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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Thanks again, dear Leanne ... what did we ever do without you ?!

Our second opening day at the KASbarn completed now and we feel as though we are well under way with 2018 work plans. The good news is that I have spoken to Thomas and he is more than willing to give us his time on a day other than Tuesdays each week, in order to add to our distribution tally.  He is a lovely fellow, so enthusiastic and helpful in the KASbarn ... and quite comfortable being a rose amongst MANY thorns (ha ha !!).  He seems delighted to have an opportunity to earn a little extra money helping us out as described above, whenever the need arises.  Thomas explained that he worked for many years in the supermarket industry but after a corporate take-over of his company, conditions became stringent and he was obliged to leave - a tactic to lessen the staffing load, no doubt, but how sad ?!

Their loss is our gain though, and we look forward to increasing our distribution tally this year.

As always, thank you to each and every ONE of you for your enthusiasm and talent and generosity and amazing-ness in every way ... HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all from all at the KASbarn xoxoxoxoxoxoxo


I would like to know whether it would be possible for me to come to the KAS offices and bring my squares and offer any help that may be required on a specific weekday afternoon? :)

Hi Magdelie.

It would be lovely if you were able to visit the KAS office. I know Ronda would love to meet you and would welcome any assistance you might provide. They are not there every day, so phoning ahead would be advisable. Here is their address and phone number.

The office is at Surrey Bizhub, 330 Surrey Drive, Randburg. The phone number is: 826555150.

Thank you.  :))

In my last report I mentioned Wandi meeting up with the head of a creche and offering to help after the tornado damaged the building.  Well, today was the day Wandi acted on her promise.  She and Thomas took about 90 blankets to two creches in Protea Glen, and no doubt there will be some lovely photos of that distribution coming soon.

Actually, there are a lot of distributions going on already.  This year has started off with lots of activity all round. The gogo groups have returned all the blankets they took to sew up before Christmas and have been handed many more blanket bundles to work on.  The volume of squares coming in has increased and we have more volunteers than a year ago.  So, all in all, it's looking very good at the Knit-a-Square headquarters!  In Ronda's words, "We're a well-oiled machine".

This is as it should be, given that Knit-a-Square is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year.  We have a great location and a lovely spacious barn for sorting and storing the squares, hats, hand warmers, toys and blankets.  The tables and shelves are getting pretty full though, and it may be time to add to our work and storage space by purchasing more of the inexpensive camping tables and racks.  Fortunately, we are starting the year on a healthy footing financially, all thanks to the generous donations of members.

After the heavy rains early in the month, we then had a hot, dry spell which brought the black ants out in their numbers.  These ants are notorious for seeking out water wherever they can find it.  This morning, when Ronda was preparing the tea table, she opened the urn to see if it needed filling and spotted hundreds of the little blighters floating on the surface.  Some ant traps will have to be spread around to get rid of them.

Meanwhile, the wind has brought in dust, and together with the fibres that inevitably come with the parcels of knitted items, has made the barn floor rather dirty.  Ronda has brought in a cleaning lady from one of the nearby offices to sweep and mop every two weeks in return for a small gratuity.

Finally, I had a quick chat to Megan before she had to go, and was inspired by what she said.  A vet from the area recently sent out an appeal on Facebook for warm clothes, blankets and other cold-weather necessities.  She is part of a mission team that is headed for Lesotho in March.  The team will be visiting an orphanage which is badly under-resourced, and they want to help improve conditions for the fifty children, aged between 4 and 18, before the snowy weather arrives in winter.  Seeing the appeal, Megan contacted the vet and made arrangements to help her with her collection.  She will be delivering fifty of the warmest blankets and garments on our shelves, together with stationery, toiletries and clothes from her own "Beanies for Beings" charity.  Lesotho is, of course, an independent country surrounded by South Africa, but it is also the coldest region, with high, rugged mountains and very poor access to remote villages.  I anticipate hearing about some very happy children when the mission team returns!

Leanne, another vivid journey to the headquarters of KAS. I love learning about all the activity there from your  great descriptions. Thank you for providing this very important link.

Thank you, Leanne, for your detailed reports. I always look forward to reading them.

Thank you Leanne.  A busy time for Knit-a-Square.

Sunshine Protea Glen creche sent photos.  This is one of the creches Wandi and Thomas visited yesterday.   I've added them to S.A. Reports.  Here is the link:

I've added photos and the thank you message  from the second creche that Wandi and Thomas visited [see intro].

Thank you Linda.  :))

I think we have no idea how cold it can get in places like Lesthuto which are quite high altitudes! So glad that blankets could be taken there.

Thank you Linda for loading the photos for the members to see. I tend to forget the value of photos, being visually impaired. It's a good thing there are other people taking pictures, compiling them into stories and posting them! I can just imagine how rewarding it must be to see something one has made turn up in a photo from a distribution. The wonder of technology!

I popped along to the opening day today although I knew Ronda would be away. I believe she is visiting her grandchildren down in Cape Town. As most of you are probably aware, Cape Town is in the grip of a terrible water crisis, having suffered three years of severe drought and received no central government assistance for the construction of desalination plants—until literally this month when construction on two temporary desalination plants finally began. The reality on the ground is that residents are limited to just 50 litres of water per person per day, and if this limit is not adhered to, the dams will run dry in less than 3 months. Day Zero—the day when the city will turn off the taps—is currently expected to be 16 April.

I'm just dropping that fact in to give overseas members a sense of what South Africa is currently contending with. Our political scene is something else entirely, but you can follow that online if you are interested. Generally speaking, everyone is remarkably upbeat in spite of the stressful conditions. It helps that we—the volunteers at Knit-a-Square, that is—belong to a really positive community.

The post was relatively small today so a couple of the volunteers weren't there. Megan, who is organising the Lesotho distribution with the help of a missionary team from a local church, worked with Thomas to transport the goods to her home. Wandi then helped Thomas to deliver blanket packs to a gogo group and collect the blankets they had sewn up. Meanwhile, Bongi and I sat with the other volunteers and got on with our usual work, Bongi sorting squares and me knitting a new hat.

I was interested to hear that Vivienne has been busy in her spare time crocheting a white bedspread for her bed. In addition, she has been making slippers for one of the charities Megan supports. We discussed slipper and hat patterns over tea and cake, and agreed that both of us needed to branch out and try what the other was doing. I've never made slippers, but the pattern she described sounds really simple and quick.

This is, of course, not a very newsy entry as far as Knit-a-Square projects go. There is some news, however. The moderators are putting together some reflections on the last ten years to celebrate Knit-a-Square's 10th anniversary, and these should begin appearing soon. I've been asked to help collate some of the information, mostly by "interviewing" Ronda on various topics and recording what she remembers, since I only joined Knit-a-Square at the start of last year. It promises to be a very worthwhile exercise, and I'm sure the reflections will spark many happy memories for those of you who have been with the organisation from the early days and witnessed its expansion. Do look out for those, and I'll be sure to keep you posted as the project unfolds.



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