This discussion aims to give you an up-close and personal look at what happens on opening days at the Knit-a-Square barn.  I'm a partially-sighted volunteer who who attends with my guide dog Tango and my driver Bongi, who has also become a keen volunteer.  While everyone else opens parcels, sorts squares and packs items ready for distribution, I listen and take mental notes so I can pass on something of the atmosphere on the ground.  Enjoy!

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Thank you, Leanne :)  Sadly, South Africa does have its trials.  I agree that it is wonderful to belong to this positive community we call KAS.  I am looking forward to watching our story unfold.

Trying new things is something that a lot of us have done since becoming part of this incredible KAS family ... a family that keeps on growing as crafters from everywhere reach out to hug South Africa's children with their handwork.  The inspiration we get from each other, and the friendships we have made along the way are extremely special ... xo

Thank you, Leanne, your insights and information shared, is so appreciated by those of us far, far, away.  xo 

Thank you again, Leanne, for keeping us in touch with the 'centre' - although you say this is 'not a very newsy entry', it's always good to have a sense of being in the KASbarn with you, and hear of the chat that goes on.  As a relative newcomer to KAS, I'm really looking forward to those reflections on the last ten years.

Living in Cape Town, I can confirm that life here is 'interesting' at the moment, between the drought and the political tensions, both provincial and national, but knitting an crocheting for KAS is a wonderful escape, and a constant reminder, if we needed it, that there are so many thousands of people with much bigger problems than we have.  Here's to the next ten years!

Thank you so very much Leanne. 

It's always a plasure to read your accounts of life at KAS HQ, Leanne.

The Cape Town crisi is terrible. The photos on FB of all the bottles of water being delivered is cheering, but is just "a drop in the ocean". Sorry about the inappropriate expression. I was touched by the ways in which people outside the Cape try to help.

Thanks again Leanne. Your  news is always newsy for those of us far away!  A visit to the KAS barn through your ears is always a pleasure. Good luck with the slippers !

I am sad to hear of Capetown's problems particularly with water. Desalinated water is not nice to drink so I hope bottled water will continue to be available even if the desalination plants come to fruition. It takes such a consolidated effort for a community of any size to restrict themselves. Some people just don't think of consequences. I do hope it will all be resolved.  It is enough to have the political tensions  without basic necessities going awry.

I have just been reading that Cape Town has had some rain and that the cut off day for their water supply has been put back from April to 11th May.
Let's hope they get some more as it is obviously still very difficult.

Let's hope that they get more and more rain.

It's hard to believe we are already halfway through February, but we are! Following on from my last entry, I would like to say that we are very relieved that the government impasse is over and that things are moving ahead in what appears to be a very positive way. Certainly, the mood in Johannesburg is significantly more upbeat than it was a fortnight ago. Added to that is the fact that Cape Town has had some unusually good rain-storms for this time of year, which has helped ease the water crisis and caused Day Zero to be pushed back till July.

I joined Ronda to discuss material for the 10-year anniversary feature being run by the moderators. That is due to launch shortly, so look out for it on the forum. Much of the material is being gathered from historical records such as archived sections of the blog, old collections of photographs and other random places. Ronda and I will be adding in bits and pieces about what happens in the sorting room, on distributions and in the gogo groups. I believe the first chapter of the year-long project is dealing with the beginnings of Knit-a-Square, and that is well worth reading as it is a reminder that big, impactful movements begin with small, tentative ideas.

Incidentally, Ronda had shared with me that her niece Sandy, who was responsible for originally setting up the Knit-a-Square website, wrote a book in which she recounted how it all started. I told Ronda that I had bought the book and intended to read it as soon as I'm finished with my current library book. Ronda was thrilled, and we continued to talk more about Sandy's involvement. Living in Australia, she now runs her own business around the topic of internet communication and branding, but there was a time when she was as uninformed as everyone else and did a course in website design to launch her career. It was Ronda's desire to help the orphans of South Africa, coupled with Sandy's wish to turn her dream into reality, that led Sandy to set up her first website for KAS and get the forum going. These days, she keeps a low profile, but, as Ronda says, we wouldn't be where we are today if Sandy hadn't stepped up to the plate and called on the knitters of the world to assist.

The name of Sandy's book, if you want to buy a copy, is "Clans: Supercharge your business". She also has a TED Talk called "Tell your story, save a life", which I found incredibly moving. Sandy is a smart, sensitive person who is able to draw together threads of significant life events into a powerful narrative, and her message at the Melbourne gathering of TEDX left me thinking for days about how my story could help others.

On a different note altogether, we are approaching the end of the tax year in South Africa. Happily, the donations we have received over the last twelve months have put us in a very healthy position financially. Having waited to be sure we are on a nice, secure footing, Ronda has now decided to use some of the money in the bank to make improvements in the barn. Among these will be the addition of two more tables for sorting squares and some new shelves for stacking completed blankets ahead of distribution. She also called in a handyman to repair drawers in the desk that was purchased from a law firm about three years ago. The handyman wil fix the matching wooden dresser in which posters, banners and other promotional materials are stored.

Meanwhile, Wandi and Thomas spent the morning packing twenty blanket/beanie/hand-warmer/toy bundles to distribute at a small creche in Protea Glen. Bongi began packing the first of many items intended for a creche in orange Grove. The Orange Grove creche is run by a woman in a house with several helpers and caters for children of prostitutes. There are about 60 children between one and seven years old, some of whom live in the house and some who come daily during work hours. "These are exactly the kind of children we need to reach out to," says Ronda, "because their mothers are in such a precarious situation." Prostitutes are not protected by law in this country, which means they earn their living under the radar and carry a huge burden of shame. The children are the innocent victims of this shame, as well as poverty and insecurity. They really need to hear Knit-a-Square's message that they are precious and worthy of a beautiful, handmade gift.

Thank you Leanne. And thank you to Orange Grove creche for the work they are doing, and the love they are giving. 

Thank you Leanne ... it's wonderful to be able to share so openly with our generous friends and forum members to describe exactly how things are on the ground at KAS SA.  And thank you for passing on my words about the very small beginnings of KAS ... and Sandy's talent and genuine love for Africa's vulnerable children.

It's truly humbling to think about almost ten years of doing something we all love, which is such a blessing from every angle.  Amazing Grace, I believe !!!!

Thank you Leanne, it is always good to hear news from 'the KAS Barn" and the various upcoming events and distributions - the information keeps us all inspired and to keep going!



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