On this trip around the longer route via Harare, I had a new first time assistant with me, one “Boet” Holmes of Secunda, whom I learnt to respect as a very distant relative of the famous uncle Sherlock. Boet was very helpful in every way as I was still in recovery mode from my fall out the back of the truck some time ago. He also met people with whom he grew up in Zimbabwe and re-established some good old friendships.
We also drove the UD 90 Nissan, modified from a 15 ton GVM to a 24 ton GVM by the fitting of a second rear axle. The trip had its niggles with the modification but by the end of the journey we were able to have learnt a lot about “Tag” axles.
The truck was returned to the installers who repaired the problems and Hannes travelling with Yvonne, was able to take the truck on the second trip to Zimbabwe, the Bulawayo route. He also had some teething problems en route resulting in the spare wheel catching fire as it was remounted too close to the exhaust outlet pipe. Fortunately a passer-by saw the fire, alerted the police who came to the rescue, extinguishing the fire and saving the truck from severe damage. Thanks to the Soekmekaar Police and the unknown person who alerted them.
In spite of the hiccups and delays, the conversion is a great improvement to our fleet and we hope to do the same to the 8ton UD 80 next year. It was an expensive operation, sponsored by an anonymous group, and we are looking for sponsorship in doing the UD 80. Any one interested please contact either Hannes or myself and we will give you the finer details.
In general the two trips went well with the folk around the country very thankful for the sustenance they are receiving and the love you are giving them in these times of turmoil in Zimbabwe. As I have said before, the country is beginning to look up as far as those fortunate enough to be employed, (10% of the population according to latest stats,) and earning forex are concerned.
Our target group however are not getting any advantage as they are not getting any pensions and the word forexis a mysterious dream for them. Folk, the plight of these people is getting worse and we need your help to sustain them in these tough times. I cannot over emphasise the gravity of the situation. My companion Boet was devastated and broken by what he saw. Here are some of his reflections.
“ When I arrived in Malelane I realised the enormity of the organisation that these men have taken on. They have a warehouse where the foods are identified, stored, sorted, counted, stacked then packed into pre prepared boxes, labelled with every person’s name, the home they are in, and the town in which the home is. All is then recorded on files, loaded onto the truck in proper sequence for exact and ease of handling en route. The process is monitored from package to delivery and oh boy, it takes a lot of dedicated time by all involved. Bob Daniels who supervises the loading operation keeps on his toes all the time to make sure the drivers get it all right at the end of the day. I witnessed a truly professional operation from beginning to end and applaud these gents along with Yvonne, Hannes’s companion and Liz, Attie’s wife, who take care of lots of the behind the scenes admin work. We were away for 11 days in all and spent the nights with host families who went out of their way to help this important mission and keep us comfortable. The amount of problems these drivers go through each trip that you never get to hear of is difficult to portray.
2. From the borders, you have officials that change the goal posts all the time so you can seldom get the paper work quite right and they even wanted to check the expiry dates on cans and needed some sort of veterinarian certificate for tinned fish, a strange request to say the least to the roads, oh, they are bad and the road blocks a problem as they slow your progress so much. The Funds trucks are well known and they seldom get stopped but thanked for the work they are doing and waved on. However, it’s the pure gratitude of the old people that makes it so worthwhile. These people are so very grateful for all they get, their average age must be around 80 and although food and other goods are readily available in prices that are beyond their means and they don’t have access to forex. In Mutare an elderly lady came up to me and said ‘I am 80 and I know that no matter how long I still live I will never be able to thank you people enough for what you are doing for us’. Needless to say I was reduced to tears by that and a few other incidents I experienced. I can’t wait to go again.” Unquote.
The British repatriation scheme is beginning to happen and people are taking advantage of the offer. Some of our pensioners have now left and we wish them well as they adapt to a new and better life in the UK.
On Monday the 5th we set a new record on the border crossing, two and a half hours in total which set us up for a good trip the rest of the way as we were able to stick to our schedule the entire way. We did our drop at the various Masvingo homes, slept over at Gerhard Burger’s, who by the time you get this letter will be a married man, having married Trudi, his newfound love on the 24th October, Congratulations!
Lulu Mackenzie, another of our angels in Masvingo, is not only a STAR, but a whole GALAXY. Thank you for all you do to make our trip easier, organizing the necessary paperwork, and helping with sorting boxes for the Masvingo folk etc. A special thank you to Anthony and Helen Michell of Masvingo Chicks for your support towards us as well.
We picked up empties and were in Mutare by lunchtime on Tuesday,and did the deliveries with the help of our friend Des Becker and his helpful labour force. We once again stayed over with Des and Sally and were spoilt as usual.
On Wednesday we picked up the empties and headed for Rusape, Marondera and finished in Harare in good time after our drops at the various homes, stopping over with Phillip and Claire Gilbert Green. Early on Thursday, we set out to do the homes in Bindura and Mvurwi. On our arrival back in Harare at our truck stop that afternoon, we did some running repairs to our truck’s new axle. It was while we were busy that we met with Mr Rinus Grau, who was aware of what we do, but wanted to know more. We shared all our ups and downs and ins and outs with him and he put us onto a friend of his in Bulawayo, Mr Peter Buckle who I managed to make contact with and will meet with him on the next trip, we do indeed serve a good God.
The next day, Friday 9th we travelled to Chinhoyi and Kadoma where we slept over with our hosts, the O’Reilly family who always make us feel at home as do all our hosts. Early on Saturday we left for Kwekwe, Redcliff and here we once again want to thank Ken Connelly for his ongoing support in various ways, and then we went on to Bulawayo where we slept over so we could do some needed business regarding the Fund. All in all we had a good trip although a little rushed. All the recipients of parcels, food, medication and gifts send their sincere thanks to you all. I may at times fail to mention it but every person tearfully say “Thank you unknown friend, for what you are doing for us, without your help and input we will not make it! God Bless you.” (Our December report will consist of the letters from the pensioners conveying these thoughts.)
On Hannes’s trip he was able to collect 70kg of minced Eland meat from Masvingo Ranchers, Katrina and Blondie Leatham. A Special thank you comes to you for the wonderful donation and gesture. This was handed to Verity Amm Kitchen along with a good condition large second hand deep freezer donated by the Fund. Wow, that meat is really something special. It is also with excitement that we can tell you that we are going to start doing the Waterfalls Trust home in Harare as from the December trip. We are busy establishing the logistics involved.
3. On these two trips we covered a total of 6550 kilometres using 2170 litres of diesel costing approximately R16,492:00. There was also the cost of a new tyre around R4,300:00.
The totalvalue of goods moved including transport and border costs to the pensioners was in excess R200,000:00. So you can see that we are in desperate need of your continued support..
We anticipate to leave on the 30th November for the December trip, the last trip for this year and any monies, boxes etc needing to go on this the final trip for the year need to be paid in or delivered to Malelane before the 15th. We are streamlining the operation and the preparing, packing, loading, weighing and the locking up of the trucks will be finalized a week before departure so your co-operation is needed to avoid disappointment.
At this point I want to thank all who donated towards our Christmas effort, and we, because of you will be able to give a meaningful gift to the pensioners. We will let you know after Christmas as to what we could give as we don’t want it leaked. God bless you all
Once again I am reminded of the farmer, who plants when the season is due and then waits for the Lord of the harvest to send the rain and provide the increase. Hannes and the rest of the team once again thank our faithful supporters, donors and friends of ZPSF for your support throughout the years. The Lord of the harvest always rewards the faithful.
Thank you all for your Support,
Pastor Attie Botha