If you want a peek inside the barn on opening days, this is where you'll find it. I'm Leanne Hunt and I've been attending opening days twice a month since 2017 with my driver Bongi and my guide dog Tango. Here is where I record what I see and hear for the benefit of overseas members who don't have the opportunity I do. I trust you'll find it interesting.

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Thank you for the update.  What shocking news about Anne Powell.  Rest eternal grant unto her oh Lord, let light perpetual shine upon her.

Here in the UK we are now into our second week of lockdown.  I am sticking to my usual routine as much as I am able.  My husband is able to work from home.  I think it helps when you have some semblance of normality. 

We are allowed to go out in our gardens.  It is vegetable sowing and planting time fir the next few weeks.  I am not sure whether I will be able to get any tomato plants this year, but anything I can grow myself will be very welcome!

Hello everyone

Just a brief catch-up ... first of all everyone in the KASbarn would like to express our sadness at the news of Anne  Powell's sudden passing a couple of weeks back.  We go way back to the very beginning with Anne and she was always full of enthusiasm and suggestions - we will miss her a LOT and she will always be remembered with respect and affection.  May she rest in peace - our love to her family members and friends.

We hope and pray that every one of you and your families will remain safe and well while Covid-19 stalks the earth ... that you find new peace in staying quietly at home as much as possible and enjoy not rushing around quite so much as we all do normally.

Our move to the new much smaller home has been delayed, perhaps for months, but Peter and I are grateful to spend our lockdown period in this home with the larger garden and more space ... we have discovered that walking around the garden 8 times gives us one kilometre and so are keeping reasonably fit that way.  Does EVERYONE eat more when unable to leave the house - phew !!

We are SO blessed and delighted at the warm and generous response shown to our idea to help donate food to needy households in the informal settlements close to our 5 board members/volunteers.  Themba has also come on joined in and we will be rolling out the assistance as soon as we have worked out the cost of a pre-determined grocery list compiled by Wandi earlier in the week.

Again, thank you all for your kind support - we love you all.

    

   

On this, the 35th day of lockdown in South Africa, life has settled into rather a predictable routine. I chatted to Ronda, Estelle and Athelé via WhatsApp to catch up on their news, and we all agreed that we are finding an equal balance of good things and bad things about the self-isolation regime.

Being at home with family has proved rewarding, as husbands are less stressed and more inclined to offer help around the house. Neighbours have been Heard playing games in the garden with their children. The streets are devoid of grinding traffic and sirens, and the skies are free of aeroplanes. Birds seem to be relishing the quiet, calling to each other at dusk as the days draw in and greeting the dawn with a rousing chorus. Or maybe it's just that we are more present and aware of their company?

Ronda was excited to share news about the feeding initiative in Soweto with us. Moved by reports of families without food, she and the board had come up with a plan to bring some relief. Shopping vouchers were purchased online and distributed by the volunteers in Soweto to their needy neighbours. This meant no-one had to be exposed to the virus unnecessarily. The volunteers were thrilled to be able to make a difference and their needy neighbours were overjoyed with the unexpected help. Ronda wishes to express her gratitude to the members who responded so quickly and generously to the invitation to be part of the lockdown outreach.

Estelle reported that she and her husband have not been out from their home once during the lockdown. They have managed this thanks to deliveries of fresh farm vegetables and help from their younger neighbours. Estelle says she is enjoying being at home and has lots to do because of the bags of squares she managed to claim from the barn just ahead of the lockdown.

Athelé is likewise busy with sewing up squares, but is for seeing a crisis when she runs out. She is afraid she may only have enough squares for four more blankets. Hopefully, the lockdown will be eased soon, allowing her to fetch another bag of blanket packs to combine in the evenings after work. Athelé also reported that, despite being an introvert and happy with her own company, she is missing physical contact with other people and has ventured twice to the shops in the past couple of weeks just to be out and about in the world.

Finally, I am excited to announce that the Knit-a-Square podcast is now live. It launched quietly over the weekend and is gradually appearing on various podcast services such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and stitcher. You don't have to find it there though. Just visit the KAS-podcast page on this website and you will be able to Play the trailer episode directly from the audio player. I hope you will subscribe and share it with your friends!

Hi 0 I would like to share the podcast with the members of the UK Facebook page - I can't work out where on this website we find it - and I do want to send them all via this page if possible :)

Hi Rebecca! The link to the podcast is on the navigation bar of the main Knit-a-Square page. Thanks for pointing out that it can't be reached from the forum; I will ask Andrea to help with a link. In the meantime, you can copy and paste this link into your search field: https://knit-a-square.com/kas-podcast/

Just listened to the podcast - are you sure you haven't been doing this for years, sounded so very professional!  Lovely to hear you and put a voice to the face (usually the other way around, isn't it.) Can't wait to hear future episodes - thank you so much, Leanne, for a little bit of light in these dark days.

Hi Leanne, I’ve listened and subscribed to the podcast and I’m eager to hear more! Well done, it was really interesting, very professional, and like the others I can’t wait to hear more from you and your guests.

Loved your first podcast and learning more about you, Leanne, and what goes on in SA!  Looking forward to listening to future ones!

Thanks for creating the podcast Leanne, it was very interesting, and, so lovely to hear your voice - it will make reading the Blogs so much more enjoyable!

Thank you Leanne for a lovely introductory podcast.  Looking forward to hearing more from you.

As usual, I was on a group call today with Ronda, Estelle and Athelé. It’s a grey and rainy day here in Johannesburg so we were all indoors keeping warm, although everyone is thinking about the children as the weather grows colder.

Ronda, Estelle and I expressed our concern that distributions may need to be postponed until September, but Ath had encouraging news. She has been in touch with a woman from the Police Community Forum in her area about getting a permit to distribute blankets at a squatter camp near her home. The squatter Camp is in Kaya Sands and has an estimated 100 000 people living there. Apparently, next week, there is an organised food distribution taking place and Ath is hoping that we can distribute blankets at the same time. Ronda offered to transport the blankets, beanies, hand-warmers and soft toys in the van, and Ath will work alongside her contact at the Police Community Forum to make sure the children receive what she has brought for them. Obviously, there is a risk to Ronda and Athelé's health, but they have assured us they will be extremely careful, keeping their distance. Ath intends only to take photographs while the community policing representatives carry out the actual handover.

Because of this good news, it was a very lively call and Estelle struggled to get a word in. She did manage to say, though, that she has accumulated a big batch of blankets which will form part of the Kaya Sands distribution. When the police permit is arranged, she hopes to be able to pop into the barn to collect a couple more bags of blanket packs so she and her network of helpers can sew them up.

Other exciting news is that the first full-length episode of the Knit-a-Square podcast went live today. Look out for it on the podcast page. This time I interview Ronda and Bongi, and there is a snatch of a song recorded at the barn. I am excited about the positive feedback I’m getting on the trailer episode and I believe that listening to the volunteers and members around the world will go a long way to keeping us connected, especially while the sorting of squares in the barn has to be put on hold.

Ronda reported that the post office is still not sorting mail from overseas, so we cannot expect any post to reach us for some time yet. Members should retain their knitted items at home for now. We will notify you as soon as we see that the post office is preparing to resume normal activity.

Delivering to Kaya Sands sounds like a good solution, especially as the SA winter is on the horizon. Take care.

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