned how not always to say yes. I took Anthonica to her youth group. On my way to pick her up at 5:30 I stopped at FNB and transferred R5000 - R50 admin charge from Simplii. Anthonica woke me at 5:40, and she told me her mother had asked her to ask me if she could bring home some food for this evening. At OK I got a 'footlong' that should fill them both. There are still 4 days before I send her the allowance. I dropped in to Lottie's and she gave me R200. She wanted it to be R300 but I said R200 was enough. On my way home from there I saw Chantelle, and she persuaded me to give her R20. She wanted me to pick her up at 7 from OVD and drive her to Avian Park, but this time I refused to wipe out the time when I would be preparing or eating our dinner. It has happened too often recently. It was high time that I got to grips with ArriveCan, the app which we must use to enter Canada. L-A has downloaded it to her phone, but since it can't be downloaded to Blackberry, I wanted to use it from my laptop. I went through it from top to bottom several times, not finding a way to set up an account. It says it should be used within 72 hours of departure, but I want to be sure of how to use it long before then. On L-A's phone the very first screen is for setting up an account. It dawned on me that this app might only be useable from an i-Phone or Android. There are plenty of people like me who don't have either. Hopefully we can both set up accounts on L-A's Mobicel. As travellers at times without access to wifi we should be still able to buy air time from Vodacom with Powertime, and convert to data. I sent a help message seeking to make quite sure whether ArriveCan must be used from a phone.

Wed Oct 6
I got up at 8 and checked WhatsApp, and was relieved to see Ronel had replied to my message of last night, and had given me the list of 10 girls for today, and 10 tomorrow, and the pick up points. I had time for breakfast before heading out to the Avian Park Primary School. At 9:20 Mella called and asked if I could lead some worship. I said I didn't have the guitar with me, and she said I could borrow hers, and I said I didn't have my music. We agreed that I would do it tomorrow but not today. I reminded her that musicians need some set-up time, and I would come to her house at 9 so I could be ready to play as soon as I have delivered the kids. When I arrived at Avian Park Primary, there was noone waiting. My phone rang and it was Dr Erik. He was very concerned about yesterday's X-Ray, but had no explanation for what could have caused the acceleration in the accumulation of pleural fluid. I suggested delaying another drainage for 2 - 3 weeks, making it less likely that I would need a fourth drainage around the time we would be returning to Canada. He is investigating sending me to another specialist to try and establish the cause of the problem, and whether something else other than TB is in play here. After 5 minutes I called Mella to make sure I was in the right place, and said I would wait till 10. At 9:45, three girls (one (Susan) with baby) turned up. At 9:50 two of them went back to see if they could rustle up the others. Susan received a message to say there would be 6 coming. I called Mella to expect 7 in 20 minutes. I drove to the Avian Mini Mark where several were waiting, and took them to Mella's. Then I returned to collect another 4. So Mella got 10, as originally planned, though not the same 10. I have recounted this because it illustrates a perennial challenge in this culture: showing up on time. None of them was apologetic for being up to an hour late for something planned and prepared for their benefit. Mella gave me not one but two suitcases for Bella. Anthonica called around noon, wanting me to drive her and her niece Kerodine to Kerodine's home on a farm the far side of Aan de Doorns. I argued eloquently against this no-notice request, but in the end agreed after hearing of the significant help it would be to her niece. When I picked them up, Kerodine definitely looked older than her aunt Anthonca. The drive to a farm some distance beyond Aan De Doorns took about 25 minutes. They asked to be dropped off on the road and walked through the fruit field to the cottage where Kerodine stays with her parents; her father has a job in the area. On my way back I noticed some large hills which appeared to be sand dunes almost covered with vegetation, and I wondered if, thousands of years ago, this area had been under the sea, although it seemed unlikely with mountains all around. At 2:15 I began driving the two batches of kids back to Avian Park after taking some photos of them. I drove to the rendezvous where I had dropped Anthonica and Kerodine. I called her several times but was taken to voicemail; however I thought I could see her in the distance coming towards me. A car drove past, and then U-turned and stopped behind me. A policeman got out and walked to my window. He just wanted to know I hadn't broken down. I gave him one of our prayer postcards for police. It was the first opportunity I have had, one on one with a policeman. He was clearly touched. Soon the girls reached me and got into the car. Lottie called me asking for food. Anthonica asked if I would get them something to eat. We drove to OK Foods and I got pies for them, bread and pilchards for Lottie, and my favourite SA cheesecake for me. When we arrived at 33 Maniken St., I asked Tersia to get in the car. I queried why she had run out of money 3 days after her last allowance. She countered by suggesting that Anthonica was being less than truthful about whether they really were out of money and food. I asked her if she had planned to give supper to Anthonica tonight, and she said 'Yes." This put a different slant on the situation. I told her I wanted to see her record of recent purchases and income sources, and backed up my demand by saying she wouldn't receive an allowance on 11 October unless I had first seen the financial record.

Tue Oct 5
I tried calling Jamelia's new phone and was surprised when someone else (Sina?) answered and then rang off. I then discovered that the number she had given me for the new phone that she said had been given to her was actually the number of ther grandmother Sina's phone. Is it possible she lied about getting a new phone just to get Sina's phone charged at our place, plus some wifi? A little later she contacted Laurie-Ann on Messenger saying that her father had been attacted by a gang, and that she wouldn't be going to Cape Town for another month. We later heard that her father had recently landed a job, but someone who knew him was so covetous that he attacked him, puttng him in hospital. I called Dr Erik's office. They had a prescription for L-A for Stilpane, and a requisition for another chest X-Ray for me. After our excellent breakfast (scrambled eggs and little sausages) I drove to Erik's office and picked up the items. I got the Stilpane at Fairbairn Pharmacy and then drove to Avian Park to take Bella downtown. I returned home via Pick n Pay for lunch. Chantelle arrived at our door. She wanted a further R100 to buy stock for her business selling cookies and candies on the street. I had previously given her R140 for this purpose. I told her this was the last contribution from me. After lunch I went to Radiology for my 5th chest X-Ray. I saw the image a minute after she had taken it and immediately knew that what had taken my body 11 months to fill the bag surrounding my lungs, had done it again in 7 weeks. It seems unlikely to me that this was a result of TB. Anthonica called to ask for something to eat. This meant that she and Tersia had used up the R500 they had received on 2 Oct, just 3 days ago. There are two likely explanations for why the money has gone faster than in previous weeks. Either they have been borrowing, and then needing to pay back the loans, or Tersia has been spending it on alcohol. I told Anthonica she would have to provide me the record of exactly what the money had been spent on before I would give her any more. It is also a fact that the price of food has risen sharply in recent months, so the calculations I had made back in February about how much they needed are probably way out of date. I don't want Anthonica to suffer from her mother's actions. I was ready to get into bed when I checked WhatsApp for the names of the girls I would be picking up tomorrow morning, and after checking three WhatsApp chats realized that Ronel had not sent me that information. So I messaged her, but if she hasn't answered by tomorrow morning I would need to call her.

Mon Oct 4
Since corporal punishment was outlawed in schools worldwide, learners have taken more and more control from their teachers. Teachers are leaving the profession when they can't handle the pressure. In an extreme example in Cape Town recently, a grade 6 learner was not allowed to enter his classroom early by his maths teacher. The learner called his father(?) who drove to the school with a friend and they shot the teacher dead. See news report. This was particularly poignant for us since we have been watching the TV series When Calls the Heart, set in the early 1900s in Canada, and featuring a class and their teacher in a time before child terrorism.
I started the day by sweeping and washing the floors so that Marius woud have a cleaner house to visit. Melanie replied to my email, the most important aspect being that if Home Affairs causes a delay, they will extend the final date on the visa. That would be good. She now estimates the visa will come through mid November, but I don't see how this is more than a guess. Marius arrived for a goodbye chat about 1:30. I was very interested to hear more about his life having resigned as WGC worship coordinator - and having decided to leave the WCG congregation. I think I now understand. He is going through a big transition in his spiritual life, and part of it was a choice between giving his talents and passion to his family, or to the church (and neglecting family). We sang him Laurie-Ann's song 'Thank you Jesus,' and he was quite complimentary. It was good to have this get together and pray. I took Anthonica to her youth group at 2. She said she was thirsty, and in the end I gave her some cash to buy a bottle of water for the afternoon. She says she had been going to confirmation classes all this time while I have been bringing her to this part of town, but for some reason hadn't told me. Maybe she hadn't realized that confirmation was what it was leading up to. On my way home I went into MMJ Motors and talked to Brian about the continuing knocking sounds I am hearing when I drive over uneven roads. He assured me that it wasn't further worn ball joints. They had found that the gearbox mounts were not as stiff as they used to be, and that was what I was hearing - but it wasn't a dangerous situation. I called Dr Erik's office and spoke to the receptionist, who had seen my email. It turned out to have been she who called me last week to tell me about the appointment on 20 November. L-A would be seeing a orthopedic surgeon called Dr Herbst, and she gave me his address. For some weeks I have had problems with the ManyDownloader when uploading GNiTM programs to the NCF server. Today, when I tried to upload this journal, I got a virus alarm. I decided to find an alternative FTP program, and settled on Classic FTP, from NCH Software. I will have to re-key the ftp links for the ~10 programs I upload. The first to go up was yesterday's journal, and it all worked fine. L-A spoke to Steve on his first night out of hospital after his fall, and back in his home. He was in good spirits considering what had happened. Tara will stay with him for a week.

Sun Oct 3
I was in church in good time to operate a live-stream camera. I took some colouring books but no one asked me about them. Kenneth preached on 'don't wear a mask' - be yourself. Afterwards I took Lottie food even though she hadn't asked. Anthonica had asked me to pick her up at noon, which I did - her and Kay-Lene. They were first going to the mall to get cake decorations and other things for her confirmation (with 24 others) at the church that her youth group is run by. She had been having confirmation classes for several months. I wonder if these classes were what she had been attending when I took her to her youth group, though she had never mentioned them. Jamelia is still in town and had asked for a final(?) food parcel before she leaves for Cape Town. I took her the food, and then brought her back to our place so she could set up a phone that had been given to her. This is good; we can stay in touch. She is the only one of the four main girls we never gave a phone to, saving us a lot of trouble. I went to get Anthonica and Kay-Lene at 4. Everything had gone well with the confirmation. The 25 of them in their white dresses must have been quite a sight. Afterwards they had enjoyed some food including several large cakes, but with so many it hadn't filled them up. Anthonica asked me to get them a Debonaire's pizza to share on the way home.
I had come up with a potential plan for our visas situation, so I described it in an email which I initially sent to L-A, who improved it without changing the plan. I sent it to Melanie. Here it is:
Hi Melanie
Here's what we think we should do as deadlines converge, and our medical visas, if they are issued, will expire on 30 November.
We should buy air tickets for 29 November. We need to give notice to our landlord before the end of October, or as soon as we have air tickets.
In the event that we don't have our passports/visas back in good time, we will need to try to obtain emergency documents from the Canadian High Commission.
Either way, we would need a legal-looking letter from you stating that we applied for a six month visa, but the processing time, due to covid closures at Home Affairs, took up nearly all or more time than the visa would be valid for.
We would have to trust that this would avoid a hassle at the airport. We have no plans to return to South Africa, so if they blacklist us for 5 years it is not a problem.
There is no point in applying for a third medical visa. We are concerned that the closures would continue, and we could be stuck in SA for a long time. Under the circumstances we cannot see what we could have done to avoid this situation, and we should be allowed to fly out. Laurie-Ann's dad needs us to take care of him.
Should the visas/passports come by mid October, then all of this plan B can be put aside. We know that you have been monitoring the situation and may not be able to intervene on our behalf.
Kind regards
Tony and Laurie-Ann Copple

My next task will be to discover what is involved in getting emergency passports so we can leave the country if our own passports have not been returned.
Chantelle called asking for money because with her R200 she had bought a food hamper that cost R270, so she had borrowed R70, and she wanted me to pay it. I said I could do that if I reduced her allowance in a weeks time by R70. She was fine with that. When I saw her after taking Athonica and Kay-Lene home, she asked if I could make it R100. I agreed, but will probably regret it about 10 days from now. My purpose in these transactions is to teach them a little money management, rather than their natural tendency always to spend every penny in their pockets as soon as they can. Finally it was time to take Jamelia home. Her phone was set up and charged. She doesn't use WhatsApp because it requires data or wifi, but she had loaded Messenger. When I got into her street I stopped the car and told her how much we would miss her after knowing her for nearly 4 years. I prayed for her and told her I loved her. We drove on to her house. The last thing she said to me was to ask for R20 to buy a cool drink tomorrow on her journey. In some things nothing changes.

Sat Oct 2
Shortly after I had got up the phone rang. It was Anthonica. I learned (1) the ATM in the Avian Mini Mark was working again (2) the money I sent yesterday was through already (3) They had withdrawn some but not all (4) she asked me to take her to town to spend it. Because 1, 2 and 3 were all good news I was ready to help with 4. As soon as she was in the car I asked to see her list, not expecting her to have one. But she did, and it all looked good to me. I dropped her on Durban St and we agreed I would call her at 10:30. I returned home to find L-A had got up and was ready for breakfast. We had mini port sausages and poached eggs. At 10:20 Anthonica called and I went down to find her. She asked for R6 so she could affort a 10 Kg bag of potatoes. I took her home. The Springboks and the All blacks (Numbers 2 & 1 in the world) were due to begin a crucial game at noon, but I couldn't find it on TV. I did find an audio commentary and discovered SA had 11 points by then, and NZ had 23. I had to leave to take Anthonica to her youth group, and there was no commentary on any radio channel on the dial. While I was waiting outside her house, Henry's father came from next door and hammered on their door. He had quite an altercation with Tersia, with her grabbing him by the hair and pushing him away. But he kept on returning. I got out of the car and asked him what he thought he was doing. He said he wanted his guitar. He was drunk. Then Henry came out of the house and said it was his guitar. That was what this was all about. In the end they let him take the guitar back to his house. I drove Anthonica to de Jagers. After dropping her, I bought a McChicken and a cheeseburger for our lunch and went home. I checked the score on the ausio commentary. It was the last 5 minutes of the game and each team was alternating with the lead. In the end the Springboks won in the final seconds with a dazzling display of character. I felt genuine pride in their achievement.

Fri Oct 1
I had the car round to MMJ by ten to eight. It needed a regular service and attention to the ball joints which were causing a knocking whenever the car ran over a bump, probably the result of Avian Park driving and speed humps. Brian wasn't around when I arrived so I had a cup of his coffee. On my way home I popped into Pick n Pay for some Aquafresh toothpaste, choosing their new 'Senses' range. I also discovered that Boland Crafts and Things sells computer mice; specifically the Verbatim, twice the price of Logitech, and maybe better for L-A's digital editing of her drawings. There's a special feeling in Worcester, shopping in the early morning; people seem to have more time to be friendly. I spent a lot of time today posting short videos taken over recent weeks that I hadn't had time to deal with before, but with the car in dock for a few hours I had more freedom. I sent their weekly allowances to Anthonica and Bella. Brian called about 3:30. Walking back to MMJ I had to pass Boland Crafts. I had spoken to L-A about the Verbatim mouse, and she was very keen to get it if indeed it had more precision than our other mice. So I bought it. The car service and the work on the ball joints cost R5,029, less than I had expected. Brian said that the problem was with the suspension of one of the front wheels. But when I drove home, most of the knocking noises were still there, in the front and in the back. Whether that was because he hadn't fixed some problems, or he didn't see them as serious problems, I will talk to him about next week. I drove down to Bella's with some emergency food that she had asked for last night. L-A has continued to be troubled by her neck and arm. Finding the right position to lie in bed is important. We still haven't heard back from Dr Eric, but I had received a call from someone about an appointment on 20 October, so it's possible that is it.

Thu Sep 30
I pulled on my new 'Made in Britain' compression socks, which have the same purpose as spending time with my feet higher than my head. I took my final Vitmin D2 50,000 units (Calciferol) tablet. The instructions say one tablet every second week for 6 weeks. Can't say I have noticed any difference in how I feel after taking a tablet. We got to Paarl for 10:30. L-A was having a painful time with her arm and neck and I hoped Este would be able to give her relief. She did, using a traction machine. We went for our usuals in Coffee Cab, and one of the new staff, Michelle, got talking with L-A while I was shopping in Spar. The conversation turned to the colouring books and when I got back L-A asked me to bring the two books from the car, where they had been since the book signing. Michelle really liked them and decided to buy the second book. This was the first time that an almost stranger had bought a book, purely on its merits as an artistic creation. Back home we found a request from Marsha via Bella for food and power. She only calls us occasionally so we like to help. I had already partially made up a food parcel for Jamelia. I put staple foods into a bag for Marsha and drove down to Pick n Pay local for the rest of her requests. In Avian Park I delivered to Jamelia and Marsha, but didn't see either personally. We had had problems with L-A's TD visa for the last few days. First we couldn't buy from Powertime, and then we couldn't use in card machines. Today L-A called the bank on Skype. It took nearly half an hour before they answered, but then the friendly lady was very efficient. The computers had seen a recent transaction that had flagged a possible problem: Yoko: Estee Mellet. Since Yoko is a South African credit card machine, it wasn't recognized, even though we have used it weekly for 14 months. So they disabled the card. They made a call to us with Lynn's previous number, which no longer exists. Changing the 2-stage verification number is very hard to do, if not impossible, from outside the country. There were no fraudulent payments on the transaction record, but about five payments had been disallowed, mainly Powertime. I felt slightly bad for reporting the problem to Powertime suggesting there was something wrong with their software. What was significant was that Laurie-Ann handled the complete call herself with no difficulty. In every previous situation calling banks I have made the call and then put her on to verify it is OK for me to speak on her behalf, a tedious process. Taking the compression socks off before turning in was non-trivial, but there was no sign of swelling on my legs or ankles. Taking the socks off became easier on subsequent nights as I got used to the process.

Wed Sep 29
My weight is 60.4 Kg! That's the highest since 12 February. But is it due to TB healing, or is it partly from another increase in pleural fluid (water on the lungs). I can recognize the tell-tale signs of the latter after going through this twice before. I picked up Anthonica at 10:30 and brought her to wifi. Today I/L-A stopped applying Efudix cream to two of my carcinomas on my right forehead and my back. A month from today we will assess whether they are healed or need further treatment. At noon I took Jamelia shopping for clothes and shoes. She brought Bernelee with her, the daughter of her sister Amelia, and she was so well behaved. Amelia has a new job with FasFacts, going door to door telling expecting mothers of the danger of even one drink. I am proud of her.
This photo, with Bernalee, is the last photo we have of Jamelia. After dropping them back home I shopped for pies and groceries (Jamelia got one too), and went home. I checked to see if Anthonica had taken the bait; namely a bottle of wine from our cupboard. She hadn't, although she had ample opportunity. L-A asked me to cook some mince. We ate our pies. Then we went down to the car with the things we might need this afternoon. We dropped Anthonica at the end of her street, then sped to Worcester West to collect Ronel from her parents' house. Next stop, Mella's. Today was Mella's first day back with the Riverview and Avian Park kids, and instead of the normal ministry she threw a goodbye party for us. Kevin drove the kids to the party. They were just arriving when Laurie-Ann mentioned to me the mince I had been cooking on the stove at home, and I erupted with the potential danger because I realised it was still cooking when we left home in a hurry. I ran to the car and drove home, just a few minutes away. There wasn't smoke rising from our building. I almost ran up the stairs, but there was no burning small as I opened the front door. The mince meat was still cooking though the outside edges were turning rather dark. I was able to scrape out the meat and it was in good enough shape to add to the crockpot. What a relief! I was just so thankful to my guardian angel (a) for prompting L-A to mention it, and (b) that after the 4 journeys just made, even the frying pan was not damaged. I got back to Mella's just as she was starting to project two videos, one for L-A and one for me, of photos automatically selected by facial recognition software and assembled into videos with a music soundtrack. I don't remember seeing the photos before, but Mella is an inveterate photo recorder of all that goes on in her professional life. After the film show there were savoury snacks and very non-savoury cakes. The kids were in the back garden and the adults in the sun room. Kevin brought L-A and me up to date with the latest news on My Father's House, which was that HADA had kiboshed the idea for building a retreat on the coast, listing any number of reasons why they didn't like the idea. They even hinted they would be redirecting the bulk of the cash at we had thought was earmarked for use here. Mella organized for the kids to come inside in groups and say nice things to us. A little later I was with Alrumano and Soerita in the kitchen (where they were washing up) when they said really nice things to me and for Laurie-Ann. It was touching indeed. We took Ronel home. Then we drove to Worcester Christian Church for a meeting called for all people involved in music and the livestream. It was organized by Yolanda and the purpose was to send Marius Rabie on his faith journey as he seeks further challenges. He had become less enamoured with the Sunday worship leading routine and had resigned from that recently, feeling that he needed to take time out to listen to what God may have for him in the future. We had a good chat with Marius and L-A gave him a copy of the new colouring book. I also said a few words to the assembled group, mentioning Marius' CD, tracks from which had been played in Canada, and exhorted him never to give up on his music. We had parked the car right by the church door under a huge tree (part of which came down in a storm a few months ago). When we came out we found large amounts of bird shit on the windscreen and the roof. I went back into the church and borrowed a water jug and some kitchen roll and did first aid on the car. When we got home I turned the Da Vanci fire hose on it and soon it was looking cleaner than it had for a few weeks.

Tue Sep 28
The big day of the book signing. Elzaan at Olive Tree WhatsApped me to apologise for not being able to arrange a book signing there, but sent photos of our poster in Olive Tree for the Café Hugo event. Jamelia told me that on Friday she is moving to Cape Town to live with an aunt, and asked if I would buy her shoes tomorrow. If she is moving our of our immediate lives that has implications for the support we have been giving her family. She won't have a phone in Cape Town. Anthonica called and asked for more data. She had used the R35 worth - 250MB - the previous evening. This is an indication for how much schoolkids must pay to be able to do their schoolwork on line. We can't afford to buy that much data for her daily so I suggested she comes to us tomorrow morning and does as much work as possible using the uncapped wifi. I went to the mall, to Dis-Chem, and bought compression socks, to help with my swolen legs. After lunch it was time to drive to Q-Square (via the bank to get some R20 notes for change if needed) and set up in Café Hugo. The weather was perfect. Cindy welcomed us and said a credit card machine was on its way. At 2pm, people arrived: Carica and Louis, Gisela, Hilda and Hannah, Heather. We were chatting when someone caught a glimpse of Mella, who was finding a place for her bicycle before joining us. She had only been back in Worcester for a couple of days after several months in the US. Carica and Mella bought signed books, and Gisela bought two, which may have been something to do with having her portrait on the cover. After a while we ordered coffee wich was excellent, this being Cafe Hugo. Dijon came by to see that everything was to our liking, and Godfrey was one of our waiters. Louis took professional photos which show off the books well. Around 3:30 our friends had moved on except for Heather, and we three had muffins and a scone and another hot drink. It was all very delightful and an event we will long remember. In the evening I posted a new Flickr album called Book Signing.

Mon Sep 27
I called Dr Hofmeyr's office and confirmed L-A's hygienist appointment for 10:45 and Chantelle's for 2pm. I drove to Bella's for 8:30, but she had overslept and wasn't ready (probably means her hair wasn't done), and asked if we could do it on another day. I asked what she knew about the theft of her hair equipment. It was Jacob, who was hit by a car on 6 Sep, who was the thief. He had been inside their house for no good reason on Saturday, and when he left Cathy had noticed something bulky in his pocket, but didn't say anything. A few hours later he had returned to the house, drunk. He had probably sold the equipment for R30 and bought a few beers. I emphasised to Bella that the time has come when they don't let anyone in the house unless they are totally trustworthy. Being an extended family member does not qualify them as trustworthy. This is a society where there is no sense of basic morality, and for many nothing is as important as obtaining alcohol. I took L-A to her hygeinist appointment, and while she was in I drove to OVD to find Chantelle. Luckily I found her and reminded her of her appointment. After lunch I took her, and stayed in the surgery observing Dr Hofmeyr carrying our a number of procedures. At the end he said she was in good shape for the future. The cost was another R700, but we had saved some teeth from being pulled. Anthonica called asking if she could come to us for wifi, but with the dental appointments it wasn't convenient. I sent her 250 MB of data, valid for 7 days, so she could work form home on her phone. Since Powertime is still misbehaving I used MyAirtime which I had set up a few days before. It works for data. Powertime is meant to work for data, but hasn't done so in months, and right now won't even work for air time. There was an Prison Networking Group Zoom call from 5 - 6:15. Dave Atkins was on the call. Carl told is of his successor as OCDC chaplain who wasn't able to be on the call. Carl encouraged everyone to check out the website and I added that they should start with the Coppleblog. In a moment of abandon I invited everyone to really appreciate the free local telephone calls in North America, but later I realized that having free calls from land lines in SA wouldn't change much because land lines are so rare here, and mobile calls are not free in N. America. The Fouries had replaced their phone with a Telkom simulated land line because the phone lines were continually down from cable theft. Anthonica got me to take her an OK pizza and some taxi cash. When I queried why she wasn't using the weekly allowance, she said that the ATM in the Avian Mini Mark was defective. I offered to to drive them to town to access their money.

Sun Sep 26
Bella called at 8 with bad news. Someone had stolen the hair straightening machine that we had bought for her around March, that she wanted for university. She wanted to report the crime to the police and asked if I could take her tomorrow morning at 8:30. We got to church by 9 to give time to put up a couple of book signing posters. Leonie welcomed us and confirmed she wanted to buy both books. She said Pam was leading the service and would announce the book signing. We went inside to see the pallet barrier separating the church into two was gone. When we were settled in translation row Nik came over and we talked about the BVM council. I took one of the Colouring with Jesus 2 books to Pam as a visual aid, and CWJ 1 and 2 to Leonie to keep. She will pay by EFT. As the service got under way I noticed there was no camera person on the front right camera. I went to the control section and asked Carlo if he would like me to operate the camera. This I then did for the rest of the service. Despite Pam's encouraging words, we didn't have any interest from the unusually small congregation. We stopped at McDonalds on the way home for a McChicken and an ice cream cone for L-A and me respectively. Back home I made an audio recording from the livestream of Pam's announcement of the book signing. I combined this with the poster and posted them to three WhatsApp groups whose members might be interested. I sent a thank you message to the BHCC congregation via Arnold for the $500 donation they had sent via Iris in September. I spent some time doing maintenance on the GNCM web site to allow additional years to the added to the podcast list without overfilling the page. I don't know if i will succeed in this, but it is vital not to screw up the existing website.

Sat Sep 25
Anthonica had asked me to take her and Kay-Lene to the mall which was a pick-up point for a youth group outing where they would be given food parcels. I collected her at 4:30 to hear that they had been told the food parcels would be delivered to their homes. This sounded unlikely to me. We were having major problems with Powertime, so I searched out other methods of buying air time and data on line, settling on I did a test run, sending R30 of air time to Lottie, and was charged a fee of R12, the minimum fee. So it isn't cost effective for small purchases. I also bought myself R150 air time, and there was still only a R12 fee. I was just preparing supper when she called again to say there was a family emergency and all the adults in the extended family were meeting tonight with relatives from Johannesburg. They had finally got round to calling me now that the time had come when they actually needed to go to the meeting. I said I would be there in 15 minutes, trying not to sound too annoyed. I woke L-A and told her supper was delayed. I was surprised when Henry got into the car with Tersia and another woman I didn't know. Henry isn't a blood relative but has been Tersia's boy friend, and attacker. Tersia wasn't certain where the meeting was, so we went first to a Riverview house, and then on to the Riverview flats. There were lots of people roaming the streets, and Tersia still wasn't sure where she was going, and I certainly couldn't remember the route we had taken. Eventually they thought they had got to the right place. She asked if I could take them home at 9:30, and I said I wasn't at all sure I could find my way back. She said she would borrow a phone call me closer to the time. Finding my way home was now my main challenge. I had a piece of paper and a pen and as I moved from street to street I drew a map. I went by sense of direction and didn't recognise any of the streets I was on. I came to a crossroads with traffic lights and turned left. I drove for several minutes wondering if I was going completely the wrong way, and then, right ahead I saw Pick n Pay Local! Soon I was home. I continued with preparing supper, and 45 minutes later we were eating hake fillets. The phone rang and it was Tersia asking if I could come at 10. At least I now knew I must go and fetch them and they hadn't been offered a lift and not told me. As I drove along the route I had drawn, I miscalculated the number of traffic lights and was soon way out in the country. I U-turned and and turned left at the next lights. This was a junction I have crossed a hundred times or more, and now took me along a road I travel often. I must have been disoriented when I had come the other way earlier. My little map was however helpful when I got into the flats complex. The layout is repetitive and when I stopped the car there was no sign of them. I called the number Tersia had used. I said I would drive to the next 'inlet.' Soon I was in touch with her again and she knew where I was. I waited, with some concern that a drug-hungry addict would see this white guy in a Mercedes as a ticket to his next high, and attack me. 15 minutes later she hadn't shown up so I called again and someone else answered, so I asked if she could tell Tersia to hurry. The three of them got into the car a few minutes later and we drove to Avian Park. I asked what was the great emergency meeting about and she said one of the extended family in Worcester had died yesterday of cancer. This person was originally from Jo'burg and her body was to be taken back there for the funeral. That was the great family crisis. Tersia seemed over-relaxed. She even tried several times to put her arm round my neck. I asked if she had been drinking and Henry answered that she had had two glasses of wine. This is a no-no for an alcoholic, but explained the party clothes with bare midrif she had worn for the meeting. I warned Tersia that next time she needed transport in a hurry at night for a family matter, I would not be available. When we got to her home and they got out, I called L-A to let her know I was safe and would soon be home.

Fri Sep 24
It's Heritage Day, so the shops were open as they would on Sundays. The staff in Pick n Pay were wearing traditional dress. Ramaphosa made a speech saying South Africans are against violence, ethical, anti-racist and exhibit many other qualities (that they have a long way to go to actually achieve). It crosses my mind that one thing South Africans have always done well is pronounciation. The English of many of them is more orthodox than the average English person. They will say 'inter action' when Brits and N.Americans say 'inter raction.' My dad would have loved it; he spent many teaching moments getting me to say it and many similar words in the South African way. I had several trips out for the girls getting them food and transporting them. Early in the day I sent weekly allowances to Tersia and Bella. Since Tersia's phone broke, she has to walk to the Avian Mini Mark to see if she has my money in her bank.

Thu Sep 23
At Laurie-Ann's prompting I called Dijon at Café Hugo and asked if we might borrow one of his credit card machines next Tuesday, and I was surprised and happy when he said yes. We bought a copy of the Worcester Standard from a salesman at the corner of Adderley and Church streets, on the tiny off-chance that they had printed something about the book signing. They hadn't, but there was an Afrikaans article headed with a fine picture of Nik. A group of councillors is accusing the council of R450,000 frivolous expenditure trying to accuse Nik of misconduct over the exposure of oil pollution under the land designated for a new township - Trans Hex. We went to Paarl for a later-than-usual appointment, noon, for L-A with Este. She has been giving traction for L-A's neck and it is helping. We haven't heard any confirmation of a 3D scan yet. The pain is lessening. At Coffee Cab L-A had a chicken wrap and crisp chips - very nice meal. I just had my regular pancake. Back in Worcester we collected our laundry, and I visited Star Park Chinese restaurant where we have eaten many times and asked it they would display a poster for the book signing. They were happy to do so. Then I drove to Tony's, the large scrap merchant, to see if they would buy our surplus hydraulic brake pump which I bought from a scrap merchant in Johannesburg which has the wrong serial number for our car. They said they don't buy parts; only complete vehicles for scrap. They recommended I advertise on Gumtree.

