It was early on the morning of the 8th that we got together at the warehouse collected our orders and documents and set off for Musina. At this point I want to say a special word of thanks to Mr Rohan van den Berg for the generous response to our appeal for a set of tyres for our UD 80 truck, which he paid in full. May you be blessed in all you do. It was with great confidence that we put the UD80’s nose onto the road knowing that we had good shoes on our horse. The last two trips were particularly hairy on the old tyres.
We arrived at the border at 06.30 Friday, after a good nights rest and TLC at the Cameron’s, our friends in Musina and were cleared through both sides of the border by about 12.45, which, considering a “Stop to Check” on the SA side was a quick crossing. At the fork in the road we, that is Hannes and his passenger and helper, Dr Jozua Serfontein, an octogenarian “nogal”, in the UD 80 on route to Bulawayo on the short trip, and Norman Nimmo and I on the Masvingo trip parted company.
He, that is Dr Jozua Serfontein, gave me a short report on his experience on the trip which I have translated and included the necessary bits herein. Quote. “I have been a supporter for some time now and found that I needed to go see for myself. Well, I arrived in Malelane in a rainstorm and got to the warehouse which was a hive of activity as the people, a handful at that, were scurrying around sorting, packing, labelling and checking that every person on the list got exactly what was needed and none was left out. It is an amazing operation and the dedication to detail is something to behold. We set sail for the border and the crossing was complicated to me, but considered easy by the team who handled reams of paperwork and enquiring officials with grace to say the least. Travelling around the country from town to town and visiting with the older ones in old age homes as well as some in their own homes became a challenge. The need of these people cannot be described here. The gratitude given to us is also beyond my eloquence. The interaction with caring fellow human beings often outweighs the gift of food and I now have a new perspective of the work done by the people of the Zimbabwe Pensioners Fund. I would encourage all to do as I did. Go and experience the unknown, unspoken and live a needy Zimbabwe pensioners dream as he or she takes in the warmth of a hearty hug from a sincere friend. I am currently in recovery mode but will do the trip again. It is a life and values changing experience!! Unquote.
On this trip Hannes was again able to pick up some fresh venison along the way, donated from a Zim farmer to be given to the kitchen at Verity Amm that is supplying meals to many folk in Bulawayo.
Norman was the driver as I am still in recovery of a knee operation and technically on “light duty”. I was on board showing Norman the route as he had never been down that track or met the people who run the homes. We arrived in Masvingo in rain after driving much of the distance in rain, a welcome blessing to the people in the area. Once again we spent the night with our hosts in the area, Gerhard and Trudi Burger.
We met with Lulu McKenzie, our angel in Masvingo, and dropped the consignment of hampers with her as the grounds were very wet and the rain threatening to fall at any moment. We left there at 10.00am and headed to Mutare via Birchenough Bridge as the road from Chivhu to Nyasura was impassable due to the rivers in spate in the area. We arrived in Mutare at around 14.30 and started our deliveries with the help of Des Becker’s ever-helpful team. Here we do EHT frail care, Kitchen and cottages, Garden Park cottages and Murambi cottages. We also have SOAP representedby Des who hands out hampers to many needy outside people. We were informed that the Dunn’s had been repatriated to the UK and that Mrs Yvonne Wiblin had passed away since our last visit. It always hurts you when you get this type of news as you get to know the folk and get close to them. A new resident, Mr Hamilton has taken her place. The numbers of the people in the homes will not get less in the foreseeable future. There are many oldies waiting in the wings to come into these establishments.
We collected the empty boxes after attending the morning service at the Presbyterian Church and chilled in the wet misty weather for the rest of the day.
We set off early for Rest Haven in Rusape where we were greeted with a good warm cuppa tea, which we enjoyed after dropping the hampers. Here too we met with new residents recently removed from their farm. If you have been following the news you will have noted that this is an ongoing thing and we are assisting in this area where they find themselves destitute, with nowhere to go and nothing to live on. Many end up in these homes. You cannot imagine the look in the eyes of these men and women as they, who once had it all, in the blink of an eye, have nothing. Needless to say as we left for Harare we were heavy hearted and I, fighting back tears. On arrival at the Futter residence in Harare we dropped the hampers and other goods packed for Harare folk. We went on to leave the truck at the Masonic Lodge as organised by our friends Hugh Chisnall and Phillip Gilbert- Green. We spent the next two nights with Phillip and Claire who host us in Harare while we do our rounds in the district.
