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Linda Botha - ZPSF Admin Manager

ZPSF December 2014 Trip Report - A Botha

ZPSF December 2014 Trip Report.
Eastern Route.

This trip was scheduled to leave the border on Monday
1st December but was delayed
over and over and we finally left for Bulawayo on Friday the 5th at 13.30hrs after spending the previous
night sleeping in the trucks in the truck confinement depot on the Zimbabwe
side, waiting to have them searched. We had crossed onto the Zimbabwe side by
06.00hrs on the morning of Thursday 4th.

Before I put my thoughts together for this report I
first need to thank some folk who were an inspiration to me on the journey.

My dear wife Liz, Santie Barrish
and Joy Hogg who undertook the journey along with the truck to
dish out the customary TLC in the form of hugs and kisses and words of
encouragement that the driving crew find difficult to do.

We got to the Bulawayo warehouse about 18.00hrs to the
efficient team of Angela, her hubby Collin and her sisters with a
team of excited and willing labourers were ready to drop the loads we brought
up and reload the trucks for the round trip ahead. We were under pressure to
get going by 04.00hrs, as we were now almost a week late. This mean machine of
willing workers astounded me and “hey presto” the job was done within five and
a half hours. I can never over emphasize the way in which Angela and the team
get the job done. It’s a mammoth task. We’re very proud of you and our wishes
are that 2015 be a the best year yet for you all as a family.

Saturday 6th.

We set off at 04.00 to do our first delivery to the
folk at MUUS Cottages in Shurugwe arriving there just after 07.00 and
were met by a very happy and appreciative bunch of oldies who welcomed us with
open arms.

As this was a new experience for the ladies
accompanying the truck we stopped at a good vantage and outlook spot on the Wilshire
hill escarpment just outside the town for breakfast. We then set off for the
D’Ewes home in Zvishavane to do the deliveries for the folk in and around the
town. From there we hightailed it to Masvingo where we drop the hampers with
Gerhard and Trudi Burger who have a team ever ready to help as well. When we
are not pressed for time we do some of the deliveries ourselves. It was while
travelling to Gweru en route to Masvingo that I realized that the trucks clutch
was slipping more than before. On leaving Malelane I experienced some slipping
but put it down to the tonnage we were carrying. There was a function organized
in Mutare that we needed to attend for lunch on Sunday so we had a serious
deadline to keep to. The running time from Masvingo to Mutare with a stopover
in Chivhu is almost 10 hrs and having left Masvingo after 1500hrs left us in a
quandary as to how to proceed with the expected time of arrival in Mutare being
between 2300hrs and 0100hrs. It is not advisable to drive the Zimbabwe roads after
dark. I called ahead to Mr Piet de Klerk and his wife Frieda, in Chivhu and
asked if they could put us up for the night. Praise the Lord, they insisted and
also gave us a hearty cooked farm style meal and a good warm bed. Thankyou
friends, you are stars without whom this project cannot function.

Sunday 7th.

After a cup of lekker hot coffee and some rusks we
were ready to get on the road and head for Mutare by 0500. We arrived at Des Beckers warehouse at about 10.30 and
took off to our various hosts to look after us. We cleaned up and changed and then attended the function that the
management of EHT involving all the homes had organized to say THANK YOU to the
fund for the support we had been able to give them because of the support we
get from you, our loyal and faithful donors and prayer warriors.

It was a great event and many eyes were filled with
tears. Thanks to Mr Gillus Gouws who donated 24 bottles of choice wine
for the occasion. The lunch party lasted into early evening when at last we
could get our weary bodies into bed.

Monday 8th.

We had a good breakfast before we left for the warehouse to collect
the truck and do the deliveries. The trip thus far had worn the clutch plate
severely and I was worried about making it to Harare where we knew we could
have proper repairs done. One of the oldies, George Deragio did some
adjustments but it was almost a futile attempt as the clutch still slipped. We
did the deliveries in the morning, had a combined lunch and then set off to
collect the empties. The ladies had plenty of time to interact and came away
with quite a few stories of how the old folk are struggling in Zimbabwe in
these times. Many a tear was shed again as we reflected on the experience so
far.

