Thanks to Love Knysna ladies, it was hopefully a life-changing week for 18-year-old Knysna Secondary pupil, Ashwilene Anbraal a.k.a. Essie.
On Tuesday, this week, i posted on Facebook that a teenager was desperately in need of help. Women were quick to respond, not only from Knysna but from Plettenberg Bay, George and Johannesburg too. Within a day, i had 4 packets of clothing (which included lots of school shirts). Within 3 days i had at least triple that as well as R1400.
There’s even bigger news but i’ll leave that for the end.
Yesterday, late afternoon, Essie, her ‘adopted sister’ and her ‘adopted mom’ met me in Knysna Central. We began with a chat over a snack – we shared a tramezzini (Essie’s first).
We then collected more donations, a too-big-to-carry-around-town-bag (thank you!). We dropped it off at the shop where a neighbour works and went shopping! All school stuff (except official school books) and clothing is sorted. She also got a cool bag. Plus enough groceries for weekends for a month. But i’m sure that her highlight was the sparkling white takkies 🙂
The only upset to a good day was that the taxi we were waiting for got stuck at George airport, 65km away, as flight awaited had been delayed. Another taxi never arrived. Our cellphones went dead. I wowed them with extreme sport videos on my laptop but after 20 minutes it became the next battery to run out. We waited three and a half hours, into the night, before finally getting a ride.
Although tiring near the end, that delay became a good thing.
I’m thankful that Long Barn was open. We must have seemed a weird lot sitting on a bench outside with a pocket of potatoes etc. whilst people played pool inside. The music was loud so we had a good soundtrack as we all got to know one another a lot better. Plus patrons were regularly coming to chat to us. The other lass with us may even get a job out of it 🙂
So we talked, getting to know one another a lot better. Essie told me how impressed she was with a bible that had been included in the donations. She also showed me a silver bracelet, saying she’d worn it since yesterday, after she’d discovered it in one of the packets. It stood out on her coloured skin, matching the silver ring she said she’d worn since her father died. She said that she was good at doing hair but that it wasn’t a career she wanted. She didn’t know what she wanted to do, just concentrate on getting through school.
The biggest news (or maybe i should better define it as the ‘biggest hope’) is that Knysna Secondary School has a boarding facility – i never knew that (how could i not have?). The new principle is wonderfully going to accommodate Essie for now, at least until the Western Cape Education Board makes a decision. We don’t know how long that will be. If she gets a yes (holding thumbs), there will be a nominal fee per month that we’ll have to raise. In addition, most importantly, to a safe environment, the boarding house provides porridge in the mornings, dinner and a late night snack. The family of women that are currently helping her will organise her lunch for school as well as take her in on the weekends.
I still have to sort out what is happening with her family plot and why an unknown person is building on it.
So the journey isn’t over. In particular, it’s up to Essie to stay in school and pass. She’s got 2 years to make up.
Thanks for all the fab clothing, toiletries (some expensive items in that lot), make-up and jewellery she received – there’s still donations coming from George. Any extras and things that don’t fit will not go to waste! I know lots of people in need and will keep you informed where you go. Other teens who benefit are likely to meet Essie on a trip in the near future (i want to have them visit 10 coastal and estuary beaches this year, a fun way to educate them about Knysna).
I’ll give a breakdown of expenditure next week. It may not be possible with helpers been so widely spread but if any of you would like to meet Essie for a breakfast in Knysna, next week Saturday, she’d love to say thank you. You can email me through firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you, Love Knysna ladies, your help has been warm and wonderful!