Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Handing out beanies at Mponeng Primary

Yesterday afternoon I went to Mponeng Primary to drop off the handmade beanies and to help the school principal Rene and the teachers to place the beanies on each child's desk. They took time to consider each child and their preferences to choose the right size and colours. Judging by the children's expressions this morning, I think they got it right. Children who were not at school today will get their beanies when they next attend classes.

These colourful beanies were made by me, Abigail, Elaine, Brenda, Denise, Diana and Penny. Thank you kind people. xxx

We have leftovers of some very small beanies - for babies - and a bunch for those in the 3-8 year old group. I'll pass them on to an organisation here in Parys that has involvement with pre-schoolers in the township.

Here are some photos from my visit this morning.

These are the sweet pre-schoolers.
These are the next younger grades - 1 to 4.
The children in grades 5, 6 and 7 in the school's dining room. For many of the school's children, this is their only meal of the day.
Some children in a classroom.
And in celebration of the lovely handiwork that went into making these beanies... Here are photos of some of the approx 140 beanies!

Some of Denise's creations

A few of the gems from Abigail and her mom Elaine

These bright colours are me - with thanks to my friend Sylvi who gifted me some balls of yarn

Bren's combinations are delighful - I had to keep our children away from the ones with the lovely fuzzy yarn

Some of the 76 loom-knitted beanies made by Di and Penny in Cape Town.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Look at all of these handmade beanies!

Oh wow! I've just been putting all the beanies together that have been made with such warmth and kindness.

The courier just arrived with the stuffed-full bag of beanies crocheted by Denise and the large box of striped beanies from Cape Town, knitted by Diana Duchess and Penny West! Added to the bursting bag that arrived yesterday from Abigail and her mom Elaine, plus the bunch from Brenda and myself, the children of Mponeng are going to be the warmest and more colourful children around.

I've arranged with the school principal Rene to meet her on Monday afternoon. We're going to put beanies on each child's desk so that they have a lovely surprise waiting for them on Tuesday morning. I'll go along then too to get photos.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Zero Waste Parys - refilling bottles

Zero Waste Parys #2 for the 22 June 2017 issue of Parys Gazette

In my quest to focus on waste – what I’m buying, using, reusing, recycling and throwing away – I’m searching for zero and low-waste alternatives to items I regularly use. My aim is to refuse unnecessary packaging and to reduce the amount of waste that I put out on trash day. Items that I see regularly in my plastic recycling bag that I put out each week for the informal recycling collectors are plastic bottles. Instead of buying products in new bottles, there should be options to refill – not only water but also milk and juice. The good news is that there are.

We have an abundance of drinking-water stores in town where you can take along your own containers to fill them with clean drinking water. Prices range from R3 to R5 for five litres. Plastics are, by nature, a clean and hygienic material. Refilling your five-litre or 25-litre household containers regularly with clean drinking water will not pose a health hazard. Store water in a cool place out of the sun and keep an eye out for algae growth if you leave water in the container for a long period.

A good wash and thoroughly drying the container will solve this issue and make the container ready for reuse. What can pose a health risk are everyday drinking bottles. Contamination from hands and saliva ‘backwash’ can lead to bacterial growth, especially in bottles kept at room temperature for an extended period.

Disposable plastic bottles – the kind that you buy water and softdrinks in from the store – are not made to be reused repeatedly. They suffer from wear-and-tear, thinning, scratches and cracks (bacterial like to grow in these scratches and cracks!). Avoid buying throw-away bottles of beverages and instead invest in reusable containers that you can refill. Sports bottles and glass bottles are long-lasting alternatives. Just remember to wash them out with warm, soapy water between uses.

I’ve usually bought milk from the supermarket in plastic bottles or long-life Tetra Pak boxes, which are a recycling nightmare. With 2l milk bottles dominating my plastic recycling, I needed to do things differently.

Fortunately, we have the Farm Inn. Here they have milk on tap so you can take along your own containers to fill with fresh milk. This full-cream milk comes from Rietpoort Suiwel (Dairy), which is located only a few kilometres outside of town in the direction of Fochville. When it comes to hygiene and refilling containers, glass bottles are best for dairy.

Remember to thoroughly wash your bottles before refilling.

Farm Inn does have other dairy products – cream, yoghurt, butter, but these are in regular plastic packaging in standard volumes. Farm Inn is located on Van Coller Street, near the intersection with Luyt Str – less than 200 metres from the traffic lights.

If you’re buying milk from the supermarket, it is better value and less packaging overall to purchase Wynn-with Dairy Farm’s four-litre milk containers rather than standard one or two-litre options. These can be repurposed and upcycled for use in the garden or for crafting.

Fresh fruit juice 
Farm Inn also stocks fresh fruit juice on tap. Take along your own containers and fill them with fresh juice.

Reusing long-lasting plastic and glass bottles for water, milk and juice will already have a huge impact on the volume of plastic packaging that you throw out each week. This is an easy change to make once you know where to get your packaging-free refill.


The great beanie collection for Mponeng School

In the days before Forest Run when we were cutting and marking the trails, we saw children waiting by the roadside for the school bus. Some of those morning where really chilly and it was only mid-May. It is colder now and should be colder in July. None of these children were wearing beanies and I thought that this would make a great collective project as beanies are quick to work up and left-over yarn can be used.

I phoned the principal of Mponeng School, Rene, and asked if I could collect beanies for the school's children (there are about 87 children in the school from toddlers to matric) and also if we could go crazy with colours. She loved the idea and agreed.

I put out a note on Facebook and tagged crochet friends. And they passed on to their friends. Many regular crocheters and knitters are already involved in community projects - like Yvonne has been making scarves for a school - so they couldn't commit to beanies. Others were able to jump in.

I'm waiting for the courier to arrive this afternoon with two flyer bags stuffed full of beanies made by Abigail and her mom Elaine (24) and also from Denise (23). A box is on its way from Cape Town with beanies for the little ones (0-8), made by Di and Penny. I don't know them but they're warm and generous friends of friends. Ingrid from Australian Shepherd SA Rescue Organisation (ASSARO) is the link between us and she has arranged for the courier to bring the box up here to me. My aunt has made 13 and I'm on 13 too (more by the end of the weekend!).

Growing beanie pile
Important too are the people who contributed yarn. My friend Sylvi bought me six balls of colourful chunky yarn; Abigail's mother-in-law bought yarn for her to work into beanies.

I've just spoken to Rene. I'll meet her at the school on Monday afternoon. We're planning to put a beanie on each child's desk so that when they come to school on Tuesday morning, a colourful beanie will be waiting for them. I'll go through on Tuesday morning too, to take photos to share with the wonderful people whose hands and skills have created these beanies.

What fun!