24 November 2020
We (Johan and Frans) left Malelane at 7am. First stop was the AMPATH Laboratory in Nelspruit to pick up our COVID Certificates for the border crossing. I picked up the Certificates while Johan waited in the truck. When I got back, Johan (Dad) told me that Linda (Mom) had been given a date for her shoulder operation – 31 November 2020, smack bang in the middle of the trip. We contacted Hannes and agreed that Johan would take the truck as far as Bulawayo and then return home to be with Linda for the operation. I was to complete the trip with Oupa (Hannes). So, day one of the trip and we were off to Musina. Just before Louis Trichardt, the truck started over-heating. We stopped just before Soekmekaar on the Pass to let the truck cool for a bit. It was scorching hot and the truck was boiling its water out. After about an hour the temperature gauge started to go down. The truck would not start, and we had to run-start it. On the downhill that followed, the temperature declined fast, and we were on the way to Louis Trichardt to get a professional opinion. We googled for a mechanic and he turned out to be a dud so we just drove on until we saw a sign that said KM Engineering. Well, if someone would understand a motor, this would be it. Johan went inside and I do not know what he told them, but we had a mechanic and the shop owner in the engine bay in a jiffy ….. after an in-depth inspection, the verdict was that the water circulating around the engine was insufficient and the pump, thermostat and radiator needed to be tended to, but if the truck was driven like a baby, she would be ok. So, it was decided we would push on, driving no faster than 80km per hour …. thanks to Johan, the owner, and his team at KM engineering in Louis Trichardt, this Christmas trip was still on track. We reached Musina around 6pm that evening, parked the truck at the NG Kerk (Church), thank you Rina a star as always. We went to the SPUR and had a cold one while waiting for Hannes. We slept over at Colleen’s in Musina, she fed us at a ridiculous time of night, and we had a comfortable bed to sleep in.
25 November 2020
Day two, with the news that there were no more queues, after a cuppa and a chat with Colleen, we hit the border at 9am where as reported, we were greeted with no queues and the south African side was a breeze. We entered the Zimbabwe side where things didn’t go quite as smoothly. We were sent to the Dust Bowl, as usual, where we stood for an hour waiting our turn for the CONDEPT search. We were searched just after 4pm and then cleared to go into Zimbabwe. Now the wait begins for our clearing papers to let us out of the border. We left the border at around 9pm on a rainy night. We decided to push through to Bulawayo. After an exceptionally long drive we reached Bulawayo around 3am the next morning with Willem Nel our host waiting for us.
26 November 2020
Day three we were up at 7am and off to the warehouse. Johan was checking the stock levels and allocating the PPE to top up the homes while Hannes was meeting with Mr. Hannes Jovner to assist with the deliveries as we could see ourselves running out of time again… we would not have the second team to deliver the Bulawayo boxes while the truck was doing the round trip. When we got home in the afternoon, we had a great supper and went to bed.
27 November 2020
Day four we took the truck to the warehouse where we unloaded all the Christmas gifts we brought for the Golden Oldies, and added the surprises to the half-packed boxes. This year’s Christmas trip was incredibly special due to the boxes being so full that some of the items had to be carried separately. Johan redid his COVID 19 test before leaving for SA. We were unsure if his current test would be valid as he was leaving in a different vehicle. He didn’t want to risk being sent back to Bulawayo for a COVID 19 test, which could cost up to 2 days delay, causing him to miss Linda’s Operation. After a physical day’s labour we were off to the Nel’s for the night.
28 November 2020
Day five we decided not to work due to the bad weather. So, we sat at home planning the trip. Johan departed for South Africa to help Linda get ready for her operation. The guys at the warehouse were still packing the last odds for the trip.
29 November 2020
Day six Hannes had a few things he had to do in town while I helped to set up Willem’s surprise 40th birthday party. There was a small group that got together, the night was long, but everyone had a ball.
30 November 2020
Day seven was all about loading the two trucks, big thanks to Hannes Jovner and his wife for helping on this trip due to it only being Hannes and me on the trip. The first truck was loaded and was ready for action. We finished loading the second truck and it was time to rest, for the next day we would embark on our journey across Zimbabwe.
01 December 2020
Day eight, we started incredibly early as we had a lot of ground to cover. We got up at 5am to get the round trip started. We got to the warehouse and hopped into the truck. Off we went. Our first stop was in Zvishavane where we had a warm greeting with a cup of coffee before unloading the truck. From there, we headed for Shurugwe. It’s a short trip, but the road is very bad, so we drove at a slow pace. As we got to Shurugwe we were met by Lynn De‘ewes’ worker who helped us unload the boxes due to Lynn not being there. Our next stop would be Masvingo where we would meet up with Val Hundermark. We started unloading all of the boxes and we spoke a bit with Val where she told us about the current conditions in Zimbabwe, and it didn’t sound good. They all still lived in a state of self-isolation. There is a lot of uncertainty due to rumours and no real reliable news. As we finished up there, we had to get to Mutare before dark. It was a long drive and we crossed Birchenough Bridge on the way. We reached Mutare around 5pm where we unloaded the truck at Des Becker’s warehouse. After the unpacking we headed to Des’s place for our night’s rest. Thanks Des and Sally for putting us up and spoiling us with a chat and good meal. A proper family get-together.
