Exciting Times

Until this afternoon I had only been out once during our lockdown and wasn't expecting to go out this afternoon, but I'm so glad that I did!

It all began earlier today as I was praying and lamenting the closure of The Gathering's Soup Kitchen. I suddenly had the thought to approach a friend of Paula's whose husband is an MP and ask for his help in registering to be one of the NPOs that would distribute the Government's pledged R50m of food parcels to the neediest during the lockdown.

Thought for the Day 16 from St George's Church on Vimeo.
Following on from Paula's Thought For The Day on Thursday, I shared a thought about life under lockdown from a local perspective.

Today saw the inaugural Bizweni ParkRun under a magnificent clear blue South African sky. The crowds (two dogs) were full of excitement and expectation for this new event.

We should at this point thank our unofficial sponsor Covid-19 without whom this event would not have been possible.

The runners took off as the gun signaled the regular ParkRun start at 8am.  The full 5kilometres involved some 57 laps around the house and garden and despite good conditions the finishing times were a little disappointing, however these are attributed to a combination of tripping over two excited dogs and the number of tight bends the runners had to negotiate.

All in all it was a resounding success and we expect there to be at least two more editions of this ParkRun.

Reality Bites

South Africa is a pretty lawless place at the best of times. If you don't believe me try driving in to Cape Town one afternoon or pretty much driving around any urban area and pretty soon you'll realise that red lights mean very little, Stop signs are advisory and speed limits are merely suggestions.  It goes further with traffic cops regularly being seen using their cell phones whilst driving, regularly failing to obey the rules of the road and generally setting a very poor example for others to follow, and I'll not get started on the police being used by gangs to transport drugs...

As such it's no real surprise that in the six days of our lockdown the volume of traffic outside our house has gradually increased. On the first day we had maybe a car an hour driving past, today there's a car going past every couple of minutes.  It may well be that each of these journeys are genuine, but even as a non-gambler I would be prepared to wager that the majority of them are unnecessary.  Paula has been out to our local supermarket for our weekly groceries and said that the shopping centre was heaving.
We have always been very clear that we would not home school whilst serving overseas. It's a common choice for many that do serve overseas but we've seen too many stressed and frazzled mothers (let's be honest it's always mum who does it!) to believe it's a good thing.

Sadly however, like much of the rest of the world this is no longer a choice but something that has been foisted upon us.

And so today is *officially* the start of Term 2 for both boys.  To say that there's a degree of reluctance on their parts would be an understatement, though to be fair they have knuckled down in these first few minutes, hopefully that will continue.

Hopefully mum won't end up too stressed and frazzled (let's be honest it will be mum doing it not dad) and we all emerge with our sanity intact.

It's all too easy to be a bit negative about the current situation, and to be honest that is quite often my default position, but there is also much to be thankful for.

This Sunday was a great example of something to be thankful for!

Sundays are for church, or at least they always used to be before the lockdown, but this left The Gathering with a bit of a headache.

Most of our pastor friends and churches we know were quite excited about their online churches which would be happening in place of their regular gatherings, and I have to admit to feeling pleased for them and a touch jealous.

For The Gathering doing online church via live streams just isn't a viable option as most of our members don't enjoy the privileges of a fixed broadband internet connection, rather, they buy data in 20mb or 50mb bundles which are never going to allow for following a live stream.

After much thinking and praying about it I had the idea of taking church on to WhatsApp. Many locals get WhatsApp bundles on their phones and generally the data usage on the platform is way less than many other social media platforms.

I said in Thursday's post that I would talk about exercise, so here it is a day later than planned...

As I said on Thursday, the frustrating part of the Police Minister's statement is not so much the ban on booze sales but the ban on being able to go out for any form of exercise. I had planned to go out for a 5k run every other day, but will now have to settle for running around the house. Thankfully we're blessed with a big garden and setting out a running track around the house will be an easy pleasure.

We had planned on doing a certain amount of fitness stuff at home anyway, with Joel & me planning on boxing in the garage, so we also stocked up of a few other bits to turn our garage in to a makeshift gym which will allow all four of us to workout.
You know you're living in unusual times when  you walk in to your local cornershop wearing a mask and rather than being chased out as a potential robber you're welcomed in for being a responsible citizen.

Given how tight the restrictions are for our lockdown we've had to be a bit creative in how we do things, so one of them is making sure that when it comes to "essential supplies" we have just enough for the day and when we need more one of us walks around to the local Spar. That way one of us gets a bit of exercise and we all get to enjoy a treat or two aswell. Yesterday was my turn and having walked to the shop was refused entry because I wasn't wearing a face mask. So I had to walk home, get a Buff and walk back to get the essential items. Ordinarily I might have complained, but it was nice to do the walk twice, especially as there was no traffic out, it made for a peaceful walk.

Well that was a bizarre and frustrating 48 hours in which our beloved govt raised the ire of a large part of the population. Initially the Health Minister announced that walking dogs and going for a jog would be allowed during the lockdown. This made a lot of people happy and garnered much support for the lockdown. Then the Police Minister strongly contradicted him by making it very clear that neither activity would be allowed.  Then he tossed in the grenade and blew all the goodwill out of the water by announcing that all alcohol sales would be banned during the lockdown, and helpfully made the announcement after the bottle stores had closed for the evening. The panic buying of booze the next day (the day before lockdown began) was farcical!  Thankfully early last year we massively reduced our alcohol consumption and so with the few bottles of wine we were able to buy we'll be fine for a few weeks. The frustrating part is not being allowed to go out for a run or any other form of exercise, but more on that tomorrow.