Norman and I set off early to serve the folk in Mazoe Valley Trust cottages and frail-care in Bindura as well as the Malvern Trust home in Mvurwi. While doing our drop in Bindura we got the sad news that Mr Peter Borcherds had passed away just three days before our arrival. According to Mrs Kitty van Huisteen, the matron there, he, on the preceding Friday had asked, “when are the folk from SA coming?”. Friends, your input into these people’s lives is of vital importance. I say it often and do so again, we are the agents who carry your love and generosity to the dear ones in Zim Old Age Homes. Thankyou for what you are doing. Without your input we are nothing. We again returned with tails between our legs and tears in our eyes. It is not possible to separate yourself from the emotional state of the people. We are not only the bearers of food but also the face of hope and a shoulder to lean on. We watered our horse with the help Tim and the team at Excel. Thankyou guys.
After a hearty breakfast we left our hosts in Harare and headed to do the drop in Chinhoyi at the Sunningdale home. We were served a good lunch by the van Aswegan couple, Jan and Marie, also once farmers in the area now resident in the home. Incidentally, Marie is my distant cousin whom I only discovered since getting involved in the Fund. After lunch we travelled on to the Westview home in Kadoma where we delivered the goodies, picked up the empties and retired to spend the night with Clive and Estelle O’Reiley, our hosts. After a great meal intertwined with good encouraging conversation we retired for the night. At this point my knee was crying to go home but we still had two days to go.
We set off from there to do Lynbrook home in Kwekwe and Herbert Lee in Redcliff, did the drops and on to Bulawayo. We watered the horse with the help of our friend Peter Buckle, visited with another stalwart of the ZPSF, tannie Koekie Koekemoer and then went on to retire with Craig and Les Hunt at the Southern Comfort lodge. These people are also very involved with improving the lot of the pensioners in the Matabeleland area supplying medicines and some food.
Painfully up at 04.00am we left the lodge at 04.45am and headed homeward. We crossed the frontier in four hours and arrived at the pack house in Duiwelskloof at about 16.00 where we loaded the truck up with empty boxes and other goods in preparation for the June trip.
Great news is that some of the pupils from my old high school, Thornhill in Gweru, are having a reunion in October this year and they are standing strong behind the ZPSF. Various items will go on auction and I am getting some paintings from Zim artists for the event. Great stuff guys. All old Thornhillians out there, get to the event if you can. Now, any pupils from other schools who are interested to help this cause, contact me on the details below. See if you can outdo Thornhill. Even junior schools can get in on the effort. Where are all the old Somabula students today? Maybe I need to call up Mr O’Connell or Mrs Wilson’s ghost to encourage you.
Remember the “old days of the Mayors Christmas cheer Fund ” events. Remember coming home in convoy from the “sticks” and the ladies manning the “Troopie Canteens. Guys, it’s payback time, some of those “Ladies of Hope” are in these homes today, we have found them there. . . . . . .think about it for a moment.
Once again it is with much gratitude that we, the ZPSF thank you the public, business community and all our supporters and well-wishers for the wonderful work you are doing.
Pastor Attie Botha
Contact. Cell. +27829102291. Tel. +27153098594 Email: email@example.com
It is indeed with a heavy and broken heart that I have to inform you all, that our friend, colleague and Pam’s dear husband, Norman Nimmo, was tragically taken from us late yesterday afternoon, 3rd of May. He was involved in a car accident on his way home from work. We, the Fund will miss him dearly as he was involved for many years and was passionate about the work done by the fund. He joined us on a permanent basis in March and was an absolute asset to us. Every one in the Fund convey our heartfelt condolences and sympathy to Pam and the family.