Wed Sep 22
I woke up a couple of times in the night and my bones ached. This may have been due to the strange contours of the couch, and/or the fact that I hadn't taken Tramacett in nearly 24 hours. At 8:30 when my alarm went off I felt like more rest so I stayed another 20 minutes. After rising I felt fine. I also felt I should take our laundry to Hippo so that we were in better shape clothes-wise for happenings next week including the book signing. So I got in the car and drove out of the gate, immediatlely seeing that something was wrong: the traffic lights were out. In fact there were no lights visible. This was either load-shedding or a local Worcester problem. I did drive to the laundry but Magda wasn't taking anything in. I went home and helped L-A get up and have cold breakfast. Bella called needing bread, polony, sugar and coffee. I am no longer phased by sugar and coffee being on a list of emergency rations to get them through the day. Since I couldn't do much else without power I delivered what she wanted. I asked her about the power outage and she had heard it would last till 4:30. I went to the water shop, which wasn't serving water, and he also said 4:30 for power to make a comeback. He offered to deliver my bottles to my home when they were filled, but to do this for a R10 sale seemed a bad business deal for him. Then I went to One-up and bought bulk spaghetti, rice, sugar and macaroni, and while I was waiting to pay the lights came on. I returned to the water shop and refilled our two bottles. Then to home. Tara WhatsApped to say that Steve was in hospital. Investgation revealed that far from being hit with Covid, he had fallen while mowing the lawn, been noticed by a neighbour who called 911, who called Tara (she is registered as his next of kin). Tara discovered that Steve hadn't refilled his prescriptions since October. L-A was able to reach him in his hospital room. At 2:30 I picked up Mazvita and we drove to the Avian Park library. By 3 pm no-one had arrived. Mazvita said some of them wouldn't be out of school till 3:30. At 3:45 8 girls, one being Susan with her baby, arrived. We had praise and worship and they responded well, particularly with two Afrikaans songs. Mazvita hadn't been able to find her notebook for teaching, and I had suggested we invite them to ask us questions about God. When we said this there was no response. So I turned it round, asking them questions. The first one was 'How old is God.' The first answer was 100. I took the opportunity and asked them creation questions, and then questions about Jesus' time on earth, and who had killed him, and why. Some of them had good answers. After a while they got curious and started asking us questions. Who causes all the suffering? Will I go to Heaven or Hell? How does God decide? What is Hell like? What will the end of the world be like? This started us on a discussion about is Jesus coming back. I thought to myself, these were exactly the sort of questions I asked when I was very young. Yet such matters are seldom the subject of sermons.

Tue Sep 21
Last night was my 4th sleeping on the couch, and it hasn't been nearly as uncomfortable as I had expected. Shall I sleep here a 5th night? This is the 6th day after my contact with Lottie when I might have become infected, and I have not developed Covid symptoms, so statistically my quarantine is over, but I don't think the virus gets its instructions from reading the statistics, so I will stay home today (unless there's something really important that comes up). I have been surprised how the girls have not called on me these last few days. Have they found other sources of support? Ronel called about 9, and said she was still staying away tomorrow, but she had booked the Avian Park library, and today would call (some of) the Avian Park girls. Mazvita was ready to teach. She also said that her chiropractor Dr Stefan Le Roux (0233422391, 57 Fairbairn St) had proved very effective for her neck condition. It is possible her could help L-A. We listened to the Sussex Records playist on Spotify. Sussex Records was founded by Clarence Avard. Lots of songs by Rodriguez are included. I paid $4,000 to the TD visa, reducing its balance to around $20,000. Thank you GNCM! That made me feel good, and to have an appetite for jobs that I have been putting off. The hydraulic brake pump with the wrong serial number that I had arranged to be shipped here for the Mercedes had been in a box on our balcony since we arrived in Da Vinci a year ago. I had brought it inside the house a week ago when I swept and washed the balcony from the dirt that flies up from the road. I took it from the box and was relieved to see it hadn't rusted; just needed a clean. I mopped the tiles at the cooking end of the kitchen, and then swept and cleaned L-A's wash room. It was a sunny day without wind so I took the kit for cleaning the headlights on the Mercedes downstairs and did that job. I am almost looking forward to the next time I drive in the dark. It was now about 4pm, and I slept for an hour in the bedroom with my feet elevated. Then I prepared a food parcel for Jamelia and family, half from our home store, and the other half from Pick n Pay and the butcher that sells meaty bones. Jamelia needed food several days ago and we hadn't delivered. I felt their needs trumped the risk of water droplets. The load I delivered to Jamelia's house filled two grocery bags. Neither she nor her ouma were there, but one of the family was cooking at the stove so they weren't starving. Good. I was well socially distanced from them. I WhatsApped Rev Sharon Davis to see if she would like to meet us on Thursday in Paarl with the possibility of buying colouring book(s).

Mon Sep 20
Chantelle's potential arrival at our door triggered me to work for several hours on the 'Sponsor our Girls' spreadsheet, since we had just passed the 18th of the month mark. Five months after the 6 month experiment started, I could see that the the donations that funded Bella's and Antonica's support will exceed their expenses at the six month point. We decided to allocate $500 each from the GNCM money to Jamelia's and Chantelle's expenses, which should keep them in the blue at the six month point, particularly if Lottie reimburses us for some of her expenses as she has indicated (and asked for the figures). The spreadsheet showed that when I separated Lottie's expenses from Chantelle's and removed her dental expenses and school fees, we were supporting Chantelle to the tune of R415 per week. I decided to give her R200 per week cash to reduce the amount of shopping and delivery I am doing for her. She arrived late afternoon after (her new) school. She likes her class teacher (whom I had met last Friday) who also taught her mother! Instead of the R50 she had cheekily asked for, I gave her the R200 that the calculations had suggested. I told her that she wasn't going to get cash as well as the previous amount of food, but I did give her some staples to take home and R10 for a taxi home. We watched The Black Godfather, about Clarence Avard, on Netflix. This was recommended by the Daily Maverick last week probably because of the singer Rodriguez, and Avant's remarkable achievements in the fight towards black equality in the US.

Sun Sep 19
Clearly we weren't going to physical church today, but after giving L-A her MLD, with us both in masks, I clicked the link on the WCC WhatsApp and found myself watching the livestream, about a minute after the start. Hanlie Bruyns was the worship leader - my favourite. I started the AR Wizzard to get a sound recording. I had the sound coming through the speakers and it sounded quite good. After the initial song, Johan came to the front and interviewed Cindy De Bruins, co-owner of Café Hugo, whom I had interviewed on CWCP Radio. I don't know what they spoke about; it was all in Afrikaans. He also spoke about the Pallet Project, asking if Tendai was in the house. He was - operating the right hand camera! We returned to praise and worship. This was all in English, and I was happy to be part of it. Johan's sermon touched on the debate between vaxxers and anti-vaxxers. I could tell this by the visual aids. He is a brave man to have weighed in on that! Later in the day I called Nik and he gave me some insight into the sermon. Wisely Johann wasn't coming down on either side in the vaccination debate. After church I went out to get some food for Lottie (and while I was at, bread for us). I thought hard before going. Who else would get food for Lottie? The risk of infecting others if I was extremely careful was very small, and I have experienced no symptoms and am fully vaccinated. But when I got to Lottie's house there were several people visiting and apparently oblivious of her state. I told a man who wasn't wearing a mask. I attempted to digitize the DVDs we have from X-rays, MRIs, etc, but when I tried to run the execute files after the transfers to the 32 GB stick I had bought for the recent mammogram, they produced an error message. They would only run properly from the original disks. After transferring about 4 discs I decided it would be a mistake not to take home the original disks. I did get the 'before' and 'after' images from my recent pleural effusion and posted them on Flickr. Chantelle announced on Messenger that she was coming here tomorrow to get R50 for food(!)

Sat Sep 18
I slept quite well on the couch, only getting up 3 times. The room is lit by streetlamps; we deliberately have no curtains. About 8:55 I arrived at the Covid testing station where there were about 6 people ahead of me. Then it turned out that I needed a doctor's form to get tested. I returned to the car and called Erik's number and was put through to him. He said the routine now was that I only need a test if I have symptoms. I must quarantine for 5 days, and if no symptoms appear I am in the clear. We needed potatoes if I was to stay home 5 days, so with my mask very firmly in place I went to Pick n Pay on the way home and got some, and some fruit. I realize that strictly this was breaking the rules. At home I gave L-A her MLD with both of us masked, and then we had breakfast. I took off my upper clothes so L-A could put the Efudix on my back. I called Anthonica and told her I was in quarantine and wouldn't be able to take her to her youth group today and tomorrow. She took it calmly, saying she would tell them not to expect her. Chantelle phoned asking for the telephone number that the hospital had called from yesterday. I told her I would call her back with it. Then I thought it would be better if I called them. I got a helpful operator who said if I called in 5 minutes he would be able to tell me if Lottie was still in the hospital. I called in 5 minutes and he said she was not in the hospital, but there was a Charlotte Williams in the Robertson hospital. We both felt that was not our Charlotte. He said there was no database that would tell him where she would have been taken. I thanked him. Then I called Chantelle and told her that I should check if she was back home. This could be done without impacting social distancing with anyone. I drove to her house and saw immediately from there way the door was locked that she was home. I walked near to the door and called her. She was all masked up even though she was alone. She didn't look too well. She asked me to bring her food tomorrow. I explained I couldn't go shopping, but hinted I would figure something out. Her phone was out of power and she asked for air time. I was very relieved to know where she was, and that her dog was not locked up alone. I came home and spent the day working through my do list, including uploading the GNiTM podcast of the week. I checked the web stats for bandwidth used in August by people listening to GNiTM. That translated to 70 programs via .mp3, and 783 programs via wma. My guess is that the .wma listeners have been doing so ever since all our broadcasts were in .wma, and they click on the same link on their phones. The .wma files are 60% smaller than the .mp3 files. These numbers are lower than in our more illustrious past, but we are still providing the Gospel to many. Equally interesting is the top 10 list of countries listening in: USA, France, Moldova, Finland, Russia, China, Germany, UK, Vietnam, Canada. While I was at it I checked the webstats for this journal and was quite surprised. In this past August there were 566 hits, roughly equally distributed each year since 2018. This could be 566 people visiting once, or more likely 57 people visiting 10 times, or any similar combination. Laurie-Ann reads them all so that's 30 hits. The stats from a year before were similar. So I'm not alone on this venture. Others are joining me on the journey. If you are one of them, I apologise for the typos. I type directly into html, and there's no spell checker. L-A masterminded the preparation of matapa for dinner and I followed her instructions. After dinner we had our Bible study from the minor prophets - we were in Micah chapter 4 where there was a prophecy that remined me of 'Imagine.' Then we had communion with cream crackers and Rooi Muskadel, something we are doing approximately weekly. We retired about 11:30, L-A to the bedroom and I to the couch. Social distancing for the two of us is proving doable.

Fri Sep 17
I had set my alarm for 8:30, but my phone rang at 7:15. It was Bella, letting me know that Janego had been released from the hospital and was waiting for me. A few minutes later Chantelle rang to say that Esselen Park school said she owed them a further R100 for fees. She was at the school at the time; hence her early call. I went back to bed for another half hour. I got up and drove to the hospital, arriving about 8:30. I spotted Janego immediately. As we drove to Avian Park, she told me she had a boyfriend with a job who was the father of her child, and also of the miscarried foetus. I encouraged her to get married, though with some misgivings bearing in mind the dreadful stats for GBV in SA. I called Radiology and they had no appointment set for Laurie-Ann, so I called Erik's office again, repeating my last request that L-A have a 3D scan. I called Chantelle and told her I would give her the R100. I picked her up in Avian Park and drove to her new school (which is Bella's old school). I insisted on giving the additional R100 to someone in authority, and was impressed when she brought her new class teacher out to see me. Everything was as Chantelle had said and I gave her teacher the money. I went home and worked on editing our latest monthly newsletter, drafted by L-A. Then I went to the mall and gave a copy of the poster for the book signing to Caroline in Olive Tree Christian Bookstore. I told her the prices of the books had been reduced to R250. I was walking back to the car when I tripped on a sandal and fell right on to the road. Time went very slowly for a second or two as I envisaged hurting myself, but I landed on my left knee, right arm and hands, and the only damage was a graze on the knee under my corduroy trousers. My feet were tingling but were soon normal after I rested in the car for 5 minutes. Being light can be a benefit. A strange thing about this was that back in June I had fallen in a similar way outside the Esselen Park library, and also not hurt myself. I drove down town to McDonalds for a chocolate dipped cone. I was finishing it when my phone rang. It was a sister at the hospital saying that Charlotte Williams had asked her to call me so I could take her home. After a few seconds I realised it must have been Lottie. Then the sister said that Lottie had come in this morning complaining of shortness of breath. As a routine they conducted a Covid test and it was positive. This was a shock; I was with Lottie two days ago. I said to the sister that I didn't think it was at all a good idea for me to take her home, and the sister immediately agreed, and said they would figure out how Lottie could be quarantined. I called Chantelle and told her the news so she could tell her parents. Then I drove to the Covid testing station at Pathcare, but they had closed 20 minutes before. They would open again at 9 am tomorrow and I would be there. Our evening was careful. I wore my mask most of the time. For dinner I didn't sit opposite L-A. I slept in the couch in my clothes.

Thu Sep 16
Paarl day, and a little earlier than usual. L-A found everything harder due to her sore arm, including getting down the back stairs. She was with Este for 90 minutes. When she was done I asked Este if she felt chriropractic might be an option, and since one of the other practitioners in her offices is a chiropractor, her opinion is valid. She was non commital, but not negative. We had our usual at Coffee Cab. At Goede Hoop I bought a beef roast. We were home in time for a quick lunch, and then I went down to Avian Park and Chantelle saw me. She asked if I had done anything about Anthonica's theft of our wine. I said I hadn't because I was not certain she had taken it. It was possible someone else (eg Chantelle) had framed her. I took Anthonica to her youth group, but said nothing about the wine. I didn't want to alert her. She wanted to stay till 7:30 but I insisted on 6. Bella called at 8 asking if I would drive her cousin to the hospital. They had called for an ambulance at 3 with no result. I said I would come after we had eaten our (beef roast) dinner. I was there by 9:10. Her cousin Janego had suffered a miscarriage and was not feeling well. Bella came with us (chaperone?). I watched to make sure they would actually admit her to see a doctor and then drove Bella home.

Wed Sep 15
We received the promised e-Transfer from Dave, so finally I could stop wondering. The work I have done weekly to post the weekly podcasts has born fruit. Good News in the Morning will continue to serve the world. I called Dr Erik's office and they put him on to L-A. He had seen the X-rays. He talked about possibly seeing a neural specialist, but before that she should have a 3D scan that could be done here, like a CAT scan. He said she sould call him if she wanted to proceed with it. Later in the day I called and said we wanted to go ahead withe the scan, and asked if it might be done on Friday. I delivered food to Lottie, Chantelle and Jamelia that they had asked for late yesterday. I didn't know it till 2 days later, but Lottie had Covid 19. She didn't know it either. I was wearing my mask and spoke with her for a couple of minutes as I gave her food. Two doors from Lottie's house, a house had burned down yesterday. Thank God it hadn't spread. Chantelle told me she was being treated unfairly by her teacher at school, threatening to have her grant stopped, and other things teachers should never say to learners. She wanted to switch to Esselen Park High School. She needed R50 from me to have enough pay her school fees. Her parents had contributed R200. I gave her R50. She also asked if I wanted evidence of Anthonica's theft of wine. She went to Antonica's neighbour's back garden and came back with an empty bottle of Nuy Columbar. At Jamelia's I was disturbed to see they still hadn't installed the window glass I had bought for them. I went inside with her grandmother and she showed me that she had installed the glass in two windows on the side of the house, but the front window was beyond her capability. Her son had refused to do the windows because he is away working during daylight hours. I had refused to give them R50 to pay someone else to do the job. There were friends who would help; she said she had no friends in Avian Park. I drove to the nearby intersection of Nightingale and Malmok streets, where about 8 young men were hanging around. I asked if any of them knew how to replace window glass. Several volunteered, but one looked more dependable than the others. I said they wouldn't be paid for the work. I took him and one of the others to Jamelia's. They seemed good hearted and the broken window didn't phase them when they examined it. I left at that point, hoping (and praying) they wouldn't make the situation worse. Back home I filled the Nuy wine bottle with water and placed it in the wine cupboard. My plan was to trap Anthonica in the act of stealing another bottle. Afternoon ministy with the Riverview kids: Soerita, Shanddre, Bronwyn and Nieka (3 sisters + cousin Bronwyn) and Alrumano. Great worship with Mano singing up front with me. I was finding it hard to read the words so it was helpful having him there. I hope my sight problem was just temporary. Mazvita did well with the Joseph story. She started by quizzing them, and Soerita particularly had retained an excellent recollection of the story so far. I took the opportunity to photograph the sisters. There are two more siblings in the family. I would say the parents have done a good job bringing them up. Around 6:45 Tersia called from a friend's phone and asked me to call Anthonica, but Anthonica had taken out her long term Sim and put in the new one that came with her new phone. So it took a while and 6 calls by me before I reached her. She was asking for food, now. They had used up everything and all the money from what I sent on 11th. Tersia has no understanding of stretching scarce resources. I took them noodles and an OK footlong meal. I asked them when did they realise they wouldn't have any food for tonight, and Tersia said last night. I asked why they had waited till now to call me. It is almost part of their culture never to take action on something before it becomes an emergency. They have a couple more days before the weekly allowance will arrive. Jaydine in OK asked me what was the mark on my forehead. Just after we finished clearing up after dinner I checked the electricity meter, to find it had only 0.77 units left! I turned off almost all the lights and typed into Powertime and was able to get the code numbers to purchase 100 units. I then keyed the numbers into the meter, before we ran out. It was a near miss, because replenishing from a phone using data is tricky, so recently it has been easier to buy units in a store, but at this time of night we probably would have just gone to bed. Instead I sent Tersia and Bella their weekly allowances, and then we watched 'When calls the heart.'

Tue Sep 14
I used to dislike Mondays but now they are a release after our rather busy weekends. This morning however I had an appointment at 9 with a lady called Diane who had answered our 'wanted' ad for a suitcase for Bella for when she goes to university. Diane turned out to be a worshipper at Worcester Christian Church, and volunteered for swop shop in Avian Park. The suitcase was great, and we think we can get a second one from Mella when she returns in a couple of weeks from Texas. At 11 I took Chantelle for an appointment with Dr Hofmeyer. She had been complaining of pain in three teeth. I wanted to know if they could be saved from being extracted. Chantelle had an appointment in the clinic tomorrow, and they would be quite likely to pull out any teeth that were causing pain. So I was quite pleased when Dr Hofmeyer said that all she needed was a couple of small fillings and to start brushing. He had soon discovered she didn't have a toothbrush, so he gave her one and a pocketful of toothpaste. I mentioned the amount of sugar she was consuming in tea and coffee, and he backed me up and suggested she gradually reduce the amount. He wants to see her in two weeks and see if she makes progress with dental hygiene. On the way home I bought her food. She asked me if I knew of a wine called Nuy. I said I did and we had some. Then she said that Anthonica had bragged last night that she had taken a bottle from our house yesterday, and had drunk it, and also smoked with her friends. When we reached Manniken I noticed that both her front windows had holes in the glass. Her brother (the bad one) had been allowed into the house the night before when they were eating a meal made from the food I had brought. He wasn't impressed with the food and said so, whereupon Maria told him to leave. He did so, but once outside threw stones through their windows. These were windows I had paid for new glass for more than a year ago after he had broken them. Maria reported the incident to the police. Laurie-Ann was suffering severe pain in her left arm and neck. It wasn't getting better so I took her to see Dr Erik in the afternoon. For this one I stayed in the car. After examining her he felt the issue was probably a sinal problem with the L3 vertebra in her neck causing referred pain down her left arm. She came out with a requisition for X-rays so we went straight round to radiology. They took many images of her neck area. When we talked about it that evening, it seemed to us it must have come from over-using a particular position, perhaps in bed. She certainly hadn't had any obvious trauma that might have caused it.

Mon Sep 13
I had booked an appointment last week for Chantelle to see our dentist, Dr Hofmeyer. She had an appointment coming up tomorrow in the day hospital clinic, and I was worried they would extract more of her teeth unnecessarily. I asked Dr Hofmeyer to see what could be done to save the teeth. Chantelle explained the pain she was getting and he did find some minor cavities, but saw no reason for extractions. He discovered she didn't have a toothbrush or toothpaste and gave her both, and said he should see her in 2 weeks after she started brushing. On the way to her home I asked her to cancel her appointment at the clinic, which she said she could do on the phone. She told me that although she was back living with her parents, they didn't eat at home but at their work, and so there was no food at home for her. We stopped off at Da Vinci for some staple foods, and I got her a chicken burger at OK. Anthonica waylaid me when I had dropped off Chantelle and asked if she couldn't come now for wifi instead of at 2. So I brought her home, and she brought a bag with her school stuff. I picked up hot dogs at Pick n Pay for L-A and me. Anthonica had corn flakes. She & mother are receiving weekly cash from me so I don't buy her food as well. She was able to unlock her old phone for me. My problem had been that the touch screen was inacurate so I couldn't key in the code, but she had figured out how to nullify the errors. Once I was in I was able to access her files from my laptop, and bring over everything that she might still want, including photos and music. I took her home about 4. Bella called for 2 Kg of chicken, to be brought when I would collect her computer. She called again about 6:15. I drove to the supermarket she had introduced me to recently and bought the chicken. Then I went on to her house and swapped it for her computer. She agreed I could delete the R70 cost from her next allowance. As I have been driving on Avian Parks rough roads recently I am sensing knocking noises coming from the wheels, and wondering if I'll have to take the car into MMJ one last (?) time.

Sun Sep 12
An early rising to get to Hillsong for the 10:30 service, for which we had booked 2 of the 50 seats allowed in the Level 3 lockdown. We arrived shortly after 10, so had time for coffees. Anneli came over and we showed her (on my phone) a recent drawing by L-A that featured her, and she was delighted. Lise Lourens soon came and joined us, and we had excellent second row seats. It was good to join in some nice loud Hillsong music. The sermon was by Phil Dooley and was an excellent exhortation to give generously for their Miracle event next Sunday. After the service we were joined by Naomi and Faan, and the 5 of us chatted for an hour or so in the foyer. Lise got on very well with our connect group leaders. Then we and Lise went for lunch in Woolworths and had a very pleasant time. It was probably the last time we would see her. When Lise left, I went to Wellness Warehouse and replenished L-A's vitamin stocks. They even had a Quercetin product, Quercetin B5 Plus Complex, by Viridian. This is the only Quercetin I have seen for months, due to a national shortage, since it is thought to fight Covid 19. Driving home, as we approached the N1, we bought some beautiful Calla Lilies from one of the hawkers on the road. They brighten up our living room very nicely. After getting back and having a cuppa, I drove to Anthonica's to give her the phone. She was super excited by now. L-A is developing a very sore neck-arm, possibly a pinched nerve. If it gets worse we may have to see Dr Eric. To accompany our supper I played this morning's 30th anniversary edition of Over my Head on CKCU. It included short talks by L-A and me, followed by a song from each of our first solo programs in 2002 and 2005 respectively. Here's what I wrote on 'Add your voice:' 'This was a most enjoyable program Dave, and significant historically. We are listening later in the day having gone to Hillsong in Cape Town this morning (50 seats allowed in the church). We are loving the Zoom (?) discussions. Very impressed Lorne that you are working to aid the persecuted Church. I was a counsellor at Billy Graham '98 and invited L-A to come up from Toronto, which was the first time we ever met. I also had a press pass and wrote a piece for Fellowship Magazine I really liked Nick's comment that Over my Head can claim association with the forces that drive bands eg U2 to wards social and Christian objectives. Oh, and we did enjoy the historic station IDs.'

Sat Sep 11
I went to Ackermans in the Mall and bought a Mobicel Star for Anthonica. There was no waiting and the savvy sales assistant had it registered and tested in about 5 mintes. The staff there are getting used to seeing me show up. This must be the 5th phone or Sim purchase for which I have used the photocopies of my passport and proof of residence. I spent a while setting it up and was pleased that her Google account was still valid. The battery had first to be depleted and then charged 16 hours, so she wouldn't have it till tomorrow. I took her to her church group for the afternoon and evening, and she tried really hard to get me to give her the phone but I stuck to my guns. Richard Bendall emailed to say that the GNCM board had voted to send us $4,500 from the winding up of the charity. This would be used for example (a) for the ongoing maintenance of the website, and (b) for the costs of our return to Canada. This idea was first mentioned by Richard months ago, and I had almost given up on it. So this was extremely good news, and in the short term allow us to reduce credit card debt.

Fri Sep 10
I took Lottie and her friend to the day hospital so she could replenish her medications. The plan was for her to phone me when she was ready for picking up. By 1 pm I had heard nothing, and her phone is not reliable, so I drove down there with Chantelle. I had been unable to reach Lottie's phone from home, but Chantelle got through on her new phone and Lottie was just collecting her meds. 10 minutes later she emerged, and we took her back to OVD with her friend. It had taken a elderly blind woman 4 hours to see a doctor and get her prescription (not because she is elderly and blind), and this was an appointment the hospital called her for. Anthonica came over for several hours in the afternoon doing research using our wifi. She had a small rucksack. She told me that her phone was unuseable. Her's was the first one we ever bought and it has outlasted several bought for others. Physically it had been in a dreadful state for months, but now she said the touch LCD screen was only partially functional. She had to touch it to the left of the required icon - very confusing. This had come at a crucial time for her studies. She is the only one in her class without wifi at home, yet she has excelled in school. We have helped her by allowing her to come to our home for many hours to do her work with our wifi. I discuseed her situation with L-A, and said that I was in favour of buying her a new Mobicel (Star). If she doesn't load up FaceBook, it could last her a couple of years before running out of space.

Thu Sep 9
Our morning was in Paarl for L-A's MLD. While she was in, I called Rev Sharon Davis, who had been told about the colouring books by Caroline Marinus, who we don't know, but surmise that she had seen the boosted on-line FaceBook poster. Sharon answered and seemed quite keen on both books. I told her the prices. She asked me to WhatsApp her with a view to us meeting next Thursday. I checked out L-A's old Mobicel after the factory reset and it appeared to be working fine. But I couldn't figure out how to find the number of the new Sim. On the early afternoon talk show on SAFM I listened to a discussion on South Africa's high birth rate, and four times in the program the host mentioned that there are contraceptive methods for men, not just women. Once again the useless men of South Africa are a liability, leaving birth control to be a woman's problem. The way it was presented, it strongly suggested that men don't even know about condoms. Chantelle was meant to be coming to us at 3pm. for Alpha she eventually arrived at about 4. I had packaged some staple food items she needed. We worked through Telling Others and Healing, from Alpha I prayed for healing for her arm which will not straighten after a bicycle ran into her 2 years ago, and also for her teeth which are troubling her, and are liable to be extracted at the local clinic. She asked if I had thought any more about getting her a phone, and I decided to show it to her. I said I couldn't get the phone number because there was no air time on the Sim. She then showed me how to send a 'Please Call me.' and sent it to my phone, revealing her number. I was impressed and decided to let her take the phone home tonight. That made her happy!

Wed Sep 8
L-A uploaded Part 2 of my 'Why I believe' essay to the Coppleblog. I took L-A's old Mobicel to Cell Repair Centre and my friend there performed a factory reset. I drove to Mella's house about 2:30 and tuned my guitar. Then I drove to pick up 5 girls from Mella's Avian Park group at the Avian Mini-Mall. Susan had said earlier in the day that she didn't want a lift back from the hospital, but would take a taxi, and join us at the mini mall, but she never showed. The other girls were Abigale, Liezel, Shanice, and Mickyla in place of Estelle. As we drove to Mella's house I explained Ronel's situation with her painful neck that could need surgery, and also the fact that Mediclinic had tested her for Covid as per routine and she was positive, but had no symptoms, and was in quarantine. Once in the house I gave each of the four girls name badges (plus one for Eliora). Music went quite well with them joining in with most of it. Then we moved to the back room for the teaching. I had prepared a Christian quiz, which had two primary objectives: (1) for me to gauge the level of their knowledge and (2) to provide subject matter that invited further discussion. I had already written their names on the white board, and to add extra interests I gave a mark whenever someone contributed an item of relevant knowledge. Shanice had less English than the others. Abigale was soon leading the points, and Liezel second. The name badges were very halpful to me in building rapport. I was somewhat disappointed in the level of general Christian knowledge, but some of that may have been language difficulty. After we reached the end of the quiz, Mazvita provided home-made cookies, and juice. I went back to the front room and was surprised to see four of the Riverview girls at the door. They hadn't been told about the skipped week last Wednesday when Ronel had her positive Covid result. They had walked from Riverview. I drove today's girls to Avian Park, and then returned for the Riverview girls, who Mazvita had made sandwiches for. On my way home I dropped into Pick n Pay and bought a new Sim for what would become Chantelle's new phone.

Tue Sep 7
I examined my Blackberry. There was a crack near the top and outside the viewing area. Later in the day the crack had spread. Many times I have upbraided the kids for the way they don't respect their phones but invariably drop them, so that most of them have cracks in their screens. Now I was guilty of what I had accused them of. I took it as a friendly warning from my guardian angel to be less critical of others, particularly as far as cell phones are concerned. I remembered reading that cell phone cracks in the glass can be contained with WD40, so I gave it a squirt, hoping not to cause a short circuit. In the following 15 hours after cracking my phone, I saw three people drop phones on the ground. I had my second appointment with Dr Lizmaré Bronn at 10:30. It was busy in her waiting room which is shared with at least one other doctor. She took out the stitch from the basal cell carcinoma above my left eye and said that the lab analysis had shown that things were good except it may have gone deep enough to affect some hair follicles. Nevertheless she felt the best way ahead would be to treat with Efudix. The 4 week course would start today, a week after the other two carcinomas. After four weeks stop for a month and examine. If they were not on the mend by then, see her again. There was no charge for this second appointment. L-A designed a poster for the colouring book signing at Café Hugo, and promulgated it on Facebook.

