A KAS ROAD TRIP - DAY ONE!

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Towards the end of May, Gina arranged three distributions through the Morester Children’s Home, a Christian faith based organisation situated in the towns of Ladysmith and Newcastle in KwaZulu Natal.  The vision of Morester is to “give children a home for today and a future for tomorrow”.  Across their various homes, they care for 200 children who have been removed from their families, or from the circumstances in which they were living, because it was not safe or healthy for them to live there anymore. 

 

We also used this opportunity to meet up with a long-time KAS friend – Joy Coetzee – more about her in our second report of this “series”! 

 

Thanks to our amazing volunteers who stayed at the office bundling blankets and packing various items until 22h00 the evening before, Wendy and I were able to go into the office on the Friday and load the van to the brim with your wonderful contributions, destined for KwaZulu Natal.  We left mid-morning and headed off on our trip.

 

Our first stop was the town of Newcastle which is located inland in the northwest corner of KwaZulu Natal, a few kilometres south of the Free State, Mpumalanga and Gauteng provincial borders, in the foothills of the Drakensberg.  The municipality covers an area of 1855 km².  Newcastle is about a four hour drive from our Johannesburg KAS offices.  We visited Home Meah shortly after we arrived, hot and dusty though we were.  Our mouths were dry too, as we nattered non-stop the whole day down!

 

Home Meah was incorporated into Morester Children’s Home on 1 September 2011.   It was the brainchild and faith project of Jacky Horn and derived its name from Meah, an abandoned child who was cared for by Jacky. The house was initially administrated by the local church council until it became part of Morester Children’s Homes.

Home Meah makes use of the community house system, where 12 babies are cared for in a house situated in suburban Newcastle.  The babies are very well cared for and loved by their dedicated house mothers and as they grow older, they are moved to other Morester homes until permanent residence is arranged for them.

We dropped off toys, blankets, tops, beanies and KAS cuddles for the babies and agreed that some of the items would be used to assist the absolutely desperate individuals that the social workers encounter when they visit the rural communities in the area.  

It is so difficult not to get attached to these gorgeous little ones when visiting them.  That afternoon at Home Meah, there was a baby boy who continually cried while we were walking about and when we enquired about him we were told that he was just very unsettled as he had only arrived the day before having been removed from an unsafe environment.  How unbearable that any child should feel so insecure and just continually sob like that.  But, we were re-assured that in no time at all he will settle and that they will shower him with all the love he deserves and ultimately place him in a safe and loving environment. 

From Home Meah, we travelled through the town of Newcastle, with one of Morester’s social workers, to their home for teenagers – Morester Newcastle.

Morester Newcastle was established in January 2005.  The facility makes use of the dormitory system, where 60 children live in a hostel building, in a girl’s and boy’s unit.

At Morester Newcastle they cater primarily for children with special educational needs who attend the nearby Tugela High School for Special Education.

These teenagers were very excited when we visited them and they loved their colourful blankets!

 

We got an enthusiastic welcome when we arrived at Morester Newcastle and the children listened intently while Wendy explained how Knit-A-Square started and what we do.  They were intrigued by the thought that they may be holding a blanket made of squares sent from all over the world and even more so by the thought that people overseas cared enough to send them.

 

Before we left, we asked the children to hold their blankets up and showcase your lovely knitted squares:

 

Wendy and I stayed over at a B & B in Newcastle that evening in order to set off bright and early the next day to meet Gina and her husband Matthew in Ladysmith for Day 2 of our Road Trip which we will share with you in our next report!

 

In closing, the current postal strike in South Africa is being treated with sensible caution by the staff at Bryanston Post Office, but they are trying to stay open and available to the public with a skeleton staff, so as to let items of post through as best they can. Having received nothing for two weeks we were VERY happy to find a large pile of post for collection this week, so the van is now full and the volunteers are raring to get busy tomorrow!  It will take us a while to catch up again, but after a two week break we are all fired up and full of enthusiasm!