Tuesday 9th.

We left Mutare 08.00 and set off for Rest Haven in
Rusape arriving there at 11.00 in time for a treat as usual from the residents
of that home We left for Harare after about an hour and by this time the truck
was really struggling. We did the customary drop at the residence of Mike and
Marion Futter before heading to Jim Forrester’s workshop where he had agreed to
get us professional mechanical help. We left the truck in his care and were
picked up to spend the night with John and Leonie Herbst who have become good
friends of ours.

Thursday 11th.

Unfortunately the repairs to the truck took longer as
spares are not available and the worn clutch plate had to be rebuilt, I ended
up spending another night in Harare before the repairs were done and I could
leave Harare after the repairs and refueling by 17.00hrs. Once again, special
thanks to Jim and his connection who did the repairs and fitting for us.
Unfortunately, the finished article was not entirely to spec and we still
struggled along. I had to do some night driving to get to Kadoma where I spent
the night with our dear friends Clive and Estelle O’Reilly.

Friday 12th.

I was on the road by 06.00 on my way to Kwekwe and
Gweru en route to Bulawayo. I had to stop over in both these places at the
homes there to do special calls on people who had special things to be done,
ie; we are also the postal service between the towns, homes and South Africa. I
arrived in Bulawayo some time after 14.00 and we made a decision to drop the
gearbox again to see if we could find the problem. In the meantime Hannes had
looked around for replacement parts in various Bulawayo motor outlets.

Here again, true Rhodesian camaraderie came through. I
only needed to make a few phone calls and in no time a team of very capable
experts came to our assistance. I called Mr Buck de Vries who gave the
name of Hannes Jofner who came along with his assistant and a bunch of
tools. Our cousin Gerald de Klerk and his son Pietie made
themselves available immediately. On the previous trip I had met Bryan
Christie, an old car enthusiast like myself. I called on him to see if he
had a big trolley jack we could use. Totally unfazed he made it available to
us. The gearbox was out by sunset and everyone involved made themselves
available for refitting the next day. Un fortunately the main culprit, the
clutch plate was wrongly supplied and all we could do was re assemble and hope
for the best as I had to get the truck back home.

Sunday 14th.

I left for the border and home at about 0400hrs and
eventually arrived at the warehouse and storage area in Duiwelskloof at about
19.00hrs. The ladies had gone ahead and arrived back home 2 days before me.
They will have their own tale to tell and I hope to get that from them soon.
The trip was great in spite of the trouble with the truck, which left me
totally mentally and emotionally exhausted, as I had to constantly balance
vehicle speed and engine revs to prevent slipping the clutch.

All the folk in the homes and the outsiders have asked
me to thank, everyone of you who helps in whatever way towards their hampers
and gifts. I want to echo that motion and lavish you all with high praise and
thanks.

None of this
would be possible without your input. As I have said before, you are the fire
in the hole that keeps this locomotive steaming ahead to do the work our Lord
God has called us to do. Thanks to those that gave tyres for the UD90, those
that kept us fueled up, serviced and repaired our trucks supplied us with water
to drink, donated finance to help us to buy the goods for the hampers, You are
the true stars.

My prayers are
that our Lord will give you all the desires of your hearts and that you may
never be found wanting. Psalms .37:4 and 5.

We trust and
pray that 2015 is going to be the
year that God will reveal Himself in all His Glory so that all mankind will
realize that He is Lord.

This report was compiled by

Pastor
Attie Botha.

A
Note from Liz

For me this is an honour and a privilege to be able
to try and share my thoughts and highlights of the ZPSF trip where I had 2
friends, Santie & Joy from Nelspruit, travel with me.

