I was hoping to be able to tell you more positive news, unfortunately it is nothing more than: “we are hanging in there and surviving”. But at least that’s something and it is something that we have achieved thanks to your help. A whole colony of Hamburgers donated and many donations also came from my home area in Germany, where two newspapers reported about our situation. We are really overwhelmed by the willingness to donate, even though you are also in this corona crisis. More than 500 packages and vouchers have already been distributed. However, we expect to have to continue until the end of the year.
Our little village of Hout Bay has broken a sad record: we are on the list of the six worst places in South Africa affected by the virus. We are still in level 4 (of 5 levels) and our region does not see any change here anytime soon. Despite this, the number of infections is still relatively low, which is of course a blessing, but the economy is at an end. We will only be able to analyse what is left here afterwards. As I said, I have distributed several hundred food packages so far, the soup kitchen is buzzing, I juggle various food apps on my smartphone, and I receive desperate messages from hungry people every day and especially from the middle of the month.
Cooperation between Hout Bay NGOs and businesses, schools and community leaders is in full swing. All names and details must be collected in a database so that you cannot cheat and manipulate (we call it the toiletrolleffect: get as much as you can, because you never know….) and that takes a lot of time. Here the name, address, passport or ID number, telephone number, how many people in the household, how many children … … .. are entered. People are always laughing ruefully at my difficulty pronouncing the names and emphasizing them correctly, let alone writing them down correctly ……… ..but I challenged them with names like Eberhard Schwarzenegger, Kunigunde Schönbächler or Brunhilde Hinterseher ………….! Do you have some nice names for me? Hahahaha. Yes, we also laugh and chat and talk as we comfort and support.
It is important that we as helpers do not organize and help past the needs and fears of those affected, that we do not create more problems with prejudices and misunderstandings. I am also trying to make my contribution in here. In 14 years of NGO work in Hout Bay, I have learned a lot by falling and getting up again and again, making mistakes and learning from them. My most important lesson was: listen carefully to what people want and need and not what we think they need; I’ve learned to be clear and straight, about what the possibilities are and over all to be respectful.
In this last week of the 2nd full month of the lockdown, I’m extremely busy from today on. The goal for the next few weeks is to get all 400 families from the Hout Bay Primary School, where our projects are running, on our food list and to serve these food groups regularly every two weeks. In addition, the 7th and 12th grades of public schools start again on June 1st. This will be something!!!!: in the lockdown we can only run between 6 and 9 on asphalt roads …… ..
From tomorrow I will hand out parcels every day.
Sindi and her kitchen team want to maintain this wonderful soup kitchen. She asked me if we can help financially. At the moment they are cooking in the school container, but hopefully we will need that container again soon for the schoolkids. She got her own container from the school. She needs a stove, pots and other utensils now. I still had a fridge for her. Even if the school is cooking again, there will still be a lot of need. The Corona crisis has made it clear how many people are starving. It is the marginalized groups, the elderly and the disabled, the children, the young people who do not go to school who still need a meal. “Good bait catches mice”. We want to make the “mice” visible to see how we can help. I am currently looking into it with Sindi how she can start her own NGO and continue to serve a meal a day. Please let me know if we can also use your donation for the soup kitchen.