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Categories: Buddy and Me
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My full new itinerary including Namibia and Botswana to the end of the tour (19 May 2010).
To watch Buddy and Me in real time click here, select South Africa under “Global Fleet Logins:” in the left hand panel, enter cellphone number 0822549129 and password Buddy.
To make a donation to or information on any of the organisations involved in assisting victims of child rape and abuse, please click on one of the following links:
To be honest I did not expect to be driving out of Germiston this morning heading for Volksrust. Yesterday, Sunday, at about 6pm I received a phone call from my son in-law in Pinetown Zak, who gave me the devastating news that my 17 months old grandson Dain, had fallen seriously ill and had been admitted to the Crompton Street Hospital in Pinetown. He was suffering from periodic, in fact frequent bouts of extremely high fever and vomiting. Carey, my daughter, had not left his bed side for 24 hours and the prognosis was not good. Blood tests and other tests had been done but the results would not be known for up to 72 hours.
I waited anxiously for word on his condition and after speaking to Carey at 8pm I decided that I must go down to Pinetown. I hastily completed my packing, fortunately most of my stuff was already packed because I was intending to leave for Volksrust at 6am this morning, and after saying goodbye to May I headed for the garage to fill up with petrol. While the attendant was filling Buddy’s tank, I once again spoke to Zak who confirmed that Dain was resting and had fallen asleep and when he heard of my intention to drive through the night to Pinetown he said that he did not think it was a good idea. I phoned Carey who was still at the hospital and on hearing my intentions also agreed that it was not a good idea and that I should rather wait until the morning.
I decided that perhaps I should wait until morning because it would involve cancelling 124 Beares and Lubners store visits which would involve an enormous amount of rescheduling and which would obviously create problems in many people’s lives. The prognosis this morning was that he had, apart from suffering with a high fever and vomiting at 2am, had a reasonably restful night and so at 6am ‘Buddy and Me’ headed out of Germiston in the direction of Volksrust where I arrived at 10:20am with a bright blue sky over head and the day turning out to be one of the hottest I have experienced on the project to date, no rain absolutely amazing!
At the Beares store I got involved in a discussion with a large group of ladies from various organisations as well a couple of members of the local police force and the Senior Public Prosecutor. One particularly interesting lady I met was a lady by the name of Nadeane Robertson from the Volksrust SAVF – The Suid – Afrikaanse VroueFederasie, the organisation I was introduced to in Standerton on Friday and mentioned in the Friday blog.
One of the comments she made was about the fact that the RDP – low-cost housing being erected by the government is in fact contributing to the high rate of child rape. This comment has been made on a number of occasions by people during my travels around South Africa and this includes, particularly, woman in the rural areas where these house are being built. The belief is that the houses only have one bedroom which means that mom and dad sleeps in the same room as the kids who get to watch and hear all that goes on, according to her she had heard of incidents where after completing his love making with his wife, or after being refused sex by the wife, fathers/husbands turn to the young daughters for satisfaction.
Today, after Nadeane had mentioned this fact, a woman came up to me and said that what Nadeane had said was perfectly true and that she personally is aware of situations of this nature. She then went on to tell me that she has been married to her present husband for 4 years and that she knows that for the past few years, since her daughter was 8 years of age, she’s now 11, he frequently leaves their bed and goes to her daughters room where he rapes her (They obviously don’t live an RDP house). I asked why she allows it to happen and the answer, as expected was “He earns a very good salary and I could not afford to keep my children in the same standard of living if he was taken away”. In my humble opinion she does not deserve to be called a mother and should be charged as an accomplice to child rape and locked away. I think from the look I gave her she knew exactly how I felt about it and did not stay too long with the discussion group.
Part of the group of guests included a group of kids from the ‘Little Gems Day Care Centre’ and although a lot of them had a problem with the Beares giant bear, they all loved Buddy and would not leave until their picture had been taken with him.
From Volksrust I headed for Newcastle, by now it was really hot with the temperature hovering in the 32-33 degree mark. The drive to Newcastle involved driving through the Majuba Pass which because of the lovely landscape made the steaming hot drive a little more pleasant.
After a relatively quiet afternoon with the Beares staff in Newcastle, actually it was quite a blessing to be able to spend the afternoon chatting to the friendly Beares staff and do a lengthy but detailed interview with a local newspaper reporter named Bruce, I can’t wait to read his article I think it’s going to be a humdinger, I contacted Jai Singh the Round Tabler who together with his lovely wife Kamini, have hosted me accommodation for tonight. Just as a matter of interest Kamini’s name in Hindi means “Beautiful Woman” and believe me whoever named her that knew exactly what he or she was doing.
After a superb supper, obviously one of the dishes was a delicious lamb curry, along with a few other delicious dishes, I was pinned with the Ncandu RT86 Round Table pin and presented with the Jai Singh National IRO banner, for those who don’t know, the IRO stands for the International Relations Officer.
So tomorrow morning ‘Buddy and Me’ head for Vryheid and then continue on to Dundee where I will spend the evening with Round Tabler Greg Van Blomenstein. So until then I am going to wish you all a good night, keep all children safe, and please spare a prayer for my grandson Dain. I pray that he gets better soon so that when I get down to Pinetown on the weekend he will be his usual bubbly self. Hang in there Carey, Zak and Michaela, my thoughts and prays are with you and Dain, I love you.
Caring regards from
Buddy and Me (Steve Heath)
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