Mon Sep 6
Afer a good breakfast, I drove down to Jamelia's to help her and her grandmother buy 3 new windows to replace the existing ones, broken, they said, by children, but I suspect by people they owed money to and couldn't pay. In fact, yesterday Jamelia had asked me to give her R30 to repay a loan to a relative who had helped them with power. I drove with the two of them to Van Nirkerk Bros Glas on Russell St. It set me back R350, but Jamelia will no longer have to sleep in a draft, not good after kidney surgery. On the way I paid Dr Van Zyl's bill for R1410.90 for draining the fluid off my lungs on 12 August. This prompted me when I got home to read up on the causes of and treatment for pleural effusion. TB is only one of them, and I am not fully convinced I've had it, though it is the most likely contender. Bella called and asked me to drive her to her school to get her results from her matric re-examinations. When I arrived, a man she knew called Jacob needed to go to emergency. His right leg was out of action. As we drove, it transpired he was hit by a drunk driver in Avian Park last night. Someone had lent him a crutch. We dropped him off. Next stop, Esselen Park high school. Bella went in, and came out with a big smile and a report showing she had passed both the exams she had re-taken. I warmly congratulated her, and as we drove back to her home I called L-A to tell her the news and she also axpressed her happiness. Back home I called Dijon and confirmed Tuesday 28 September at 2pm for the book signing at Café Hugo. When I said he would get R50 for every book sold, he was emphatic that we should keep all the money! After lunch Bella called to say Jacob was ready to be picked up, but she needed to be with me. When I reached her house, it turned out Cathy wanted a lift to the post office. We went there first and Cathy got what she wanted in 10 minutes. Then, on to the hospital, but when Bella went in for Jacob, it turned out he was still waiting in the line to see a doctor. She had misunderstood his phone message. I drove them back to Avian Park. Later I drove to the Slow Living Café with 6 colouring books to place on display: 3 of the original book, and 3 of Colouring with Jesus 2. Krista was very friendly about it all and happy to cooperate, and I bought a slice of her carrot cake to take home for tea. I decided to start cooking about 6:30, not knowing when to expect a call to collect Jacob at the hospital. The sauteed vegetables had been cooking for 15 minutes, and the potatoes for 10 minutes when the call came from Bella. I asked L-A to turn off the potatoes when they were ready for mashing, and drove back to the hospital. Jacob was not waiting. Someone who was waiting told me he was in with the doctor. I parked in the parking lot for half an hour, then drove back to emergency. A helpful sister suggested I stay parked right where I was, and she would bring Jacob out to me when he was ready. I phoned L-A with a status report. Then I made a bad mistake. I left my phone on my lap out of its case. Another half hour passed. A sister came to the car and told me there was no-one still in with the doctor. For some reason, before driving home, I got out of the car, and my phone fell from my lap onto the road. It still seemed to be working and I breathed a sign of relief. I drove out of the hospital gate and called Bella. We talked about possible situations, such as that he may have gone home in a taxi, but she said he had no money. I said I was going home. Later it seemed more likely that he had been kept in for the night, or was in another part of the hospital. If so, either he would eventually call Bella, if he had air time, or she would reach him. When I got home I restarted the cooking process, putting the ostrich burgers into the oven. Even though different things had been cooked at different times, the result was tasty. I was midway through washing up at about 9:15 when Bella rang again. She had received a call from the doctor to say that Jacob was ready to be picked up. At least we had now been able to eat our meal. I drove down and he was sitting outside the emergency entrance smoking a cigarette. I admonished him and he put it out, saying he needed it for his nerves. His leg and foot were in plaster. He was able to get himself inside the car, and I drove him home. He told me more details of being hit by a car last night. The female driver had stopped and come back to see the extent of his injuries, and he smelled alcohol on her breath. When she saw he was not actually dying, she took off in her car. Local people helped him back home. He is 61 years old and has a wife. I was somewhat surprised therefore when it turned out he was staying at Bella's house, and intend to discover if they are feeding him.

Sun Sep 5
L-A came to church today. She had made up her mind last night. She missed her friends in the congregation. We arrived early because I was on livestream. This week I was on the #1 camera, so I was easy to see above the people. L-A took a photo of me. The sermon was delivered by Erica Truter, and according to L-A in translation row it was an excellent message, none of which I understood other than the odd phrase in English. I picked up some Pick n Pay chocolate muffins on our way home and we had them with coffee. I took Chantelle some KFC and she listened as I pointed out that she (+ Lottie and Sina) had cost me almost as much in the last two weeks as in the previous month. I explained that ready-to-eat cooked food cost several time the cost of the ingredients. So in future I will take her potatoes, rice, macaroni, etc, instead of pies and KFC. Also, I will only be buying food, not clothes and school fees. I had called her mother half an hour before and told her the same. She told me that when her mother visited OVD she wouldn't talk to her (Chantelle). Maria may be embarrassed at not being able to help her daughter. Chantelle said she understood, then began a major effort to get me to give her R40. In the end I gave her R10. I also took rice and other staples to Jamelia. For most of the rest of the day I weeded out my emails. I listened to some rock songs that James had recorded with friends in Las Vegas recently. He was on drums and did well. There was an excellent guitarist. During supper we enjoyed revisiting Tinted Mesa Messaround, a set of coverts her had made alone in Cloudcroft. I had forgotten how good it was. After supper James videocalled and I told him how much I had enjoyed the new music. He was on his way home, and to a band practice with his frinds, and he invited me to watch and listen. So it was that at about 11pm our time I was virtually present (although physically in bed) as he and his buddies played a few rock numbers. It was fun, though the sound quality was not great.

Sat Sep 4
My weight has been 59.0 Kg for a week now. Will the next change be up or down? It may be my imagination, but I seem to be able to sense water again creeping up my lungs. Dave Kemp replied with a link to the Eternal Hope YouTube channel. I had no idea it existed, and it gives me all I need to keep his podcasts coming. I suggested he post the link on the sermons page on the EH website. Lottie had said she planned to return R100 to me this morning, and I had promised her meaty bones for a couple of days. So I got the bones, no easy job on Durban Street on a Saturday morning. I was amused when the cashier commented that they don't normally see me at this time (I generally arrive just at closing time). I drove to Lottie's, and she gave me R150! That will slightly offset Chantelle's (plus Lottie's and Sina's) support this past few weeks, which has significantly increased. I think I should turn down all requests from them other than food. Then I went to the mall for our groceries and drugs. I bought three large Chela-fer that should launch L-A in Canada where it is not available. We will be stocking up on other drugs. Then on to Avian Park to take Anthonica to her youth group. Our balcony seems to attract dust thrown up from the road below, so I swept it up which took more time and effort than I expected.

Fri Sep 3
L-A had become concerned about small black hairs on her upper lip, which I couldn't see. I took her to Annique's where she had a waxing. It took 5 minutes and R75 and solved the problem. Bella and Tersia have both received their weekly allowances on the actual day planned. I WhatsApped Ronel, offering to deliver groceries for her while she was in quarantine, but she said she was OK at the moment. I emailed Dave Kemp to say I was running out of video'd sermons of his for posting on GNiTM; where could I find some recent ones? In the evening I moisturized L-A's legs before she had her bi-weekly chat with Diane.

Thu Sep 2
I took off the bandage from my leg, and had my first shower and shampoo for 2 1/2 weeks. It was pleasant. Then L-A put Efudix on my back and I put it on my right forehead. As soon as I had broken fast, I drove to Pick n Pay Local and, and when I was paying, the pleasant cashier asked me about the band aid on my forehead. Is it so noticeable? I told her it was skin cancer. I took three pies to Chantelle, and then general foods to Jamelia. I had time at home for bacon and beans before we left for Cape Gate for L-A to have her 3-monthly port flush. This was her chance to say goodbye to the sisters who had steered her through her chemotherapy. While she was in there, I went to the Cape Gate Dis-Chem to try and buy more Quercetin. Worcester is completely out of it, and so was Cape Gate. The shortage is probably due to Quercetin being recommended as being helpful for Covid 19. When L-A was done, we went for lunch at Nando's, then home. I was tired; the perfect time to get my legs up on the couch. An hour later I was wakened by Bella calling to arrange for Joy and her to come prior to my taking them home.

Wed Sep 1
When I got up there were messages from Ronel and Mella, calling off today's ministry, and Mella had been able to contact one of the girls to tell her we wouldn't be coming out. I had last seen Ronel a week ago, and strictly I should have gone for a Covid test, but not having any symptoms I decided not to. I pray this doesn't turn out to have been a foolish decision; however, I have been fully vaccinated now for many weeks. My legs were back to normal shape - in one day! However I soon discovered that in the mornings the swelling was naturally a lot less, perhaps as a result of being horizontal all night. Bella called when I was shopping, asking to be taken home later, so I said she could wait in our apartment. Chantelle came for Alpha - 'Evil.' I watched with her from the couch with my legs higher than my body. Later today the legs returned temporarily to the swollen shape. I challenged Chantelle with the missing R5 from the car yesterday, and she said it wasn't she who had taken it, but the boy who had got into the car on Durban Street, who then bragged to her that he had stolen the money. She vowed she wouldn't let people into the car for lifts ever again again. James called, and among other things I mentioned my swollen legs - as they had been. He said that this was related to the swelling one experiences on long air flights, and for this reason, as a pilot, he always wore compression socks and found them effective. I should buy some, particularly for times when it isn't convenient to lie down for three hours a day. Joy finally arrived at 6:30, which was my cue to take the 4 girls home, Chantelle, Bella, Joy and Anthonica. Just as we were leaving Da Vinci, Chantelle asked me to get her a pie and some relaxer. She was out of luck. As we approached Joy's area of Avian Park, I offered to drive her to her door, instead of dropping her at the 'main' road, and she gratefully agreed. Her road has to be one of the roughest and bumpiest in Avian Park. When I got to her house, Bella announced she was going in for a meal. This would mean that Bella would walk home alone, exactly what I was trying to avoid with the girls. I carefully drove the car back home. I sent the allowances to Bella and Tersia aiming for them to receive them by the third of the month. Before turning in I had L-A put Efudix on my back. For a while she couldn't find the area that Dr Bronn had marked with a pen. Then she took photos with the iPad, and spotted the circle of dots much higher than I had remembered. We must do this twice daily for 4 weeks.

Tue Aug 31
The day started early, picking up Tersia at 8 and taking her to the place where her UIF (?) payments are being applied for, as I have done twice before. At 9:15 I had an appointment with Dr Lizmare Bronn, skin specialist, who had disgnosed Laurie-Ann's HS, and cured it by taking her off cows' milk. She rapidly diagnosed the boils on both sides of my forehead as basal cell carcinomas. She wanted to search my body for others, finding one on my back. She took a biopsy from the boils on the left side of the forehead. She prescribed a chemotherapy cream, Efudix Fluorouracil, for using on the right of my forehead and for L-A to apply to the area on my back which she marked with a pen. She asked me about my careers and when I mentioned the Royal Navy, said that the time I spent in the sun there, probably unprotected, was likely the cause of the carcinomas! I told her that Dr Du Plessis had seen the strange shapes of my lower legs, which reminded me of lymphodema, and said I should get my legs above my body for three hours a day. I suggested this was almost laughable, but Dr Bronn made it very clear that I should indeed take his advice if I want to avoid very serious problems in a few years time. I asked her when I might expect to see any results, and to my surprise she said 4 or 5 days. I was expecting 4 or 5 months. I found her very knowledgable and credible, and reminded me a little of Este Mellet. At 11:30 we were both in Eric van Dijk's office. He and I are now on first name terms. L-A explained that she had been suffering tinnitus, earache in her right ear and migraine. He asked her a few questions and examined her, and he said she was probably suffering an extreme form of hay fever, for which he wrote a prescription for Acuhist, Panafcort, Avamys, and Stilpane. I told him I was feeling far better since the pleural draining and showed him my recent weight chart, which included a 1 Kg rise this morning. He had spoken with Dr Van Zyl, and the analysis of the fluid showed nothing to be concerned about. They still don't know for sure if I have had TB all this time, though it is the most likely cause of the fluid build-up. I asked him if he would write a report for my Canadian doctors and he agreed. Laurie-Ann had her left ear syringed by one of the staff before we left. We went for lunch at Slow Living Café, recently opened, across the street from Star Park. In contrast with Star Park the owner has focused on ambience, including many artistic items for sale. I asked her if she might consider adding L-A's colouring books on consignment. I noticed that our couch might provide a good place for me to lie for an hour with my legs higher than my head, and I gave it a go. Soon I fell asleep, and when an hour had passed, I really wanted to stay longer! Chantelle arrived at our gate just as I was coming in from visiting her grandmother Lottie. She asked me for R100 to add to the R250 her parents could afford for her school fees. She also asked for R20 for hair relaxer, which I also gave her. Her aunt Sina is having her kidney transplant in Tygerberg today, so the family of 6 children is without their surrogate mother, a position Chantelle has assumed. Chantelle had asked for milk, but it was for tea and coffee, so I suggested coffee creamer, and said I would drive her to Pic n Pay local to get it. I parked on the other side of Durban Street and went into the store. It took me a while to find the creamer, and then another while to pay; I was in the store abut 20 minutes. When I got back to the car, a teenage male friend of Chantelle's was in there with her, wanting a lift home. Chantelle told me that a gang had opened her car door and demanded the bag of bulk foods, but she had successfully fought to keep them. Two of them then brandished knives and threatened her with them. One of them put her hand in Chantelle's pocket and took the R120 I had given her half an hour before. At that moment a JCY gang member who recognized Chantelle saw what was going on and chased off the thieves. I was so relieved that she wasn't hurt physically. We drove to OVD and the car was mobbed in a good natured way by about 15 kids who used to come tho Mailbox Club. I gave Chantelle another hundred for her school fees. I was to blame for not locking the car, and if the only cost to me for that lesson was R100, I gladly accept it. When I was on my way home I checked the drawer where I keep small change, and a R5 was missing. Had Chantelle taken it? Lottie showed me her phone that said it had R50 of air time, which seemed not to be accessible, as if I had put it on another Sim. But I had removed the other Sim because the phone said it was deactivated. I wish I knew even as much as Lottie about the simple talk & text phones with their multi-functional keys. When I got home I sent her air time, definitely from Vodacom, and then brought her a pie for tonight's meal and power numbers on a piece of paper. When we watched 'When calls the heart,' our current Netflick, I lay on the cuch with my feet up and was able to follow the action as I added another hour to mu leg therapy. Quite late I remembered to check WhatsApp and see if there were any messages about tomorrow's ministry for Mella's Avian Park girls, and was shocked to see that Ronel had gone into Mediclinic for an MRI for a sore neck, and they had also done a Covid 19 test and it was positive, though she had no symptoms. I sent a couple of messages to try and clarify for tomorrow.

Mon Aug 30
Chantelle was in touch asking for pies, and also help for her aunt Sina's forthcoming kidney operation. Bella and Joy arrived for a cup of coffee, and for Bella to ask us for R100, charged by her school for extra education to coach her in the Matric subject she had to re-take. I took Anthonica to De Jagers. I went down to OVD to find out more about Chantelle's aunt. It turned out she really is in line for kidney replacement at Tygerberg, and was expecting a taxi to take her to the bus from Worcester hospital. She had been told to have R400, which was hardly for the cost of surgery, of which she had R300. So I gave her the missing R100 and she was grateful. Part of my motivation to help her was that she had worked for Chris Maartens for many years until his death recently from Covid. The other part was that she is being a surrogate mother to Chantelle. L-A spearheaded the cooking of a coconut lentil curry dinner for us that was really good.

Sun Aug 29
Johan was back this week with a follow up to his talk about the older brother in the prodigal son parable, focussing in depth on what we are given when we realise we are sons of God and not his servants. The older brother never understood sonship. After church I drove to Q-Square with Lottie's phone, intending to get help from Vodacom, but they were shut. So I went round the corner to Cell Repair Centre and Tahir's brother was there. He said I should buy R5 of air time at Clicks next door. He didn't need to know the phone number to key in the air time; the instructions were on the receipt. Soon he was able to make a call to my phone and Bingo! - we had the phone number. I drove on to FNB and transferred R5,000 from Simplii, keeping R1,000 in cash. Back home I added R50 of air time to Lottie's phone, and checked it out, but there was a glitch. When I called it from my Q10 it was always busy, but when L-A called from her phone it worked. This I couldn't inderstand, but I thought it urgent to get the phone back to Lottie. I first bought food for her and for Jamelia and then went to her house and explained there could still be a problem with the phone. Then I delivered to Jamelia, who was home for a change. When I got home, Anthonica had left a 'Please call me.' so I did, and it was not a surprise when she asked if I would take her friends home. I picked them up half an hour later, and on the way to Brandwatch tried to explain the benefits of planning ahead, rather than just hoping things will work out. When we reached De Jaggers, Anthonica asked if she could stay for supper there. She would be ready to go home at 6. Again I lectured her on not mentioning this earlier, (when she had said she would be picking something up, which was her reason for coming with them) but waiting till I had no choice. Lottie called me - which was good in itself. She was concerned that the R50 of air time I had bought was now only R18. Is it possible that when she received a call, she stayed connected? This might explain why her phone was busy when I had called her earlier, and often in the past after she had called me. There wasn't anything I could do about this tonight, but if she is still having problems in coming days I should take it in so they could test my theory about not ending calls.

Sat Aug 28
L-A sent out the MFH minutes from the 3 August meeting. I trust that Kevin and Jan van Rooyen will amicably resolve their different opinions about where to build a retreat. I had messaged Jan Buchanan on the issue, including the fact that Jan van Rooyen had offered to fund the difference, which interested Jan a lot. She felt that he would be buying into the project more enthusiastically. Kevins main point is that being amongst more needy people in Hawston would be more effective for the Lord than in more well-to-do Kleinmond. Anthonica asked me to come to her house at 1. Once she and cousin were in the car, she explained that we were going to pick up her cousin in Brandwacht. Unfortunately she didn't know the exact route, and it took quite a while and some of my air time to find out. Then we were off beyond the De Jagers area, but as it turned out, not to drop them off, but to pick up someone else. Then, to my surprise, they wanted to return to Anthonica's house. Anthonica was the host of this party. I had visions of them spending any of the money left from what I had sent Tertia, and then expecting me to fund their food for the next few days - but maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised. The last thing Anthonica asked was for me to call her at 7, but this I completely forgot, so I don't know where everyone slept. Despite poverty, social activity amoung extended families is high on their agendae. James video-called on their way to a skateboard park, and I watched as he, Kathy and Sagan practised on their new boards. Sagan was 6 yesterday. I suggested Lottie let me install a Vodacom Sim I had bought yesterday to replace the MTN Sim she had bought after her Sim and money were stolen. For some reason she didn't want MTN. She gave me her phone and the Vodacom Sim. My two main evening jobs were producing and uploading Good News in the Morning, and installing Lottie's sim. Both jobs proved problematical; the GNiTM upload just needed the Many Downloader app to be re-installed. Putting in the Sim was quick and easy using just my fingernails, but I was unable to find a text message from Vodacom which is meant to provide the phone number. There was no air time on the phone, and without the phone number I couldn't buy air time on line. I tried everything I could think of, but eventually gave up, planning to go to Vodacom in Q-Square after church tomorrow and ask their help. One of my problems with this simple talk & text phone was unfamiliarity with the multi-funclional keys.

Fri Aug 27
It was 2 weeks from the day that Dr Du Plessis removed the growth from my leg. Today at 10 am, an assistant took out the stitches. I reminded him of the everlasting boil on my forehead and he gave me an introduction to Dr Lizmare Bronn for next Tuesday, who had diagnosed L-A's hidradentis suppurative, HS. He said that both were basal cell carcinomas, (malignant) skin cancer. Janis replied to L-A with a less assertive note that may make it simpler for L-A to provide the data she wants. We know she isn't trying to make our lives more difficult, but is just concerned with keeping the Iris Ministries Canada charitable status intact. If Janis had only explained at the outset the strict demarcation between the missionary's personal support expenses, and the costs of any other expenditure including, for example, a coin for a blind beggar, we would have been far better placed to manage our expenses and provide the tracking she is now asking for. Now we do understand it, I will have a very different attitiude to supporting any other missionary work. I would demand to know how my money could be used for outreach, and if they had no such mechanism, I would seek out another deserving cause. We have now realised why Johan and Marie have their own separate charity, God With Us Ministries, to allow them to fund specified outreach. Rolland and Heidi Baker have their own charity separate from Iris, presumably for the same reason. Kevin Daly visited us to bring R250 to pay for a copy of Colouring with Jesus 2, which he had offered to fund if someone would like a copy but couldn't afford it. That lucky person had turned out to be Heather.

Thu Aug 26
Paarl day, but much earlier than usual: 9am in Este's rooms. Afterwards to Coffee Tab where I tried their lemon cheesecake, but was disappointed. It was like Canadian cheesecake, solid as a soft rock instead of the consistency of cream as OK's cheesecake. In the afternoon, from about 2:30, we had Anthonica and a cousin for wifi time. L-A received a reply from Janis saying that she now needed the expenses data for outreach (not personal support) going back to 2017! We can't figure out why this is relevant to the CRA, who have to ensure that cash from Canadian charities doesn't end up in the hands of terrorists after being subsidized by the government. Maybe Janis is just curious to know how much we have spent on outreach. In theory we should have asked Iris Western Cape, or My Father's House to fund what we have done to support our girls and their families. But the situation we were faced with is a direct result of the lockdown since March 2020, with the resulting lack of income and lack of jobs. The CRA does not have the capacity to relax their rules for this catastophe in people's lives. We just do what we think Jesus would have done, given access to our income and circumstances. L-A replied to Janis, acknowledging her stress at this time, and explaining more of our situation. Around 6, Bella called for a lift home, but not yet (wanted to wait for Joy) so she came in. I bought some food for Lottie and took it to her, but when I got home about 6:16, Joy had still not arrived from Sailor's. She finally got here about 6:45 and I took all four back to Avian Park in drizzling rain.

Wed Aug 25
We listened to the Spotify Rolling Stones Playlist during a leisurely breakfast in recognition of Charlie Watts, who died yesterday at 80. Chantelle knocked on our door just when I was about to go shopping to tell us that Lottie had given an OVD neighbour her phone and R100 to get air time. He had stolen her sim card, and the R100, but returned the phone itself, leaving her with no way to call the hospital, or me. We tried to call the police, but there was no answer, so I suggested she walk to the police station (across the road) and report the theft. Lottie knew exactly who the thief was, and Chantelle believed he had spent her money on drugs. His motivation for taking her sim is hard to fathom, unless it was to prevent her, a blind old lady, from calling the police. Ronel had called me to say we would pick up the Riverview kids at 3, and bring them to Mella's house. There were about 10 of them. While I was getting underway with the praise and worship, they found Mella's djembes, and soon we had a quite impressive rhythm section. When we were done, they went for the teaching with Ronel. Lottie called me (which was in itself good) and asked if I would bring her food for tonight. Mazvita had baked very nice cocolate chip coookies and they all got 2. I was given 3 to take home. After dropping off the kids I decided to find some food for Lottie, but as I was turning near Pick n Pay Local, and not in the nearside lane, a little face showed up at the passenger window, pointing, and mouthing 'Lottie!' I pulled over and sure enough, there she was surrounded by 3 OVD kids all either less than 10, or stunted. They had spotted my car and knew it was what Lottie needed. Once she was in the front seat, I went into Pick n Pay and got her a hot roasted chicken leg and a couple of white rolls. Back in the car I saw her phone which she must have used to call me 45 minutes before, so I called the number to confirm. Now I had her new number. Her main beef was that Chantelle had not showed up this morning to accompany her for a visit to the day hospital. She asked me for disprin, so I made it into an excuse to visit the Durban St. Pharmacy. There was a line up of about 10 wanting Covid jabs, and about 15 inside also waiting. Janis emailed L-A asking for more details on our expenditure. What she wanted to be sure of was that all of the tax-deductible money donated to us, and sent to us as taxable income by IMC was used only for our personal support, and not for outreach, such as buying food for starving girls. So L-A adapted her tracking streadsheets to attempt to show this. It worked, except for the month of May 2020 when Karen Bergenstein had sent $960 through Iris for sponsorship of our girls. She was able to account for all other IMC income as being used for our home expenses such as rent, car, food, except in that one month.

Tue Aug 24
We rose a little early to get L-A to the vaccination centre over the street by 8:45. Although she was allocated to the Durban Street Pharmacy, we much preferred to to do business locally after some of the stories we have heard. We walked in, escaping the wind, and waited only 15 minutes. I accompanied her.
I got a shot of her getting a shot. After the regulation 15 minutes to confirm no immediate problems, we took a fun portrait of L-A and then returned to the car. Instead of going straight home we had coffee and pastries outside Daly Bread, and it was lovely. I thinks it's the nicest table in town for coffee, and being there for coffee just this once would have been on my bucket list (if I had one). L-A had no side effects to worry about from the jab, except minor fatigue. I had prepared a special database of people who don't receive or don't read our monthly newsletter, adding some from our donors who have made significant donations in the past. I then sent them the most recent newsletter, which doesn't blatantly ask for financial support, but with a nudge from Holy Spirit, people might decide to help us out. We certainly need help if we are not to return to Canada either withour space on our cards, or having redeemed some long term retirement savings. I delivered some food to Jamelia, and picked up Bella for a shopping trip and a visit to the Department of Education. After taking her home I decided to sample the food at Sailor's Take-away, even though Bella wasn't working there today, and ordered two 'Texas burgers.' I took them home to find L-A had gone to bed, but she decided to get up for a burger. We both enjoyed them. Anthonica spent a couple of hours with our wifi working on schoolwork. I selected SAFM on the car radio and the signal was crystal clear! Was this due to my tweeted message to them? Highly unlikely, but there is a possibility, which amuses me. I didn't get any tweet reply message. The main thing, which is irrefutable, is that the population of Worcester and surroundings can now listen well to SAFM. In late afternoon Chantelle asked for a fish parcel from Sailor's, and she was probably surprised to get one. In the evening we enjoyed a WhatsApp chat with Faan and Naomi.

Mon Aug 23
Life is getting altogether too busy, and will get worse. The reasons are that (a) a time is fast approaching when I must work on the many actions to be done to get us back to Canada and (b) the demands of our girls are ever more strident and frequent, requiring more and more driving time. My main task today was to buy a new phone for L-A, since her Mobicel Glo was seizing up, and as of this morning cannot do anything because of lack of space. The only apps she used were WhatsApp and Eskom, having deleted all others she is allowed to delete. But the applications she still has are increasing in size with every automatic update, and many of the built-in apps cannot be removed. My 2016 Mozambican Movitel phone runs Whatsapp and Facebook in only 4GB memory, though when I bought it I opted to have those apps loaded into ROM, so what is it that the Movitel designers know that Mobicel has yet to learn? The Glo has 8GB memory which we now know is woefully inadequate. Experts would recommend a minimum of 64GB, but it offends my brain that the designers of cell phones and their software have not been able to limit such huge increases in size over time. (When I first started to work with computers, their minimum memory size was 4 KB.) In fact, the whole thing may be a conspiracy to sell larger phones. The phone I bought her today is a Mobicel Blink, with 16 GB, and a price of R699, ($CAD 60) about twice that of the Glo. It is the same as I bought Bella 10 days ago. I spent a while setting it up. Sadly when I handed it to L-A she noticed immediately that she had lost the bulk of her WhatsApp contacts, though most of the groups were intact. She had also lost her contacts. It is possible I failed to do a transfer routine, but with the Glo refusing to do anything, its too late to think about that. In the afternoon I called Joan and arranged an instant haircut. She told me that when she went for her second Covid jab at the Durban Street Pharmacy she had waited 4 hours, during which time her car was at the mercy of local gangs. She believes they diabled it, because she couldn't get it started, watched by the gangsters who probably disabled it, and had to be towed. Arranging that was with the help of a tall coloured man, who disappeared without trace when she got moving, so she was unable to give him a cake for his help. She wondered if he might have been an angel. I will miss Joan when we leave. We still havent distributed the minutes from the 3 August, because they refer to a decision to invite Jan Van Rooyen to take over as chair from Jan, but she hadn't previously discussed this with him, and hadn't been able to reach him since. So I called him and got through today. I told him he was felt by all of us to be the right person to lead the ministry through the upcoming purchase of land near Hermanus as a retreat for Worcester kids, and also possible for Hermanus area kids. He agreed to be chair, much to my relief. This was the good news, but less good was the fact that he favoured a more expensive plotin Kleinmond, rather than Hawston, which he and Kevin (and Marco) had visited. He even hinted he might come up with the price increase of R20,000. Heather came round to, practise, or make sure she know the praise songs that would be sung in church on Sunday next. L-A had the spontaneous bright idea of giving her a copy of Colouring with Jesus 2 that Kevin Daly had offered to donate the cost of. Heather was delighted.

Sun Aug 22
When I had got up I tried calling Lottie but she didn't answer. I left about a quarter to nine, and her dog started yelping from inside her house as soon as he heard the car. I saw no place where a key might have been hidden. I called Lottie again and this time, thankfully, she answered. She was on her way home from hospital with her friend. The panic was over. I drove on to church. It was a really good service. The songs were extra special, particularly one I had never heard before. Then Kenneth got up and apologised for Johan's absence. His brother had died unexpectedly last night. These days we are getting used to hearing of death, but this reminded us how close any of us might be to it. Kenneth then preached a spectacular sermon taking his starting point from Exodus when the 12 patriachs had all died and the Egyptians turned against the Hebrews who were multiplying so fast, and enslaved them. Kenneth preached on the wily nature of Satan, wreaking havoc in every circumstance - unless we can withstand him. When I got home L-A had received a Messenger call from Anthonica to call her. Last night after I dropped them, they were walking the short distance down the street to the store to buy a loaf, with R7 her cousin's mother had given them. They were rushed by a gang of masked men from another area in Avian Park with knives demanding money. The only money they had was the R7 and the R50 I had given Anthonica last Thursday for taxis on Sunday. She wisely handed over the R50. They saw she had a phone and made to grab it, but she was too fast for them and escaped with the phone. What she wanted now was a lift to De Jagers at 1pm. I said I would be there. She was a few minutes late doing her hair (what else!) and I spoke to Tersia about yesterday's incidents - the blow out on the N1 and the robbing of the R50, and she knew nothing of either of them. Instantly suspicious that Anthonica had made up both stories, I confronted them both, demanding to know why Anthonica would have not told her mother such things. The impression I got was that she was afraid of her mother's reaction, and wanted to protect her from extra worries. In the end I decided Anthonica's accounts were accurate, and her cousin was her witness. I drove her and her cousin to the youth group. It remained to he heard whether they made it to the out-of-town church since they had no money for the additional busfare. Jamelia had asked to come to our house for the wifi so she could do some schoolwork. While I was waiting outside her house in the car a young man approached me and brought up the subject of Bella's stolen phone. I asked if he was the one who took it, and he denied it. When I asked how he knew about it he mumbled about some other people he knew who had been involved. It soon appeared that he was interested in negotiating the return of the phone for money, the deal I had proposed a week or so ago. I told him I wasn't interested now Bella had a new phone. In retrospect I am annoyed with myself for having failed to explain to him the misery that had been caused by his (or his friend's theivery). Jamelia's younger brother was with her - not a bad thing. Strictly I shouldn't take anyone under 18 on their own. We drove home and they set up on Pink Dell. I am not sure how much schoolwork Jamelia did but her brother watched a film on Netflix. L-A went for a nap and I was busy on my computer, so they were no trouble. They had tea and a peanut butter sandwich, and i took them home about 6. I had called Anthonica and arranged to get her and cousin about 6:30. It appeared that they had made it to the church without having the fare. I got them a stick of Nik-Naks and a bottle of flavoured water, because their home water supply is still intermittent. I was able to transfer some of the money from L-A's RRSP redemption to pay some of her Visa, to transfer some to FNB to send weekly allowances to Bella and Anthonica, and have enough for our rent to be paid two days from now.

