If you want a peek inside the barn on opening days, this is where you'll find it. I'm Leanne Hunt and I've been attending opening days twice a month since 2017 with my driver Bongi and my guide dog Tango. Here is where I record what I see and hear for the benefit of overseas members who don't have the opportunity I do. I trust you'll find it interesting.

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  • Leanne has put up another Podcast today.  She has interviews with Bongi and Athele.  You can hear about their recent distributions.

    • Saturday was Mandela Day, as you all know, and several organisations partnered with Knit-a-Square to either distribute blankets or knit squares to contribute at some later date. Ronda was kind enough to discuss all these Mandela Day projects with me for an interview to be included on next week’s podcast. it was good to hear that initiatives had been organised and implemented in spite of the limitations on movement.

      Another piece of good news is that the South African post office is once again receiving parcels from overseas. This means you can begin to mail your items to us again! However, your country may have its own restrictions on post, so please make enquiries before venturing out. The coronavirus pandemic seems to be resurging in many countries and we urge you all to be extremely careful when visiting public spaces.

      On our weekly group call this morning, Ronda reported that she has found someone to visit the post office on her behalf to collect mail. The person lives close by and recently lost his job so is grateful to have a means to earn some money. Ronda will show him how to fill in the manifestoes and pay the post office charges. What this means is that we can keep the flow of squares, beanies, hand-warmers and toys moving from the post office to the barn and out to the volunteers to be sewn up into blankets. 

      At this point, we still cannot send blanket packs to gogo groups as the community centres where they meet are closed. There is no indication of when these centres will be reopened. Indeed, even when they are, the gogos will probably stay at home a while longer to protect their health. We are, therefore, extremely grateful for the people who have come forward to help in the sewing up of blankets in the absence of our precious gogos.

      This Friday, Ronda, Estelle and Athelé will be meeting at the barn, along with Liz, Audrey and a couple of the other volunteers, to return completed blankets and sort squares into blanket packs. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend this get-together because I don't yet have a driver and my husband has meetings all morning. I'm sorry to be missing out because it sounds as if it will be lots of fun! They were talking about bringing flasks of tea and muffins to share while they work. Hopefully, next time they meet at the barn, I will be able to join them, taking along my voice recorder to capture some conversations for the podcast!

      Please remember to check for new episodes of the Knit-a-Square podcast every two weeks to hear my latest selection of interviews with local volunteers and overseas contributors. Last weeks episode included an interview with Bongi about a distribution in central Johannesburg and news of Athelé's distribution in Clarens. You can find the link to the Knit-a-Square podcast on the main page of the Square Circle Forum.

      • The latest episode of the Knit-a-Square podcast, featuring this year's Mandela Day activities and the story of KAS's partnership with the Soweto Gospel Choir in 2010, can be found at this link:


        • This is just a quick message to let you know that the latest episode of the Knit-a-Square podcast is available. It features an interview with Cath Riley of Liverpool, who chats about the system she has created for collecting knitted squares from churches in her area and how she ships them to South Africa. There is also an interview with Vivienne, one of our volunteers here in South Africa, about how the children are managing in lockdown.
          You can click straight through to the audio player from this link:
          Link, https://shows.acast.com/knit-a-square/episodes/twelve-boxes-of-squa...
          Please remember to tell your friends about the podcast and send them the link if they aren't already members of the forum.

          • I really enjoyed listening to your interview with Cath Riley on the Podcast, Leanne. I’ve just listened to the latest episode with Rhonda and Estelle, it was so interesting, thank you. 
            If anyone hasn’t heard this podcast yet, I highly recommend it. I’m Hooked. (Pun intended!)

            • Today found me and Bongi driving to the barn with Tango to deliver a box of squares and blanket packs that I have been working on for the past few months. The day was cool and grey. We are still in level 1 lockdown here in South Africa but the streets were as full of traffic as ever and the talk show on the car radio was abuzz with speculation about the US election and the local state capture enquiry.
              It was great to say hi to the volunteers in person again. Ronda, Estelle, Athelé and Liz were there, as well as Athelé's friend Linda. Lots of post had come in so everyone was hard at work opening parcels, locating slips, noting down who had sent what, and counting squares that had come in without the requisite information. I usually don't get involved in the sorting of squares because I can't match colours. However, necessity begets courage and I've discovered a role I can play. Once squares are on the table, I can separate them according to size and texture, after which the other volunteers can select from my piles what they need for their carefully-designed blanket packs.
              We had some friends of Knit-a-Square drop in too, among them Shirley and Anna. They collected "not-a-squares" which they will fashion into new creations. They also came with blankets they had finished sewing up, adding to the growing blanket cake. By the end of the morning, Ronda had piles of new blankets to photograph and Estelle had managed to gather lots of new Christmas items for the end of year distribution at Botshabelo.
              Other news is that a new episode of the Knit-a-Square podcast has just gone live. This is episode 15 and it features an interview with local volunteer Liz Geldenhuis. If you haven't yet heard my conversations with Karen Gordon, Athelé, Mili Kus and all the rest, be sure to check them out on the KAS podcast page. You can also download a podcast player on your phone and listen from there. If you want to ensure you never miss an episode, click the "Subscribe" button on your podcast app. That way, episodes will arrive automatically in your podcast library every two weeks as they are released.
              Finally, a big thank-you to everyone who has sent parcels of blankets, squares, toys, beanies and hand-warmers [as well as the gorgeous baby jerseys that will go to Sister Sue at the hospital] during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are immensely grateful that we can continue our work in spite of restrictions on social interaction. Thanks also to those who have continued to donate money towards rent and post office charges. You make it possible for us to keep South Africa's orphaned and vulnerable children warm.

              • Thank you Leanne - it was great to see you and Bongi again after such a long time, on Tuesday.  Seems the KASbarn is slowly getting back to normal !

                Let's hope and pray that this pandemic will not produce a "second wave" of infections as has been seen in overseas countries ... and that 2021 will be a more productive year for us all.

                Love and thanks to all our contributors who have started sending through the post - your parcels are arriving in loads now !!!

              • Here is a photo of Leanne sorting squares.


                •  Great news + super photograph ♥️

                  • Thank you so much for the recount of opening day at the Barn. Nice to see you again, Leanne.  :))

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