The lockdown of 2020 was a period when the world went quiet and plans were put on hold. In the Drakensberg it was a time when hotels were empty and there were masks for Mother’s Day and families regrouped and became more united in helping the community. Well, what does one do when your daily focus and busyness is suddenly usurped from beneath you? Problem with time is that it allows too many worries and fears to brew so it has been important to focus on good and on doing. We’ve been so fortunate….
On Saturday the 16th May we gathered as a family with our loyal lockdown team and we hiked the Big5 for education. It’s a strange time to be asking for support when so many others are in precarious situations but it’s also about raising awareness for early childhood development, foundation phase education and the first 1000 days. Children are so better prepared when they have been stimulated early on. Pathways in the brain are developed and learning becomes easier. It’s interesting that 50% of the Grade 2 learners from 2009 dropped out of school and only half matriculated in 2019. Why is that?
We believe that children that battle to read just get lost as they move through to the intermediate phases and eventually it’s all so overwhelming that they drop out. It must be excruciating being in a class and not making sense of what is going on. Sadly there is little hope when we begin working with children when they are turning 6. We need to begin way before then!
So, we slogged through the mountains, up gulleys and down ravines and toasted all our regular sponsors. In regular times we would have raised R1 million to ensure that we can continue with our work but this year, we had to just be grateful for each Rand that came in. And it’s healthy to be careful, to be grateful for less and to know that the path is different but it can still be good and inspiring and motivating. Saturday was spectacular.
What was good was having support in other places. Liam King did 17kms in Durban North and raised R17 000, Heather Gillings walked around Doone Village and had such encouragement that she doubled her kilometres and with support from friends she sent over R1000 to the school. Daph & Dave did 8.5kms each along the Port Elizabeth beachfront and the Bowkers hiked the hills of Montagu. Meanwhile Rob & Penny Reimers walked the Great Windsor Park and sent us gorgeous images of flowering azaleas. Wow. We felt the love and are always uplifted by the support.
It’s interesting that we have run Royal Drakensberg since 2007. We have never been very scientific about the finances and although we have tried to be careful and circumspect always, we have just tried hard not to focus entirely on the money. And, it is interesting and it is inspiring that each year we do manage. We share our story, we gather support and we do pay our way.
Under the great cobwebs of worry it is important to look at what does work out. It is then that we know we need to keep the faith. Good does prevail. We can do. And, there will always be love in the world.
Together we can overcome much.