Sat Aug 21
Lottie had asked for some meat and bread and I took it during the morning. The SAFM signal was still distorted, I had been listening to other stations for the last few days but missed Stephen, Cathy, Sakima, and of course Aldrin Sampear. At home I tuned it in on my Blackberry and confirmed exactly the same distortion. So I tweeted SAFM and reported ther problem on their Worcester repeater. Jamelia called to say her dancing shoes had been stolen during a dance practice, and as troupe leader this would put the kibosh on an upcoming dance competition. Saturday is the worst day for shopping in Worcester since non-food shops close by 3 pm latest, but when we stopped at the downtown Mr Price, it had closed at 1:30. We drove to Mr Price in the mall but they weren't running the special offer that had attracted Jamelia. At this point Jamelia asked for something to eat; we went to McDonalds for burgers for Jamelia and her brother, and a cone for me. Then I drove them home. The urgency for the dancing shoes seemed to have worn off, though she did say she would like to try again on Monday at Mr Price downtown. Prehaps inspired by yesterday's lunch, L-A roasted a whole chicken, plus vegetables, and then made bread and butter pudding for dessert. I only got to eat the chicken at that time, needing to collect Anthonica. But when I got to De Jagers and called her, she said she would be half an hour. I decided to wait, but it was an hour later that she and her cousin turned up. What was very worrying was the act that they were delayed because a minibus they had travelled in along the N1 sufferd a blow out on the road. Thank the Lord, no-one was injured, but a fair amount of time was taken changing the wheel. I took the girls home via Sururs filling station, probably the only place in town still with hot food at 9pm on Saturday. I bought their last pie and a bag of crisps Lottie called about 9 pm - unusual - to say she was in the hospital. She had seemed fine that morning. She would be staying there overnight and was worried about her dog, locked up in her house. Would I go down there tomorrow morning and see if her was OK? She also spoke about a spare house key being somewhere but I couldn't make out the details.

Fri Aug 20
Laurie-Ann and Marie (Fourie) had both recently had birthdays, and mutually promised gifts. Our gift to Marie was a bag of Terbidore coffee which we had bought in Franschhoek. The day had come when the gifting was to be consumated. At noon we drove to their home on the Robertson road. I had been eagerly awaiting just seeing them and I am sure L-A felt the same. It was a great joy when we stood at their door. On the way I had bought some Belgian chocolates at Nuy as a 'hello' gift. I had noticed that people visiting us almost always brough a small gift. Marie gave L-A some hand lotion and an oven mitten. Lunch was served (I was expecting a snack), roast chicken and vegetables, followed by cream eclairs. It was all totally delicious. We started setting the world to rights. Johan has a strong grasp of current events as well as eternal events, and always sheds light on them and I love to learn from him, just as he and Marie taught us so much in strengthening our faith when we were on outreach here in 2016. Afghanistan had fallen to the Taliban a few days ago and there are thousands of people there in fear for their lives. We mentioned Rolland Baker's view of what's it all about, which makes perfect sense of the universe. God isn't protecting us from dangers in this life, but training us to be worthy embracers of the next life. Time flew and it was so pleasant. We went home about 4 with three bottles of Le Roux and Fourie wine, and felt great for the rest of the day. The $4500 net redemption from L-A's spousal RRSP finally arrived, after having been requested 2 August. However, the markets which were at all-time highs at the beginning of Auguat, rose even higher over the next 3 weeks, so Carlos' forgetfulness may have benefitted us.

Thu Aug 19
We had missed last weeks physio and MLD for L-A in Paarl because it was the day I had to report to Mediclinic for drainage from around my lungs. So we enjoyed today's drive through the beautiful mountains perhaps a little more than usual. That is, except for one thing. The SAFM signal was distorted. It was possible to make out what was being said by the presenters, but not by listeners calling in. Other stations on the dial were fine, so the car radio was probably not the culprit. L-A had been suffering headaches recently and Este massaged her with an oil containing mint, caledula and arnica, and it was beneficial. She has been under extra stress, starting with the wait for our visas. Afterwards we had coffee at Coffee Tab and bought meat at Goede Hoop, including rump steak, a very rare delicacy for us. On the way home we bought one of her staples, grandilla sorbet. I had sent Tersia R450 on 16 Aug as their allowance (less R50) for the week starting 18 Aug, but it hadn't arrived yet. This is the second 4-day EFT involving her account. Anthonica had a youth group weekend coming up and asked me for R50 for taxis for the Sunday instead of asking me to drive them to an out of town church. I gave it to her, somewhat reluctantly. After a soup lunch, I delivered food to Jamelia and family for the third successive day. They must have lost a source of income, or had an emergency. I am suspicious of the small crowd that often is hanging around their door. Jamelia says that 10 people live in their house, none with earned income. I took a nap at about 6, but was woken at 7 by repeated calls on my phone. I assumed it was Lottie, but it was actually Bella and Joy going home from work. I explained yet again that I can't guarantee to be here at the time they need help and it would be safer for them to call earlier in the day and book me. However the episode made me realize how totally they depend on me, without a plan B, even though I am far from dependable. That trip delayed my start to cooking our steak, and it was with some trepidation that I hoped it would be nice, having seldom cooked steak before. We were late starting to eat, but the steak was tender and flavourful, a tribute to Goede Hoop. Diane Blenkiron called L-A at about 8:30, and gave her the weekly support that she so highly appreciates.

Wed Aug 18
Laurie-Ann's Mobicel locked her out completely citing insufficient memory. We decided that if we couldn't fix the problem, we would have no option other than buying a Mobicel Blink (16GB memory), as we had for Bella. However, I was able to find some video files and delete them, I also cleared the chat for the buy swop sell Whatsapp group which had hundreds of photos that we weren't able to delete with the regular deletion apps. This allowed the phone to run WhatsApp (though not WhatsApp Web). L-A deleted the chat on all non-vital WhatsApp connections, while I took some foods to Jamelia and family and R20 taxi-fare for her to go to a check-up at the hospital after her kidney transplant. It was raining quite hard in the morning. I also bought 10 Kg of sugar, the most popular food we are asked for by the starving families. Another favourite is Ricoffy. If you are really really hungry and there is no meat or carbohydrates or money in the house, you can last out a few more hours with very sweet coffee. Unfortunately the children are also given it, so they grow up only able to enjoy coffee with 4 - 7 spoonfulls of sugar, and their teeth start falling out in the mid teens, with diabetes and obesity by the mid twenties. I have failed dismally to get our teens to reduce the sugar they put in coffee or tea. I completed the end of month 4 housekeeing on the sponsor tracking Excel sheet and compared what we had actually spent on Bella and Anthonica with what had been give to us by some very generous friends in Canada. It turned out they were both very close to the proportion of the money given for the period to date. I was quite surprised; I thought we had way over-spent. Chantelle and Lottie have used up all of the $500 sent by KBC. Jamelia has no sponsor, but she asks us for less than any of the others. The children's ministry today was for Mella's Avian Park group, and we picked them up in two cars outside the primary school at 3 pm and took them to Mella's. By now it was sunny. We had limited the numbers to 10, but 40 minutes later 3 more arrived having walked. For me, eveything was a lot more comfortable than a week before, the day before I went into hospital. They seemed to recognize and sing along with all the songs. My playing isn't back up to scratch; I need to play every day for that. Mazvita led the teaching on spiritual clarity, which was actually focused totally on not falling pregnant. This was rather poignant because one of those present had brought her baby who was born when she was 16. She herself was stunted and I though she was younger. I had a full load driving them back. I re-checked L-A's phone after she had cleared a number of WhatsApp chats, and was able to access it on WhatsApp Web. So I continued deleting multi-media files on each connection, removing hundreds of files. We will soon know if this is sufficient to give sufficient functionality to the phone.

Tue Aug 17
Tomorrow is the 4th monthy anniversary of when we began sending money by EFT to Bella and Tersia. I brought all recent purchases for them, for Jamelia and for Chantelle & Lottie up to date on the sponsor tracking sheet. Tomorrow I will see how well the money given to the families tracks the money given to us for their welfare 4 months ago, after our 'Sponsor our girls' appeal. It was quite a busy day fetching and carrying for the girls, and hard on me because I felt I had 'flu for most of the day. However it is normal for me to recover in a day. So I went to bed around 9 and got 11 hours sleep. Next day I felt much better.

Mon Aug 16
For some lucky reason I checked my calendar around 9:15 to see that I had a follow-up meeting with Dr Acton at 11:45 this morning. I had hoped to find out by now if draining the oil from my left eye could be done under OHIP when we returned to Canada, and I searched my GMail for a response to my message several weeks ago to a Toronto ophalmologist, but couldn't even find the sent message. There was a detour from the N1 via the outskirts of Rawsonville for construction which slowed down the start of my journey, and I arrived at 11:46. I discussed the situation with Dr A and asked him for a quotation to do the proceedure here. If there were any follow up problems from doing it here, they could delay our return. He thought it was very likely it would be covered by OHIP, but I really need to check. I said my goodbyes because it seems unlikely I'll see him or his staff again. As I left I was feeling quite hungry, and the idea of a Nando's bougie bowl appealed to me, so I headed for Cape Gate. It did the trick and I followed it up with a milk shake, also good. When I arrived I was the only customer, though several came before I left. L-A was planning to rest in bed shortly after I arrived home, and that seemed a good idea to me too. I got 90 minutes before hearing a knock on the front door. I thought it would be Chantelle, but it was Bella. I had called her earlier but she was at work, and she asked what I had called about. I said I had thought about her stolen phone situation, and firstly I felt any further contact with the thieves could put her in danger, because they might think she could call the police, knowing where they were. Also, even if she handed over money, if the phone or sim card no longer worked, she would never get her money back. I would have been prepared to pay R100 for the sim, but I suggested she should add the R100 for the phone. Bottom line to all this, we decided not to negotiate with them, and I was relieved because of the safety factor for Bella. I received a quote from Dr Acton: R79,549, almost as much as the original retinal reattachment (though he had given us a hefty discoubt for that). That made the Toronto option rather more attractive. I sent their weekly allowances to Bella and Anthonica. James has been video-calling almost every day on Messenger, keen to know about my daily health fluctuations, but also we have got into some very interesting discussions. Today he introduced me to a relatively new phenomenon, Incels, or involuntary celebate males who (therefore) hate women and have caused some mass shootings such as the recent event in Plymouth, UK. James feels that this may explain the attitudes of some Muslims towards women, eg the Taliban, and needing 4 wives as sex objects. I find the whole subject repulsive.

Sun Aug 15
Church for me - but not L-A - was relatively well attended, and Johan preached on the older brother in the prodigal son parable, who didn't understand his identity as a son but saw himself as a servant. As curiosity, the younger son had seen himself originally with the full advantages of sonship. Knowing our identity is vital for us all. After, I dropped down to see Lottie with baked beans and mayonaise, which apparently she likes mixed together. I am noticing an unexpected benefit of my drained lungs. I can breathe through a mask for a lot longer than I could a week ago, whan I was forever having to pull it off my nose and take unrestricted breaths. Obviously, my lungs are generating more suction. Today I thoroughly enjoyed the benefit of being back on the anti-inflamatories. At L-A's suggestion I was now taking two Ferrimeds before going to bed instead of one of them in the morning, too close to breakfast milk. This had also proved beneficial. Bella called to say that the man who had stolen her Mobicel, and got R30 for it, was interested in my offers - R200 for return of the phone and R100 for return of the sim card. Bella had gone with him to the people who still had the phone. I told her I needed to think about what she should do.

Sat Aug 14
My weight was down to 56.5 KG after the draining, which was to be expected, which was the lowest since 7 May. Anthonica said her mother had not yet received the R500 I had sent her on Wednesday, so I went to FNB with some printouts from my account that clearly showed the transaction was complete at my end. After waiting in line 30 minutes, I saw an assistant who confirmed all was well from the FNB side, and said it wasn't unusual for EFTs to take 3 days. Then I went to Vodacom with Laurie-Ann's Mobicel and asked if they could remove unwanted files. They said that short of a factory reset, there was nothing they could do that was any more than I could do. I also asked them why Bella's unlocked new phone seemed to think it was an MTN phone, and they reminded me that it had an MTM Sim card. At 1 pm I picked up Anthonica and took her to De Jagers. She said I should collect her at 6:30. When that time came I went to collect her but she wasn't at either of the rendezvous. The dilemma was worse because I had forgotten my phone. Eventually I went home, and L-A told me that Nieka had sent a FB message saying would be coming at 8! I called her and said I couldn't be sure of 8 because we would be eating, but it would be soon after. I confirned the rendezvous. Making supper was rushed because I had been out when I would normally have started, and it had to be ready by 8. I wasn't feeling too great, probably for lack of Tramacet and Celebrex. L-A was watching a Zoom with Heidi as the guest speaker, of which I was able to catch some, as I cooked. I finally served the supper at about 7:40, and we ate watching Heidi - Watch here, and here. At 8:15 I drove to the rendezvous, but there was no Anthonica. I called her and she said she was comong. Half an hour later she still hadn't arrived and I was getting worried. It is extremely dangerous for a teenager to walk the streets alone at night. For this reason, 4 or 5 of her friends have always accompanied her when she returns to our rendezvous. She did finally come and got an earful from me. In future she must tell me exactly when she will be out, and no changes. Apparently all of the other girls and boys live in the building where the teachings are held, so they aren't dependent on anyone picking them up. When I got home I joined Laurie-Ann in watching Darren Wilson's film 'Down the Rabbit Hole' as the final part of the 'showathon.' By the time it was over it was after 11 and I was feeling stiff; tomorrow I will resume Tramacet and Celebrex, but every other day.

Fri Aug 13
Woken at 5 by a cheerful sister with the blood pressure machine. I should have taken my Tramacet and Celebrex, but I forgot, since I was out of routine. Three hours later I hadn't been served breakfast so I asked for some. but shortly after Dr. Duplessis arrived to look at the growth on my leg and said he would cut it out this morning. What I should have asked then was 'Could I come to your rooms next week, instead of paying for an extra day in Mediclinic?' I told him I had just ordered breakfast and asked him to cancel my order as he left. An anaesthetist visited me at about 10:30 and from his questions it seemed they were planning a general anaesthetic. I asked him if it would be possible for Dr Duplessis to manage with a local anaesthetic. At 11:15 a sister came with a blue upper garment and plastic pants and told me to put them on and take off any rings or dentures. At 11:30 I was wheeled in my bed to the operating theatre, and I stayed on my bed for the operation. Dr Duplessis started out by saying 'So you think you are tough enough to handle this with a local anaesthetic?' However, though he gave me the needles about 6 times, none of them was particularly painful and when he started to gauge out the growth I had no pain. It took him about 20 minutes and then he stitched it up. He said he would see me in his roons in a fortnight. I was taken back to my room on the bed. I got dressed, and had a good lunch. I couldn't leave for another hour while the hospital calculated my bill. It was another R7,834, on top of the R8,000 estimate I had already paid. I asked them if I could come back for dinner - but no. I walked to the car and drove home. The leg area where the growth had been was still numb. After a coffee, I drove to the mall to collect Bella's phone. As I walked into Akermans one of the staff at the door recognised me and went to get the phone. It turned out they had not been able to register the unit we had struggled with two days before, so they had got out a new one. Bella had called and asked if she could come by at 3 and pick it up, so I had a couple of hours to load Facebook and WhatsApp and other housekeeping. I also loaded the MTN app since they gave away 500MB of data for loading their app. Bella came from work towards the end of her second week. She is making some serious money. She took the phone and I drove her to Food World where she wanted to buy chicken for her family, and I wanted to buy some for Lottie, which I then delivered. For the rest of the day I took things fairly easily. Interestingly, didn't seem to have ill effects from skipping Tramacet and Celebrex this morning. I decided to skip it tomorrow as well as an experiment.

Thu Aug 12
I was indeed at Mediclinic emergency by 8am and they were expecting me. I had left a message for Eric that they might want a Covid test result but he had replied that if I entered by the Emergency entrance, Dr Van Zyl would be there and the lack of a Covid test wouldn't be an issue. Soon I was resting in a private room in a ward. Outside the window I could see the car parked. They brought me a cheese omelet for late breakfast. I kept my clothes on, because it was cold, but got into bed. Eventually Dr Van Zyl came in to make sure I hadn't eaten or drunk. It is only as I write this that I realize I had eaten a cheese omelet. It didn't cross my mind as I answered his questions. Around 11 a sister wheeled me in a chair to the Radiology department. I was met by another doctor and soon he was ready to stick the big needle into my back, after an anaesthetic. A year ago this process had caused me great pain, but today it was relatively easy for me to handle. L-A has since told me that she and many friends were praying for exactly that. The fluid started coming out. After about 25 minutes I was unable to take deep breaths because, as he told me, my lungs were now no longer receiving presssure from all the water, and that meant they were harder to inflate. I figured I could handle the discomfort and they carried on draining. In all they got 3 1/2 litres! I think that is rather more than the first time I was drained. When the Dr thought we had all we were going to get, a sister took me back to the ward, somewhat less perky than when I had come. I slept for an hour when they came for me again to get an X-ray. I saw the result and it looked a lot healthier than it had been yesterday. Good news! I was taken back to bed. I dodn't feel like lunch. Dr Van Zyl came to see me and I showed him the growth on my leg. He said her would call Dr Duplessis (Arnold Smith's partner) to come and look at it with a view to removing it while I was in hospital. He told me not to eat or drink. I called L-A to see how she was managing, and to let her know I wouldn't be home today. We had been texting periodically. Thus it was that I was still waiting for Dr Duplessis at 7:30 and feeling very hungry. I decided my hunger was more urgent than waiting longer for him. I ordered dinner and it was the best hospital food I have ever had! Chicken schnitzel in a mushroom sauce, and a delicious jelly and custard dessert to follow. I still had hopes of getting out of hospital by midday tomorrow; after that I would be charged for 2 days at about R8000 a night.

Wed Aug 11
9 am: Dr Karen de Kock. Her delightful staff assistant Clara tested my vitals. Then Dr Karen asked my medical history. Finally she looked at my wart - and said it wasn't a wart but a growth that could be malignant. She gave me an introduction for Arnold Smith to remove it, urgently. Visited Pep Cell to try and identify a phone for Bella, and liked best the Mobicel Blink. 11 am - Dr Erik. He was concerned about the non progress of TB and sent me to Radiology for a chest X-ray. I could see that it wasn't good. Water surrounded much of one lung - more than the similar situation when TB was diagnosed a year ago. I returned to Eric and he said he wanted me in Mediclinic tomorrow at 8 to drain the fluid. When I got home and told L-A she cancelled her weekly appointment with Este tomorrow in Paarl. I had an hour before the first children's ministry for weeks. I asked L-A to list the most important groceries she mustn't be without for a couple of days, #1 being veggie cheese, and I drove to Checkers to get them. At 2:15, Ronel and I convoyed to Riverview, and picked up the first 6 kids we could find from the regular group. Mano came with me. We went back to Mella's house. The first session was praise and worship. In recognition that this was a different format from usual, I played Spirit Lead Me, by Pro-Tee, off my phone. which had been a minor pop hit and some of the kids had heard it. Then we sang together Hillsong's original version. Next we caried on with a selection they were mostly familiar with, but I asked Mano to lead the singing on 'I raise a Halleluja,' his favourite, and he did well. Soerita wasn't too keen on soloing but duetted with another girl. We stopped when my out of practice callouses were getting sore. By this time tomorrow I would be in Mediclinic and I wanted all the prayers I could get. I am also well aware that the prayers of children are fast-tracked. So I sat on the low table and gathered them around to lay hands on me. I asked for anyone to pray and no-one did. So I asked Ronel and she did, and then Mano and a couple more children did. Then the kids went to the other room with Ronel for their Bible lesson. I rested in the front room till it was time to take them back to Riverview. We didn't go on to Avian Park. However, when I had dropped Mano I did go to Avian Park, and got Bella to see if we could agree on a phone before closing time. First to Pep Cell - decided on Mobicel Blink or Berry 2, but I had forgotten my passport copy and proof of address, and they were closing. We drove to Da Vinci, and I picked up my photocopy of my passport, and proof of address. We started again at Pep in the Mall, but they required my physical passport, not a photocopy. I asked them to get the manager but she wouldn't bend, and I was a bit over forceful, questioning why they would have different rules from Pep Cell downtown. We arrived at Ackermans at 5 to 6. They were fine with my photocopied documents, and then spent nearly 30 mins after the store was shut, trying to register the Blink. They finally gave up, and I will collect it Friday or Monday. I brought Bella home for coffee, where Joy joined us. We established her phone is also a Blink. The 16 GB of memory will not irradicate all issues of limited memory; it is necessary to have 32 GB to do that. But the Blink is more affordable than those. Bella and I will be paying R350 each. I had seen Anthonica during the day and she and Tersia were clearly out of food and money, with a week to go before they could expect more money from me. In view of my uncertain future for the next few days, I sent Tersia a R500 EFT.

Tue Aug 10
First thing - took our clothes to Magda's laundry hoping to get them back this afternoon since the load included all our small towels. Then I went to Lottie's house to take her for a Covid jab, but when she opened the door she said she was feeling ill and was going to the hospital with a friend, and could I supply R50 for taxis and food. So now I had a little more time and I started by getting more filtered water. In the process I found the water store had been sold to new ownership and opened up near Checkers in the mall. The disadvantage of this to customers if having to carry heavy water bottles some distance to their cars. My next stop was PostNet. I had six boxes of Janey's stuff in the trunk. I spoke to an assistant and they said I would need to seal the boxes, so I bought a reel of wide scotch tape from them and did the sealing in the trunk, and then carried the boxes inside. They told me they would inform the manager Alex when he returned, and he would take it from there. I left my name and number in case of any issues. On the way home I stopped at Pick n Pay for breal rolls, they were cooking pancakes so I bought a couple. L-A was ready for breakfast and we both had a pancake with some of the lemon juice from Jan's lemons (from Franschhoek), which L-A had squeezed a few days earlier. At 5:30 she reminded me of the laundry so I got on my way there, and then popped into OK and bought pork-belly marinated ribs for the first time. Someone (in a mask) beconned to me in the store and I realized it was Pastor Folla. We had a great chat, comparing current lives and then prayed for each other. These days he does his kids ministry in Avian Park 6 nights a week, and Awesome is still with him. Bella came at 7 as she had arranged, and had borrowed Joy's phone. She had a coffee. I said I was looking for a replacement phone for her, and asked how much she had earned last week making burgers in the take-out. She said R800. I asked if she would share the cost of a new phone, and then we could get a better one than the Mobicel Star, with its limiting 8GB memory. She agreed. It was therefore an umpleasant suprise when she walked down the back steps to see her holding Joy's phone in her right hand, and possibly even reading it. When she was in the car I gave her my comments, starting with 'how would Joy feel if you broke her phone?'

Mon Aug 9
I called Dr Eric's office but there was an Afrikaans-only message on the phone. Jamelia sent us a list of foods they needed, and I delivered them about 1:30. It was one of the two National Women's Days SA has each year, and most of the shops were closed. This also explained the message on Dr Eric's phone. L-A put out notices on Colouring with Jesus 2 on social media using the photo Carica had taken, and began getting responses almost immediately, including some who wanted to buy. Bella told me she had gone to see the man who had stolen her phone and confronted him, and told him of the R200 and R100 offers, but he denied all wrongdoing. Although lying is a well-developed skill in Avian Park, it is possible he was innocent in this case. L-A and I decided we would get Bella yet another phone, but one with more memory than the bare bones Mobicel low end offerings.

Sun Aug 8
I only had time for an apple before driving to church. Johan saw me and asked how I was and I said I was concerned at slow progress with TB. He had been through it a few years before but hadn't had the fatigue. I joined the worship team for coffee. Operating the camera didn't prove to be a problem. Standing still doesn't take the energy that walking or climbing does. After the service I went to Pick n Pay Local and got some frozen chicken and white bread rolls for Lottie (and for us). Lottie's dog, and Lottie, were were pleased to see me. Apparently her dog gets the bones when she has eaten the chicken off them. I texted Bella's phone and offered the new owner R200 for it, or R100 for the sim card. Anthonica stayed till about 1pm when I took her home. I took something to Bella, and asked her what changes she would make if she had a new cellphone, and she said she would always lock the front door, and charge the phone beside where she sleeps. I had come to the exact same conclusions. I told her about my offer to the thief.

Sat Aug 7
Carica paid us a social visit at about 8:45 and we had coffee, conversation and very nice miffins that she brought. L-A asked her to take a photo of us each holding a colouring book. I told her of my TB situation ad she receommended I see Dr Eric. Janey replied saying that the photos I had sent her represented all of her missing items. I need to repack into smaller boxes than the flimsy one they were in. Anthonica again slept in, her body trying to catch up. I shopped for us and at least 2 of the girls. Anthonica stayed with her group till 8 pm when I picked her up. She enjoyed some gammon we had saved her from our meal, but rejected the roast vegetables. Late in the evening Bella messaged L-A with very sad news: a man from a neighbours house had been seen entering her (Bella's) house when Cathy was asleep and Bella was washing, and had stolen her phone right off its charger. At a stroke this separates Bella from messages from the Basic Education department and specifically her exam results. It also prevents her checking her bank account. And it confuses all her contacts whom, should they try to call her, are taken straight to voicemail. I found the news profoundly and instantly depressing. I didn't want to deal with it; not tonight anyway. I turned off the router for the night in case Anthonica was tempted again. I had had a day of breathlessness, and fatigue just from walking on the level without climbing stairs. I prayed that I could handle the livestream tomorrow morning.

Fri Aug 6
When I got up at 9, Anthonica was still sleeping soundly, and continued for the rest of the morning. She had probably stayed up all night watching movies. The attraction of hours of unlimited wifi is way more than she can withstand, and may be the real reason she wanted to stay overnight. Eventually she did get up and had a bath and did her hair. I drove to Backpackers to see if I could find the kitchen items that Janey was missing, and I found a large box full of them. One of the Backpacker residents kindly offered to carry the box to the car. If I had done it I would have had to repack in smaller boxes. About 2 pm Anthonica walked to her vacation class. Chantelle messaged L-A about 2pm asking for 3 pies, but when I got to OVD at 2:30 to bring her here for Alpha, I was told she had gone to see her father 5 minutes before. Back home I called Janey and told her what I had found. She asked me to photograph all the items in the box so she could decide whether they should be sent on to her. Mid afternoon I began to map out the sequence of activities and tasks that we must undertake as we plan to leave the country. We watched the first in a current series of Darren Wilson film sharathons: Finger of God 1, from about 2008. It is a very powerful start to his filmmaking, including significant content with Heidi and Rolland, and an interview with a Mozambican (now a pastor) who had been raised from the dead in South Africa. Initially after being raised he still had the bruises and beatings from the violent attack, but when he publicly forgave his attackers and visited them in jail, his body was restored to its pre-attack state. The film states by then, 2008, there had been ~100 raisings in Iris's ministry, mainly in Mozambique. I had hoped that Anthonica would watch the film, and she did for 15 minutes, but then fell asleep on the couch, probably having stayed up the whole of the previous night watching movies.

Thu Aug 5
We were expecting that L-A would see Este today in Paarl but she called shortly before we would have left to cancel, due to one of her children having become ill at school. So we slowed down for an hour or so, but still went to Parow to collect 200 copies of Colouring with Jesus 2, and then to the Babylonstoren winery - a huge place between Paarl and Franschhoek for a bottle of their celebrated rose. Then we lunched at Coffee Tab, though Pienaar was not there. Finally we picked up meat at Goede Hoop before driving home. I was very tired by then and took 90 minutes in bed. L-A woke me at 7 after Bella asked to have another lift home from her new job. Anthonica called asking if she could sleep at our place for the next 2 nights. She had activities at her vacation school, related to her having come top of her class, and she presented it as a way to save me time fetching and carrying her from dangerous Avian Park! So I took Bella and Joy home and brought Anthonica back. L-A wanted something to eat, and so did Anthonica, but I was still full from my mid-afternoon lunch. OK had no more pies so I got them both chicken burgers which were apparently quite nice after being warmed. Anthonica wanted a bath, but was persuaded to put it off to tomorrow morning since we still had no light in the bathroom.

Wed Aug 4
One of the problems I am having with my enlarged prostate is that sometimes when I try to pee (which is several times during the night), there is pressure somewhere in my bowels for me to shit instead. Most times what comes out is just a fart. The only sure way to prevent an accident is to turn round, sit down, and do both. This morning about 5am I thought it was a fart but it wasn't and I felt some shit go down my right leg. I removed my pyjamas and sat down to complete the evacuation. Then I examined my pyjamas and washed the right leg, leaving it in the sink to soak till daylight. When I got up I had a shower, got dressed, finished washing my pyjamas and hung them on the line on our balcony. Anthonica came to our house in the afternoon to do more preparation for exams at the vacation school (I think). UFile replied to my message saying that CRA had not split the income from my UK pension. Apparently when CRA do repeat calculations they don't split pension income or optimize other parts of the tax calculations. Whether I should settle up now and send in the revised calculations later by mail they left up to me, but I will do this because it would incur several months interest not to do so. I think this whole thing hangs on whether the UK pension can be split with spouse. My research had said no but I need to re-ckeck. I took Bella and Joy home again about 7 after their new employer needed them yet again. I do hope that when he pays them at the end of the week they will be fully compensated for the extra days they have worked.

Tue Aug 3
At 8:30 I was in Pelikaan St. to take Jamelia's grandmother Sina and her husband to the day hospital and then on to the vaccination centre. Except that Sina's husband didn't show up, and one of her daughters came instead. It became clear the whole family was out of money, power and air time when Jamelia asked me for R20 for power. For Sina this was a regular trip when she picks up medication. Her appointment wasn't till 10 but she wanted her place in the queue. We drove to the hospital. I listened to SAfm's Steven Grootes host a really excellent discussion about the state of SA debt following the ravages of Covid. Here's the podcast. This ties in well with a Coppleblog on the lack of financial literacy in the townships in July 2020. The vaccination schedule was put in jeopardy when Sina's daughter told me they wouldn't be out before 11. I said I would return then, and I did, but they still were in line so I said I would return at noon. They weren't done at noon, but Sina's daughter said it could be some time yet, so I gave her R20 to go home by taxi, and the vaccination would have to be done another day. At 2 we joined a Zoom meeting with other My Father's House board members Jan and Kevin. Three other members were unavailable, but this was a very significant meeting. Kevin had submitted a written proposal for the money in MFH bank account to be spent on building a youth centre in Hawston, near Hermanus. Hawston is the closest beach to worcester. The money was available because the new owner of Jan's land, Choi, from Korea, had his own plans and finance for the land. Kevin described the plan and it looked like an excellent solution, at exactly the right time - God's timing indeed. Avian Park youth would be able to help with the final aspects of construction, and able to enjoy ministry weekends in idyllic surroundings. We all agreed that Jan should put the plan forward to Hada. We also suggested that Kevin would manage the building project, that Jan Van Rooyen would become MFH president, and that Tobias Jonkers join the board as Treasurer and bank signatory. Whether they agree remains to be seen, but if this all works out My Father's House has a bright future, to which we have contributed. I emailed uFile with a question on how the CRA's calculations differed from theirs on how much extra tax I owed when I added in my 2019 UK pension. Bella and Joy were asked to work at the restaurant again today, and they asked me to take them home about 7 pm.

