BUHLEBEMFUNDO DAY CARE 2015
On 23rd April this year, Wendy and I we collected Wandi to drive to Braam Fischer Informal Settlement in Soweto, to visit "Buhlebemfundo" Day Care, run by Ntombi.
Just the day before, along the very route we were to take, a pregnant woman had been shot dead in front of her 7 year old son in an assumed hi-jacking, outside his school. Having recognised the site of this hijacking as being along our proposed route, Wandi had very kindly asked Ntombi to arrange a police escort for us to the creche......just in case.
It also happened to be a day on which teachers had planned a protest strike, just to add to the tension ... with protest marches, one of which we drove past en route, in Mofolo ... thankfully being monitored by a strong police contingent and quite orderly.
At Wandi's request, we waited (for over 30 minutes) at the Dobsonville Police Station for the arranged escort to materialise. Unknown by me at the time, Wandi was being questioned inside the police station as to WHY we thought we should be escorted !
Suddenly, a police car SHOT out of the station yard and gesticulated vehemently for me to follow him ... which of course I did. Ntombi had already climbed into the front seat of the van with me and Wandi was (I thought) in the back of the van with Wendy.
WRONG ! In actual fact, I almost left her standing in the street when that police car shot past me, as I floored the accelerator to keep up with him......because our poor unsuspecting Wandi was in the ACT of climbing back into the back of the truck as I took off. Thankfully, she just managed to hold on with Wendy's help, and stay in. (I MUST get that rear view mirror fixed !!).
We literally TORE through the streets almost all the way to Buhlebemfundo. The police driver did not bother about stop streets, nor did he seem to notice the oncoming traffic when he overtook.
We began to get the hint that MAYBE, just MAYBE, he did not feel it necessary to escort the KASvan after all. Never again will we ask SAPS to look after us - we are so much safer without them !
En-route we found a large gathering of high school kids outside their school, perhaps locked out without warning because their teachers were on strike. As kids will do, they decided instead to get involved in a bit of gang warfare and by the time we arrived on the scene there had actually been stabbings among them.
This naturally delayed our "escort" for a while and we waited a little way up the street for them to talk to the students. Ten minutes or so later we were on our way again, careering down narrow streets behind them, and as we arrived at the daycare, the policeman driver shouted a few angry words at me and took off like a rocket on his way!!
Had I known how he resented his chore SO much, I would have released him from it gladly ... we have been going into Soweto and surrounds for 7 years and his driving made me more nervous than ever before !! We were glad to see the back of him.
There were 66 children at Bemfundo, but not all were present because of the supposed "school break" / strike action. Ntombi was nursing a bad eye infection which seemed to have affected several of the children also. A few were subdued, but hopefully our smiles and words of encouragement, along with the gorgeous blankets and other items, will have cheered them all up.
Certainly this was a memorable occasion for us, not necessarily for the right reasons !!!! One good outcome though - Wandi has agreed never to ask SAPS for help again. And we have had several good laughs about the whole episode since !!