This discussion aims to give you an up-close and personal look at what happens on opening days at the Knit-a-Square barn.  I'm a partially-sighted volunteer who who attends with my guide dog Tango and my driver Bongi, who has also become a keen volunteer.  While everyone else opens parcels, sorts squares and packs items ready for distribution, I listen and take mental notes so I can pass on something of the atmosphere on the ground.  Enjoy!

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  • A great December report Leanne, thank you so much. It was very informative and interesting to read, to see what different dishes everyone eats.  We will be visiting our daughter and 22 people will be there for Christmas Day dinner, each bringing something to contribute.  It is going to be a fun event for sure.  I wish everyone on Knit A Square a most excellent holiday time with lots of love and hugs and smiles and laughter and fun adventures ahead for 2019.

  • Leanne, thank you for all your beautiful accounts of life in the KAS barn.

    • Yesterday was our last opening day for the year. It's incredible to realise we've already reached the December holidays. As we opened in prayer, we gave thanks for a busy year, the ability to help many children, and the countless blessings that we as volunteers have received along the way.
      Wandi celebrated her birthday this week so there was a cake and fresh flowers picked from Estelle's garden. The candles were lit and duly blown out, but then a couple lit up again,, which required more blowing, and again a bunch of them reignited! it caused great hilarity and a lovely photo opportunity. Estelle managed to capture a funny video to put on the Knit-a-Square Facebook page. Eventually, the birthday girl needed help from all her friends because she was quite out of breath when the candles relit for the tenth time!
      With all the load-shedding we've had [cuts in municipal power supply], Wandi has a backlog with her sewing. She may have to work from morning till lunchtime on Christmas Day, but after that, she will have lunch with the family. It will probably consist of a braai with wors [beef sausage], pap [stiff mealie/corn porridge], potato salad, beetroot and wine. She has the following message: "A happy Christmas to all the Knit-a-Square members and volunteers, and may they have a happy New Year too. We wish to see them all next year, when we can all be a happy family again."
      Bongi brought along her son Sipho who has school holidays, and the two of them packed blankets, hats, hand-warmers and toys for a distribution in yeovil next week. Bongi will be celebrating Christmas with her three sons and her grandchild in Johannesburg. She is planning to cook chicken and vegetables. She wants to wish everyone a happy Christmas and says, "it's been a great year. I'm very happy to know everyone at Knit-a-Square."
      Vivienne was also preparing for distributions and she was being helped by her grown-up daughter. Palesa studied Communications and HR and now has her own apartment, which makes Vivienne very proud. Viv is heading home to the northern Cape for Christmas where she will be celebrating with her mother's side of the family. They have a wonderful tradition of gathering around the Christmas tree, which is actually a family tree listing all the generations back to the founder of their clan. Together they read through all the brothers, sisters and children, all the way down to the present day. What a special tradition!
      Athele brought along her friend Tanj from Zimbabwe, and her message is as follows: "Happy Christmas and greetings to one and all! Here at Knit-a-Square it is Christmas every Tuesday on account of all you wonderful people. Wishing you a blessed season, loads of health and abundance in your life." Athele admits that she's not much into cooking, so her daughter will be preparing a nice spread. As for going away, she prefers to stay in Johannesburg, especially when it's so lovely and quiet at this time of year.
      Themba, our man of few words, shared that he will be spending Christmas with his brothers and sisters and their children. They always go to church in the morning and then come home for a big meal.
      Audrey and her husband are looking after the house for her daughter and son-in-law, so it's likely to be quiet at home. However, they will see friends, go to church and probably swim in the afternoon if the weather is good. Christmas lunch will be cold meats and salad, which is the way she always does it!
      Mabel told me she is baking busily for her customers as she makes biscuits, scones and muffins to order. She will be celebrating Christmas at her mother's place and the plan is to have a bring-and-share [meaning that everyone contributes something to the meal]. She wishes everyone a happy Christmas and a prosperous New year, adding, "I love the members for what they do for Knit-a-Square, I really love them."
      Speaking of what the members do, i should mention that the idea of running a Christmas theme for squares in the month of March or April worked brilliantly. In spite of postal strikes and bottlenecks in the system, the Christmas squares all arrived in good time. They were beautiful, Estelle says, and we were able to collect them all for inclusion into special themed blankets. Many of these blankets will go to the Northern Cape to be handed out by Viv the day after Christmas.
      Estelle wishes everybody a merry Christmas and a happy New year, thanking you for the wonderful contributions you send." Regarding her Christmas plans, she says, "The kids will swim on Christmas Day, so we hope for good weather. We usually do a traditional hot dinner with gammon and lamb, or maybe a fillet, and there are hats and crackers. It will be a sit-down meal for about twenty people."
      Nani says, "I want to wish the members a happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year, and I thank them for all they do for Knit-a-Square. i hope they enjoy their holidays. Be safe and drive safely on the roads. I will be catering for my family at home and we will probably have boiled pumpkin, carrot, stir-fried vegetables, chicken and gravy. Dessert will be Peppermint Crisp tart, which everybody loves!"
      I will be visiting my sister keryn in KwaZulu-Natal for a few days at Christmas time. My cousin and her family are in Durban, so we will all get together at her house for lunch on Christmas Day. Tango won't be joining us this year but will instead go to kennels with her friend Huxley, and the two of them will likely run non-stop around the farm with all the other dogs that are there. my message to everyone is, thank you for all the lovely notes you send on the forum, via email and in parcels. I especially love hearing about how long you've been knitting and what knitting does for you.
      Finally, Ronda will be spending a few days at two South African national Parks, the Cape Mountain Zebra Park and the Addo Elephant Park—before joining the rest of the family at their house in kenton-on-Sea. She says, "I want to thank all our members for their incredible generosity and support throughout the year, and i feel quite overwhelmed by their amazing love for Knit-a-Square and the children of South Africa."

