This was our first visit ever to Bushkoppies, an area on the main N12 highway to the South Western mining areas of Gauteng and on the route I take every time to get to Lindi and Wandi's homes in Soweto.
It took us a long while to actually find Happy Feet due to it being our first visit ... and to another mishap which I will tell you about!
After I collected Wandi, we stopped along the way to pick up blankets from the Chiawelo gogo group and pay them to date. This is a good way to do things as it helps us not to have to trundle the blankets all the way back to Randburg ... although it also means there will be no blanket pics in such cases - only those taken at the distribution!!
We phoned Edith of Happy Feet while en route to ask for directions, fully expecting that we would turn left off the road we had (so cleverly) decided to take ... but it was not to be quite that simple.
Round the houses we went - ending up back on the Golden Highway, heading back to Johannesburg at one point! Wandi had cleverly by now made contact with Edith's husband Ernest. Although his directions were equally inept we did, quite miraculously, find our way to the "BP garage" to which he was leading us ... and waited there for him to run down from the daycare centre. Thankfully Ernest appeared before too long and turned out to be a gem.
Here's the story ...
I asked him to open the back for Wandi and bring me back the van keys as he was to sit in front to direct me to the daycare - and so off we went.
The daycare was several twists and turns along rutted roads, although in fact it was only 400 or 500 metres from the BP garage. On the way I asked him, "Is Wandi IN the truck ?"
"YES," he said. "Oh yes she is," and on we went.
Almost as the words were out of my mouth, my phone rang and it was Wandi, still standing at the BP service station. She said she had loaded her handbag, picked up the box of bread and apples to put down on the forecourt in order to make space for herself in the van (blankets and bags must have fallen down on the journey) and to her dismay when she turned back she saw the KASvan disappearing into the blue yonder !
Her specs were already IN the van, but fortunately her cellphone was in her hand - so she asked the petrol attendant to dial my number for her and called us back.
We laughed ... but we thought Ernest was going to explode. He was in stitches for the rest of the morning !
Anyway, we finally arrived at Happy Feet.
What an amazing setup - we saw some of the Grade 1 books and they were amazing, beautiful handwriting, and a real credit to their work. In total, there were 57 kids from about 18 months upwards in age.
Edith "introduced" us to a little guy of 2 who has been with them since birth - suffering from brain damage and from the beginning unable to move his limbs at all ... and she already has him standing straight up on his feet, so long as he is able to lean back against her or hang onto her hand.
Edith has been in this area for 18 years apparently, but Ernest fell in love with her 5 years ago and moved in ... and together they started Happy Feet.
They both have such positive attitudes despite the grinding poverty of the area and the constant threat of crime ... their barbed wire fences were prisonlike !! They know all their neighbours and are going to introduce us to other daycares in the same part of Bushkoppies for distributions in the near future.
Poor Wandi, good job she had her phone in her hand otherwise it could have been a long wait. Keep up the fantastic work it's so rewarding for us to see pictures of our squares being lovingly cherished by these poor little mites.
Thanks for a great report, Gloria. It sounds like Edith and Ernest have created a wonderful creche at Bushkoppies!
Thanks Gloria. Glad Wandi was soon 'rescued'. Good to hear of the wonderful work of Edith and Ernest at Happy Feet.
Poor Wandi ! Just as well Ernest didn't have a heart attack from all his laughing. He and Edith are doing a wonderful job ! It made my heart jump seeing that little fellow up on his feet and the news about the children's learning. You have such adventures carrying out these distributions for us . Some of them funny and others not quite so funny. We really appreciate what you do, and of course seeing so many children with a warmer winter ahead.
Good grief at the rate Ronda leaves people stranded at the roadside, we'll have to have everyone at the office micro-chipped! Lovely story about lovely lovely people. Doesn't it just prove what a wonderful organisation Knit-a-Square has developed into!
Yes, Pam, Knit-a-Square is a wonderful organization, reaching out to so many wonderful people. In this report, I think my absolute favorite is our darling little two-year-old. Edith has done wonders with him ... he is so fortunate to have her looking out for him. It appears he is doing very well in her care.
Oh my goodness just imagining the look on Wandi's face as she saw the KAS van leaving, I got the giggles. I sympathize over not having her glasses, I can see about 6 inches without mine. Glad she got rescued and I'm delighted to hear that Happy Feet will introduce us to other daycares in the area for future distributions...how wonderful!
That little 2 year old stole my heart.
What a great name - Happy Feet. Wonderful to see that Ernest has joined Edith in her work. In most creches, you only see women being the caregivers.
And it's good that the little boys have a decent and good male role model.....x