(under the auspices of the Johannesburg Child Welfare Society)


Dear Masi Friends

Friday November 27th – the day of the annual Masibambisane/JGC Christmas party

Enza Construction very generously sent along a truck (driven by Lucky) to transport our Boxes to Masi.  The truck had tarpaulin top and sides (no back flap), and grateful to them as we were (and we still are!) it was a very hot job working under canvas in the midst of a heat wave, packing all 220 boxes into the truck.  However, we did it with a minimum amount of moaning, and set off with Meredith and I leading the way, the truck in the middle, and Paula following behind, to keep a beady eye on the backless truck, and the safety of the boxes.  She had a bit of a challenge at the traffic lights in Parktown North when several homeless tried to climb in and help themselves.   She fended them off manfully with a lot of shouting and hooting so all was well for a while. Sadly Lucky was a slow driver with little or no sense of direction so he lost us, and then tried to go to Soweto instead of Eldorado Park, taking poor Paula with him.  After a couple of tense calls between the various drivers and the truck sponsor (husband of my co-driver) everyone arrived at our point of rendezvous where Jonty Peters, our lovely photographer, had been waiting a while.


We arrived at Masi a bit late, and all the children were even more pleased to see us than they usually are.  Seeing their eager faces, all our travel woes were suddenly trivial, and we were glad to be there with them. The disc jockey had already started up the music – loud music – in the hall, I suppose to save time, and it continued at the same tempo until we left the building.   I am pleased to report that the children took all the Boxes out of the truck far more happily than they were put in.  As you will see from the photographs, the Boxes were absolutely fabulous, as were the party packs and the crackers.   I am glad that the gifts were even better than ever, because it was quite apparent that the children were suffering the effects of the downturn in the economy.  It showed in their clothing and general appearance that there had been a definite dropping off in sponsorship.


Before the Boxes are handed out, the Masi children always like to show their thanks to us through entertainment.  This year it was done with free poetry.  The dancers had such rhythm and were beautiful and amazing, and the children reciting their praises did it well and with confidence, bearing testament to the care and nurturing they receive at Masi.  What the Masi children gave us was a song of praise and thanks to all of us (we are called Jo’burg Garden) –  and they thanked us especially for giving them hope to begin each day.  Very moving, as you can imagine.


The Boxes were handed out accompanied by the music – still at full volume – happy noises of anticipation from the recipients, lots of loud calling of names from those in charge, interspersed with many asides like disciplining a cheeky boy who dared to wear his hat inside ‘the house’, and admonishing all the usual suspects in the back benches.  Each child’s name was called, they received their Box, then a party pack and cracker, and stepped outside to Jonty’s photo booth for an individual portrait.


Everyone received a Box and was happy except for a little ten year old girl – Keandre De Jaap.  She sat in her chair very silently until last, and broke our hearts.  We gave her a party pack and cracker and apologised profusely.  It was awful, but we promised her that when she got back from school on Monday, the best box of all would be waiting for her.  I am pleased to tell you that the Masi major-domo collected her Box this morning and it was magnificent.  When Keandre got to Masi after school Matome had her call me to say she had received it and thank you!


Thank you to BlueSpec for sponsoring all the party packs and for their generosity to Masi throughout the year; and Jonty Peters for doing individual portraits of each child as well as a photo key ring for each, to Enza Construction for supplying the transport truck and Lucky (!); and Maggi Savage for donating the Christmas crackers.  How they helped to make the day more special.


Thank you everyone – ‘Jo’burg Garden’ – and all our many, many generous friends – for doing your boxes so well and with such love.   Towards the end when I still needed sponsors, Lucy Graham’s friend Trish Saunders asked all her friends not to bring a gift to her birthday party, but to do Masi Boxes instead.  Jo Senekal posted a request to her friends on Facebook for help; my sisters, my husband and Paula helped me put together Keandre’s Box; and Meredith and Holly (and grandfather and gardener) assembled all 260 party packs.  This was charity at its finest.  The voluntary giving of help to those in need, as a humanitarian act. The slogan of the Johannesburg Garden Club and all associated with it.


Have a happy Christmas everyone and rest assured that you have given the Masi children one too!


Love Prue
083 309 7949