Here we are again at the end of another year. How time flies. It seems like just last week that I was reading through the overview for 2010.
Going back through the overall report on 2010 I am pleased that we ended on a high again in spite of the efforts of the powers that be trying to derail this much needed operation. When we all finally returned across the border, including Hannes who had a repeat of Daniel’s experience with the truck playing up in the fuel starvation area we set about a well-earned rest for a few weeks.
Our first trip in February was started on the 15th with the two large trucks driven by Les Britz in the UD80 doing the Western route and Boet Holmes and I on the Eastern route. Hannes had to do some business in Harare of which organising new documents for future trips was a part of, so he was in his car. We also had some French Journalists come along to see what we were doing and then to do some fund raising back home once they compiled their story..
In Chivhu we found the Kirstein couple where we normally drop the hampers for distribution had left for South Africa and their son Bertus Kirsteinpacking their home. These old folk have become our extended families and we theirs.
Hannes and Les did the Bulawayo deliveries with Hannes letting Les do most of the driving and thinking ‘cause he needs to learn and gain confidence. Extra goodies were packed for Verity Amm Kitchen to give the folk a Valentine party, just to add a little joy to their lives.
On the 11th of April we set off on our next trip, Hannes and Les doing the Western leg and Boet and I the Eastern one. After an unusually quick border crossing we prayed together asking the Lord to guide and protect us on the roads before each going their own way. As is now almost the norm the lights and water were off. The situation in Masvingo is as far as we are concerned the worst in Zimbabwe.
We were on the road to Umvuma by 9am the next morning as we headed for Kwekwe, off loading at Herbert Lee in Redcliff on the way. Each stop has become one of heartache as you find these folk streaming from their houses to the truck, ever thankful for the hampers and other goods.
We went on to do Kadoma, Chinhoyi and the regulation Harare stop at the Futter residence where Mike and Marion take all the goods and distribute it further. This task is not for sissies or a holiday as many folk think. At every stop over we are a spent force. Our hosting families throughout the country are worth Gold to us. May our Lord bless you all.
The next day we arrived in Mutare at 12.00pm after doing Rest Haven in Rusape. We delivered to EHT kitchen, the EHT cottages, Park Cottages, Murambi Cottages and the SOAP hampers. We set off for the border at 04:00am the next morning and had a quick crossing, only two hours from start in Zim and finish on SA side.
Hannes and Les did their route without hiccups. Their route consists of doing Kingshaven Cottages in Esigodini, Verity Amm, Coronation cottages, Edith Duly, Queen Mary home, Barbara Burrell home for the blind Ralstein house, Masonic lodges, and SOAP in Bulawayo, Huisvergesig, Bogies Trust and SOAP in Gweru as well as MUUS Home in Sherugwe and with the help of John and Lyn D’Ewes serve the pensioners in private homes in Zvishavane. As with us, on the Harare route, he brought much joy to many of the oldies that were very happy with the delivery of our yearly drop of chocolate Easter eggs along with their hampers. On this trip we again covered more than 6,500 kms using around 2500 litres diesel fuel serving 29 homes, and kitchens & organizations, feeding just over 1650 people who without your help would be facing starvation, their word, not ours.
On the 13th of June we left Malelane late morning with the two trucks and finally pulled in to Musina at 18:45, tired. Boet was now a fully licensed driver he did most of the driving throughout the trip. The Bulawayo trip was done by Hannes and his passenger from New Zealand, Sheldon Winn.
It was here that we once again saw God in action. I had an electric blanket given by a 92 year old pensioner, here in Duiwelskloof, who said, “Just give it to the person who needs it Attie.” It was a cold evening and Trudi told of how, the night before, she had filled empty 2 litre coke bottles, wrapped them in a towel and put them by her feet to try to keep warm. Our good Lord had prompted someone a few days earlier to give away her electric blanket and Trudi had no idea what God had provided for her in the truck. On the way to Mutare, we had trouble with the diesel filters of the truck, possibly due to dirty fuel.. When Des heard of our “filter dilemma“ he came to the rescue with a box full of them, free of charge, God is faithful!!
