Familiar Face


This warmed my heart today.

I've been wondering where some of our Soup Kitchen regulars are and how they're coping during this time when life for those living hand to mouth is almost impossible. So to see Roderick's picture suddenly pop up on the Facebook page of our local homeless shelter was brilliant.

This also means that if Roderick is in there safely until the lockdown is over, then at least a few others of our Soup Kitchen regulars are too, because he always travels around with the same small crew, so whilst we can't see them, we know that at least a few are safe.

If for nothing else, I'm truly thankful for this piece of great news!
BBC News are running an interesting piece on South Africa's Covid-19 outbreak and why our numbers are so low in comparison with other nations, particularly more developed nations with superior healthcare systems.

I think many of us on the ground know full well why our numbers are low and it's because the government took decisive action very early. South Africa's lockdown was one of the earliest to be implemented in terms of the numbers of coronavirus infections and it's one of the most draconian lockdowns outside of China.

So there we have it, 14 days in and we've just been given another 14 days taking us neatly to the end of April.

May promises to be a month of celebration, but before we get there you have to wonder just how many of the most vulnerable people are going to struggle through starvation, lack of income and no prospects of anything good on the horizon.

I was so happy this morning to be able to pop in to Firgrove. I managed to issue myself with an Essential Services permit and then go and deliver some grocery gift cards to our more vulnerable church members.

It was also a great joy to bless them with the gifts but an even bigger joy to actually see some of our guys, even if it was just for a few moments to hand over the cards and say "Hi' through their gates.  Having seen no one from The Gathering for a while it really blessed my soul to have just the briefest of contact with a few.

Hopefully the cards will help them all get through this week and then we can think about how we can help again next week.  For those that we gave the cards to today they have no income or received the paltry grant just over a week ago and are struggling financially.

Please pray for The Gathering's more vulnerable members who struggle at the best of times.

I guess none of us are living what we might like to think of as normal lives, even if you're classified as an essential worker, life will still be far from what was once normal.

Things are far from any semblance of normality here and we can only look on from a distance as family and friends in Blighty keep posting pics of a trip out or a walk they had in the park, at least y'all still have those privileges.

Whilst we're cooped up we've been a bit more in demand than we might normally be, and have been asked to contribute to a few ongoing video projects as well as attempting to prepare the odd bit of video for use with The Gathering over the Easter weekend.

It's all good fun and I have to admit to enjoying being a bit nerdy when it comes to playing around with various bits of digital media, it may well be my way of staying on the correct side of the camera.

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.



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.



Thought For The Day for St. George's Weald

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...

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.