Mon Aug 2
The day for my second Pfizer inoculation, though from our balcony I could see there was no line-up of people who would have been here with me six weeks ago, so I didn't rush. I walked over about 9:30 and was immediatlely placed in a short line of those to be vaccinated very soon. There were ~150 people waiting in the outer hall, but they were probably here for their first jabs. Within 10 minutes I was directed to a cubicle and welcomed by a friendly sister. I handed my vaccination card from my first innoculation to another sister. When my shoulder was uncovered I asked the first sister if I might take a selfie, and I did. I didn't feel the slightest prick when she put the needle into my arm. I picked up my vaccination card which now had my second dose listed. There had been a report from Canada yesterday of two Americans caught with forged vaccination documents as they attempted to enter Canada, and each was fined $20,000. Then it was the 15 minute rest to make sure we had no immediate reactions. I walked home again where L-A was still relaxing in bed, bless her. The stock markets in Canada were at all-time highs, so I suggested to L-A that we redeem $5,000 gross from her RRSP as we had done last year to relieve the pressure on our credit cards. We sent an instruction to Katerina as from L-A, only to get an undeliverable message. I resent it to Carlos and he told me she had been promoted to regional adviser as a resource for everyone. Carlos will miss her. At noon I entered the offices of Keith Murray at Murray Fourie & Le Roux, Attorneys, just up Adderley Street. I had brought the draft Power of Attorney which listed all the things I was asking Kevin Daley to do in the event that we both died (from Covid) while still in SA, so that our affairs here could be tied up and our Canadian lawyer could take over the business of laying us to rest financially and propertywise without having to worry about matters in SA. The discussion was good and he was supportive that I was doing this. He didn't charge for notarising the document. In the afternoon, Chantelle wanted me to buy R90 of electricity, R60 of which would settle the interest on her mother's unpaid municipal taxes, and the rest would allow them to have lights on tonight. I took her back to Avian Park to key the numbers into their meter. Though I had previously planned to pick up Anthonica at 4:30, I now had a better idea, and took her with us to Da Vinci. She had some homework to do that needed wifi, but first cooked herself fried potatoes. We guided Chantelle through 'How can I be filled with the Holy Spirit,' first teaching her about the gifts and the fruits of the Spirit, and then watched the video. Then I prayed for Holy Spirit to make himself more real to Chantelle and we taught her about the baptism of the Holy Spirit, before sharing the sinners' prayer with her. On the way home Chantelle asked for a large pizza, and Anthonica was good enough not to demand food. We drove to Lottie's - I wanted to be sure she was OK. She told us that an old man (who turned out to be the one I had prayed with for deliverance on 15 April) had told two OVD residents that Lottie was in a bad way and needed money. He was given R280 by them, and then absconded with the money. Lottie was seriously worried about what she should do. She didn't ask me if I would compensate her sometime benefactors. I took Anthonica back to Avian Park.

Sun Aug 1
My weight was mercifully back up to 59.8. During the day I made an updated graph of my weight since June and the trend looks good. Also I've felt better today. Church was open again for Level 3 so I went, but L-A wasn't up for it. There were fewer than half the number of congregants than the last time we had gathered. Heather was in the worship team. The sermon was given by a doctor I hadn't noticed before who has six siblings, all doctors. They recently vacationed together and discovered three of them were in favour of Covid vaccination, and three were against. The holiday disintegrated. He attempted to show that our spiritual relationships should be far more powerful than our temporal ones, but I lost the gist of his argument, because I was so disappointed that medical professionals would not support vaccination. Early afternoon I took food to Mandy, Jamelia's mother, and also to Chantelle. She told me that Lottie's meter was blocked, for the same reason as Maria's had been Chantelle asked me for R20 to buy wood for Lottie so she could cook on a fire. Sounded dangerous to me. I attempted contact with a Toronto ophalmologist, The Kensington Eye Clinic, and also messaged Paulo Cavalanti to see if they were returning from Brazil at the time we would be leaving, and might like to have their apartment back.

Sat Jul 31
When I awoke (about 9:30), after finding my weight was worryingly down to 58.9, I again tried to pump up Maria Diedericks electricity meter, and got another, different, eror message. I called Maria and told her there may be something wrong with her meter and that I can't send her power. I suggested she bought some locally. She didn't seem all that bothered. I walked across the road for some back bacon, but our little local deli was out of stock. I was feeling nauseous and with lung pain. I walked to Pick n Pay and bought some back bacon. By the time I got home I was wondering if I had Covid, but my temperature was 96.2. Maybe I was just hungry. I cooked breakfast - bacon, spaghetti in tomato sauce, fried egg, toast, and L-A had a cheese omelet which made her happy. The rest of the morning and much of the afternoon saw us in the living room, I on the computer and L-A cooking with sporadic fetching from me. I wasn't feeling too bad but I wasn't physically exerting myself. Jamelia announced that her dance troup was going to Cape Town tomorrow and I agreed to give her R50 towards expenses. There are cash prizes if they win. She asked me to bring the money at 6pm. Chantelle also called and it sounded like they had a solution to the power problem. So after I had seen Jamelia I went to Chantelle's and soon we were en route to OK Foods. What had happened was that Maria was behind in her house taxes, so the housing department had blocked her power. Chantelle had somehow obtained R90, and at OK she paid off the R60 blocking, and the other R30 went to power she could use. I took her back to Avian Park to key in the numbers, and then on to OVD for the night. Lottie had called me for some meat so I gave her some chicken wings.

Fri Jul 30
My weight was back to 59.4 - yesterday may have been an abberation. We saw Dr. Hanlie in her Worcester rooms at 11. The session was pure good news. She confirmed the mammogram showed zero cancer in the breast or anywhere else near. The blood test was equally uplifting, showing everything back to normal, and even suggesting she can come off iron, and her Eltroxin dosage can be reduced. Without being reminded she dictated a letter to L-A's future oncologist in Toronto with technical data for the handover. It is sad that we won't see her again, this lifesaver. She told us that her parents had been missionaries in Malawi. We drove to Avian Park and picked up Chantelle for her Alpha course. She had some porridge on arrival, then the session on God's guidance, than had lunch with us - Borscht - and then 'Who is the Holy Spirit and what does he do?' Before she left she had a small portion of our tonight's dinner - gulash. This was a good thing, because in early evening she called to say they had no power and no money. I tried to send power but the first time had an error message saying they were $60 in debt on their power account. Next time I tried and the error had changed to 'Try again later; this meter is waiting for a reversal.' Whatever this meant, I wasn't able to help even though I tried more throughout the evening. I messaged Powertime and all they could offer was try again.

Thu Jul 29
My weight was down to 58.9 KG after being at 59. 5 for 4 days. I hoped this wasn't a trend reversal. Este was back from her vacation at Addo Elephant Park, so L-A saw her for the first time in three weeks. Although it was raining and lots of traffic, I drove the car to the other side of the road and went into the restaurant opposite the clinic and had a rather bitter coffee (with no little candy) and read The Kingdom Way of Life, finding some material I would incorporate in 'Why I believe.' We had coffee and snacks sitting inside Coffee Tab again, and Pienaar revealed he had sold the restaurant, but was continuing to work there as a waiter for the new owner. Back home, I called Anthonica to hear they had run out of food and money five days before my next payment to them. I took a risk and said I would send the R1,000 tonight, but they could only spend R50 a day or they would run out early again and I would not bail them out again. I didn't deduct their incurred expenses over the last few days.

Wed Jul 28
Chantelle arrived unexpectedly at our door. Her aunt Sina had undergone a successful kidney transplant and Chantelle wanted to bake her a cake as a celebration. She wanted me to buy her some of the ingredients, so I had her write them down. I couldn't deal with it right away because of working on 'What I believe.' I decided to split it in two, and spread it over 2 months, if Laurie-Ann agreed, which meant I only needed to have the first half done by today. I had however already drafted most of the second half. By lunch time I had emailed it to her. In the afternoon I continued with computer work till about 3, and then went out to Fairbairn Pharmacy for more expensive eye drops, and also to get the cake ingredients for Chantelle and some socks for Lottie. In Checkers I was surprised to see they were now stocking the veggie cheese that Pick n Pay had discontinued. I bought just one. I drove to OVD to deliver the socks and then to #44 to give Chantelle whipping cream, Coca Cola (2L), caramel and condensed milk. She wanted a lift to Avian Park and brought Padre. After dropping her I collected our dish from Tersia. and then went to give Jamelia R50 for a school project. She was 'dancing in the street' with a group of friends. L-A read at least the first half of 'What I believe' and was happy to use it for the Coppleblog. I'll have a month to hone the second half into shape. Soon she had it up on the
Coppleblog. End of an era - we reached the final episode of House of Cards, chapter 73. What a journey! I will have withdrawal symptoms. It kept us on edge for about 9 weeks; not having time to watch on about 10 evenings.

Tue Jul 27
I returned to my 'Why I believe' project right after breakfast hoping that I would make good strides at it today. Maybe it should be a 2 or 3 part series, in view of its length. By shortly after breakfast we had requests for food from Lottie and Bella. Anthonica wanted to come to our house for Wifi, but I pushed it back till 2 pm. She said she would need 2 hours. I got our soup for about 12:45 so that we would have eaten before Anthonica arrived. At 1:15 I left to buy the food for Bella and Lottie, but it was after 2 when I headed out to Avian Park. I picked up Anthonica, and then drove to give Bella her food. As I left her house I decided to go direct to OVD (having previously intended to drop Anthonica at Da Vinci and then go to OVD). There was a large dead dog lying in the middle of the intersection of Malmok and Pelikaan streets. No one was taking any notice of it so I stopped the car, and pulled the dog by its legs to the curb, much to Anthonica's consternation. I cleaned my hands with sanitizer. Lottie was glad to see me (almost as glad as her dog). Chantelle messaged L-A to say she had been waiting for me at OVD, having seen our car but I hadn't picked her up. Back home it soon became apparent that Anthonica didn't have in mind regular study. Her vacation school had send out recipes that that the kids were asked to follow. Her's was cheesecake. Most of the ingredieents were not items that we had in our shelves, so it became clear I would have to go shopping. I picked Checkers as most likely to have everything and soon I was pushing my trolley there. It was slow going because many of the items were things I haven't bought before. The final one caused me some grief as I searched the rows over and over looking for corn starch, Mezina being a common brand, except I couldn't remember the name Mezina and eventually called L-A to ask her. I couldn't find it and I couldn't find any staff to help me. Eventually I went to custome service, where they hadn't heard of it either, so they called the store manager and he escorted me back to where I had been. Of course it was in a shelf I had walked past several times in the last half hour without seeing what I was looking for - hidden in plain sight. I have noticed that my sub-standard left eye makes it harder to find things. Next to the Mezina was another brand in a smaller package for R10, but it was called cornflower, not corn starch. This was probably why staff members had not knon what I was looking for. I returned home at the same time Chantelle showed up at our door. Then she told me why she had been waiting for me at OVD earlier - Alpha. She thought I had come for her when I took the food to Lottie. And I had forgotten that her next Alpha session was today. I felt bad, so I brought her in and set up the Alpha program. For the next hour or so, Anthonica was making her cheesecake and Chantelle and I were watching the next two Alpha sessios - 'Prayer' and 'Bible.' Chantelle seemed very subdued. Anthonica needed more time so I took Chantelle back to OVD. On the way she told me her mother had hit her that morning as she lay in bed, hurting her face. She didn't have an answer to what caused the attack, but the level of stress in the families must be high. Once again Chantelle had decided to move back to OVD and stay with her aunt. Avian Park's violence had encroached right into her house. Back home Anthonica was still baking and the time was 7:30. I noticed the oven temperature was 270 - max. She said it sould have been 450 - and I realized her recipe must have used Farenheit. The cheesecake had burned on the top but would still be edible, and she had learned a valuable lesson. Strange that her teachers had used an American recipe. When she finally finished and had cleared up, I took her home with one of her cooking creations still in our baking dish. It was 8:15 by the time I started to cook our dinner, chicken sosaties. L-A had slept right though the cooking and Alpha episodes and didn't get up till her dinner was ready, about 9 pm.

Mon Jul 26
We drove again to Pathcare, and this time they were open. I didn't go in with L-A but instead bought food for Chantelle. It was too early for pies and koeksisters at Pick n Pay Local, so she got some roast chicken pieces, a Chelsea bun and a banana, which she seemed satisfied with. I was back in Pathcare shortly after L-A was done and we returned home briefly to get her phone, then were on our way to Parow Industrial, and Print on Demand. Without a GPS I had looked at two routes on Google Maps, deciding on one that took us first along the familiar roads to Tygerberg Hospital, and then on to Parow Industrial. Laurie-Ann's Colouring with Jesus 2 was ready for inspection - exciting! Some of our journey, between Paarl and Belville has seen major taxi violence in the last few weeks with about 20 murders as rival firms battle to own the roote. The Western Cape government has temporarily shut down the route, causing major headaches to commuters. A friendly and efficient lady called Ernestine worked with Laurie-Ann, bringing out two special copies of the brand new book. They were special because they had some colour versions of several drawings inside, in addition to the cover. This was a mistake - we could only afford to have colour on the outside. However, we get to keep the two special copies. Ernestine showed great interest in the book, and noticed some errors in the Afrikaans versions of scriptures which L-A had copied from her Afrikaans Bible, but not perfectly. Ernestine was clearly knowledgable about scripture. The discussion was accompanied by some very nice coffee. We paid for the 100 copies, and L-A will send in a new soft copy of the book when she has done the corrections. We returned to Worcester, stopping first at Goode Hoop in Paarl for some meat, and then at OK Foods in Drostdy for groceries. I took some food to Jamelia which meant we had a late supper.

Sun Jul 25
We slept in a bit but I was keen to watch the live stream from WCC. Three are so many live streams, even from one church, and it was 10 minutes into the service before I found the right one. I noticed that Heather was not part of the worship team, and the songs she had practised were not today's songs. Maybe she'll be on next week. About 27 minutes into the service it became a eulogy for Chris Maartens, who had died of Covid on 20 July. He had been a regular member of our 'Soaking Prayer in Action' group, so we got to know him and about him and his clothing company. In the afternoon I spent several hours progressing my piece 'Why I believe.' I made good progress, not least because we had no calls from the girls on this day of rest.

Sat Jul 24
We drove to Pathcare for post-cancer blood tests for L-A but they were closed, even though the notice on their door said they should be open. We delivered some food for Lottie since she had called me 18 times yesterday which i didn't hear. Then we went to the mall for Dis-Chem. I took Anthonica to join her friends (35 of them) from the vacation school as they went for a walk around Worcester. We watched Angus Buchan and prayer warriors from all over the world as they prayed for South Africa after the looting and lawlessness from 2 weeks ago. Lockdown has made events like this available to anyone. Angus has such authority and respect. Watch it now. By the time we got home I was really tired, but then I realised I hadn't taken my iron pill when I got up. Jamelia asked for food, saying her family had gone to see relatives in Rawsonville and she was alone. I took her some staples and a pie. When I got home after that I went to bed for a couple of hours. Anthonica woke me when she called from outside our gate about 5:15, but I didn't get to the phone in time, and when I called her back she didn't answer. The result of this was that she waited 30 minutes before she was able to get in our gate. I drove her home. I was 10 minutes late for the start of a Harvest Family Network Zoom with Rolland Baker as main speaker (Passcode Pgs&!r$1). Rolland's theme was to look at the worsening state of the world and see what it tells us about the nature of God and how he works. Rolland mentioned twice that Trump had failed to be re-elected despite the prayers of millions. But God is not a vending machine for our requests. The Bible makes his his nature quite clear, and it is not to help us have a happy and fulfilled like here on earth. It instead is to prepare us for a glorious time in Heaven. We must concentrate on him and him alone. Rolland illustrated his talk with harrowing stories of the insurgency in northern Mozambique where the goal of the ISIS terrorists is to torture and kill all Christians (and non-fanatic Muslims). Yet, when faced with a machete at their throats and asked if they would give up their new Christian faith, or die, so many of them have opted to die as martyrs. For them, Jesus was primary in their lives, and without him life was worthless.

Fri Jul 23
The first day this week I hadn't had to rise earlier than I felt like. The sun was shining and it was the best opportunity to get Cathy vaccinated. I walked over the street to the vaccination centre to check it was open. I called Bella and she said Cathy could come. Then I had the idea of taking the over fifties in Jamelia's home at the same time as Cathy. I called their phone but it went right to voicemail. I was at Bella's at 10 - only to hear from Bella that Cathy had changed her mind and didn't want to be vaccinated. Later in the day Bella told me the problem was she was scared of needles. I drove next door to Jamelia's and spoke to her grandmother. She said she and her husband would like to be vaccinated but she was still in her night clothes. She said the reason I hadn't reached her on the phone was that their only phone needed a new battery. Chantelle arrived at our door reminding me that I had said I might help her buy boots. I had bought some 2 months ago but she said they had fallen apart. Even though they were cheap they should have lasted longer than that, so it's possible they were sold for food or stolen. We drove to 4 stores that might have the boots she wanted but the first three didn't have her size. I paid for the ones in the fourth store. When we discussed the R30 promised by her father's boss, she said her father had the cash but hadn't given it to her until I came up with the rest. It is unlikely I will see the R30, since her father and mother still haven't repaid a loan of R200 I made them weeks ago. My gut tells me that as long as I continue to help Chantelle with food and clothers, her parents will not help her. But when we were in Franschhoek, they did help her out.

Thu Jul 22
We set the alarms for 6:30 to be on our way to Worcester Radiology by 7:30. I didn't go in with L-A but shivered in the car for the next 2 hours with SAFM while she had a mammogram and ultrasound, and other tests. The great news was that there was no sign of cancer anywhere! Halelujah! They took any number of scans and will put them all on a memory stick for use by doctors in Canada. We had promised ourselves a good breakfast afterwards and decided to go to Wimpy. I had hoped it would be warmer than our apartment, but all the waitresses were wearing insulating coats and there seemed to be cold air blowing from their fans. We filled ourselves up with egg etc. breakfast and dessert. While we were in the mall I went to Computermania and bought a 32 GB memory stick for the scans. I had food deliveries for Lottie and Jamelia before picking up Chantelle at 2:30 for Alpha. When we got back L-A had gone to bed. Chantelle and I watched 'Cross' and 'Faith' with some good answers from her at the question interludes. Her answer to 'What kind of club would you like to start?' was 'A Mailbox Club.' On the way home she asked me for R70 towards a new pair of boots. Her father's boss had offered R30 and the boots were R100. I said that if she got the R30 I would take her to buy the boots. We hadn't seen any warning of loadshedding, but at 6:10 the power stopped. I kept my boots and sweater on and joined L-A in bed for the next two hours, after which I felt great. Our dinner tonight was later than usual but very good.

Wed Jul 21
I picked up Tersia at 6 to take her to town to be early in line to progress her UIF application. Last week when I took her they just gave her forms to complete. This week she would hand them in. I asked her why Anthonica was asking me repeatedly for air time, and she said A had borrowed up to R45 from Vodacom. This meant that what I had sent her was being swallowed up repaying the Vodacom loan. I told Tersia I don't pay off Vodacom loans and have warned all the girls against borrowing air time. Later in the day I repeated this to Anthonica. However, I don't want Anthonica to be unable to use her phone for school work. I took Chantelle to OVD, and in the course of conversation about the importance of mask wearing, mentioned the death of our friend Chris Maartens. Much to my surprise she knew about it. It turned out that one of her aunts in OVD (to whom we had given money once) had worked for Chris in his clothing factory. I wonder if she will still have a job. To my consternation, Bella contacted L-A asking for a consignment of food, even though she received her allowance from us last Saturday. Apparently they had spent some of it on new windows; the wind and rain were blasting through the house. I saw no way round taking her food so I did. She said she wouldn't need to ask me again before receiving her next allowance from us, but that could only be true if Cathy is expecting her grant. I dropped into Keith Murray's law office up the road in connection with the power of attorney. The receptionist was helpful and said he would call me on his return on Friday. We received the new NOA for L-A's tax year 2017, but they gave her no additional rebate for the addition of employment expenses in that year. I called them, but before they were able to answer my questions in full, Skype dropped the line and I was too tired and hungry to start the call again then. I'll call again tomorrow.

Tue Jul 20
It rained all day, so Bella and I postponed getting her grandmother vaccinated. We received our tax rebates into our Simplii account. This of course doesn't mean we won't be reassessed when the CRA gnomes get to work crawling through the detail. I will keep money on hand to pay addional tax from 2019 when I had forgotten to include my British pension. We heard the sad news that Chris Martens had died from Covid 19. He owned a company employing 200. He used to come to our soaking prayer events, and had bought two copies of Colouring with Jesus, telling L-A it was his third favourite Christian book. While bringing Chantelle to our house in the afternoon, she told me that a 28 year old cousin of hers had been murdered last Saturday night in Avian Park in a gang incident, and his father seriously injured. She felt Avian Park was getting even more dangerous, and for this reason planned to move more permanently into OVD. I suggested that if she did, her mother should hand over her baby allowance to her aunt, but Chantelle felt this was unlikely to happen. The reason we brought her home was to do the Alpha course, just as Anthonica had done. We felt it could smooth our some remaining rough parts of her character in addition to its primary purpose of firmly planting Holy Spirit in her heart. We watched the first two sessions with her, and agreed to have her back on Thursday for more. She was good company and stayed for dinner.

Mon Jul 19
I had mentioned to Bella about taking her grandmother to the vaccination centre. I saw no line-up, unlike when L-A went, so I walked over to see if they were open. They were, but only had a trickle of takers. This would be ideal for Cathy. I called Bella, but she had forgotten all about it, so we re-set for tomorrow. I printed the 'PoA' draft so L-A could add any comments. Jamelia's family was out of food and money; Jamelia's message referred to paying the loan sharks, so that may be where all their grant money had gone. I got a bag of staples from our stock, and bought other items at Pick n Pay, and drove them down to her. She seemed happier than last week, perhaps because of the medication I had got her. Heather called to ask if she could visit to practise the praise songs she would be singing next Sunday. She came in early afternoon. What she actually needed were audio files of 4 songs she would be singing with the worship team on Sunday so she could practise them with her phone. I was able to dind the songs on Spotify by at first unable to WhatsApp them to her. WhatsApp classifies attachments into 5 types and audio file isn't one of them. But my distant memory clicked in and it worked when I selected 'document' as the type of file. Heather was very happy.

Sun Jul 18 - Mandela Day
We both again slept well after sharing a bottle of sparkling rose, and I left our heater on all night which made a big difference. I dreamed that I needed to get food for (all of) our girls, and I prepared some, but didn't know when to take it to them. I woke up a little later to see that it was a dream and I was off the hook. Our alarms were set for 7:30 to be sure we would be out by 10. We had a slimmed down version of yesterday's breakfast. Everything was packed by 10 and Jan appeared on cue to carry our cases out and say goodbye. He had told us of a great place to have breakfast, Smitten, where the chef, Chris Smith is an SABC broadcaster. L-A had eggs florentine and I had a muffin with my coffee and all was excellent. Soon we were on our way home via a quick trip into Stellenbosch to sample the atmosphere. When we got to Worcester we stopped at Woolworths hoping tp repeat Friday's dinner, but they had no korma, so I bought two butter chickens. Mid afternoon we heard gospel music from across Church Square. We figured it was related to Nelson Mandela International Day. I walked over to see what was going on and was impressed by the sincerity of both the listeners and the speaker, although it was in Afrikaans so I could only guess at the meaning of the message. I took some photos with the Fuji. L-A was very tired so we had our curry quite early, and she retired soon after. For a change I was the later to bed. It had been a very good 60th birthday.

Sat Jul 17 Laurie-Ann'a 60th birthday!
We both slept well partly because of the comfy warm bed and also the silence without Worcester High Street outside our window. I got coffee while I wrote up yesterday's journal. Then we had breakfast, grapefruit/naartjie, very posh granola cereal, maple croissant/flapjacts, coffee. It was a beautiful day, but all the windows had condensation on them because I had closed them all last night. We opened four of them and the condensation lifted. Lottie called for food and I told her we are out of town. We relaxed for the morning and then ate the curries I had bought at Woolworths - delicious. In the afternoon I completed drafting the specific power of attorney that Kevin had recommended. Then I started on a new project: 'Why I believe,' which might become a blog, or I may just send to James, because he is the reason I want to write this. I was grateful for the opportunity to do both of these while on this holiday break because it's much harder in Da Vinci. Jan had left us 'Bastille Day' berets and scarfs to wear in town today or tomorrow. Although people here don't speak French, the town is named French Corner (in English) and they celebrate the storming of the Bastille every July 18 and 19. This evening we donned our Bastille Day gear and drove the short distance to Col'Cacchio gourmet pizza restaurant for dinner. where the waiters all had their French berets. We chose our pizzas and I wondered how I would eat it all, but the crust was very thin and nice and we both got through them and enjoyed them. Because of curfew the restaurant closed at 7:30, and we came back to Bleu Cobalt Cottage for sparking rose and chocolate cake and a little TV. Getting the cork off the wine bottle proved a challenge, and in the end I opened the front door and squeezed the cork near the hinge to loosen it.

Fri Jul 16 To Franschhoek
We got up at 7:30, wanting to get to Franschhoek as soon as possible and begin our little holiday celebration for l-A's birthday. I packed one suitcase with clothes and another with kitchen stuff and food. I knew that we would mostly eat out so we wouldn't need to take much food. The most throught-demanding part was the cables and power bars for our computers and phones. In the end it took one SA power bar and two Canadian bars to provide for our devices. We got under way at 11. First stop was Pep to send Janey her certificates etc. But Pep told me that because of the looting in Gauteng and KZN they didn't recommend accepting anything, since the transfer trucks weren't running and they had no idea how long a delivery would take, with many Peps having been vandalized. We drove on, taking the Rawsonville route. It was a pleasant drive, and not too long. We hove into Franschhoek about 12:30. We had been here 24 September (Heritage Day) 2019, so we knew the general layout. We were very warmly wecomed by our host Jan who explained all the details of our delightful rooms. Best of all, it had electric heaters, a huge advantage over Da Vinci! We soon found the Terbodore Café though it wasn't where my map said, and were relieved they were taking sitting down patrons, not just take-out. L-A had the polenta bowl with poached eagg, bacon, corn and brocolli sprouts. I had 2 poached ega and smoked trout, which is very similar to smoked salmon. The coffee was wonderful and after we had finished at the restaurant we drove to the Terbodore Coffee Roasters. They are a wholesale warehouse supplying the Café and other outlets but they were kind enough to sell us a selection of coffees that L-A was particularly keen on. We drove to Good Food & Company where we had eaten on our last visit and I bought frozen dinners for tonight. Then we went to Woolworths and I bought food for tomorrow's breakfast and lunch, and then we returned to our home from home, Bleu Cobalt Cottage. Our host Jan made us very welcome, including a birthday bottle of wine for Laurie-Ann's birthday, and he didn't ask for the R1,000 safety deposit that had been stated in the prospectus. I finished unpacking. We turned on the TV just as Ramaphosa was addressing the nation again, and this time with very stern words for those who had orchestrated the recent violence in the wake of Zuma's going to jail. We enjoyed the dinners from Good Food & Co; L-A had veggie lasagna and I had beef bourguinon. The TV was tuned into a good SA news channel, and the very next channel was BBC World News. When bed time arrived we luxuriated over electric blankets and were soon dreaming.

Thu Jul 15
Janey phoned to say she had left some important items in a box that was now stored in Hector's establishment, Backpackers. Would I try and retrieve them? Bella called about 11 and asked where I was. Apparently she was under the impression I was picking her up by now, while I had it listed for 1pm. After finishing my excellent breakfast of bacon and beans I drove down to pick her up. Joy came with us. Both of them wanted to get CVs out in an effort to get jobs. Bella edited her CV replacing her name with Joy's, and and I printed 10 copies. I took them to the police station (they need a police verification for a CV) and while there I went to FNB and transferred R5000 from Simplii. Having Simplii double my limit for ATM withdrawals only increased the amount allowed by 20%. I kept R1000 for our weekend away - the refundable deposit at the guest house - and deposited the rest in FNB. Then I drove to Backpackers, and soon was looking at quite a lot of Andre's stuff and some of Janeys, including her ID, some pills and her educational certificates. I called her to confirm these were what she needed. I picked up Bella and Joy at the police station and brought them back with me. I called Janey and she asked me to send her stuff via Pep store-to-store transport. I will try and fit it in tomorrow. I showed Bella the Excel sheet showing her expenditure in the past month, about R600 more than the R4000 I had given her. I explained I would have to deduct some of this excess expenditure from her next allowance. On the way home she asked me for a pie but when I said I would have to deduct the cost from her next allowance she said I should forget about the pie. I felt sorry for her and the family and got a R29 meal they could slice up and share, and I told her that in this case I wouldn't deduct the cost from her next allowance. After dropping her and Joy, I drove round to Chantelle's with a pie; not the 2 pies she had asked for. I asked her to guess how much we had spent on her and Lottie in the past month and she said between R1000 and R2000, which was remarkably accurate; the actual amount was R1500. I explained this couldn't continue; hence the one pie. I asked her to tell her parents this. She said her mother Maria was planning to repay me R200 loan on Monday. She also told me that every night they hear guns being fired by rival gangsters. Later in the evening when we were packing she sent L-A a message asking if I would send R100 to Maria's bank. I didn't. We put the clothes we think we'll need for Franschhoek into a suitcase. We would miss our GPS on our upcomng trip to Franschhoek, so I printed 4 Google maps showing our holiday accommodation and several restaurants.

Wed Jul 14
This was another busy day for me with our girls. Bella asked for help making another 10 CVs. We printed the top sheet on my computer, adapted from the Checkers CV, and then went to Compro to make copies of her ID and other supporting documents. I took Anthonica to join her vacation class between 1 and 5:30. We are approaching the 18th of the month, not only L-A's 60th birthday but also the day Bella and Anthonica will receive their allowances from me. We are going for two nights in Franschhoek and need a R1000 cash deposit. I checked the bank statements to plan that we'll have the cash/bank deposits for these needs. I decided not to transfer from Simplii today, but to call them to have my ATM limit raised. My limit had been $500 since the account was opened, and it needs to be twice that to accommodate our needs here. I called the bank on Skype and a very helpful lady fixed everything up. So this had been the reason all along for the limits on my ATM withdrawals, and the recent change from R5000 to R4000 would have been due to exchange rate fluctuation. Chantelle said she needed a lift to OVD, but when I got to her house in Avian Park she said that her parents would be visiting Lottie in hospital, where she had gone yesterday after a bad athsma attack. She had called the ambulance, but she, a blind elderly woman, was now alone in a strange place. Chantelle asked me for R20 taxi fare to visit them. Then she asked if I would take her to OVD and back, now, to make sure Lottie's dog was OK and not locked in her house. When we got there, Lottie was home! There had been a loss of communication due to air time and phone charging problems. So it was good we had come over. I took Chantelle back where presumably she brought her parents up to date.