While in Des’s workshop area, I did some running repairs, changing the blocked filters and changing a worn tyre that would attract attention from the local constabulary.
We made good time, to Harare now that the trucks throat had been cleared., Saturday we took the trip to Bindura and Mvurwi to deliver boxes to the homes there. Again Philip made his van available to us, thanks my friend, you are a star. The rest of the week end was to be “free” as we have been told that we need to wait in Harare for a Lady from Dubai, who wants to promote the Fund there, and will do 2 days of the trip with us to get a feel of what we do.
Cheryl Robertson, lady from Dubai, was picked up at 08.00 as arranged and we proceeded to Chinhoyi. Cheryl interviewed some of the people in the home, and also one of the folk who had been evicted from his farm, and now lives in the home.
In Kadoma we off loaded at Westview Home where Cheryl again spoke to the folk gleaning vital information. We were soon in Kwekwe where Cheryl was able to do some more interviews, and then on to Redcliff where we met Hannes, who had been busy doing the Bulawayo/Gweru trip. Cheryl transferred to his truck to do some more interviews in Gweru before she returned to Dubai. The Dec 2011 copy of the Farmers Weekly has a copy of her report. I believe it has generated a food deal of funding. Thankyou Cheryl.
On the Western leg we had new spot on our deliveries in Gwanda who we have now added to our list. Hannes and Sheldon Winn, a donor from New Zealand went on to Esigodini and then finally made it to Bulawayo. The stay in Bulawayo was a slightly extended one due to the upcoming Verity Amm Mothers/Fathers day function for which Hannes managed to get a nice donation of Oxtail and Short rib from some of the local Butchers. He had brought his number 20 Potjie pot with, and did an Oxtail meal that was fit for royalty. The ladies at Verity Amm set up the Hall and did all the side dishes etc. A great evening was had by all, and Hannes received many accolades for the effort.
While in Bulawayo he had an old man come up to the truck and ask for help. Hannes took his name and address and went and paid him a visit the next day. We found out that he was a railway pensioner who had 28 years of service. After all of this he is receiving his monthly pension of $40. The equivalent of R270 per month. He is living in the servant’s room on a property. He was given a blanket and a much needed box of food and has now been added to the growing list of pensioners we support.
“What are we supposed to do, these guys fought for us, brought us up and helped make Rhodesia what is was. Now it is our turn to try and return the favour.” These are Hannes’s words. Come on all you ex Rhodesians, you well know that these folk are the ones who made it possible for you to get great educations so you can enjoy the life you now live. I urge you to get involved and help these folk in need today.
Our August trip kicked off on Friday 26th. We could find no helpers or co-drivers and Hannes and I set off alone in each truck. This is never a good idea as you always need the second pair of eyes on these trips. This trip was considerably delayed because of continued problems with the relative departments in Zimbabwe who issue us with import permits that enable us to import various goods for the pensioners. In fact Hannes made two trips to Harare, the second one lasting more than a week, before we had the paperwork needed to start the process on this side.
However, we will not be overcome, and we know that our God will always be with us as we try to sustain a lifeline to the pensioners in Zimbabwe. We are after all answering the call He gave “to reach out and feed His sheep as is written in the Bible in John 21: 15 -17. This trip was considerably delayed because of continued problems with the relative departments in Zimbabwe who normally issue us with import permits that enable us to import various goods for the pensioners. In fact Hannes made two trips to Harare, the second one lasting more than a week, before we had the paperwork needed to start the process on this side.
It is really tragic to arrive at our destinations two weeks late to find folk who have run out of food, and to “run” as well as a pensioner can run, ran up to me, hugged me in tears to say, “we ran out of food 2,3 and 4 days ago, thank you for caring about us”. Yes folks, I don’t make this up. These dear people are like you and I, sadly too proud to let their neighbours know their plight because many are in the same boat. I now see that these delays were just a taste of what was ahead for us.
