During 2020 and early 2021 the threat of Covid and the statistics worldwide was a major concern. We were particularly concerned about our immune-compromised children and our older staff.
South Africa was in lockdown during most of 2020 and we kept our homes closed to visitors and donors. There were a handful of angels who called weekly to deliver fruit and vegetables, milk and bread. This helped us tremendously as there was almost no need for any travel.
Due to the threat of Covid, we gave the staff off (apart from the houseparents) during this time. To bide the time we had fun, playing games, starting with online schooling, gardening, sewing and Zoom meetings with friends and family. Whilst this was great we were somewhat concerned about losing physical contact with our donors (their interaction and the teamwork events), and the slowing of donations. At the same time, two of our girls was diagnosed with some serious ailments, one with a brain tumour and the other with Crohn’s disease. This was dealt with the best the doctors and hospitals could during this time, and we tried our best not to get exposed or get Covid.
Alas, this was not meant to be. During mid-2021 one of our boys became ill and tested positive for Covid. This was at our main home and where we run our operations from. This house was then locked down and all staff given off, and we started a serious vitamin and monitoring campaign. We divided the house into sections restricting the movement between the various residents.
All these precautions only slowed the spread down, and within the span of a month, everyone was infected. The houseparents were last to get sick, which was good as it enabled them to tend to the children during their illness. All the children, including the ones with low immunity, had it relatively mild. But we could not say the same about Christo. He fell seriously ill and was hospitalized for almost 2 weeks. Lani also got very ill and for a time was able to manage the house, but later depended on the bigger girls to prepare meals, feed the pets, clean the house and lock up at night. The local primary school’s teachers and moms started cooking and delivering evening meals.
After the infectious stage of Covid, Lani and Christo’s son, Michael, moved in to take over from the girls and to tend to Lani and the office work. He tried to keep up with emails and pay salaries as best as he could and handled the phone.
Thankfully everyone survived and although some staff members also got Covid, they all since returned to work. Lani’s recovery was relatively quick, but it took Christo 3 months to fully recover. During this time we lost 2 relatives and close friends to this pandemic.
Looking back and having gone through it, we are now no longer in fear of this disease and have returned to our normal way of doing things, albeit from the masks and sanitiser.
We are also very grateful to all the people, friends and doctors for pulling together and helping when it was most needed. This really showed us what community is all about.