Tue Jul 13
Last week we had been a little concerned that there were no calls from the girls. Today we were back to normal - I drove into Avian Park six times bringing food, transporting from OVD, etc. 24 hours later it's all a blur. I do remember taking Anthonica to town to buy winter boots and she brought a 2-year old boy cousin or he would have been left alone. He actually behaved perfectly throughout, demonstrating the reality of some amazing parenting in the poorest communities. I bought Nieka her boots and am now cogitating about whether to reduce her next allowance by their cost.

Mon Jul 12
Lottie and Chantelle had asked me to take Lottie, with Chantelle as her guide, to the day hospital at 8am, but when I got there, after a fitful night worrying I might not hear the alarm, Lottie told me she was going later, after 9. She also told me that Chantelle had gone to the shop and exchanged my R50 note for two R25 amounts, and then given one to Lottie. This wasn't my intention for the money; it was for Lottie to buy food if she was hospitalized. The new time clashed with Laurie-Ann's Covid innoculation. I drove to find Chantelle and suggest I took them now, but she hadn't washed and didn't want to go now. When I asked about the R25 she denied having split it and insisted Lottie had it all. I returned to Lottie, who said Chantelle had the money and was lying. I told her I couldn't take her to the hospital, and suggested she got a taxi with the money I had given her. I returned home and had breakfast with L-A. We drove to the vaccination centre at 8:50 and found a long line up. L-A actually had an appointment - between 9 and 10 am, and I had printed it from the text message. We parked the car, and I went over to the head of the line armed with L-A's appointment print-out and our disability sticker. Much to my surprise, an attendant said I could bring L-A to the head of the line-up. As she used her walker to pass the people waiting, nobody objected, and soon L-A had sticker #130 and was seated in the inner waiting zone. We agreed to communcate by text and I returned to the car. Shortly after, it began to rain, but very lightly and the sun remained bright. I walked to the railing separating the inner area from the street and saw that L-A was already somewhat closer to the front. I took pictures of her and the even longer line up of people who were now behind her. I texted her to say I was walking to our apartment to get an umbrella in case the rain strengthened. Shortly after I returned L-A had moved into the building and wouldn't be needing the umbrella. I texted her that she should let me know when she was in the rest room for people who had received their jabs. I went back to the car for a while. She got back to me and I went back in and waited for her. Soon we were both back in the car. She was feeling slightly dizzy and with minor pain in her harm. We went to the McDonald's drive through for McChickens (my first ever), and then to Munnik's where I bought new batteries for my watch and the car ignition key. We drove to Pick n Pay and it started to rain harder. I bought fruit and some other items. Back home we had coffees and guava cake. Fairly soon L-A decided to go to bed, and as I write this she is still there. Chantelle called and asked if I would drive her and family members to Avian Park. Mainly because it was raining I agreed; it turned out to be a full car load so I kept my mask very much on, since none of them had masks; not even Chantelle. I noticed a YouTube by Rick Beato about the most complex pop song he had ever played. It turned out to be Sergio Mendez' 'Never gonna let you go,' which has amazing chord changes, even more than 'All the things you are.' The song was written by Barry Mann (music) and Cynthia Weil (words) in 1983. One associates them with the Brill Building sound, but this is indeed way more complex than typical Brill Building productions. Here's the song on YouTube. I really enjoyed Rick's presentation. Lottie called me from the Day Centre where she and a friend had gone - no involvement from Chantelle. I took them back to Lottie's house.

Sun Jul 11
I was on livestream camera so I was in church by 9. Only the musicians, the preacher Kenneth, and the audio/video team were there. I was operating the right hand side camera. Everything went well and Kenneth's sermon illustrating the ridiculousness of the commandments (as he later told me) was clearly powerful and convincing, even though I understood not a word. I took food to Chantelle and Lottie - hot roast chicken legs. Chantelle asked for toiletries. Lottie is due in the hospital for a checkup tomorrow morning and I agreed to drive her + Chantelle at 8 am. Chantelle coaxed an additional R50 out of me to pay for food in the hospital. I started work on the 'specific POA' that Kevin had recommended. I finally watched the 2021 Alpha Leadership Conference. L-A and I had attended an Alpha Conference in 2002, but for a decade now they had taken over the Albert Hall - until Coronavirus. So this one was on line, but for every aspect other than being there with all the people, this was absolutely fine as far as I was concerned. The guests included the Archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba, who regularly prayed with Mandela in his final years. The whole event was (is) superb and you can check it out via the above link.

Sat Jul 10
I completed the tax updates to previous years, specifically adding in L-A's employment expenses for 2017 (air fare, travel insurance etc). The immediate response from MyAccount was that there would be no change to the tax, but I'll wait for the official figure in the revised NOA. In Pick n Pay they were playing a song (on their improved sound system) that I had loved a few decades ago, but didn't know the name of or the singer. This was the third time I had heard it in Pick n Pay, but this time I caught the words 'I wanna wake up with you' which seemed like the title. Back home, Spotify found it immediately, sung by Boris Gardiner from England, and I added it to A18. I drove Anthonica to her creche for a sleepover birthday party, for which she managed to persuade me to buy a present - 2 slabs (bars) - of chocolate. More computer work including GNiTM production and uploading in the afternoon. In the evening we watched 'The boy who harnessed the wind.' My prostate is giving me addional problems. For some time now I have woken in the night and needed to pee. In the daytime when this happens, not so often, I sometimes feel as if I may mess my pants if I pee, so I have to sit down and shit. Then I can pee more freely. The frequency with which I take Uromax has a bearing on these issues. The ideal is less than one capsule a day, but I haven't yet discovered how often I should take a Uromax for the best result.

Fri Jul 9
A sunny day after several days of depressing rain. My weight up half a Kg. I have missed seeing any of our girls for the last 2 days so I planned to go and find them today. I first phoned to Worcester Radiology and asked if they could arrange a mastectomy for Laurie-Ann next week. They sounded a little non-plussed and came back on line after a pause to say she would have to go to a hospital. It was then I realised I had said mastectomy rather than mammogram! They were booked but said they might be able to fit her in. I drove down with the requisition from Hannetjie Koetze, and they indeed were able to take her at 7:45 on 22 July. This mammogram will hopefully show no trace of cancer. Next I took L-A's phone to Vodacom, where a knowledgable technician diagnosed the reason the phone was continually asking for space to be freed up - and he didn't even ask to see the phone other than recognising the brand. The apps take more and more space over time as they are automatically updated. If they are built into the phone at manufacture they cannot be deleted and the updates cannot be inhibited. The only answer is a lot more storage than the 8GB in a Glow or Star. This also explains Bella's problems with her previous Star. To my mind however it doesn't explain why her new Star (or any other 8GB phone) wouldn't have the problem from inception. L-A will limp on for the next 3 months, having already deleted FaceBook and Messenger. I went to FNB to transfer money from Simplii. The limit had come down to R4000 from the previous R5000, but the fee rmained R50. I went next door to speak with an advisor. He managed to convince me that the limit was not set by them but by my bank in Canada! I drove on to see Lottie, who asked me for air time. A little later Chantelle called on Lottie's phone asking for KFC and fish and chips for Lottie. I got hake and chips for our lunch from Europa Fisheries. After we had eaten, I found a baptism certificate for Anthonica on line and filled it out and we both signed it. I left mid afternoon on my trip to see some of the girls. First I bought a large white envelope (R2) from Boland Crafts for Anthonica's certificate. Then I bought 2 KFC 'streetwises' for Chantelle. They were advertised as each having a free coke. I didn't want the cokes because they could still in the car, but the server absolutely insisted I must have them. My bill said 'no drink' but she still served them. More by luck than judgement they didn't spill on the back seat. I then went to Europa Fisheries for hake and chips for Lottie. At OVD, delivering the food, I chatted to Chantelle. She seemed fine even though I hadn't brought her food last night in the rain. She asked me to drive her sister and child to Avian Park - I was going anyway. At their house when I helped carry in washed clothes, Maria was smoking. I reminded her she still owed me R200 and she said it would come eventually. Then I went on to Tersia's house and gave her the baptism certificate for Anthonica, who was out. I asked Tersia if she had been borrowing money and repaying with the allowance from me. She said only the R100 when I was late with the recent allowance. I explained that we would be leaving and the allowances would cease, so she couldn't rely on them to pay back loans. I drove on and chatted briefly with Bella who said her recent exam had gone well. Back home I prepared the last of the meatloaf for supper. After supper and House of Cards, I decided not to wait for L-A's birthday but to give her the electric water bottle now, so she could benefit immediatlely. I plugged it in for its 15 minute charge, but she came to bed earlier than usual so it wasn't ready for warming the bed. Instead I put it beside her feet. Today had been good. I had enjoyed seeing some of the girls after not seeing them for several days.

Thu Jul 8
I woke up concerned that we are giving way too much cash to Bella and Anthonica each month. So after breakfast was cleared away and I had helped L-A prepare the dinner - oxtail stew - I went back to basics as represented on the sponsor excel sheet and recent Iris donations. What I found was that the donations were actually higher than I had on the spreadsheet, and that the amounts we were paying out were within the guidelines I had set when I envisaged the 'Sponsor our girls' program. So that was all good. I got to work on the first retrospective tax return change, to our 2019 taxes, adding my British State Pension. Using the 'Change my return' facility under MyAccount I changed line 11500 from 4380 to 10534. UFile suggested this would trigger an additional tax bill of $895. I called Kevin - and he got back to me an hour later. He has had car trouble both with his Mercedes and with the Combi from MFH. Sounds like he had an accident with the Combi and it has been in the shop for a few weeks. Brian at MMJ has been battling to diagnose the Mercedes problem. In the meantime he has bought an Audi (?) in excellent shape and has been using it for his almost daily outward bound trips with youngsters. The reason I called him was I have realized that if both L-A and I died of Covid, we would leave a mess in our wake and I don't know how it would be cleared up. We need to give access to bank accounts and other things to a trusted friend who can liaise with our laywer in Canada. Kevin said that I should draft a 'specific power of attorney' to my chosen person, and have it notorized by a laywer. He recommended Keith Murray, up Adderley St, a distant relative of Andrew Murray. I then asked Keven if he would be our trusted friend, and he agreed. The chance of us both dying in the next 3 months is small but not zero. I started work on adding in Laurie-Ann's employment expenses into our 2017 tax return. This included her one-way air ticket and her travel insurance premium. UFile suggested this would generate a rebate of $367. I didn't have time to key this into MyAccount. We enjoyed the oxtail which had been cooking all day, followed by the last of the bread and butter pudding.

Wed Jul 7
With no engagements, today was the day to complete the tax return, and I did! There were a few issues to be cleaned up, including adding expenses incurred in the Colouring Books project, and confirming that the 10% tax charged when L-A withdrew $5k had been returned as part of her tax rebate. There were no Netfile issues. Now we await the rebate. In the course of preparing the return I found errors in last years return (I ommitted my UK pension) and in our 2017 return (I didn't report L-A's eligible employment expenses). I must now figure out and send in amendments for those years. But the relief at completing the 2020 return and having a heathy rebate will give me a better attitude as I make the corrections. For the rest of the day I felt a load had been lifted from my shoulders. I completed a could of non-urgent tasks that had been waiting weeks, including another suggested update to the ecology web page. In the afternoon I drove to a cellphone repair shop in the mall which advertized Blackberry as a brand it could work on. I wanted to know if they might have a replacement for the Priv battery. They didn't. Out of interest I asked if he had a battery for a Q10, since our white phone's battery loses its charge fairly fast, but all he could offer was a Chinese knock off for R100. I would rather wait till we are back home and pay more for a genuine Blackberry part. Today had been the first weekday in lock down when we hadn't had a single call from the girls asking for help. Part of the reason is that both Bella and Tersia/Anthonica are getting cash every 2 weeks. But I suspect Tersia may be using this respite to buy things she can't afford, like cigarettes, and then borrowing from neighbours knowing she can pay them back when I pay her. (Chantelle told me she overheard that Tersia had repaid a R400 loan - but Chantelle may be mistaken in the detail.) All this would make it all the more traumatic when we leave and she gets nothing from us. In Pick n Pay I spotted an electric water bottle. It has cold been going to bed for the last few months and L-A has suffered particularly because her circulation is not great. This would make a fine birthday present for her.

Tue Jul 6
Jamelia had asked me to pick her up at 8 and take her to the hospital. When I got there she had re-arranged it for later and would be taking a taxi with Nona. She had forgotten to tell me. I asked her about the group of young people hanging around her house yesterday and she said she knew nothing about them. I doubt this was true. Lise called on WhatsApp about 3:15 and we tried to give her support at this time when her father died a few days ago. He was a mining engineer and had been converted to Christianity in Peru and remained faithful till his death (and beyond). Lise had made herself helpful to his widow (not her mother) and admin tasks, which she is good at, had softened the pain of his death at least for a while. Ronel called me and asked if I would pick up one of the girls from Mella's Avian Park minstry, Susan, and her baby girl. We were still talking to Lise so I said I would be there in half an hour. Just as I was leaving Chantelle turned up at our door. I asked her what she needed and she asked for 2 pies to OVD. Ronel had WhatsApped me a picture of Susan with her daughter and I spotted them outside the gate. I walked over and asked if she was Susan, and then walked them over to the car. Susan is 18 and her baby was born when she was 16. The father is still with them - unusual. The baby has been recently diagnosed with TB and is on pills with the same purpose as my Rifafour, if not identical. I drove them to their home which is on the way to Folla's ministry building. I went on to do some shopping and it was dark by the time I arrived at OVD to give Chantelle two high quality pies. The real surprise was that Lottie actually returned R100 of a R150 loan I had made her a few weeks before. As it turns out that money may be very helpful as I try and delay my next transfer from Simplii. I listened on SAFM to Zuma's shinanigans to keep himslf from a 15 month jail sentence for contempt of court. L-A had made tonight's supper: meatloaf followed by bread and butter pudding. They were excellent and we washed the meatloaf down with a bottle of Four Cousins sparkling red.

Mon Jul 5
Made some good progess on the tax return, and was particularly gratified when I added in to rental income expenses the first special assessment from Jan 2020 for the windows project. I heard a shocking report on SAFM that 10,000 Gauteng teachers were turning down the opportunity of vaccination. The official line on this is very restrained, saying that no-one will be forced. My personal view is that this victory for anti-vaxxers and weird church pastors trying to boost traditional healing should be stamped on hard. At the very least we need Ramaphosa to tell them they are like killers, increasing the risk for all of us. That such people are in the teaching profession and presumably passing on this deadly advice to impressionable children only reminds us never to take advice from people more screwed up than we are. Anthonica had asked me to take her to her afternoon school at 1, but I forgot, and didn't make it till after 2. Jamelia asked if I would take her to the hospital at 8 am tomorrow. Bella had asked if she could study at our house for a third (and last) exam tomorrow, but when I arrived at 1:30 to pick her up she was out shopping. I spoke to her on the phone and came back about 2:15 and she was still out. I went to Fairbairn Pharmacy for L-A's drugs, and Carica gave me a bag of guavas, which I had never seen before. I also bought some Fairbairn fudge. Eventually I collected Bella at 5. There was a bunch of teenagers hanging around Jamelia's gate. As we drove I asked Bella what they were doing and she said they were throwing stones periodically at her (Bella's) house because they didn't like Cathy. I printed her a 39 page document (of what she needs to revise by tomorrow?) I took her home at 6:30 because that was the time I had agreed to collect Nieka. I asked how she was feeling about the exam, and she said 'stressed.' I prayed for both of them before dropping them at their homes.

Sun Jul 4
Church was closed due to lock down level 4, although the live stream continued, which I will be on next Sunday. I checked our FNB statement and found that the R1000 to Tersia on Friday hadn't happened. What to do? I put some staples in a bag. I called Tersia to tell her and said I would be down later that morning with food for them to tide them over. After breakfast I went shopping, mainly Dis-Chem, for some urgent items. I got two breakfast sandwiches and bread and added them to the food parcel for Tersia and Anthonica. When I got down there Tersia wanted to tell me she had borrowed R100 the night before and the lady was demanding her money. I smelt tobacco from Tersia's breath; very strong when she was in the car with the doors closed. She had clearly been taking advantage of the cash I had given them to buy cigarettes. I expressed my disappointment. This is exactly why I have never handed out money to adults until recently. I don't know how I should handle this, but I was still on the defensive from having somehow screwed up on their regular allowance. We had invited Heather for Sunday soup and Bethel TV, and she arrived at 12:30. I was just back from Avian Park. L-A's latest carrot soup was gourmet and we all appreciated it. Then we settled down to watch worship from Bethel, followed by a recent sermon by Bill Johnson. Heather has no Internet and no TV, so it was a treat for her. Bill expounded from Mark 8, explaining the huge significance of the two feedings of crowds, which the apostles had also not understood. It changes the way we should look at healing. The little fan heater I had bought a week ago actually kept us cosy, though it takes a while to affect the room. In the evening we attempted to watch the James Bond film 'Spectre' on i-Tunes, but were unable to rent it on Pink Dell, so gave up and watched our regular House of Cards.

Sat Jul 3
I analysed our expenditure on Powertime for power for us and the girls and realized we must not continue to be so generous to them. Chantelle and her various aunts and surrogate parents in particular are costing us a fortune. When adding my British pension to our tax return I discovered two issues. I wasn't convinced uFile was splitting our income from pensions and RRIFs, and I didn't know whether foreign pension income could be split. More concerning, I seem to have forgotten to include the British pension in lat year's return. Unless I included it under another heading, I will have to make a retrospective adjustment.

Fri Jul 2
My weight had been 57.2 Kg for 5 days, and it was with some trepidation that I weighed myself this morning. If it had fallen further I would have been worried - but it was actually up to 58.4, and I was feeling extra well. Maybe my TB is being defeated finally. I sent R1000 to Tersia and R1800 to Bella by EFT. (I had paid Bella R200 in advance of 25 June.) In the afternoon I went to Pastor Mario's house to meet his father-in-law Jonas, who has run a Christian Internet radio station based in Quito, Equador for 20 years. We talked about radio and some technical problems he was having. I don't think I can help him much because they sound like Internet issues and he is extremely non-technical. He still does 90 minutes a day of live broadcasting, and produces the rest in advance. The problems of the very poor in Brazil may be even worse than in the townships here at present, due to drugs. It is also a dog eats dog environment, with people stealing within their own families. I took Anthonica to her school group. She told me that a few weeks ago a gangster had broken into their house at night by breaking a window and had stolen her phone and some clothes. They had woken and surprised him, and he ran off. Her phone fell out of his pocket onto the road, and she retrieved it. (Do I really believe this, or did she just drop the phone?) Also her battery had failed and the phone only worked plugged in. We went to Cell Repair Centre and Tahir found me a second hand battery for R80. Chantelle arrived at our house for a lift to Avian Park. Other deliveries included Jamelia and Marsha, resulting in my doing a lot of driving around instead of progressing our tax return.

Thu Jul 1
I got up early to take Bella to school for for her second (and final) exam. For breakfast I enjoyed bacon and beans for the last time that I had bought last Saturday. We drove to Paarl, and after dropping off L-A for her physio/MLD, I drove on to Dr Acton's offices in Bellville. I was concerned that he might want to schedule the removal of the oil from my eye before our return to Canada, but it turned out the pressure in the eye was now perfect, and he thinks we don't need to rush it. This would save a lot of money, if OHIP would pay. I need to check that. He booked me for one more appointment before we leave: 16 Aug.

Wed Jun 30
I called Offie and told him we woudn't be coming to his place today with children because of Lovel 4 lockdown. I picked up Bella at 10:30 to come for revision for her second exam, and also got Cathy's phone. I dropped Bella at our house and went to Cell Repair Centre where they sold me a charger (for Cathy) for just R30! Having extra time in the aftenoon allowed me to progress our tax return. When I tried to display results I got an error message saying I had omitted my British Pension. This made me realise I had omitted other income as well. I wasn't able to find my paper file of British pension payments for the first half of 2020, so I tried to phone the International Pensions department but they weren't answering routine calls due to Covid. When I checked our e-statements on Simplii however, I was pleased to see they now show statements going back way more than a year, so everything I wanted was there. When I took Bella home I gave her the charger for Cathy. Their defective TV has not yet been fixed.

Tue Jun 29
We rose at 7 so we would be ready to pick up Janey at 8:30. It was still raining so I was glad to have loaded her suitcases last night. It was obviously a sad goodbue for Janey and Andre, after 6 years or marriage, and she told us that the final month, during which they planned their divorce, hadn't greatly changed the atmosphere in their home. If they remain friends in the future that will save many problems. Our drive to the airport was mercifully uneventful. We stopped at Coffee Cab and Janey bought our coffees and her lunch sandwiches which was kind of her. At the airport we ended up at the 'drop and go' departures, not noticing it was a maximum of 2 minutes waiting. Janey said her goodbye to L-A at the car, and then I accompanied her on a mini tour of the airport as we looked for the British Airways check-ins. One I had seen her bags accepted, I said my goodbye, and went back towards the car, soon discovering that I should never have come in there as a non flier. I had to sweet-talk an attendant to let me out to the car. Back in Worcester I went first to Cell Repair Centre. Chantelle's phone was unrepairable, with broken chips. She must have dropped it. Tahir and his brother's flight to Pakistan had been cancelled under Level 4, so I would be seeing more of them. At Dis-Chem I was finally able to buy the right size (23 mm) of rubber bottoms for the purple chair legs, after returning two previous sizes. The chair won't be marking the floor tiles any more. I managed to buy a small convestion heater (they call them fan heaters) for R249 from Cash Converters, because it is pretty cold in our appartment. Bella had asked for food for the whole family. Half of what she needed was from our living room storehouse, but I still spent an additional R104.40. When I delivered it they were huddled in the front room but the TV was still not repaired. I have doubts that it will be. I asked them what was more important, TV or food, but I supect that only Bella understood. I had taken Bella two pies, and got a third for Chantelle. I now took this to her, and told her that her phone was beyond repair. I asked if I could get back the charger (which had come from Bella) because Bella's had been stolen. She said 'yes,' but it was at OVD. She wanted me to bring her food for the next 2 nights. We had missed Ramaphosa's fireside chat on Sunday so we watched it today, confirming adjusted Level 4 lock down in light of unprecented Covid figures from the Delta variant, particularly in Gauteng.

Mon Jun 28
We had a delicious lie-in till nearly 10 and I felt great for it. I delivered quite a lot of food to Jamelia's family. While there I quizzed her about her recent operation, and from her answers it does seem that she has received a kidney transplant! For transport to Tygerberh hospital she had been given a lift by a neighbour. He had also taken her to school a few times in the previous week. He had asked for money before taking her; she had none to give him, but he took her anyway. She had come back on the Worcester hospital bus; a pity she hadn't gone on it. Now he was demanding she pay him for all the trips and threatening violence to their house. Jamelia felt they could put together all except R150 of what he wanted. I gave her R100 in the hope he wouldn't damage the house for R50. The idea came to me (after my musings about 'Nobody loves you when you're down and out') that the most effective way to help the hunger of the homeless group under our balcony would be to buy pies. I did a drive by and thought there were six of them, so I bought 8 pies at OK Foods; two for us. I parked inside the gate and took the pies out, but then I counted the group from close up and there were 9, not 6. So every 3 got 2 pies. When they thanked me, I told them they shouldn't thank me, but Jesus, which sat well with them. When I got back into the house, L-A told me Chantelle had come up to the house, asking to speak to me, but had gone away when she heard I was out. I heard from her later that she had noticed the homeless eating pies, and somehow got into conversation with them, coming to the conclusion that the pies must have come from me. She came back up to the house a little later and asked me if I would pay down her lay-by on a pair of winter boots. I was feeling generous so I took her there and paid the money, afterwards strongly recommending that she not put things on lay-by. At 6:30 I went to Janey's and loaded her two suitcases into our trunk ready for tomorrow morning. That would be the poignant moment when Janey, Andre and we would see each other for the last time, and we would take her to the airport. We heard tonight that both Bella's and Cathy's phone chargers had been stolen from within their house, probably by friends of the four younger kids coming in.

Sun Jun 27
Early morning, 'Nobody loves you when you're down and out' was still part of my dozing mix. I wondered if it was the Lord with a message. Underneath our balcony have been about 4 homeless people for the last few night, when it has been cold and wet. I am sure they felt noone loved them. Should I visit then and bring them a taste of Jesus's love? Likely most of them wouldn't speak English, and for sure Covid precautions would be far from their minds. What they really crave would be food, and we aren't in a position to bring them that regularly. As I write this I haven't done anything about it. I am acutely aware of the need to protect ourselves both from the virus, but I'll see if the Lord continues to nudge. We both went to church! L-A even washed her hair before going. Brian Kinghorn gave a report on the the church's missionaries abroad, focusing particularly on Ellie and Ron ? in Northern Mozambique. They have recently sent a report that Isis insurgents have been killing Christians, and then forcing family members to eat their flesh and drink their blood, presumably as a mockery of the Last Supper. For the rest of the service I couldn't get images of this out of my mind. It was mentioned that when congregation members were invited to sign up to receive the regular newsletters from our missionaries, only one did. As we drove home, the sun was shining and the car was warm. Rather than drive directly to Da Vinci, we pulled in on the edge of Church Square, and put off the time when we would return to our cold house. We eventually got there however, and had coffee and muffin before I went out to take some food to Lottie, and then some grocery shopping. I took home a roast chicken and mayo sandwich which we shared for lunch.

Sat Jun 26
The weather this morning was inclement, mainly due to wind. I nearly went to get Chantelle for Mailbox Club but in the end decided against, one of the factors being the current rising infection rate. The Delta strain is swarming through SA. Another factor was I really needed the time to complete the tax returns. During the rest of the day I made good progress on that. Mid morning I walked across the street to the Barnyard Deli and bought some back bacon, and then next door for some beans. Mid morning I went to Cell Repair Centre. Tahir and his brother were going back to Pakistan next Wednesday. He believed the phone had been dropped. He was going to Cape Town on Monday and offered to take it with him to see if the experts there could help. I agreed. During the week we had listened to the John Lennon Anthology. As I went to bed tonight I couldn't get the song 'Nobody loves you when you're down and out' out of my mind.

Fri Jun 25
I took L-A to the Covid vaccination station across the street from us, but they refused to let her in despite being a recently recovered cancer surivor. We decided our only response could be to wait till after her 60th birthday on 17 July. Her second jab would be 6 weeks later, and we could fly 2 weeks after that, so our hoped-for departure should not be delayed. We have received the latest rules from Canadian immigration stating that vaccinated travellers will no longer have to hole up in a hotal for several days on arrival. Overnight, the battery in Chantelle's phone appeared to have flattened, but when I took the phone to Tahir, he tested the battery and found it to be OK! He offered to do some tests that evening to diagnose the problem. He asked if the phone had been dropped; I said I didn't know. The SIM appeared to be behaving strangely. From 11 we had Bella here. She has another exam to prepare for - consumer matters - also related to economics. I bought a chocolate cake to celebrate the taking of her economics exam this past Tuesday. I also took home a better lunch than she normally has, ham, chips and salad, since the family is still struggling with a TV repair bill of R800. I had not been pleased to hear they had already paid the repair man R600 from the money I had given Bella for food and clothes. She had then asked us for the additional R200 he wanted. The TV was currently in his workshop. Cathy had decided in a heartbeat to pay out the money, ignoring how they would eat for the next two weeks, and certainly not finding out from me if I would help them out. Part of me just wanted to teach her a lesson about consequences of bad decisions, but it was also a fact that our cash flow is very tight. In the end I asked Bella if I should give her R200 from what we would send her on 3 July, and she agreed. I am still concerned they will soon be begging us for money for food. At 2:30 Ronel and I went to meet Mr Opie at 11 Sally Street. His name turned our to be (Alec) Offie. His wife is Poppie. They have run a ministry like ours for the last 2 years for the kids of Sally St. Much to my surprise, he agreed immediately to let us bring our kids to his home (actually his garage) on Wednesdays, but he wanted to make it every Wednesday, not just the wet ones, so people wouldn't be confused. Kids from his street will probably join us. He didn't want any money and he is clearly very supportive of ministering to kids in the local community. We got on fine, even taking photos of him. We start next Wednesday. I hadn't heard from Chantelle or Lottie all day. Chantelle didn't have her phone. So I took the groceries Lottie had asked for yesterday and delivered them. Chantelle found me and asked for a pizza to last her several days (it won't). We parked outside Debonairs and I ordered. During the 20 minutes it takes. Chantelle and I had some good conversation. At one point she asked me to pray for her and particularly her family situation. Her parents are both working, and no-one's living with them, but they won't give Chantelle any food or money, which is why I get a call most days. I prayed for her, and prayed later with L-A. It is quite rare for one of our girls to ask for prayer. I agreed with Chantelle thatwe would only run a Mailbox Club tomorrow morning if the weather was clement.

Thu Jun 24
Our rent was paid. I mention this because in the last 2 - 3 weeks I have had to manage the cash flow very carefully. 2 days ago I transferred money from Simply to ensure the rent would be paid. We went to Paarl for L-A's physio and MLD. Afterwards we had coffee, bought meat and then spent a short time in Spice Route buying De Villiers chocolate for L-A.

Wed Jun 23
I took R100 to Jamelia's grandmother for Jamelia when she saw her later today. Peter Hartgerink asked my advice about finances for missionaries abroad. He is chair of a group who look after a pair of missionaries in Indonesia, and he wanted to know the funding model used by Iris to see if any parts of it could help him design a way of funding the couple in Indonesia. I spent the morning on tax return work. I was in Riverview in good time, playing a little guitar in an attempt to bring in the children. It was raining lightly and we all crowded under the area that was roofed for the singing and Ronel's teaching, which was another episode in Joseph's story. We headed for the container on Jan's land for the Avian Park girls. In contrast with meeting in the library, here we could make as much noise as we liked. What surprised me was the fact that the girls seem to know many of the words. I asked them where they had learned them, and it turned out to have been in this ministry, illustrating how fast kids learn.