We had an excellent crossing, less than 3 hours and then as we were leaving the truck parking area on the Zim side, which is in a pathetic state, the auxiliary fuel tank on the UD80 hit the ground and dislodged itself causing a substantial delay to relocate it. Fortunately we were together and coped as well as two “bush mechanics” can. As I said before, its not a good idea to travel solo. We were travelling together to Bulawayo and en route we discovered that the centre bolt and securing bracket on the UD90’s tag axle had broken and the axle was running out of kilter. After a temporary repair job we pressed on to Bulawayo. As my progress was now slower, Hannes went ahead and did the hamper drop at Kings Haven home in Esigodini while I limped into Bulawayo where I off loaded the goods for SOAP and then went to an old family friend for help.
Gert Naude helped with a length of chain, some bolts and strong wire with which I would do a further repair job. Early the next morning, after transferring the Gweru, Sherugwe and Zvishavane hampers to my vehicle I set off for the rest of my journey around the country. I did the drops for Huisvergesig and Boggies, leaving the goods for MUUS lodge and Zvishavane at Boggies. I then went on to Lynbrook home in Kwekwe where I dropped the goods for them and also for Herbert Lee in Redcliff. Ken Connelly and his helpers were on hand and we soon had it all done. I spent the night there with our hosts in Kwekwe who also assist us with fuel.
On arrival in Harare at Jim Forrester’s workshop, when I wanted to point out my great repair job we found that the chain had snapped somewhere between Chinhoyi and Harare and the axle was again out of alignment. Jim took control and insisted that the truck stand overnight at their premises, and proper repairs will be done the next day
Jim and his crew led by Colin, his workshop foreman, did a splendid job of rebuilding the axle components and making sure all was in order before he allowed me to travel further. All this reminded me of why sanctions against Rhodesia never worked. We made parts, better than the imported stuff and gave “Harold Wilson” and his government grey hairs. The repair job was expertly completed by13.00 and I left to do the deliveries to the Futter family who spread them around Harare and surrounding areas for us.
I only managed to get away from Harare at 15.00 and did the Rusape drop leaving those wonderful folk who insist on tea and sarmies or cake come what may. This group are so much like true family. I arrived in Mutare at 19.00 in the dark which I do not enjoy doing.
With the help of Des’s crew we did all the homes in the morning, picked up all the empties in the afternoon and then to rest for an early departure the following day.
I managed to leave for Masvingo by 05.00. En route I dropped the hampers for Chivhu with Piet deklerk and on to Masvingo to drop the goods for all the homes in Masvingo. I did the Mucheke drop and then left for the border at 12.15 arriving at the border at 16.15. I had an absolutely fantastic crossing emerging on the SA side by 1700. Then the “silver horse” died on me, barely 1 kilometre past the border. After a long struggle with the help of my friends Joe Joubert & Hennie Ferreira, trying to find the problem, I was rescued by Henry Cameron, whom I called on for help, but who saw us bush mechanics going nowhere slowly. He posted a watchman for the night and took me home for much needed rest
Early morning Henry had a mechanic sourced to sort the problem and had me back on the road in no time. I was able to run through to Bushbuck ridge where Hannes and I exchanged trucks and I was able to get home from a VERY, VERY exhausting trip at 21.30.
The October trip starts with the horrors of getting the documentation out of Zimbabwe…… The trucks are ready and almost packed for the trip, but not only the goal posts but the game venue has now been changed. Before we are able to bring anything for the oldies, we now have to register a charity organisation as well as the Zimbabwe equivalent of a Non-Profit Organisation in Zim with the necessary directors of Zimbabwe nationality. Hannes spends almost the whole of September and a week or two of October without achieving all that is needed for us to run. With HEAVY hearts and emotions running amok we are forced to abandon the October mercy run. We are all, including many sponsors and well-wishers, devastated by this as we have fresh in our memories the events of the previous trip….. “We ran outa food 4 days ago” rings loud in our ears.