For Santie and Joy it was a trip that was looked
forward to with much enthusiasm, expectation and excitement. For Joy it was a
first time visit to Zimbabwe and Santie had been there quite a few times, but
had not been back in many years.

With the 2 of them being involved in helping in
packing some of the Christmas gifts for the pensioners each year, they really
wanted to meet some of the many folk who were but a name on a box and shower
them with much needed love and “hugs”

Unfortunately
the trip was delayed for a few days and the much planned trip itinerary was
“thrown out the window”, and this was a learning curve especially for Santie,
who is a retired teacher/head mistress, who is used to things being run to a
programme….God has a sense of humour to show and teach us various things in our
lives and for all of us on this trip we had to buckle down and allow things to
work out in HIS way.

We over
nighted by Joe and Hester Joubert in Musina the Tuesday evening..also ex
“Rhodies” with the hospitality like any Rhodie would have, we were cared for,
served hand and foot. Colleen and daughter Cassandra, gave up their beds for us
all, that were travelling to Zim (5) Thank you so much!

Attie, Daniel
and Joe, our drivers were stuck at the border for various reasons and had to
sleep over in the truck, but were not alone as the many “mozzies” were there to
accompany them, with the HEAT and DUST!!
At this time I really want to extend a word of thanks and appreciation
to them, as they stuck it through thick and thin, knowing that they had a
precious cargo on board for many who were already holding "their
ears" to the ground” to hear when the trucks are arriving with their
special Christmas food boxes..AND a Christmas gift and card. For many of them
it will be the only Christmas gift and card they will receive..so sad…again if it wasn’t for you, all our
donors this will not have happened

Us ladies,
being in car eventually got through the border, Wednesday 3rd Dec, and travelled onto
Bulawayo to wait for the trucks. We stayed with dear friends of ours Bill and
Miems McAlister, and we were spoilt, thank you. “Rhodesians“ are well
known for their hospitality and friendliness and Santie and Joy experienced
this throughout the trip wherever we stopped and stayed over. I had the chance
to take them out and show them a bit of my hometown, went shopping, showed them
the ways to bargain for a better price and they came away very happy with their
purchases.

Friday evening
the trucks arrived at the warehouse and here we once again saw all the work
that goes into getting the trucks unpacked and repacked for the trip throughout
the country.

Daniel..You're a STAR and a hero, through the
tough ordeal you had at the border etc, you went all the way and physically was
involved with unpacking and repacking the
trucks…WOW!

With the whole
program out of order, Daniel and Joe left very early Saturday to do the Western
side of the trip, and it was drop and go as Daniel had to be back in Durban
early in the next week

Angela and
hubby, Collin and her team of sisters and labourers are AMAZING!.How they
shuffled around that warehouse that night to get all the boxes sorted and
packed, the guys were at the warehouse until way after midnight… Thank you to
all of you!

Joy and Santie
were just amazed at what they saw and realized what a vast project this is, and
now want to get the word out there that this fund needs all the financial
support it can get…

We left with
Attie driving the truck very early Saturday morning 04.00, and for me not being
a “early bird” it really put a big strain to get up etc. Driving at
night is not for me, although I am a “Night Owl” I don’t see too well at night
and trying to get to meet with Attie, we drove wrong and my poor little “Pocket
Rocket” at times thought she was a 4X4!!

We wanted to
get to Mutare by the end of the day…and it was a LONG stretch to go.

All along the
trip that day at the various towns and Homes, memories just flooded back of
previous trips and seeing all the precious folk, and how some of them have
aged, but still friendly with a smile on their faces.

