Wednesday, 30th October 2019

This was Brett's first day of volunteering at 1000 Hills Community Helpers.  We arrived close to 8 am and the centre was already a hive of activity with patients waiting to be seen in the clinic and children settling into their day at creche.  We called in to say good morning and introduce Brett to Aunty Dawn, who was busy in the clinic overseeing the arrival of a new batch of medicines.
We brought another parcel of bandages and dressings for the team at the clinic, donated by our friends at Bidford Pharmacy, they had travelled out with Brett along with some more delightful baby clothes and hats.  The 1000HCH run a baby clinic on a Tuesday and each new baby registered receives a welcome pack with a couple of nappies, a few essential baby care items (like aqueous cream) and, if possible, a first outfit.  That is why the beautifully knitted matinee jackets and baby jumpers are so gratefully received here. Items for older babies and toddlers are also gratefully received, as often a child in creche may need some additional clothes or a small child visiting the clinic may leave, not only with medication, but also with a cosy, new jumper!
Brett was taken into the care of one of the clinic nursing staff and put to work in the dispensary, cataloguing the medicines that arrive each Monday morning and then preparing labels for the shelves and stock lists.
I returned to the lodge to catch up on some administration work I needed to get done and to finalise some arrangements for appointments for the remainder of the week.  On the way back "Bertha the Bakkie" started to screech in protest!  It was quite alarming and I pulled over to check the vehicle specification book to see if I could diagnose the problem.  It seems that the cause might be fan belt related, so I cautiously took off again and returned back to the lodge.  After making some enquiries about a reliable and friendly garage I tried driving again and the noise had abated.  Somewhat relieved I headed out to First Step Right preschool to find the Grade R children playing some wonderful games with the parachute and brightly coloured balls - they were playing "deep sea diving" where the parachute was the rolling sea and the balls were treasure under the sea and they each had to "dive" down and retrieve a "piece of treasure".  They then made the most of the breezy day and made a "mushroom" by wafting the parachute up and then sitting down on the edge so all the children were inside a "mushroom dome"!
I nipped down to the 1000HCH to collect Brett and brought him back to FSR as we had an after school meeting with the teachers to discuss the plans for the Grade R graduation that is arranged for 29th November.  This celebration marks the move of these children from their ECD preschool education into official Primary Education.  One of the teachers had the idea to make the gowns, instead of hiring them, and it was agreed that Jabu's Mum (who is a seamstress) would make two gowns as a trial and then aim to have a set of 20 gowns that can be used each year for the graduation ceremony and photographs.  The teachers also said that they could hire these out to other creches and that would make a small income each year.  They would like to prepare a big braai (BBQ) with chicken and wurst, as well as traditional accompaniments.  This is an important event for the creche, it celebrates the achievements of the children and shows the community that it is a vibrant and engaging early learning environment.
As we were meeting the mists again came down and we headed down to KwaXimba to drop Jabu and Khanyisile home.  This time, we could barely see the valley and cautiously progressed down the road.  Once back to the lodge, it was a quick turnaround as Brett & I had been invited to a braai at Westville Rotary Club near Durban.  We picked up a small contribution of some coleslaw and headed off, following directions provided by our host, Tony.  The roads were very wet and visibility was low due to the mists and we were astonished at a long tail back on the opposite carriageway due to a 4x4 having landed in a ditch.  Thank goodness it wasn't on our side.  After a very pleasant evening (eating delicious lamb chops and borewors), meeting many fellow rotarians and talking a little about the work that GAGA supports here in KwaZulu Natal we set off for home. 
Once again google maps had a little adventure in store for us.... heading off the N3 in darkness and misty rain we were "instructed" to turn left, signposted Alverstone.  Well, very soon into the trip we saw a "low gear, steep incline" warning sign.... by now it was too tricky to turn around and so we had little option but to press on!  Fortunately there were intermittent cats eyes in the road, else there would have been times when it was barely clear we were on a road at all!! We proceeded cautiously up, and up, and up and finally after what felt like a very long 20 minute climb we emerged onto the familiar "Old Main Road"!  Look up "Alvestone Road, Assagay, KZN - map type "terrain" to get a feel for our journey!