I have undergone a long awaited knee replacement operation on the 19th of October so I am out of circulation for the next few trips, yet the situation of the cancelled trip and the fact that Hannes is again in Zim trying to get the December trip organised has me distraught, and there is no way I can help him. Back here we carry on making up the hampers and the Christmas gifts we give out each December, praying, trusting and others hoping that he will get everything done. Many of our donors and sponsors regularly call to here what’s happening and remind us that they are praying for favour. Hannes crosses back into SA on the 25th of November with the news that this trip December may go through on the old system. We all hail it as an answer to prayer…….. He is involved in an accident, writing off his car, getting his son in law Johan Schultz to fetch him from Louis Trichardt so that he can get the trip on the road. By the Grace of Our Lord and God he has no injuries or serious ill effects from this accident.
Daniel Koekemoer Reports
The December trip leaves Malelane on the 30th November, one day behind schedule, Hannes and a journalist from the Beeld called Hilda Fourie doing the Western route and I, with a friend, Hendik van Deeventer on the Eastern route. The border crossing the following day started late but was a good one and we were all on our separate ways by 13.00 and we arrived in Masvingo at about 17.00 and stopped over at the Burger residence for the night.
We were up early and dropped the hampers for the Cottages and others with our friend Lulu Mc Kenzie before we set off for Mutare. We arrived here at 15.00 and having alerted Des, who mobilised his team helped us to get the deliveries done before sunset.
That evening we spent with Des and Sally at Strickland Lodge where they had a fund raiser for the folk in the lodge. This was a hoot for me as I enjoyed playing “BINGO” with everyone. It was a wonderful nostalgic evening taking me back many years to my life in Triangle in the’70s. It was as if time had stood still.
We set off for Rusape where we received a very warm welcome and were seated down to a feast of coffee tea and sarmies. After a good visit we headed for Harare and did all the deliveries needed to the Futters and then a visit to the Bezer home for children.
My dear cousin Marie & husband Jack Ashford very kindly cared for us in Harare. Thanks a million to them for their hospitality and kindness.
Once again the ever generous Jim Forester helped us with some fuel. We set off to do a drop at Chivhu. Piet de Klerk and his kind wife drop off the boxes around the village.
Then the long, long haul back to Malelane in Mpumalanga. The trip went well and was punctuated only by an astonishing 1 hour and twenty minute crossing at Beitbridge! An unbelievably fast crossing. I’m told that Clive Stockhill (sp) has joined the Zimbabwe Tourism Board and his first priority is to make the Beitbridge border post more efficient and “ user friendly” He has encouraged anyone having a bad experience at the border to contact him. (I have his details if anyone needs them) If our crossing was a reflection of his input……..Viva Clive!! Well done.
Hilda and I did the Bulawayo western leg and he reports that all went well after the border crossing. Here are the highlights of our trip.
Once in Bulawayo we did all of our deliveries without a hitch. We received plenty of thank you letters and heartfelt thanks for both the food parcels and Christmas “Pressies.” I must also add that the normal food parcels were rather upgraded for Christmas, just those few extra goodies to make it special considering the missed October trip.
We also dropped off bulk stock at Verity Amm for their Christmas function, which was being held on the 17th December. They supply between 60 – 90 pensioners with hot meals during the week and we support them whole-heartedly..
As I had Hilda with me on the truck I decided to make my trip a slightly longer one and included Redcliff, Kwekwe, Kadoma and Chinhoyi as part of my deliveries. I wanted to give her the opportunity to see as much as possible about what we do. She therefore had a lot of time to speak to both the pensioners and farmers (who have been kicked off their farms) that we support.
We stayed with Albert and Elise Frits in Kwekwe, who made us feel right at home.
Generally speaking we had an uneventful trip, just a very emotional one. It is always hard to accept the pensioner’s deepest gratitude and not crumble. These boxes are a life line for them.
On our way back to the border the UD 90 got an “Air Lock” which set us back about 2 hours. Once we finally made the border at 3pm, the truck developed another air block and this time had to wait for a mechanic to come and help. Thank you to Meschek, a very helping guy! By this time poor Hilda had called her parents to come and collect her and she ended up in walking across the border. Not quite the impression we wanted to make, but these things happen. I finally got through the border just after midnight.