      • Lovely report! I really liked hearing how everyone is spending the Christmas holidays, so many different traditions. Christmas here is Mum and myself and a friend on Christmas Day (we have cold food, usually salad as it is summer here). We then visit friends on Boxing day for tea/coffee and cake and a good catch up. Hope everyone has a lovely holiday break and will feel refreshed for a new year of distributions.

        Hearty pats on the back for all the KAS staff, volunteers and knitters/crocheters.

        • Thank you Leanne for another fabulous snippet from the KASBarn. I hope you all at Team SA have a wonderful break with family and friends.

          Another fantastic year for KAS and for the children!

          I'm so proud to be a part of such a warm, caring and supportive community, here in the forum. Best wishes to all, as we look forward to Christmas and the coming year.  xo

          •  Thank you Leanne for a super Christmas edition ! I loved reading about how the SA team will spend Christmas.Many thanks to all of them for working so hard to see that the squares and toys get to "our" children. Best wishes for a happy Christmas and a blessed New Year,

            My ChristmasDay will be with my son, Carl,  and daughter in law, Anu, and her parents from India,  and her sister and family from Australia. My niece has decided to join us too as her partner is working Christmas Day as a caregiver. Fortunately he celebrates Christmas on Christmas Eve as he is from Serbia. I am looking forward to it.

      • You've DONE it again, dear Leanne ... a wonderful Christmas message from everyone in the KASbarn with interesting details of their plans.  What an ingenious way to report on our last volunteer day in 2018 !

        We are all looking forward to the break and one of my neighbours is standing by to collect post, should the need arise while we are gone. However, our dear postmaster, Thys, tells me to "relax, and just come and collect the post the moment you are back from your holiday !"

        SO, I will collect what's there myself on Friday 14th, the day before we leave - and then the next visit to Bryanston PO will be on Monday 7th January 2019. 

        Thank you ALL ... for everything you do to keep KAS SA powering on to help the orphaned and vulnerable children in this country - and in Zimbabwe too (this year ! ).

        We hope you will all keep warm while we try to keep cool at this end of the planet ... and we wish everyone a blessed Christmas and may 2019 be the best year ever for each of you.

        With love from ALL of us at KAS SA.


      • Thanks, Leanne, for this newsy report.  It is such fun to hear how our KAS family there will celebrate their Christmases. The mere thought of swimming on Christmas day sparks envy in those of us in the northern hemisphere.  We will no doubt be bundling into parkas and boots and scraping the snow off our cars before going to visit family. Having spent many years working on the genealogy of my family, I loved hearing about Vivienne's tradition.

        Best wishes to all of you for a very happy holiday season and a huge thank you for all you do.

      • Leanne, thank you for this wonderfully detailed account!  I love reading about how everyone will be spending their Christmas holiday, all the different planned meals and their lovely traditions. 

        Thank you to all for sharing a part of your Christmas with us.

        I wish all of you a joyful Christmas and blessings of peace, love and prosperity throughout the coming year ... xo

  • Thanks Leanne for keeping us in the 'picture' - especially reminding us that it would be helpful if airmail parcels are held until the new year so that the post can be managed without pressure!  

    Seamail/surface mail takes 6-8+ weeks so those parcels can be sent, although queuing in the UK post offices is not to be recommended in December! I'm sure the story is pretty much the same worldwide....

    Hope volunteer Liz's home move goes on well oiled rails!

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