For me it was
great to see all the familiar faces again and when they see me, they come
straight to me and greet and get their HUGS, as I am known to be a “Hugger”,
but sadly there were those that are not there anymore, that have passed on…

We realized
with all the stops, we were not going to make Mutare, at Muus Lodge, in
Xvishavane with John & Lynne D’ewes, and Gerhard & Trudie in Masvingo.
Trudie showed Joy and Santie some of the art and craft work she’s involved in
to help the local people to be able to bring an income for themselves. She and
Gerhard are amazing what they do for their fellow man there. We salute you!
When we left them at about 3pm, we realized we were not going to make Mutare
and at about 5pm we stopped and phoned Piet and Freida de Klerk, and asked if
there was “room in their inn’ for us that night, such special people! All of us
tired, were welcomed, with a cooked meal and a comfortable bed. Frieda is not
well, and needs hip, knee replacements, her back not good, but was there for
us. Thank Piet and Freida, we are blessed to have had you on our way.

Sunday morning
we left early, 05.00 for Mutare and again we got there well in time to attend
the various Homes, Christmas party that was arranged to thank us as a Fund for
what the fund does for them. It was great to see all and the smiles and also to
see how the folk were enjoying themselves, singing and dancing with the music
and song of Steve Theron from Harare, an old school friend of Attie’s

Des and Sally
Becker, our friends and hosts did us proud once again..spoilt us and made sure
we were looked after. Joy and Santie spent 2 nights in one of the Old Age Homes
and enjoyed visiting and chatting with some of the residents.

Thank you Des
and Sally for being there for those folks, God’s blessings are for you.

Monday, we had
a day off and visited the lovely area of Mutare, a first for me. The lovely
mountains and thick natural forests and also had sightings of a rare monkey in
that area..the Samango Monkey, so different from the normal ones we all know. A
very shy monkey, hard to find and see them, we were blessed! We had lunch at
the beautiful, exquisite Leopard Rock hotel and we really felt we were in
another world, the old Colonial way of being waited on was appreciated.

Tuesday, we
left for Harare, slowly as the clutch of the truck was slipping badly and I
must brag a bit here about my hubby, Attie. He is the best truck driver around,
he managed to drive that truck with hardly no clutch all the way to Harare, up
Christmas Pass and praying and trusting God for a miracle, and He did!!

We stopped
over at our friend, Jim Forrester’s truck stop, to leave the truck and he and
his mechanics were going to open up the system the next day and see what can be
done.

They managed
to try and fix the problem, but with the shortage of spares in that country,
and its holiday season, they had the old Clutch plate reconditioned.

It took a bit
longer than expected, so us ladies left our new found friends, John &
Leonie, who are absolute stars! Thank you again for your hospitality. We left
for Kadoma the next afternoon as there was room in the inn at our friends,
Clive & Estelle, where we were welcomed, fed and had a comfortable
sleep…Thank you, thank you!

Throughout the
country it was dry and very hot, and on our way to Kadoma we saw that they had
some good rain the night before. We left very early the next morning, in
overcast weather, heading straight for Beitbridge..happy to be going home after
a very adventurous and exciting trip. Along the way just before the old
“Todd's" Motel” we hit a heavy rain storm, so welcoming and refreshing. We
stopped for a short break at Todd’s, had a real Zim Coke for the last time and
headed for the border.

We arrived at
about 4.30pm at a VERY BUSY border, cars and more cars and the people were
uncountable, had visions of sleeping at the border and we just prayed right
there and agreed for Godly favour that we as God’s princesses be escorted
through the border and be through in no time.

AND praise His
Name, we were through both borders within a hour. We were literally escorted
through, like royalty…Shoee God is AWESOME!!

We arrived at
our friends, Joe And Hester, where we were again waited on, had a good nights
rest and left Friday morning after breakfast for our different homes.

Yes, I would
do the trip again…and am sure Joy and Santie as well. For me it’s a blessing
and to once again realize the desperate need out there for the elderly that
have nothing and still smile. Here we want to thank you Hannes who does much
behind the scenes, does many kilometers to get paper work done to get the food
there, and to make sure there is enough money in the “kitty” to buy the food
etc.

This project is
AWESOME and I want to encourage you, our readers, supporters and donors to
support all those responsible for carrying out this huge task.

Thank you

www.zpsf.co.za

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