Tue Jun 22
L-A and I drove to Overhex winery, the only local winery we hadn't yet visited. L-A enjoyed her wine tasting - goodly amounts of about 8 wines. Then she placed her order for 9 bottles. We went on to Nuy for another 4 bottles. The total price for 13 bottles was R933, or $CAD 80. We arrived back at 1 pm in Avian Park. I stopped at Jamelia's to hear that she had indeed gone to Tygerberg. I felt bad about my accusation last night. We took Bella and Joy to their Matric economics exam. We had some soup for lunch. I went to FNB and transferred R5000 from Simplii in advance of our rent payment on Thursday. I had an appointment with Dr Hofmeyer at 4, and he filled a cavity. The fact that one filling was all I needed after all the liquorice allsorts and marshmallows was quite a relief. He charged around the same price as we had paid for the wine; still a lot less than Canadian dentistry. Janis sent soft copies of our T4s, and I was perturbed to see that my income was four times Laurie-Anne's. How could this be? The income should be split. A year ago we had a fight over this with Iris and I thought they had fixed the problem. I called Jamelia and she picked up from her bed in Tygerberg. She sounded quite perky. She said her grandmother was visiting her tomorrow, driven by a neighbour, and asked if I would give her R100 to bring for her expenses in the hospital. I questioned the amount and asked what kinds of things she would buy with it, and was somewhat concerned when she said 'cool drinks.'

Mon Jun 21
I got up early (by 8) because I wanted to wash the floor tiles - we hadn't asked Bella to do any cleaning since she ramped up her Matric revision. I ate first then got on with it, mopping the area nearest the cooker. By the time I was leaving to collect Bella for one last day of revision, the tiles I had mopped were still wet. I stopped at Jamelia's on the way to Bella's, surprised to see she was still home and hadn't gone already to Tygerberg. She told me she had decided not to go there for her kidney transplant (?) because she didn't have any money for the trip! I was flabergasted and berated her grandmother for not keeping some money for emergencies. I asked how she had called the hospital when she had no air time, and she said her sister Nona had made the call. The whole thing sounded suspicious to me and I accused her of fabricating the hospital trip in order to get me to buy her some clothes. I set Bella up with her computer at the other end of the table from her usual spot. I then left to search for the vaccination centre. I hadn't heard from the EVDS a month after registering for a Covid inoculation. The Western Cape Covid website states the
Worcester Hospital as the vaccination site. I drove to the hospital. The main hospital said I should go to the Day Centre. The Day Centre said it was the main hospital. I returned and pressed my point. An official said they believed it was moved to the town hall, but didn't know if it was still there. I drove to the town hall, and guess what, it is there, a stone's throw from our house. No signs or publicity. I am probably the only one in Worcester who didn't know. Someone said there was a notice on the municipality Facebook, but I can't find it. Once I was there everything was very efficient and I had my jab half an hour later. My second innoculation is now registered for 2 August - 6 weeks on - this is on my vaccination certificate which I mustn't lose. No one asked me for any money. You don't need to have registered. At home I photographed my vaccination certificate. Most importantly they suggested that they would vaccinate L-A even though she is still a month before her 60th birthday. Judging by the small numbers of people there, they will take all they can get. Anthonica called and persuaded me to let her come her to revise her school work. I went shopping, and very soon got a call from Janey. She was passing and wondered if I could let her in. I told her I wasn't home but she could probably get in through the back gate. She did this and spent time with L-A, and was just leaving at the time I returned from shopping. I had been to the bank to pump up the FNB account, and then to Lock and Key to show me how I could open the Mercedes key to change the battery. Then to Pick n Pay for more bulk potatoes. I was tired and a little dizzy with a slight headache - likely the result of my Covid inoculation. I went to bed for an hour, and then took the girls home. I offered to drive Bella to her school tomorrow so she was fresh for her exam at 2pm. In the evening, L-A and I watched 'Queen and Adam Lambert - The show must go on.'

Sun Jun 20
As I dozed in the morning I was really looking forward to Johan's sermon at WGC. But after he had been speaking a few minutes, the volume on the translation station headphones suddenly reduced, and from then on I had only the odd clue about what he was saying. This is very unusual. We spent the day very quietly. I had received Jan's photos and a short video from the baptism and I uploaded them to Flickr. I also worked on the tax return, trying to identify the tax forms Lynn had photographed and sent. I also noticed that T3s were not included with the other IG tax forms I had already downloaded. I emailed Janis and asked if she would consider arranging to send me copies of the IMC T4s, since I couldn't decypher the ones from Lynn. Lottie called to insist she hadn't lied about the funeral in Wellington, but had decided not to go after my advice. My issue however was that instead of then returning my R50, she spent it and that was perfectly reasonable to her. I worked on the expenses incurred by the girls over the first two months of paying Bella and Tersia by EFT. They both had overspent, but part of the reason was I had underestimated their rate of spending when I calculated how much to give them last month. Hopefully this third month they can keep to the money I have given them, thanks to kind sponsors.

Sat Jun 19
Mailbox Club at OVD. We had an enthusiastic, if young, crowd, and none of the 5 girls I had taken to McDonald's. After the praise and worship, Chantelle taught from the first lesson in See & Do, about Adam and Eve, and then I filled in with the context of the story. Afterwards I took Chantelle to collect clothes from Avian Park. I stopped at Jamelia's to see if she had gone to hospital, and she was home. Apparently the hospital had postponed her visit to Monday. He mother confirmed she really was going to Tygerberg. Then she told me the jeans and T-shirt I had bought her yesterday were the wrong size, so I took her (and Chantelle) back to Traders, During their search for replacements it became clear that it wasn't so much the sizes that were wrong; I had bought non-ripped jeans and a T-Shirt without writing on the front. The ones she wanted and I bought now were significantly more expensive. I took Anthonica and Kay-Lene to the school group. While progresssing the tax return I discovered that there were no T3's among the forms I had downloaded from the IG site, so I emailed Katerina again. Heather and Daylene came to pray for L-A at 2 pm. This was very loving of them and we appreciated it. Anthonica and Kay-Lene arrived at our gate around 3. They came in for toilet and a sandwich. Anthonica had fainted, and said it was because of hunger, so I spread jam sandwiches for them; it was all we had. On the way home Anthonica asked for change and said her mother was going to be out all night, so she needed money to buy food. She also said her mother had dropped and broken her phone. Some of this seemed suspicious, and not what a newly baptised child of God would be saying. I called her mother, who answered and said she was at home and there would be food for Anthonica tonight. Hmm. I returned to the prayer group in our house.

Fri Jun 18 - Our wedding anniversary and Anthonica's baptism
This would be a big day for Anthonica, and also for me. It would be the first time in my life conducting a baptism. But first I sent a Jacquie Lawson to L-A for our anniversary. I found one with irises. I went through the service again that I had planned yesterday. There needed to be a place for participation by the witnesses, and I considered the Onse Fader (Our Father) but L-A suggested instead a time for people to offer a prayer or word of knowledge. Jamelia was going to Tygerberg Hospital for a few days tomorrow for her kidneys, and as often seems to be the case she used it as a reason to ask for some new clothes - jeans, T-shirt, socks, slippers. I didn't ask her to come with me, hoping to save time this morning before the baptism, but knowing it increased the chance of getting wrong sizes. I started in a Pep store, but couldn't find her jean size and an assistant recommended Fashion World which she said was opposite ABSA bank on Stockenstrom. I couldn't find it but I did find Traders and was able to buy everything. I also bought a pie for Chantelle. I returned home for soup lunch and we left to pick up Anthonica and Tersia at 2. First we stopped at Jamelia's to give her the clothes, and then at Bella's; she was invited as a witness. But she wasn't there so she missed out; sad. We think her mother sent her to town shopping with the money I had sent yesterday. This may be the local compulsion to go and spend money as soon as you have it, taking precedence over any other plans. Tersia had dressed up prettily and Anthonica had the clothes on that could go into the pool. We drove to Laetitia Hugo's Physiotherapy Centre. We were welcomed by the staff who escorted us to the pool, covered by a floating mat to keep the heat in. Quite soon Jan joined us. We were ready to get started. I began with the 10 commandments for kids, since the service was full of references to sin. I remembered that at this age I had had little understanding of sin. We had three scriptures, read by me, then L-A, then Jan. I asked the Holy Spirit to bless Nieka. Then I asked her some questions such as 'Do you accept Jesus as your saviour?' I then testified about Anthonica and her fitness for this covenant. Then I reminded us all that baptism is not just a process of initiation in the church, but a time for dispensing with the old self and putting on the new, accepting Holy Spirit's help in the ongoing battle against evil. L-A read about this from Romans 6. Then I invited the witnesses to pray for Anthonica and give any words of knowledge. Tersia took this opportunity to thank L-A and me at length for what we have done for Nieka. I reminded her this was a time to pray for Nieka. L-A and Jan also prayed for her. Now came the immersion. When I walked down the steps in the water, I realised we had a problem. It would be too deep to stand on the floor of the pool at that place. I suggested standing on the first step, and even started the process ... 'In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, I baptise you,' but soon realised I wouldn't be able to bring her back out of the water without falling under myself! So we moved round the pool, finding that it got more shallow. We tried again, but part way through, Anthonica got the giggles. Finally, we steadied ourselves for the third time, and I was able to perform the baptism and she complied very well. See short video. Amid camera flashes we got out of the pool. We went to our changing rooms. For me this was the hardest part of the afternoon, taking off my sodden clothes and putting on dry. When we were both dry, Jan gave Nieka an Afrikaans copy of 'The Purpose Driven Life,' such an appropriate baptismal gift. Jan drove home, and we drove back to our place for tea and cake with Nieka and Tersia. Nieka told us that she was top of her class in a recent exam. This is the sort of news that's very gratifying to us, showing that letting her and the other girls come here for revision has been well worth while. They then asked me to drive them to Food World (to spend their new money). L-A and I then started to make tonight's fish pie, a dish we both love, and our token anniversary celebration. It took about an hour's preparation before it was baking in the oven. We popped open a Four Cousins Sparkling White to accompany it. It was like pretty fine champagne, and perfectly complemented the fish. For dessert the bride had grandilla sorbet and the groom sticky toffee pudding with cream. L-A posted baptism photos to Facebook, and I posted them to Flickr. She We continued the evening with the 40th chapter of Season 2 of House of Cards, when Claire walks out on Francis, and then studied some proverbs. Too bad the characters in House of Cards never studied Proverbs.

Thu Jun 17
I searched on line for baptism liturgy, and soon decided on more of a Pentecostal flavour than Anglican. After all, we have been Pentecostal since we arrived, and Anthonica is more familiar with it. I found this site and it allowed me to rough out the shape of the baptism tomorrow. I selected some baptism scriptures, and L-A suggested adding Romans 6, 1-24. Reading this, I was prompted to add the 10 commandments (youth version) at the beginning of the 'service' to remind Anthonica what the sins are that the service refers to frequently. I called Anthonica and asked if I could see her at 10:30. When I got there we talked about the clothes and change of clothes for baptism. Her mother has taken tomorrow off, so will be able to come. Anthonica said she still had more to do to be ready for school tomorrow, so I took her with me when I went on to pick up Bella. The two of them worked very diligently for some hours. In the afternoon I transferred R2000 and R1000 to Bella's and Tersia's bank accounts as their allowances for the next 2 weeks.

Wed Jun 16
Today was World Youth Day, and is quite a big thing in SA, and a public holiday. Ronel posted on WhatsApp that there would be no Riverview or Avian Park ministry, so today we would enjoy some extra time. We had been booked to meet the principal of Lanner House school on Thursday tomorrow, so L-A cancelled the Thursday trip to Paarl, and invited Bella to come study here instead of Friday. Then Lanner House then asked for a postponement to Friday, but this wouldn't have worked for Louis and Carica, so it now won't happen till next week. Carlos replied to my message to Katerina saying that all our tax forms were now availanle on the IG site.

Tue Jun 15
It was a day for Bella to do Matric revision at our place and I collected her about 11:30. She kept at it solidly till about 5. After lunch I took Chantelle pies, and then went to the Esselen Library with the letter I had received from the Worcester Librarian. L-A and I had decided that either Mondays or Fridays would be best, but now that the baptism was this Friday, the best day for Mailbox clubs would clearly be the following Monday at 3. I booked it with local librarian Namhla. Anthonica called about 3 begging me to let her come here to do important schoolwork that had to be ready Friday morning. I collected her and set her going on Pink Dell. She was very diligent, finally getting it done by about 8pm. She told me that they had run out of all the money I had given them on 4 June. I was quite impressed - they had lasted a lot longer than I had expected. I also asked Bella if her family had used up all their allowance, and no they hadn't. This speaks well for Bella's money management. Later I did some analysis on the total cost to us for the past month. Both were 10% - 15% over expectation, having received both delivered provisions and the new allowances, and my estimates of needs had been low. I considered telling Bella we would have to reduce her allowance for the coming 30 days, but shortly after that thought had a strong impression from our Heavenly Father that all would be well and I should pay out what I had planned. I emailed Katerina cc Carlos at Investors Group asking for our IG tax forms. I was going to email Lynn again when I found she had sent us some photographed forms several daya ago. Unfortunately most of them were blurred. When I was editing our June newsletter to our supporters I added a paragraph to L-A's draft saying how grateful we were to a small group of supporters who had sponsored Bella and Anthonica, and saying we were praying for a similar miracle for Jamelia and Chantelle.

Mon Jun 14
I had heard from Laetitia Hugo's that they would indeed be able to accommodate our request to hold a baptism in their pool. This morning I went there and they said they could accommodate us this Friday after 2 pm, and there would be no charge. This was doubly good news. Later in the day I confirmed with Anthonica, and she said she would be available. I said she should bring her mother. An email letter came in from Worcester's chief librarian Karen Jorgensen with permission for us to use the large room in the Esselen Library for Mailbox clubs. Good news! I went to FNB with my last month's statement. We have way more bank charges related to cash deposits than I thought reasonable, and we had transferred lots of money from Simplii and immediately deposited it into FNB. It is new to me that a bank would impose a service charge for deposits at an ATM (and no apparent charges for withdrawals), but it turns out that it is normal in SA. After the explanation I saw that the charges were only half the amount I had at first thought, so there was a little good news. I called Dr Hofmeyer's dental office and booked a hygenist appointment for 3:15 today. As I sat back in her chair I was transported in my mind back to the many times in the last 6 months when I had been in a similar position for eye surgery, and tried to decide which was the less umpleasant.

Sun Jun 13
I went to church solo. L-A stayed in bed after 2 non-so-good days, and Chantelle didn't appear, though she had asked to come and we had registered her. I had a nice chat with newly-married Kenneth Schultz before my livestream duty. Because a wooden wall had been built in the church separating those on the left from those on the right, the camera I would operate today was now near the RHS of the stage. Kenneth wants me to take as much close up as I wish, instead of showing just wide-angle view. So today was more interesting than usual as I captured many close-up images. The music was excellent, led by Marius, and there was a new bass guitarist, who really looked the part and sounded good, whom I had chatted to during recent services. In the afternoon I finished keying in our medical expenses, all 102 of them! The next task is to find our tax slips, which may be at 5 Coulson Court. Chantelle and Maria called me around 7:15 asking for a R200 loan until Saturday (9 July). I started by saying an emphatic 'no.' In the end the thought of the family out of food and cash till next weekend, and noone else willing to lend them, won me over. Maria was the only one who had paid me back a loan in the past. I took Chantelle's 'new' phone with me, in L-A's old pink phone cover. I called in at Bella's on the way and got the charger that she had used with this phone. At Chantelle's I went in the house and gave her the phone and charger. Prior to this I hadn't mentioned it to her, so she was somewhat at a loss for words. Then I took out two 'short contracts' saying Maria would return my R200 before Saturday, and had her sign off on them. Then I gave her the R200. It was now that what I had thought was a blanket on a chair moved and Chantelle's brother revealed himself. I was temporarily taken aback and commented to Chantelle that I thought he wasn't allowed in their house after stealing her previous phone. He of course thought it all very funny, and Chantelle said he had turned over a new leaf. We'll see.

Sat Jun 12
I kad two key tasks today, figuring out how to pay our Ottawa municipal taxes by credit card, and replying to U-Bag with an an inventory of our luggage for freight forwarding. Service Ottawa had sent me the direct link into credit card payments yesterday, and it worked. The U-Bag inventory was a question of adapting my request from March 2020. Both these tasks were completed during the morning. The very good news from U-Bag is that they would now allow our consignment to be stored in their warehouse in Cape Town for up to three weeks - enough time for us to be back in Canada and out of quarantine. I completed setting up Chantelle's new (Bella's old) phone. I might have given it her today, but then I remembered I must get its charger back from Bella. Anthonica persuaded me to take her a can of caramel and a carton of milk so she could bake a cake and get brownie points from school. I only agreed because I thought I could get the charger from Bella, but I couldn't reach her and she wasn't available on the phone. I did take a pie down for Chantelle.

Fri Jun 11
I called Bella and told her we would be home today after all, and said I could pick her up at 11. I also collected Anthonica, who had wanted to come and study, but forgot her books, so instead she stayed out to do shopping for her mother downtown. Tersia called me a couple of times during the day to check on where Anthonike was. I finished L-A's medical expenses for 2020, and then reorganized the piles of receipts still to be keyed in for 2020, and those for 2021. I went to MMJ motors and bought another battery for the ignition key. The present one is sluggish in cold weather and I don't want to be caught out. I collected Anthonica at about 4, got her a pie, picked up Bella and took them both home. When I got home I went straight to bed, exhausted. I may have forgotten to take my morning iron until the afternoon, but for whatever reason, it was a really hard day for me, even though my weight had risen a Kg in the morning.

Thu Jun 10
We were due to go over the mountains today and tomorrow, but I called Cape Gate and asked if they could see L-A for a port flush today at 1:30. They could, so we were able to combine the trips and gain a Friday. L-A took some smecta before leaving and all was well for the trip. We listened to Ramaphosa explaining his plan to solve the huge problem of electricity supply, part of which is to allow companies to generate up to 100 MW of their own power, and sell any surplus to the grid. The previous figure was 1 MW. We had lunch at Nando's in Cape Gate, and soup for dinner in the evening. Calabogie Lodge emailed to say they are expecting us on 18 June! I replied, with excuses. I couldn't find our RCI paper file but was able to log in, and paid our RCI membership which had run out. L-A was able to find the RCI US 800 number, and surprizingly they were able to bank the week even though it is very close. We were under the impression we had been able to hang onto a couple of weeks we weren't able to use because of Covid, but the rep assured me there were no more weeks available on our chart. We think they robbed us, but things we so confusing in the early Covid days, it's understandable.

Wed Jun 9
We were on the way to Cape Gate, but in the mountains some distance short of the tunnel when Laurie-Ann became very agitated and clearly in pain. It soon emerged that she was again suffering from sudden unstoppable diarrhea, just as she had in church on 9 May. Eventually she lost the battle to hold it in. We drove on to the turnoff for Du Kloof Lodge, and I started back. She was able to get through to Cape Gate Oncology, and re-set her port flush for Friday at 1:30. Even over the phone, there was no mistaking the solid love they have for their patients. When we got home there was a fairly major clean-up job needed, but we got through it. I had a dilemma. Ronel wasn't expecting me for kids ministry but I was now available. Part of me wanted to, but another part told me it was a chance to get other things done. In the end, I re-typed the application to use a room in the Esselen Library at OVD for Mailbox Clubs, and took it there and gave it to the librarian Namhla. I also collected 10 copies of Explorers 1 from Gerhard Strydom. This whole week has had loadshedding, at stage 4 for a while, and it has been hard on the whole country.

Tue Jun 8
We slept in till after 9. At 11 I collected Bella so she could work on her revision at our place. I drove to Rodlyn and picked up the refilled printer cartridge: R260. Then I went to Cell Repair Center and Tahir had done the work on the phone. I gladly paid him the R100, and he even gave me a new mask, saying my old one was worn out. After lunch I checked our bank account because tomorrow was the day I would be paying Bella another R1,333. I saw in the bank statement that Mella's transfer from Paypal had arrived 5 days ago. I needed more in the bank, so I went there and transferred R5,000. I was then able to EFT Mella, but would need another infusion tomorrow to pay Bella. So I gave her R300 in cash now, so that if the EFT was a little late she had something. We both slept in late afternoon, and when L-A woke and checked her Messenger, Chantelle needed food urgently, as she had yesterday, and I hadn't responded. After our supper I got her a little more than she was expecting, from OK, and drove to OVD with it. I send out our 4th appeal for sponsoring our girls, with a link to the piece I had written on poverty in the townships. We need more money in the bank if I am to give cash to Bella and Anthonica instead of buying everything they need on my credit card.

Mon Jun 7
I had a repetitive dream about arranging a baptism for Anthonica. The problem is that it is now too cold for an outdoor pool baptism. In my dream I came up with a number of options, but the main result was I needed to do something. Van Schalknyt Renovators returned to finish painting the geyser box. They had done a good job and their coordinator Leizel was a pleasure to deal with, and very efficient. I called Arno Pienaar at YWAM. He offered the YWAM pool, and told me it was on the edge of the sports field facing the office entrance, but he said it would be pretty cold. He mentioned a couple of churches that might have year-round pools. Then he said that there was a health institution on Fairbairn Street north with a pool, called Laetitia Hugo's, and that she was a keen Christian. I took the printer cartridge to Rodlyn's for a refill. I drove along Church Street and turned right on Fairbairn, and pretty soon found Letitia's. Inside the staff were friendly and said their pool had been used for occasional baptisms. They would talk to Letitia and someone would get back to me. This is good news, but I probably need to conduct the baptism. I went to Vodacom with Bella's old phone and they weren't able to fix it but hinted it was fixable with a replacement for the complete software suite. So I went round the corner to Cell Repair Centre. Tahir looked at it and said he could do it for R100. I went to the OVD Library. Inside the nondescript building was quite a nice facility, with a room that was plenty big enough for us. The local manager Namhia said she would contact the Worcester library manager. I left my number. She was as good as her word, and I saw her again after lunch. Her boss Karen Jorgensen needed a letter from us on official letterhead making the request to use the room, and agreeing to Covid restrictions. I took the email from Karen Jorgenson home and constructed a reply. I called Jan to see if she had letterhead for My Father's House. She didn't, but she thought she had a corporate stamp. I typed up the letter and drove to her house, but she couldn't find it. I don't think this is a show-stopper. I keyed in many medical expenses.

Sun Jun 6
We attended church and cell group and much appreciated both. This was Mella's last time with us before she returns to US on Thursday. The sermon by Johan had been about how a broken woman - a prostitute - had poured expensive oil on Jesus head. To be fulfilled in Christ we first must be broken and ready to admit it. This triggered me to share about my TB journey, and how I am now at the stage where I am moving more to my original state of introversion, and find it more difficult to speak to groups. Gisela's sister Hilda then told us she had TB possibly for years and had similar symptoms. Mella, Tendai and Lovejoy went off at 1 for street people's church. Maybe I should return there to make up a little for Mella's absence. L-A spent much of the afternoon cooking - pork tenderloin for tonight, soup with meaty bones from Goede Houp, and a fruit cake. I continued with the tax return. I spent a while working on the printer. We had received a second cartridge from Andre when he gave it to us, but I couldn't get it to work. The first cartridge was still good for short documents. Around 7 pm Anthonica called asking for me to buy braids for her hair, and she needed them before she went to school on Tuesday. I had refused Chantelle a similar request yesterday. I told her that this was what we were now giving her money for. She said her mother had spent most of the money on food and the rest was still in the bank. Then she said that, even more urgent, she needed pantieliners. I drove down and gave her the cash for both, taking the opportunity once again to remind her that she and her mother must budget for what they need, and carefully allocate the new cash they were getting so that the didn't have emergencies. I need to speak to Tersia about this. As I bathed L-A's legs and moisturized them, we much enjoyed the second half of Elvis Presley; The Searcher. We also had some of the freshly baked fruit cake; L-A had excelled herself!

Sat Jun 5
It was foggy as I prepared for Mailbox Club. I could have stayed in bed and Chantelle would have assumed I wasn't coming, but I missed the kids. When I arrived at OVD she was with a group of boys burning a pallet. She came over for her breakfast sandwich. As she went to find the kids I went home for L-A's Bible, which I had forgotten. With her help I had prepared a talk from Proverbs. When the kids came they were all too young to appreciate that, and the 5 girls from last Saturday were away playing netball. The young ones were keen to sing so I set up the guitar with the amp in the trunk of the car. The sound was quite good, and encouraged by Chantelle they sang their hearts out. Abandoning Proverbs I asked them who had a mother (all), then who's mother had a mother (most), etc., for a few generations, allowing me to introduce the first mother, Eve, and her husband. From there I developed a brief history of the world, sin and redemption. Then Charlotte covered her section, using the Explorers books I had got from Gerhard. I told the kids this was probably the last time we would meet here, but we were trying to arrange a room in the library up the road. I went home, noticing the traffic lights were all out. There must be loadshedding, the bane of our lives this past week. L-A was just getting up, but I suggested she stay in bed, and I got in with her, wearing my outdoor shoes. Next thing I remember was her waking me up at 2pm! Should we have breakfast or lunch? We opted for breakfast and I made L-A an omelette with veggie cheese. Ibrahima Abrahams tried to call me out of the blue, but the call never got through. He must have been released from Brandvlei. I did some medical expenses for the income tax and then went shopping in the mall about 4. When I got home, loadshedding was to start again at 5. So I went to bed again with my boots on, and slept till 7. This is a lot of power outage, but nothing compared with other African countries, such as Nigeria. The generating capacity was probably installed by colonial governments, and hasn't been fully maintained or upgraded to meet the demands of larger populations - this is just my suspicion. James called on FB Messenger, and he could hear me, much to my grateful surprise. The fault with the microphone had disappeared. There had been a software update in the last day or so; maybe it had dealt with mysterious fault with the sound. Or maybe there were angelic forces at work. Anyway, it was a major relief. When I tried to upload tomorrow's Good News in the Morning, I hit the same problem as a week ago, with the Many Downloader refusing to upload the files. So again I put them on the green stick and uploaded with the second computer. Then I reinstalled the Many Downloader and tested it; it worked.

Fri Jun 4
Van Schalknyt Renovators (and coordinator Leizel) constructed a wooden box to cover our geyser, which has been exposed in the bathroom since 27 January this year when it was replaced after leaking on 24 January. I collected Bella to do revision in our apartment from 10:30. Joy was doing a matric maths exam. She asked me to print two ~25 page documents, and by the second one, the printer was running out of toner. though it was good enough for Bella's purposes. Anthonica had asked to be taken to De Jagers vicinity at 1:30, and to be picked up at 3:30. At 2:15 I took Bella to a series of stops, culminating with Food World. She wasn't done by 3:30, so I went to De Jagers and Anthonica wasn't there, so I drove back to Food World. Bella still wasn't there so I repeated the process. Neither girl had come out with their phone. In the end I did find them, and told them that a pre-requisite for future taxi-like activity from me would be a working phone. Marsha had been at Food World and looked in far better shape and happier than when I last saw her with her very sore head. I took her home with her goods but didn't have room for the others in her family. Tersia called desperate for R100. In the light of experience with Bella, maybe we should pay cash to Tersia instead of delivering food. I did the calculations, and we would give her R860 now and R1000 on 8th and 3rd of the month. I called them and told them about the plan, and they are keen to go ahead. I EFT'd the R860 to Tersia.

Thu Jun 3
We drove to Paarl in our Thursday routine. Chantelle, Anthonica and Jamelia needed food in the afternoon. Bella thankfully is self-sufficient by now. The plan works. On our way home we stopped at the mall and I bought an Ottimo kettle at Checkers for R200. When I got home it seemed to be missing its power base and power cord. I read the instructions in full but there was no hint relevant to my problem. There was however a note recommending not heating more water than is needed. I was impressed. I drove back to Checkers and went to the kiosk. She opened the kettle and showed me the power base stored inside the kettle. This was a humbling experience, but I undersood from the lady that I'm not the only one. I was able to finish my blog piece on poverty, SA style, and emailed it to L-A. My computer has developed a problem with certain keys, notably y and 1. I am liable to see them left out from my typescript. More serious, when James called us on FB Messenger video, he couldn't hear L-A's voice. We couldn't find any setting associated with testing the microphone, and the problem affected several apps, not just Messenger. As a precaution I tested out FB Messenger video on my computers. Around this time, L-A also had a problem with Skype on her iPad and her computer, so she set up another Skype with a different email. loadshedding hit us again at 8pm. I went to bed.

Wed Jun 2
This was a different format than usual for Mella's Wednesday ministries. The Riverview kids were taken by Mella and Kevin to Kevin's house to go hiking and other exciting things. Mazvita and I went to the Avian Park library for 2pm and I started to set up for a movie. It all went smoothly at first and Facing the Giants looked good, but when I tried Willie en die Wengspan the picture suddenly became grainy and unsteady. Something had failed. There was either a problem with the projector, the VGA cable, or Pink Dell. It was 2:30 and only one girl had turned up so I went home and brought back my main computer. The nature of the interference changed, but we now had a dimmer screen. I decided to use both the big screen and the computer screen for people close enough. At 3:30, 8 girls arrived. They hadn't heard Mella announce the earlier start today. We knew we couldn't finish before the library would close but we started. I was worried that the South Carolina accents would phase the kids and they would lose interest, but they didn't. Mabe it was the pop-corn. I negotiated an extra 15 minutes with the library boss lady, allowing us to reach a point in the film where a glimmer of hope shines through for the school football team who are the heroes of the film, but were doing so badly until their coach introduced some eternal values into their training. There was a loud pop from our kettle and the plug circuit it is on cut out. I reset the circuit breaker and it happened again. Further tests revealed the power base of the kettle had a short circuit, We needed a new kettle. We had to boil water in a saucepan for tea and coffee. loadshedding is back and hit us at 8pm. I went to bed.

Tue Jun 1
I had offered to write our monthy blog, and was interested in introducing our readers to the nature and causes of poverty as it exists in Worcester townships. Once I got started I wanted to put some real effort into it. I realized that for a few days it would have to be my main thing. As you will discover, I cut down on my African journal, and some accounting activities. I even got up a little earlier so that I could make good progress before L-A got up in the morning.

Mon May 31
As I dozed before getting up, the thought came to me that we must get some of the girls, starting with Bella, on to a financing plan when we give them money every 2 weeks rather than buying everything for them. This could be done by EFT to Cathy's bank account. After tracking every cent we have spent on them for the last 6 weeks, I have the data to know how much to send them, and it is broadly in line with the money pleged by 'sponsor or girls,' at least for Bella and Anthonica. Such a plan would have the potential of continuing when we returned to Canada. The alternative of just stopping helping them when we left could be devastating. They are far more used to receiving grants on a regular basis, and can make them last. The time I will save from shopping for Bella particularly will allow me to get on with the tax return. After staying at 58.4 Kg for nearly a week, my weight this morning was suddenly down to 57.7. This was worrying. I had hoped that when it moved from 58.4 it would go up, not down. I have generally been feeling stronger and breathing better. Flashforward to tomorrow and the weight had bounced back to 58.5 Kg. So this morning was just a blip.