02 December 2020
Day nine we started around 8am after a hearty breakfast and coffee. We went to Des’s warehouse, loaded all the empty boxes into the truck, and we were on our way to Harare where we would meet up with John Herbst and family. By the time we got to Harare, the whole family was at work, so we offloaded the gift boxes at their house and we went to Malcolm Taylor where we had some coffee and visited for a bit. It was my first visit to Malcolm’s, a very colourful character. We had to leave there quite early as we had to get to Marondera. In Marondera we headed for Mike Gibson’s house where we would spend the night. Mike has an old Royal Enfield motorcycle still in running order and I had the honour of taking it for a spin, eat your heart out Dad. Thanks Mike.
03 December 2020
Day ten we headed back to Bulawayo. We had an uneventful long drive back. It was raining all the way back. Willem was on his way back from a business trip in Harare and he followed the truck some distance back towards Bulawayo. We stopped in Kadoma where Willem brought us a chicken take away. Just what the doctor ordered, thanks Willem, a life saver and welcome rest. As we approached Bulawayo, we passed an overturned truck that was being looted by people. We got back into Bulawayo around 8pm. We were bushed and went straight to Willem’s for a meal and sleep.
04 December 2020
Day eleven we had to get the empty boxes out of the truck and then load all the Bulawayo boxes into the truck. Because of rain we could only do the deliveries with the truck and not the bakkie. We had PJ’s vehicle and had an open back without a canopy. Deliveries around Bulawayo in the UD 90 were scheduled for the next day as the rain was here to stay. The upside to this is that we loaded all the deliveries in one go and could avoid an up and down to the warehouse, this would save some time. We intended to deliver to all the kitchens and homes as soon as possible.
05 December 2020
Day twelve we started to deliver boxes throughout Bulawayo. We visited all the old age homes and a few of the houses that we do. The day was long and hard due to the rain and the bad weather. We got home late, but we were greeted with yet another warm dinner prepared by Willem’s wife. Thanks so much Caroline.
06 December 2020
Day thirteen we went for our COVID 19 tests. We thought it would be quick, but we were in for an almost two hours wait in a line to get the tests done. While we waited, Caroline went to King Haven Moths in Esigodini and helped with a few deliveries. Thanks to Caroline for giving a helping hand. When we were done there, we went on with our last few deliveries for the day, using the bakkie this time, before getting home to another warm meal and bath.
07 December 2020
Day fourteen we had set out to complete our deliveries for Bulawayo. Unfortunately, the weather was not on our side for that day it was not just raining, the heavens had opened on us and it was raining cats and dogs. So, we had to improvise by using the truck again to complete our deliveries. We receive our COVID 19 results, clearing the way for our return to South Africa.
08 December 2020
Day fifteen, it was time to go home. We started the morning at 4am. We still had a few deliveries to do on our way to the border. We stopped at West Nick and Gwanda. As we got to the final delivery, we received news that the border was a mess. We had to prepare ourselves for the worst. If it wasn’t for our clearing agent, we would have been stuck at the border for a few days. We got to the border just after 12 noon and we got through at 6pm. Hannes spent the night in Musina at Colleen’s. Johan had come up to meet the truck in Musina to give Hannes a break and bring the truck home. Johan and I drove through the night back to Malelane. We arrived in Malelane around 4 am. Hannes left Musina on 09 December and arrived later that day, safe and sound.
PS: a special thanks from me to:
Hannes Botha, the Boss you are an inspiration and accepted the challenges on this trip with ease and we just carried on.
Hannes Jovner for assisting in the food deliveries once again on this trip.
Angela and her warehouse team in Bulawayo for getting the boxes packed and sorted, well done.
John and Leonie Herbst in Harare for assisting in the Harare and surrounds deliveries.
Des and Sally Becker in Mutare, still after all these years just as reliable as always, a home far from home.
Willem and Caroline Nel in Bulawayo, your home has become our home and the warmness and care we get from you guys are greatly appreciated. Dankie.
All the Care givers, Administrators, Chair Persons, Staff and Medical personnel taking care of our Golden Oldies, Thanks. You are special.
Most important the Donors. Without your donations and open hearts none of this would be possible. Thank you ALL for assisting us make this happen.
My conclusion is at the end of the day, seeing the smiles on peoples faces when you give them the parcels, it is the most satisfying feeling you could possibly feel. In words I can not describe the warm and fuzzy feeling knowing you are making a difference in someone’s life.
Head office South Africa contact details:
Linda Schultz – firstname.lastname@example.org – (C) 079 6082676 (T) 013 7900934
Johan Schultz – email@example.com – 082 4979328
Hannes Botha – firstname.lastname@example.org – 084 5893221
Section 21 Co Reg. 2007/034036/08; NPO Number 096733; Section 18A PBO No 930031642