Winter Warmers

Dear friend of Goedgedacht

I was standing inside Anna’s tin shack a few weeks ago during a cold snap, watching the condensation running down the walls onto the mud floor. Anna’s house is small, it leaks like a sieve and it was freezing.  It’s like living in a fridge.

How in God’s name can anyone survive, let alone thrive in such conditions?

Anna doesn’t have a choice. Her single bed is sitting on four blocks. Her clothes are on homemade hangers hanging from a length of string that goes from one wall to another. Her mattress has several holes in it and she has some very odd looking blankets/bits of sheeting on her bed. She shares this shack with her two children.

Anna is a seasonal worker, work is irregular, looking for work is a constant worry.

She gets by as long as she does not fall ill.

Luckily she lives near our Riverlands POP Youth centre and her children can get a meal from the centre every day after school, do their homework there and generally enjoy themselves before trudging home to a very bleak little house.

But I worry about the cold and the lack of blankets for the three of them who share one single bed.

The cold and wind seeps into this tiny shack through the many cracks and holes in the zinc sheeting.

I am amazed at the endurance of poor people to survive the harshest of conditions and I frequently ask them how they do it? I regularly get the answer that they all help each other and this gives them the strength to keep going.

I’m not the only one who worries. I have a wonderful network of ‘worriers’ that knit the most wonderful woollen items and at this time of the year they start arriving, unannounced, from small packets to black bags full of jerseys, beanies, scarves and blankets. These knitting warriors are my front line troops in the fight against the winter cold and I salute you.

There are some amazing people like Elaine Kriel who knits the most beautiful woollen blankets and every year we get a wonderful pile of them. Then there is Anne Jordan who makes Beanies and Claire Snowball Jackson who this year has given us a 100 pairs of fingerless mittens. I think she has her whole office knitting for our children, last year she had them all knitting blankets.

Sadly I need more than these wonderful women can knit.

This year’s winter appeal is for BLANKETS.

Blankets for the many Anna’s we come across on farms and in the villages where we have a presence. For R 120.00 I can buy a wonderfully warm and cosy blanket.

We all want to do something to help and I am most grateful for what you do each year. I know money is tight and you are endlessly asked to put your hand in your pocket and give, but if you are able I would be thankful if you would consider giving a gift of a blanket.

With your help I can reach out to the many Anna’s of this world and keep them and their children warm in the months ahead.

Please help if you can.

Peter Templeton