A generous donation of maize meal.
A generous donation of maize meal
A generous donation of maize meal
Mrs. Nancy Goulding, 85 years old
Donated crocheted knee rugs
N12 Truck Spares
A new starter for the UD 80. As a “spare”
Anonymous donor in Tzaneen
A new starter for the UD 80. Fitted same day
Two Anonymous donors from Richards Bay
paid in a substantial amount towards the Starter motor, we have transferred the donation into our “Maintenance” Fund
Mr. Rowan van den Berg
2 new tyres for the UD90
Montana Meats Zimbabwe
20 kgs oxtails for Verity Amm function
Heads and Hooves Zimbabwe
10 kgs short ribs for Verity Amm function
Round Table White River
Blankets, duvets, pillows & clothes
Lastly we want to thank our volunteer drivers, Boet Holmes, Daniel Koekemoer and Les Britz for
- Their passion and commitment, giving up time in their businesses, time with their spouses and also thank
- Their spouses for their sacrifice. You are a priceless component in the running of this operation!!
Please note, we appreciate all our donors, none are excluded. You are a wonderful group. May our Lord continue to bless you in every aspect of your lives.
Once again, many, many thanks for your kindness and please keep us in your prayers.
|ZIMBABWE PENSIONERS SUPPORTER FUND|
|QUANTITY BOXES & NUMBER OF PEOPLE|
|NO||RECIPIENT'S NAME||TOWN||NO OF||NO OF|
|1||Hurbert Lee Cottages||Redcliff||17||20|
|2||Hurbert Lee Outsiders||Redcliff||7||9|
|9||Sunningdale Self Catering||Chinhoyi||8||9|
|11||Mazoe Valley Trust||Bindura||10||14|
|16||E.H.T Park Cottages||Mutare||28||34|
|22||Muus Lodge & Outsiders||Shurugwi||18||23|
|24||Anna Scheepers - Gewru Outsiders||Gweru||11||13|
|ZIMBABWE PENSIONERS SUPPORTER FUND|
|QUANTITY BOXES FOR KITCHENS|
|NO||RECIPIENT'S NAME||TOWN||NO OF
|7||Verity Amm Soup Kitchen||Bulawayo||19|
We are currently supporting just over 1650 Pensioners in Zimbabwe. Of this total about 40% are Afrikaans speaking.
With the 2 trucks we are still using just over 2500 litres of Diesel per trip and as we all know the price is once again just going up. Both trucks are serviced regularly in order to ensure our wheels keep turning. And then again the cost of tyres is not getting any better and the roads in Zimbabwe are not conducive to a long life span for tyres. (Even truck ones)
As usual all admin costs are kept to a minimum as we only have 3 permanent staff members. And for this we say a BIG THANK YOU to all our volunteers.
We had our Annual Audit in March 2011 after Financial Year End and everything was 100%, so a clean bill there. This was done by Danie Senekal CA (SA) in Alberton. Our Accountant at RB Business was also extremely happy with the paper work.
Our biggest expenses are as follows:
|Expense||Amount per annum|
|Fuel @ 2500lt/trip||R162000.00|
|Permits and Paperwork - Cross Border Permits||R 2400.00|
|Carbon Tax||R 600.00|
|Import Permits||R 3000.00|
|Avg Total Per Trip - R 9000.00||R54000.00 P/A|
God Bless you all.
Hannes Botha. (Director/driver) Tel 013 7900934 or Cell 0845893221.
Past. Attie Botha. Limpopo Coordinator/driver Tel 015 3098594 or 0829012291
Daniel Koekemoer. Natal Coordinator/driver. Tel 031 7641457 or Cell 0832334257.
Boet Holmes. Driver and Representative (Secunda) Tel: 017 6312168 or 0726214222
Linda Schultz. Admin and Fundraising. Tel 013 7900934 or Cell 0796082676
Registration Numbers Section 21 Co Reg. 2007 034036/08
NPO Number 096733
Section 18A PBO No 930031642
Please if you have any queries about who we are or what we do, do not hesitate to contact us.