On 01 October 2021 Edith Botha and I set off to Zimbabwe via Johannesburg from Malelane. The trip went well, and we were well on our way and almost in Musina, at 18:25 when we were in an accident and wrote off the ZPSF Bakkie about 2 km from the HF Verwoerd tunnel. While avoiding a horrific head on accident just in front of us, we were struck from behind by a truck that was following us. We were pushed off the road, ending up on our side in a cluster of palm trees. Fortunately we were not injured. A towing company by the name of Mooketsi Towing from Louis Trichardt assisted us in recovering the vehicle and taking us from lodge to lodge until we were taken in by Wendy just after midnight, at Gateway Inn in Louis Trichardt. My wife Linda and son Frans picked us up the next day. We visited the accident site, the vehicle at the towing yard and the Police (SAPS) to give a statement. Thereafter we headed home to Malelane and had to replace all that was lost in the accident and asap get this trip back on the road.
On 08 October, with Hannes’s bakkie (The old Isuzu workhorse) Edith and I tried again. We left at mid-morning and as dusk set in we decided to settle for the night in Louis Trichardt at Gateway Inn where Wendy received us with open arms. The next morning, with a “take-away” breakfast in hand. we set off to the border. With news of long delays and hold ups, we were hoping for a quick passing in the small vehicle. As we left Musina toward the border post, we passed the long line of trucks waiting in the line that measured 9 kilometers long. After a quick stop at Sediba, our clearing agents and a chat with Colleen, we entered the SA side of the border. We were assisted quickly and were off to the Bridge over the river where the long wait crossing the Limpopo River is a given, and lo and behold, a stop and go was in place and small vehicles were assisted with a smooth crossing. With the help of miracle man Robert, it went just a quick on the Zim side, and we were on our way to Bulawayo in no time.
On the way to Bulawayo, we stopped at all the drop offs to collect empty boxes, Makado ranch, Gwanda and West Nick. We got to Bulawayo just before dark and were received warmly with a “cold one” and a warm pasta by the Nel family. Very special time for Edith as it was the first time in two years to see the grandchildren in Zim.
The next day I was off to the warehouse to ensure everything was in place and ready for Daniel and the truck’s arrival on Monday. Angela was not in as she had to undergo surgery on her left hand after cutting a tendon on her pinky. I took it easy for the rest of the weekend knowing we were ready for the coming week. I went to Queen Mary and visited Aunty Annie Wheeler who was moved from Coronation as she was too weak to look after herself. I was very shocked to see how frail she had become. I spent some time with her and with a heavy heart headed home afterward.
On Monday I was off to the warehouse early, the whole team was in, and we moved the boxes from the storage to the loading area, all lined up, labeled, checked and in loading order for the truck. Special boxes for the Administrators and the COVID Protective top ups as requested ready to load. I loaded the bakkie and visited all the Kitchens where we drop off. Railsteen, Barbara Burrell, Queen Mary, Edith Duly and Masonic Lodge. The Oldies here are all in the same boat with not much hope in things getting any better. Life is just about survival from day to day. The inflation rate making this harder and more expensive by the day. These folks are still better off than the ones in their own homes. Electricity and water being unaffordable and more often than not there is no service with nowhere to complain. These guys have adapted to getting by with the bare minimum.
While at Masonic, I was informed of a resident that had left, when I asked Mrs. Marie West where the Oldie has gone to, I was informed the Lord called and the resident left to join Him. There is still a lot of humour going around during these depressing times. An interesting way to see life and a lesson to be learnt from a lot of wise old folks.
The truck arrived Monday afternoon and I met with Daniel, and he settled in for the evening, we arranged to meet the next morning to load the truck and he would be on his way to do the deliveries around the country.
On Tuesday morning we loaded the truck and Daniel was off in the round trip by 10:00. I loaded up the bakkie and continued to deliver the single deliveries around Bulawayo. This was to be my modus operandi for the rest of the week. As far as I went there was praise and thanks for the deliveries with people saying that the parcels were a Godsend, without it they do not know how they would get by.
On Saturday I headed towards Beit Bridge and delivered the goodie boxes in Esogodini, I decided to spend the day in the area and meet some of the folks I haven’t seen. At Kinghaven MOTHS I delivered the boxes as usual and had a few minutes with the guys at the hall. Then on to Falcon Collage to meet up with Norma Heyman. She escorts me into the collage, and I drop the first box off at Mr. Tony Bankroft’s house. I was supposed to have tea with the Heymans, but was hijacked by Tony. We had a good chat and I went to drop off at Norma and Johan Heyman. Wow, what an honour to meet these two legends, probably known by half of the people ever schooled in Rhodesia and Zimbabwe, Johan and Norma had schooled children in Falcon and Masvingo most of their lives, and they are both in their eighties. I had tea and we talked about all sorts of things, from farming, school traditions and sewing machines… I was surprised by being introduced to their son, daughter in law and granddaughter. Then Norma wet through the box and basically halved the ingredients explaining that half was luxuries and then she surprised me and enquired if everything was for them as it was so much. I pulled myself away and as I was leaving, I was in awe and realized I just spent time with some of the more well-known teachers and what a blessing having met them. I will definitely be back for another visit.
Sunday was a casual day and I took a breather, Daniel arrived late afternoon and we decided to do the COVID tests on Monday. There was a lot of rumors and social media reports on chaos at the border, according to our agents at the border, things were good one minute and bad the next. With this uncertainty, we were not sure what to expect and hoping for a speedy hassle-free experience, but with Beit Bridge, no one can predict.
Early Monday morning we were off to Mater Dei Hospital for the COVID tests, after that to the warehouse to offload and then Daniel was on the road to refuel, grab his COVID results and head for the border. In the meantime, I was having last meetings. We packed the boxes into the storage and closed up the warehouse. By early afternoon I was done and preparing for the trip home. I heard from the agent that the truck was out the border and on its way after a good passing. I picked up the COVID Results and Edith and I were ready to go.
On Tuesday morning we hit the road and still had the last deliveries to complete on the way to the border. It was a cold and rainy day, in Gwanda we stopped to meet Anna Pell as she was in town and we met up at the garage, there I got us some coffee for the road. The next drop was at the mine at West Nicholson and lastly Makado Ranch at Paxi’s. After that, straight to the border. We were out and on the way to Musina in about an hour. The plan was to sleep over, but with things going so well, we headed straight home and were back in Malelane by seven.
WOW WHAT A TRIP. That was one to remember.
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….
Johan & Linda Schultz
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