Runup to the first trip of 2021
Hannes Botha, founder and Big Chief of the ZPSF has endured a 26-day hospital stay and thus all was on hold and holding a deep breath for a result after his operation. As such we had a scramble for a Truck driver and how to get the ZPSF Vehicles into Zimbabwe for this trip. In the end we co-ordinated timing with Daniel Koekemoer and Ryan Moss to fly to Bulawayo and Myself, to drive the truck and meet up and make this trip happen. This was to be one of the few trips ever without Hannes. The plan was to lend a LDV in Bulawayo, Hannes Jovner to assist with his truck and make this double delivery happen. I did the COVID test and should have result before I get to the border, I’ll make a plan to print it before entering Beitbridge. The intended load will go up later.
Tuesday 23 February 2021
I left Malelane at 03:00 Ha a hassle-free trip all the way to Musina. Had some rain on the way between Nelspruit and Bushbuck Ridge. I filled up in Musina at 11:00 and got some KFC for lunch. When getting into the truck she battled to start. I immediately saw red and went looking for a battery centre. While driving through Musina a Traffic officer stopped me to check my licence and I got directions to a Battery Shop. I had the Batteries tested and found one was dead. I replaced them and was off to the border. As I approached the Border Post, I saw the Que was backed up to about three kilo meters from the gate. I passed the Que and went to the Clearing agents to pick up the Empty manifest. I met the Directors of Sediba, the guys who assist us on the RSA side of Beitbridge. We spent a few minutes chatting and I had to head for the gate with my paperwork in hand. I opened the back of the truck showing that the truck was empty and continued to the gate, there was a double line closer to the gate and I chanced my luck and proceeded to the front, as luck would have it, a truck pulled out as I was getting to the front and I squeezed in. Suddenly a second Entry gate at the opened and a SAPS man called me to enter. I produced my paperwork and was told I needed a barcode on the Manifest. With a confused look I asked to enter and promised to be back with corrected papers. I was allowed and entered. Inside the Freight parking I found a SARS officer directing the trucks. He waved me into a line and I “ignorantly” asked for direction as my paperwork was wrong. He checked and advised I return to the entry gate. I called Sediba and Colleen advised I do not need a barcode as the manifest was for an empty vehicle. I then proceeded to the SARS office, Passport control and back to the truck, there I found the same SARS officer and showed him all was done, and the truck was empty. He directed me to proceed counter flow towards the bridge. I then passed the SAPS check and the last SARS point to be on the Bridge crossing the Limpopo River about half an hour. To good to be true, it took 45 minutes to cross the river. Once on the other side I met up with Robert and we had to update all the cross-border papers as it was the first trip of the year. At 16:25 I was on the way to Bulawayo from Beitbridge. I was advised not to go faster than 49 km/h. after 10 km I was of the sound opinion that 40 was to fast. The road was in a horrendous condition. The story “The law states we drive on the left of the road…..now we drive on WHAT IS LEFT OF THE ROAD” applied. I arrived in Bulawayo just after 21:00 after which I mad a pact with myself NEVER to drive after dark in Zimbabwe again. Just as one gets used to the darkness, a vehicle with lights brighter than lightning will come from the front and blind you are causing one to drive straight into the open arms of a waiting pothole. People seem to want to see the whites of your eyes before dipping their lights. I cannot blame them as the roads are full of potholes, donkeys, goats and Mombies. A recipe for disaster, thus…No diving at night. Willem and Caroline were waiting and fed me before I got to bed.
Wednesday 24 February 2021
Up early and off to the Warehouse to check on the packing, knowing we do not have enough boxes, we will have to pack the trip from Bulawayo to Chinhoyi and on their return we use those for the Bulawayo, Harare, Mutate and Masvingo route. Willem gave me his Pajero to use while in Bulawayo, with the heave rain that was falling around Bulawayo this was exactly what I needed to do the deliveries. At the warehouse Angela and the team was already busy. We allocated the PPE top ups and Oxygen Concentrators. Caroline arranged some name tags with numbers that was stuck onto the machined with epoxy glue. Each machine was to be signed for. We noted that there were some weevils in the flour. Luckily, there was not too much damage done and we decided to unpack, wash and repack the warehouse. By early afternoon, the Easter eggs was delivered to the warehouse and the last packing for the first truck could be finalised. The boxes were stacked, and name lists was double checked. Hannes Jovner brought his truck over and it was packed for the first half of the deliveries. Ryan Moss flew into Bulawayo later and I went to pick him up from the airport. He would leave with Hannes the next morning. Caroline once again fed us and put us up for the night.
Thursday 25 February 2021
We were up at 04:30 to catch up with Hannes and we met on Cecil Ave o at 05:00 where Ryan joined him for the trip to Chinhoyi, first stop for them, Gweru. I was off to Caroline’s for a cuppa before starting the day. We sorted out the Kitchen Deliveries and delivered to Queen Mary, Barbara Burrell, Railsteen and Edith duly. The Oxygen Concentrators was received very well with more than one place people burs into tears with gratitude knowing what a difference these machines can make in these times. A lot of the frail care facilities have the normal Oxygen systems in place, but there is very little Oxygen available and there where it can be found is very expensive. But often, the Oxygen is just not available. These machines will be the bridge needed while waiting for the top ups. The rest of the Easter eggs was packed into the Harare route and the guys unpacked the warehouse and started scrubbing it down. We prepared for the next day to start delivering the Bulawayo Homes. After a busy and emotional day I was off to Willem’s for a cold one, supper, wash and bed.