Sun May 30
Bella was good as her word and was ready at 8am. As we drove home the first thing she asked about was the situation with her phone. I told her I had bought her a new phone, and about the advance purchase of R37 of air time on her phone. I didn't make a fuss; just explained that we don't pay off Vodacom loans, although in this case we had done so to get her new phone operational. By 8:10 we were back home eating cereal and coffee. We got on the road for Somerset West in good time, but after 10 minutes I realized I had left our tickets at home. We made a strategic decision not to go back for them, losing 20 minutes, but trusting we could still get in. It was a beautiful drive and we arrived 25 minutes before the service would start. We weren't even asked for the tickets; just our names and if we had registered. As L-A and Bella sipped coffee I went into the sanctuary, planning to sit in the second row as usual, but someone had reserved one of those seats. I decided to take the front row, since there was no suggestion it was reserved. When the service started with some great music, we had the best seats in the house. The leader today was Annalee, and soon she was standing right in front of us, telling the whole room about this elderly couple, enjoying the Lord to the full in our golden years. The main presentation was a discussion with an American psychologist on mental health, particularly in the Covid context. She was with Hillsong East Coast. After the service we went to Wellness Warehouse and Montagu respectively. Bella bought some Biltong. We had a nice lunch in Woolworths, and then drove home. Bella stayed a couple of hours, giving her phone a work out. I made some comments about being extra careful with the phone, not downloading apps that were not essential to her. Wen I drove her home, I was taken aback when she suggested giving the phone back to me, and putting a more powerful phone on lay by for her. I think the memory limitation on the Mobicel Satr, and my suggestion of limiting her app downloads had spooked her. But the lay by idea was a non-starter. It did illustrate that even Bella sees us as a never-ending source of money. I had dropped her off and was back in town when she called me and said she had left her Biltong in the car. I drove back and gave it to her.

Sat May 29
I was feeling more up to it than last Saturday as I drove to OVD. Chantelle's 5 main girls turned up plus about 8 others, mainly younger. We stayed in the sun, but as the weather cools, we must find an indoor venue. My talk linked the 10 commandments to Paul's evangelism to the world, and modern systems of law, and I felt more competant than last week. I had brought a previously-used lesson for Chantelle to teach from, since she has finished Best Friends 2, and Gerhart Strydom hadn't come up with Explorers 1 materials. I took Chantelle and the 5 girls who had attended all of Best Friends 2 to McDonalds, and they were well behaved yet laughing and enjoying themselves. They got cheeseburgers (no one demanded a Big Mac), fries, Coke, and an ice cream. Chantelle got two extra burgers to take her through the weekend. I took them back to OVD and then took Chantelle to buy winter boots at an amazingly low price of R110. I bought a pie for Anthonica which L-A ate since Anthonica didn't ask for it when I picked her up at 1 to take her to her vacation school. After the school she went to a youth group in Roodeval. She had asked me to pick her up at 7:30, some time before the group ended, so I was impressed when several members of the youth group escorted her back to our meeting place, and then returned to the group. I congratulated Anthonica on her friends. About 2pm I took Bell's defective phone to Vodacom - but they had closed for Saturday hours. So I decided to bite the bullet and get Bella a new Mobicel Star at Ackermans. There was just time on this Saturday afternoon. All went well inside the store, including switching in her previous SIM card, but when I got back to the car I had a ticket on the windscreen for parking on a red line. R800 - ouch. Twice the cost of the phone. Stupid unforced error. I rationalized it as payment for parking illegally so many times in Worcester, since there seems to be only one parking enforcer for the whole city. I tried not to let this incident depress me, but I will certainly avoid red lines in future. Back home I set up Bella's phone, and all seemed to be well. But when I came to adding air time, Powertime refused to co-operate. So L-A transferred R60 from her phone. This only resulted in R23 of air time. Bella. or persons unknown, had purchased R37 of air time advance, and we had just paid off the loan. Bella had promised me that she had not bought any more advance air time, so either she had lied, or someone else had borrowed her phone. The implication here is much more than R37. Vodacom had told me that there was a fault on the phone that caused factory resets - wiping out her apps and pictures, etc. These resets could be triggered by buying advance air time. Maybe if she hadn't bought advance air time, the phone wouldn't have failed, I wouldn't have bought her a new one, and I wouldn't have got the parking fine. We had invited Bella to stay with us tonight so that there would be no hiccoughs in the morning before going to Hillsong, but she told me this evening that she couldn't stay with us for the night, and asked if I would pick her up at 8 tomorrow.

Fri May 28
I didn't get up at 7, but about 7:45, still earlier than usual. Before stopping for breakfast, I drove to FNB and drew out R500, which still left enough there for Breedenet and the insurance. Then I shopped for groceries and some bulk rice and Nik Naks, getting home for breakfast with L-A. I drove her to Joan's for a haircut at 11, and while she was in I went on two importnat errands. First I went to Lock and Key. Eugene was sitting in a wheelchair near the door. I asked if he would duplicate the Mercedes trunk key. I had meant to do this months ago, and it is a real stress reliever to have two keys now. Than I went to Munnik's and asked Esme if they could duplicate one of Laurie-Ann's gold earings that she had lost when she was 14. They could, and the price was reasonable, so I asked them to go ahead. Joan worked her usual magic with L-A's hair. We bought two pies, one for L-A and the other for Chantelle, and drove down to OVD to deliver Chatelle's. I called Gerhart Strydom and asked if he might have in stock materials for Explorers 1, for Chantelle's next course. I took Anthonica to her afternoon school, and then went back home. At 5:30 L-A started on the supper - ostrich meat balls - and at 6 I was picking up Anthonica. She outlined the 5 or 6 subjects they had had today, all taught by different teachers, some from America. I am more and more impressed by this school. Then Anthonica told me she had been raped a week ago by a hooded gangster in Avian Park, which is why she asks me to take her to her many destinations. This is the second time she has been raped in her life. She had been with her mother to report it to the police, and also to the hospital for a pregnancy test, which was negative. Bella had asked if I would give Cathy R100 to get chicken for the family for the next two weeks. Apparently she has access to good chicken at a good price. I had intended to take her the money on this trip, but forgot. So after the excellent meat balls I went down again and gave it her. Back home I printed 10 drawings of wild animals for Janey's colouring class tomorrow.

Thu May 27
Paarl day. L-A found it more strenuous than usual with Este. Mella had invited me to join her on a visit to another Riverview children's ministry on Sally Street, 5 streets to the west of us, at 4pm. It's run by Mr Opie (?) who also runs a a church on that street (?). He was away that afternoon, which is probably why he invited Mella. I am not sure if his team were expecting us but they ushered us in and gave us seats to watch about 30 kids dance and sing enthusiastically to canned music. Then, the leader asked if we would like to bring the message! Mella looked at me and I said 'no way,' and then she, in an extraordinary display of competance, took the floor and delivered a 25-minute well crafted children's sermon. The kids all seemed to follow her English, and were quite ready to join in where she needed assistance. Then we were served excellent soup in china cups, while the children got it in plastic mugs. Mella will make more contact with Mr Opie to see if there is a fit for our two groups to co-operate, if only when it is raining. This could involve me particularly when Mella is away for 3 months in the US shortly. The iPad microphone suddenly became unserviceable, so for L-A's call with Diane I loaded Skype onto my computer, and went to bed at 10, setting my alarm for 7.

Wed May 26
The Department of Basic Education sent a series of .pdf files to Bella's phone. She WhatsApped them to L-A, who sent them to me. I downloaded them and put them on Bella's laptop. Three of them were lists of textbooks and the 4th was a 250-page economics course. Van Wyk, Le Roux called to say Bella's glasses were ready. I called her and suggested we get there right away. She looked good in them and they helped with both her long distance and reading vision. I photographed her in front of Van Wyk's. Then we went back to our house so she could examine the documents from Basic Education, and have some soup with us. I took her home about 2 and got pictures of her family seeing her in glasses for the first time. Then I picked up Anthonica, and took her to the place near De Jagers. It turns out this is a private vacation school, and her teacher from her regular school is funding her fees. I wish I'd understood this some time ago. From there I went to The Wednesday kids' ministry in Riverview, followed by Avian Park, and I felt stronger than a week before. I was driving home at 4:30 when I heard an announcement for Eskom that Stage 1 lock down would be implemented from 5 pm to 10. As Aldrin Sampear commented, it's a scandal that only half an hour's notice was given. I drove home and filled a pot with hot water just before the lights went out. About 6 I went to get Anthonica. On our way to Avian Park she seemed down. She told me that a week ago she had been raped by a gangster in Avian Park when she was walking in the dark. She had gone to the hospital and had a pregnancy test, which was negative. This was not her first rape, which had been when she was much younger. She told me she hadn't yet told her mother, and didn't want to talk more about it. She said there were things she needed very badly including toiletries. I spent nearly R200 on her at OK Foods. Prices seem to me to be rising sharply. I felt really bad for Anthonica. L-A and I prayed for her and her attacker. What a world she is forced to live in.

Tue May 25
Today I was able to make good progress with the tax return, but with so many medical expenses to key in, there are many more days of work before it will be finished. During the morning we had several calls for food, but by not responding immediately, when I did finally go out at about 2:30, I was able to optimize the trips. Before going to any grocery stores however I first went to Flight Centre. Maggie had spoken well of them, and I realized I would far rather deal with a local firm face to face than Raptim Travel or whatever it had turned into, using Skype. The manager, Gerrit du Plessis, is pleasant and knowledgable, and the indroduction via Maggie helped. My impressions were that getting a flight wasn't that hard, though there are only two carriers flying at present; Quatar and Lufthansa. He repeated the quarantine stuff we are aware of and confirmed that passenger assistance is still available. He recommends booking a month before we want to fly. He didn't know the current attitudes to freight forwarding and suggested we asked our firm. I finished the relatively small deliveries before dark and then got a series of frantic calls from Tersia. She explains things backwards, so she talked about a man in Robertson who had some power to release money to her and was someone I could trust. But she couldn't bring herself to tell me the key point, and the reason she was speaking to me until she had called me about 5 times. It came down to asking me to lend her a further R200, after which all the money she owed me would become magically available. A few days ago I had lent her R150, for repayment on 30 May. I told her very firmly not to think about asking for more until/unless the R150 was repaid. This convoluted scheme is an example of the frantic borrowing and lending that is going on in the townships all the time, just to put the next meal on the table. Every so often a borrower defaults, and this can lead to violence. I suspect Tersia owes the man in Robertson R200, so he is refusing to lend her more. In the end I turned my phone to airplane mode to stop her calling me over and over. I had made the mistake of giving her some air time, and that was how she was wasting it.

Mon May 24
I so much wanted this to be a day for keying in many medical expenses, but 3 of our girls sent us detailed lists of the food they needed. Even though they all listed some of our staples that we buy in bulk and store in our dining room, there were many other items that needed to be sourced in stores. Maggie called around mid day, to say she was outside and had news for us. The news was that she had just been to Flight Centre and had a flight this Friday. We knew she had been planning to leave SA for good within a few weeks, but this acceleration had happened because the international situation for flights has become so volatile, that she had been advised to take this chance while it was available. So she was here to say goodbye, possibly forever. She was only able to stay with us for 15 minutes. I was impressed how calm she was having just heard she was leaving so soon. My first trip out however was to Dr Marais' consulting rooms where I paid my bill for his time last week, R1,822. I told his receptionist I hadn't heard anything from him. Then I started on the food shopping. I delivered the first two batches in early afternoon, resulting in taking Bella and Anthonica downtown. It was when I was shopping for the rest that I felt this was altogether too much hard work. Now that I have their detailed expenses for more than a month, maybe I should give Bella the cash, and she could buy, mainly from USave. Whether I would trust any of the others not to just spend the money foolishly is the question, but even not having to shop for Bella would save me gobs of time. It was when I was standing in line at the Pick n Pay cashier that I realised the woman ahead of me was having difficulty getting her credit card to work, and the line wasn't moving. I thought of Jessica who had paid my bill a couple of weeks ago. I asked her how much she was short after using all her cash, and it was just R68. So I paid it forward. And felt better for it. After our nightly episode of 'House of Cards,' it wasn't too late, so I turned on Elvis Presley; The Searcher, a 2018 documentary. I had intended to watch for 10 minutes and get the feel of it, but it was impossible to turn off so we watched the whole of Part 1.

Sun May 23
We both went to church and Johan spoke on squeezing out all the oil (ie Holy Spirit) from the container as it multiplied. We both went up for prayer and in my case I told Arno I was in need of more oil annointing and had felt its lack in recent months, perhaps a result of TB. After church it was our first cell group in Milk & Honey. It was a pretty full house as we all shared recent happenings. I related about accident-prone Tersia and her damaged arm. We drove to FNB and after drawing R5000 from Simplii, I transferred R4500 to the account and held on to R500. This will allow our rent to be paid tomorrow morning. Then we drove thru McDonalds and bought burgers which we ate stopped on the high street. I worked on the tax return medical files. Mid afternoon Tersia called. Her arm was worse, and in the absence of any offer from me to take her to a private doctor, she probably thought her only option was to try the emergency department again at the hospital. This was good news to me, removing the risk from taking her to a private doctor who might recommend very expensive solutions. I collected her, and waited till I saw her through reception and being allowed to go in. Normally, once a patient has been to emergency, they aren't allowed to go back there (it's no longer considered an emergency). I went home, but then bought a chicken biryani from the take-out next door for her. 90 minutes later we spoke and she was still waiting to see a doctor and she was famished, so I took her the biryani. Bella had called to say she was back from the church retreat and had missed her family evening meal, so asked if I would bring her a pie. I also took her a breakfast sandwich. As I gave them to her I asked if she and Cathy had discussed that they had no food in the house, and planned what would happen next. No, they hadn't discussed it. What will happen is that noone would get any food for a couple of days and then they'd ask me to help with another urgent and pretty long shopping list. I finally picked up Tersia about 8:30 and took her home. There were definitely no bones broken, but she was walking back there tomorrow morning to get an anti-biotic to prevent sceptic activity. I came home and worked on the tax return till Alison Stortz rang at 10 with a Zoom call.

Sat May 22
The weather was kind; even the wind was under control. I got things ready for Mailbox Club. L-A said she would come next week. At 9:20 I drove to Pick n Pay, but actually bought nartjies at the stall; two bags for R20 - one for us and the other for the kids. Then I got a pie for Chantelle at OK. Chantelle was at OVD waiting when I got there and went off to find the class members. I was pleasantly surprised when she turned up with 5 teenagers and it turned out they had been coming faithfully while we had been away for the last 3 weeks. The girls sat on the rock and sang the songs with vigour. For my Bible story I told them about Paul, pointing out that without his international evangelism the faith could have remained a local phenomenon in Israel. Chantelle has now finished Best Friends 2 (?); she has been doing it on Mondays as well as Saturdays. I decided to take the Mozambican phone to the technician at Vodacom. I asked him his name; he pronounced it Emcee. He told me there would be a R50 charge. He soon got busy deleting WahtsApp files I hadn't been able to find, including videos. Then he downloaded the latest version. In my haste I had even de-activated it; he reactivated it except for a verification, and I had come without my Blackberry. When I got home I completed the activation successfully. Soon it was running just fine - except for all my chats. But it had held onto my contact list, so I think I can live without the chats. I the afternoon I took pity on Anthonica and went to get her. Tersia showed me her arm again and said it was getting worse. I forgot to ask Anthonica for the R30 change from giving her a 50 yesterday. And she forgot her mask. I had no change so I couldn't give her R10 to buy one. She was now late and didn't want to go home again, so I let her go without it. Time for her teacher to step up. At 3:30 I took Bella and three friends to a location on the way to Villiersdorp. On my way back Lottie called and asked for chicken and rice which I got at Pick n Pay Local even though it was now 4:30 pm. Around 9, Tersia calls on WhatsApp asking for air time. I tell her this is now only for emergencies, but send it. After 10pm Anthonica calls to say her nose is sore and blocked and could I bring her R100 tonight so that she can buy medicine first thing tomorrow. I ask her what would she do if she had never met me. She doesn't know. I explain that she will not die, and her body will heal itself of this.

Fri May 21
I went down to Bella's house at 10:30 to collect her for a day of cleaning the floor and school revision. I also saw Jamelia and showed her a transcript of the message L-A had received. She was genuinely shocked and took it to show her grandmother. Soon the whole family were round the front gate. It occured to me that someone who wanted to hurt them could have hi-jacked a device and pretended to be Jamelia. I decided I preferred this explanation and made no threats against Jamelia (I had intended to cut off the family from food supplies for a couple of weeks). Joy came with Bella to our house. Once they were up and running, having had some (Bokomo) corn flakes, I went to Post Net to courier our passports to Melanie, and then did some grocery shopping before returning home to work on the tax return. That never happened. I went to Anthonica's at 2:30 and had a visual check up of Tersia's elbow. The wound was clean and she had some mobility of the arm. Around the elbow it was inflamed and that was probably restricting her movement. I suggested she lived with it for a week and we'll see if it improves or gets worse. I then drove Anthonica to a downtown rendezvous with her school teacher, who wants to help her out. Back home I printed a 20 page document from the Dept of Basic Education for the girls. I spent a while trying to get the new version of WhatsApp downloaded and installed on the Mozambique phone, without success. At 5:30 I took them home, expecting to pick up Anthonica where I had dropped her. There was no sign of her. After 40 minutes and 5 calls, in each of which she promised she was ever closer to me, I told her I was taking Bella and Joy home. Bella then asked for a pie, and by the time I had bought it, I called Anthonica once again and this time she was waiting at the Shell station, so I went and got her rather than having her hang around in a dangerous area. Once she was alone on the car with me however, she told me that her teacher had invited her again tomorrow. Something seemed suspicious in her story, not excluding the possibility she had spent the day with the boy friend on her phone. After tonight's episode I fet this was an opportunity to dampen down her assumption that I am her personal driver, always available, so I declined. I was also less than impressed with the way her teacher had dropped her at the end of a dangerous street in the dark. In the later evening I decided I would join Chantelle's Mailbox club, barring a storm

Thu May 20
Anthonica had asked that I call her early this morning. She wanted to come to our house to do school work. When I picked her up, Avian Park was without power, though there was no loadshedding in Worcester. Anthonica told me that thieves has stolen some of the electical cables there, and the power was going out frequently. This is another example of the South African way of life, when the bad guys cause serious damage to the community to serve serve their own ends. Yesterday 9 men were beaten to death in Limpopo, and then neclaced, while the community cheered, and they had probably done something like stealing cables. The police are not effective so mob justice takes over. The Mozambican phone had a message for me: Load the latest version of WhatsApp or lose access to it. I removed as many files as I could to give it the space but wouldn't install the new WhatsApp. In the end I deleted parts of WhatsApp including my chats. It was becoming clear that I may need professional help. Loosing WhatsApp would have serious implications. It was pouring with rain this morning, so it was good to get Anthonica out of the cold, dark and damp into a place where she can work on her homework using Pink Dell. I went to Fairbairn Pharmacy to collect the very expensive eye drops (Acular and Optive) that I was almost out of, and the rest of my TB meds. This was very interesting. There were 4 more boxes yetto go, suggesting that I am on the 9 month course, not the 6 month. My weight chart showing the very recent weight increase now makes more sense. Messages started coming in from Jamelia, Bella, Lottie and Chantelle for food, but it was essential I did certain computer work in the morning so I didn't start on the orders till about 2. In each case I packed items from our home store of staples first, crossing them off their lists. Then I drove to Lottie and Chantelle, being waylaid by Chantelle for school trousers. I returned home to prepare Bella's and Jamelia's quite long lists, then decided to take Anthonica with me when I bought the other items. Anthonica then reminded me she had asked for school trousers. beginning a trek from Pep to Pep to Ackermans to find her size. She was half an hour in each store, resulting in my paying Ackerman's just after they closed at 5. I drove Anthonica home, and then delivered to Jamelia and Bella, by which time it was 6:45 and dark. I got home about 7, which was the time a very rude message in Afrikaans arrived for Laurie-Ann from Jamelia telling her to get out of her life. On face value this made little sense. I was exhausted after the multiple shopping trip, suffering serious chest and lung pain. I sat in a chair for 15 minutes and then started cooking the supper. L-A was asleep. For the first time on this mission I had two shots of brandy, which helped. Tersia called, in pain from her elbow. She had been to the day hospital because the stitches were coming out, but they told her that if she wanted more treatment she had better see a private doctor. She wanted me to take her to a doctor though she had great difficulty in getting the words out. In the end I said I would look at it tomorrow when I came to get Anthonica - not that I had a plan if it needed serious attention. I received Melanie's invoice for R8,100 for the visa extentions, and the couriering instructions. I paid the bill.

Wed May 19
When I checked in the morning, I didn't think I could mend the broken mug, and I swept up the many small pieces. I had been concerned that I would be in more discomfort by morning, but I had less. I checked Blackberry to see if my Covid test was scheduled yet and got an error message that my SIM card wasn't responding. L-A on the other hand was not feeing good, and decided to stay in bed for much of the day. I went for an appointment with urologist Dr Deon Marais. I had my weight chart with me and explained that I had arranged to see Dr Erik whan my weight was at its absolute lowest. Erik didn't think the 7 Kg weight loss was caused by TB, and he wanted Marais' opinion on whether prostate cancer was to blame. Marais examined me physically, and decided I should have another PSA test. I went across the road to Pathcare and got a PSA. While I was waiting I removed the Backberry battery, but it made no difference. Deciding on what was the next most important thing to do after the blood test, I drove to Vodacom and had one of their tech specialists look at the Blackberry. He first put my SIM card into a tester and it was good. He then rebooted, and as he did I prayed for divine help. The loss of my trusty BBY would be a severe blow to our mission. Shortly after he handed the phone back to me, saying it was working fine. He had done exactly what I had done, except for the prayer. TKOG. He didn't charge me. Then I went to the mall to get some cash from the bank and get some drugs from Dis-Chem. Armed with the money, all R200 of it, I collected our laundry, which cost R200. Then back home with pies for lunch. L-A also asked for some chicken broth. I knew I wasn't at my best for the children's ministry at Riverview and Avian Park, but the Lord gave me enough strength to get through it. I dropped off Marsha's mask which she had left in the car, and she told me that Carica's pills had worked. Then to home and an hour's sleep. When I woke I took Bella some food and something that might help her sore tonsils.

Tue May 18
I took Bella to Van Wyk, Le Roux to find out why she has some difficulty in seeing clearly - not a good situation for someone about to begin a University career. Once she had gone in for her first ever eye test, I went shopping in the mall, returning after about 45 minutes. I paid the bill, not knowing what I was paying for, and waiting for a word with her optician. He explained that her distance vision was very poor, and had prescribed glasses for her. He mentioned that she would not be legal to drive right now. I then checked the bill and was quite pleased and relieved to see that I had paid the full bill, R1,150. I brought her home, getting her a pie on the way, and a coffee when she got there. L-A received a rare message from Marsha asking for financial help. So after taking Bella home, I drove to Marsha's to see what had been going on. 2 weeks ago her 20 year old niece had invader her house with some drunk friends, and for no good reason had broken one of their doors, and then hit Marsha on the top of her head with a full glass bottle. Marsha had gone to the hospital, but it appears that when they found her skull wasn't actually cracked, they sent her home and told her to come back next year to see if she need an operation. They didn't even give her pain killers. Her mother bound up her head and got her some painkillers. Marsha's father died a couple of months ago, suddenly and probably from Covid plus heart problems. Marsha contacted us today because she was almost out of painkillers, and they were getting very low on food. When I asked her how much money she thought she needed, she suggested R250. I talked to her for a while getting the background, and trying to figure out how best to help. Her mother didn't want me to take her back to the hospital where she believed her husband had died of Covid. So I lowered my sights and took her to Carica at Faibairn Pharmacy and got her some pain meds. Carica recommended Ibunate, so I bought as much as she would need for two weeks. I then took her (and her friend, who may be Jamelia's brother) back to our house so she could wash her hands and have something to eat. I gave her potatoes and other staples, but only R100 in cash, and took her home. She sounded a little happier than when I had arrived. There was loadshedding at 8pm, and since I had lung pain, chest pain and nausea I decided to catch up on sleep, going right through till 8am. L-A stayed up with a candle and iPad, but probably due to the dark managed to break one of her favourite mugs.

Mon May 17
L-A had wanted to share the atmosphere of Pomegranate, the Iris Western Cape mission school, with Bella, and today was the day. I fetched Bella about 1O:45 and brought her home for coffee before we left. It was a lovely autumn day, and the drive through the foothills was generally dry except for a few puddles. Bella appreciated the natural beauty along the way, and when we arrived at the deserted building, enjoyed the surprise that everyone gets when they
see it for the first time. We settled L-A on her purple chair on the front lawn, and I took Bella on a walk round the building, taking photos with the Fiji camera. I went down to the pond and the cabin beside it. Everything seemed in good repair. Covid has taken a bite out of the one or two mission schools that were held here, but Pomegranate does not seem in any way run down. We then went on to Vinkrivier and showed her the farm school and the views from the back that are on the home page. By new we were all ready for a meal so we drove on to Robertson (via Four Cousins Winery) and to Café Rosa, where we had eaten a couple of years before. We had excellent soup while Bella enjoyed a home-made burger. We shared a slice of lemon meringue pie for desert. Café Rosa is a fine restaurant, and we went home feeling it had been a good day.

Sun May 16
I was up to 59 Kg this morning! Jamelia was up several times in the night (more than I) and in the morning I gave her some Smecta for upset stomach. She didn't want to eat and wasn't up to church, as wasn't Laurie-Ann so I went alone to man a camera for the live stream, partnering with Caroline. At the end people were invited for prayer but no-one went, so I went and gave a praise report about my eye, remembering the time a few weeks back when Murray had encouraged me. I was feeling good as I left the church, and remembered Lottie's request for meat, so I got her some chicken pieces at Pick n Pay Local, plus bread, and 4 sausage rolls for us and Chantelle. Lottie was pleased and I soon found Chantelle. The hospital hadn't prescribed the TB meds for her; just gave her another appointment in a few weeks. I don't think she has TB. It certainly isn't cramping her style. I took her and several assorted cousins to Avian Park. Back home Jamelia seemed better and said that she hadn't been cold in bed. She had moved two chairs onto the balcony and set up Pink Dell on one of them. I explained that the risk was too high that a chair could break taking the computer with it, and all she would be able to say was sorry, and that wouldn't replace the computer. So I brought them all inside and put the computer on the table. I gave her one of the sausage rolls and ate another myself; L-A declined and I cooked her an omelette with stir fried beanstalks etc in it. I took Jamelia home about 2:30 with a bag of vegetables for stew. I started on the medical expenses for the tax return. Last year they generated a healthy tax rebate and we hope that will repeat this year. At 7 both Anthonica and Chantelle called, and I told them I would come when I had finished my supper. Anthonica wanted breakfast for tomorrow, so I packed up some corn flakes, sugar and milk. Chantelle had wanted a lift to OVD but changed her mind, asking me to take her aunt back there. In the middle of the negotiations I took the opportunity to talk to Henry her father and ask why, 2 days after Maria's pay check, he wasn't able to give food to his daughter. He had no coherent response, but a little later Chantelle asked if I would lend then R200 for another 2 weeks. I declined. These are the problems of a family whete bother parents are working. Imagine the plight of the majority where no one is working.

Sat May 15
I called Maria Diedericks around 8:30 and she told me Chantelle was back in OVD. She didn't know any results form the TB testing. This uncertainty was part of the reason we didn't go to OVD for her mailbox club. Bella called about 9:45 asking for a lift to town, so I went to fetch her. After breakfast I worked on the tax return, successfully finding and entering our Netfile access codes. I went grocery shopping at 2:30 just as rain was getting serious (another reason we had not gone to OVD this morning). Jamelia asked if she could stay over in our house tonight since her house is cold and damp and this is exacerbating the pain from her kidneys. We set a time of 7pm to pick her up. At 6:15 Anthonica called in a minor panic to say her mother had broken her arm and needed to go to hospital. I took them about 6:45. There was bone just visible on her elbow but she seemed to be able to use the arm. Anthonica couldn't go in with her because of Covid regulations, so I took her home with a pie. After dropping her I drove a few yards down the street (in pouring rain) and successfully collected the R200 owed by Maria. Then I picked up Jamelia and brought her to Da Vinci. She had told me yesterday she wanted a sweater to keep warm at night. I hadn't found anything suitable when shopping this afternoon so I offered her my white sweater, and it fited her. I said she could keep it. Anthonica called about 7:30 to say Tersia was ready for pick-up at the hospital, and was standing in the rain. They wouldn't let her stay under their roof because of Covid! So I drove down to the hospital and got her. It seems the arm wasn't broken, but may have been dislocated, and they stitched her up. I have never experienced such a fast turn around at Worcester hospital. Her eye may not be done for; she had been given an appointment for it but had missed it because she didn't want to miss work. On the way home she admitted that Henri from next door was responsible for the damage to her arm, and Anthonica had told me he had also caused the original break some years ago. Once again I told her she must sever all ties with this violent predator, but I doubt she will. She tried desperately to get me to lend her R200, but I said 'no.' Then I thought about their situation, and the fact that Maria had actually returned R200 an hour or so ago, so I gave Anthonica safe-keeping of that same R200, to be used for emergencies. Tersia's life is a never-ending emergency. When I finally got home, Jamelia had set up Pink Dell so she could watch movies. I cooked rice and then we had waterblommetjiebredies stew, followed by (for Jamelia and me) some excellent trifle bought at Checkers, and for L-A the penultimate slice of white ginger cake with grapes and raspberries.

Fri May 14
I was at Chantelle's in Avian Park to take her to hospital for TB tests. She also revealed that her arm that broke a year ago may not have healed correctly. She said that the hospital wanted R50 to get started on these things, but wasn't able to provide me any paperwork, which she said her mother had. I reminded her that her parets owed me R200, payable tomorrow. When we got to the hospital, I did give her R50, concerned that without a phone and no money, she was taking risks arriving at a hospital. She didn't seem perturbed. Back home I registered on the new South Africa vaccination portal. L-A isn't quite 60 so isn't eligible in this batch. While the software is almost OK (except for most annoying date of birth app), and has kept to minimum data requirements, I am concerned about the success of mass registrations from the townships. The take up from the public so far has been very poor. I finally got started on our 2020 tax return. I delivered food to Jamelia and brought Bella back for Department of Education, clothes shopping, getting her phone working, getting foot plasters. The Department of Education had sent her the link for her economics revision, and then her phone had deleted it. They gave her hard copies of the forms. I was confused by Bella's list of clothes she wanted, none of which seemed urgent to me. The bill was R500! Then she told me she was concerned about the future after we have gone, and she was thinking ahead to future needs. I told her we can't be responsible for her future clothing needs and that todays clothes would be the last we would pay for. Her phone had failed a couple of days before, deleting apps and swallowing air time and data. I took it into the technical specialist at Vodacom 3 times, and he diagnosed that she had run up an air time Vodacom debt of R80 which was swallowing any new air time she added. She had also downloaded several apps that were using data on a daily basis. The phone was also repeatedly going to factory reset, resulting in the loss of her data. He finally even downloaded WhatsApp, despite a Play Store error code, but charged me R50 for that service. Bella lunched with us on pizza. When I dropped her at home I ended driving to the U-Save to get pads for Jamelia. I got home by 6 and was hungry so we had waterblommetjiebredies stew at about 6:30. Feeling hungry is new for me and a good sign.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copples in Western Cape