I just want to pay tribute to the wonderful support Knit-a-Square has enjoyed since August 2010 from the wives of Black & Veitch contractors, mostly from Kansas, USA, who have been out here working on the huge Eskom upgrade project in South Africa.
It seems that most of the project staff are housed in Pretoria... but a group of them were living in Kyalami Gardens Estate. Thanks to Marci Handley, who started the Hip to be Square Circle within the estate, and, managed to track down Knit-a-Square SA who were literally "down the road" - they became a group of dedicated Thursday "opening day" volunteers, along with knitting/crocheting squares, starting a domestic workers knitting group which ran for a while and produced some great squares, helping with distributions, advice, gifts (i.e. KAS T-shirts from Marci on her return from one visit to the States) and two gorgeous scarves from Marci and Joyce for Lindi and Wandi, as a farewell at the time that they both left here.
Since being back in the States, they have sent more lovely contributions, often via returning contract families - too numerous and abundant to list, but just always thoughtful, generous, beautiful ... to gasp over !!!
We have very recently - and very sadly - said goodbye to Barbara (who took over from Marci in the hosting of the Hip to be Square Circle), her mum Anna and several others. I hesitate to name names in case I leave anyone out, but I am a bit doddery so hopefully any forgetfulness will be forgiven !!
We thank you from the bottom of our hearts ... Marci, Joyce, Denise (and daughter Sydney who visited SA briefly), Kirsten, Annette, Delynn, Barbara, Anna, Christina, Donna and 5 delightful American helpers who came with us to Ithumeleng III. We've also enjoyed meeting visiting mums and mums-in-law from the States - names don't spring to mind but the memories do !!!
We are SO happy to still have Lesley in our midst, and her two sons Caleb and Ethan who have given their school "service hours" time to Knit-a-Square on occasions and been great.
I should say here, that the education system must be awesome in America because ALL these ladies are talented craftswomen and produced some truly gorgeous items of all sorts - not to mention resurrecting some really dodgy bits and pieces and turning them into works of art for our children to be blessed by !!!
Am attaching some photographs of the groups at work and at distributions - not in any specific order and just want to express our HUGE GRATITUDE to each and every one - and every one I have not mentioned by name, too !
Hip2bSquare Meeting at Barbara's home - the ladies hard at work for KAS.
Donna - our distribution helper ... her favourite aspect of KAS, she also has a huge heart for the little ones.
Delynn - what can we say about larger than life, happy, entertaining, big-hearted, hugely talented craftswoman Delynn - hey, we MISS YA GAL !!
Barbara and Kirsten taken at Barbara's house in Kyalami on a "Hip to be Square" knitting morning ... LOVELY photograph of them both.
We first knew Barbara, just after Marci left. Her baby daughter, our youngest volunteer, Lauren was under 5 months old then - and is going on 3 now ! On one KAS day, when she had learned to walk - she toddled off into the bathroom and managed to get the top of a bottle of face cream while we were busy ... which she proceeded to lavish on Grandma Anna's feet !! An anointment of sorts ?!!!
Annette - at Ithumeleng III early last May 2013
Olga's crèche in Diepsloot this year
Heidelburg distribution April 2011
Lesley at the Akani distribution in Diepsloot, a few weeks ago
(her introduction - she and other US ladies volunteer as supplementary teachers
at the school on Wednesdays)
Thursday opening day - some time ago !
Lesley at the Kyalami Hip to be Square gathering with her square ! She is talented in ALL directions - bar knitting (and she said that, not me !!!!!!!!!!)
Our letter from Joyce and Marci once they had left ... along with a wonderful contribution of all sorts of items.
Marci at a G4S opening day
Joyce with a blanket she had resurrected/made/stitched together ... cannot remember the details, but she is enormously talented !
Joyce and Wandi on opening day
Marci at Nothando in Orlando West
Joyce in a happy space at Nothando
Opening Day - not so long ago ... "front row" our Lindi, Anna, Candy from SA, Seble (from Ethiopia), our Wandi, Christina and "back row" Ronda, Barbara, Annette and Lesley !
Ithumeleng Farewell - Preparing to leave ... Donna's daughter Megan, Erika, Donna and Lesley (in the other car were Cynthia, her son Will, Annette, Anna, Barbara and Andrea)
Ithumeleng Farewell... this was the day the car "broke down"
(Donna, Barbara, Lesley and Will)
Ithumeleng Farewell - so these are just pics taken on the side of the road !!
(Donna, Barbara and Erika)
Ithumeleng - the volunteers taking memories home !
Ithumeleng - the little ones !
Ithumeleng - Will (visiting his mum Cynthia from the US) - enjoying the kids.
Ithumeleng - Lesley, Barbara and Andrea
Ithumeleng - the whole group - we drove in a convoy of three carloads that day !! Mavis next to me - how she loves KAS !!!!
Since this is mainly a tribute to the US volunteers and helpers we have SO ENJOYED meeting and making friends with, I won't go into all the other wonderful more local ladies who have been so faithful to KAS.
We DO love you all !!!
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Wonderful group of ladies! I had no idea we had so many US folks involved right there in Africa! I am so jealous of them. What a wonderful opportunity to help! So glad you shared these photos and stories with us all. Thank you!
Thank you for telling us all about this great group of people, Ronda! Love the photos!
Maybe one day I'll pop over and do my best to give you a hand...
So good to hear about these wonderful generous people supporting Ronda to deal with opening parcels and providing squares when at home!
What a great group of caring folk!!!!
Thanks for sharing some special moments with us. :))
Yes, totally love all the colours, its great to be able to see the pics and feel a part of it all.
What a wonderful group and thank you so much for sharing the photos Ronda! Kudos to them all; I know they are going to miss you, your staff and the children greatly!!
Thanks for your comments, everyone ... yes, we certainly miss them all ! Fortunately we DO still have Lesley in our midst for another year at least, and she may bring one or two of the still remaining contract-wives into the KAS fold in the next few weeks. The project is winding down altogether, but we will never forget the contribution they have made as a group, nor their warmth and friendship and the many laughs we have enjoyed !! KAS is a truly amazing vehicle for cutting across borders, shortening distances and banding together in common purpose. xoxoxoxo
Ronda thank you so much for sharing all these photos and memories with us of a very special group of ladies. I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every picture and it inspires me even more to make things for KAS. You can see in the photos just how vital each hat, sweater and square is--the children bundled up tightly in the blankets in some photos remind me of how cold it is there now. God bless all of you for your loving hard work. It is a marvel to me how it all gets done!
Love and hugs to all, Jeanne.
How incredible these photos are. They portray so much joy and love and sharing. What a beautiful experience for all of you.
What a fabulous group of ladies - so great to hear that you have had their help Ronda, and I'm sure their time in SA was enhanced and blessed by being able to help you. I'm sure they will take home news of KAS and spread the word even more. Sad that their project is winding down but I'm sure another group will pop up - with the KASVAN promoting what you do it must really raise the profile. What a long way from those photos of the first squares arriving - fantastic!