Friday 26 February 2021
I had another early start with a flask of coffee made by Candice-Ann, Willem’s daughter. Hannes and Ryan were due back today giving us the needed boxes to finalize the packing. We start by delivering to Masonic and picking up the empty boxes from the last trip. Aunty Marie is ever ready to receive us while offloading the boxes into the communal area next to the Library. Next was the deliveries to Coronation Cottages. Here we deliver to individuals or couples from door to door. It is a long process as everyone wants to visit with most conversations being about Hannes’s health. I met Bob for the first time, he is bed ridden with dementia, this was such a sad and profound experience. Unbelievably his wife was full of smiles and made me fell welcome, but one can sense the dread and despair from this lady knowing what lies ahead. After the deliveries in the area, I called it a day, I needed to just get my head together.
Saturday 27 February 2021
Willem and I was off early for a road trip to do deliveries for the oldies staying along the way towards Beitbridge. First stop was at Kinghaven MOTHS in Esigodini. We dropped the boxed in the Common area and was received by Loraine King, the Chair Lady who distributes the boxes in the complex. After that we dropped at all the others and ending at Paxi Watson. She is about 80 km from the border. Here we had chocolate cake and coffee. A welcome treat in the wet weather. There is no electricity and she still use a wood stove in the kitchen. There is an open fire going at the back door where water is boiled for coffee. I still wonder how the cake was made. Going back to Bulawayo we took time to appreciate the deteriorated condition of the road. Potholes causing vehicles to drive all over the road, being wet one starts to dodge water puddles, not knowing how deep they will be. We got home just before dark.
Monday 01 March 2021
I was up early and off to the warehouse after a full day of relaxing yesterday. Angela was ready with the next load to be delivered around Bulawayo. In the afternoon I picked up Hannes Jovner and we went to visit Rocky who stays with his wife and daughter near Chipengali. Rocky sustained a small cut on his shin that caused open wounds on his calf. We brought him some ointment and disinfectant to assist in healing faster. His wife has dementia, and this makes life difficult around the house. Rocky does odd jobs to keep afloat as the property they live in was sold and he must find other accommodation. He has a few choices on alternative accommodation but has to make sure he moves to the more permanent place as not to uproot his wife to much. Moving with dementia is a very traumatic experience. I dropped Hannes off and had a cup of coffee with him and his wife. As the sun started to set I was off to Willems for the night, sticking to my rules not driving after dark.
Tuesday 02 March 2021
Angela and I continue with the deliveries around Bulawayo. Bulawayo help network, and a couple of singles around the City. The guys had the warehouse cleaned and we started to repack while counting stock on hand. As we travelled, we made little video clips for Hannes with well wishes.
Wednesday 03 March 2021
Up early and off to the warehouse with Ryan to prepare the truck for the start of the next leg around the country, Harare, Mutare, Masvingo and back to Bulawayo. The truck is loaded under the watchful eye of Angela and the order of loading and names are double checked. Daniel arrives and we pack the last of the goods in the truck, Daniel gets his lists and the vehicle file, the truck is moved to Coronation where he will spend the night to be off early the next day.
Thursday 04 March 2021
Ryan and Daniel are off early on their trip around the country. I am of to the warehouse to load up another lot of boxes for the next deliveries. This continues for the next few days. Seeing people and delivering to their homes around Bulawayo. We share a laugh and a joke, but the undercurrent of the daily strife to get by is everywhere. Hope is not lost and there is a will to go on and a plan to be made for tomorrow.
Monday 08 March 2021
Daniel is back and the truck is offloaded with the empty boxes, all deliveries complete, warehouse clean and stock counted. The truck is refuelled, COVID Testing done, ready for the trip home to Malelane. Ryan has gone straight to Harare with the vehicle he lent from the Eric de Jong of the Old Legs Tour. We will hopefully see him in another trip soon. This oke has a talent with the pen as you will see in his report and his write ups on the old legs tours. Thanks for joining us Ryan, always a pleasure having you with us. Daniel and I are off to Willems for dinner, a Pasts feast created by Willem himself, Pasta alla Willem. After dinner I am off to Coronation Cottage to leave as early as possible in the morning.
Tuesday 09 March 2021
Homeward Bound. I leave Bulawayo at about 05:00. The trip to the border is uneventful and I arrive at the border where Robert arranges my exit on the Zimbabwe side and in in SA in no time. On the SA side everything goes just as smooth with a small traffic bottle neck in the Commercial parking, this is sorted in 30 minutes and I am on the road to Malelane. With good weather and no hassle, I am home in Malelane at 21:00. Another successful delivery completed.
PS: a special thanks from me to:
Hannes Botha, the Boss Get better.
Linda Schultz in HQ, thanks for your dedication and hard work preparing us for the unforeseen.
Ryan Moss for joining on this round trip.
Daniel Koekemoer, your way with people is unlike any other. Making everyone feel warm and welcome. Thanks for driving and doing the deliveries. Your sacrifice is greatly appreciated.
Hannes Jovner for assisting in the deliveries, a rare gentleman.
Angela and her warehouse team in Bulawayo always a step ahead, well done.
John and Leonie Hebst in Harare for assisting in the Harare and surrounds deliveries.
Des and Sally Becker in Mutare, The Godfather of Mutare, still after all these years just as reliable as always.
Willem and Caroline Nel in Bulawayo, your generosity is always appreciated.
All the Care takers, 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.
We pray our Lord’s Blessings for you all….
Head office South Africa contact details:
Linda Schultz – email@example.com – (C) 079 6082676 (T) 013 7900934
Johan Schultz – firstname.lastname@example.org – 082 4979328
Hannes Botha – email@example.com – 084 5893221
Section 21 Co Reg. 2007/034036/08; NPO Number 096733; Section 18A PBO No 930031642