Dear Friends of Golden Sunbeams
Most of the time, principals are enthusiastic when we offer them our help and support them in the implementation of projects that improve the conditions and opportunities in their kindergartens in the long term.
Most of the time, but not always – and then it takes a lot of patience, even more persuasion and a little composure. This is how we were “put to the test” with our new kitchen project by Rise and Shine Edu-Care Centre in Asanda Village township.
The kindergarten, which Bernd Holtkamp has looked after since 2012, has finally received official approval from the government after many years and is subsidised by state funds. This is mainly thanks to the very committed head of the kindergarten, Nomthandazo Desemele.
Golden Sunbeams has repeatedly supported the kindergarten with structural and safety-related renovation measures: insulating the leaking roof, replacing walls, floors and the electrical system.
As you know, the official approval of a kindergarten is an important milestone and reason for us to continue investing in this facility. So we decided to renew the kitchen, which was absolutely in need of renovation.
In Vicky Roper, founder of the CHEAFRICA Foundation, we found a sponsor at the beginning of 2019 who wanted to support the renovation with a larger sum. So we proposed to Nomthandazo that we build a new kitchen but we were amazed at their reluctance and indecision.
Nevertheless, as we are Germans and do a proper job, we planned a new kitchen in the old kitchen space and discussed and corrected the designs – until we noticed that Nomthandazo wasn’t so enthusiastic. Then she asked us to enlarge the kitchen with an extension which wasn’t already there, in order to create more space.
So we planned a completely new extension to the building, drew new kitchen plans, calculated labour and costs and consulted our architect and builder to apply for a building permit. It turned out that the sewage pipe had to be laid over the neighbouring property so that the new kitchen extension could be connected to the sewage system. The neighbors didn’t give us permission so we had to revert to our original plans.
Nomthandazo couldn’t visualise the new kitchen and didn’t want to make a decision. Months passed, we used all powers of persuasion, but due to Covid-19, the project dragged on and was finally put on hold.
And then the township relationship structure accelerated the kitchen project: In August 2021, we built a new kitchen for our kindergarten Small World Edu-Care Centre, just around the corner from Rise and Shine, in an extremely short time. This made the principal Cynthia Mhali very happy. Cynthia proudly presented her new kitchen cabinets to her friend Nomthandazo. It wasn’t long before Nomthandazo got back to us and told us about the awesome new kitchen at Small World. We don’t need to tell you that she could have called such a kitchen her own a long time ago… She now asked us to start remodelling the kitchen based on the original plans, as soon as possible.
A word and a blow. Shortly before the start of the long summer holidays in mid-December 2021, the new kitchen at Rise and Shine was ready and Nomthandazo was proud and happy, because it was her biggest Christmas present of all.
This is also a facet of our work: going round in circles or standing still. And then realising that projects sometimes take a lot more time, and that decisions are not made as quickly as we both experienced in our previous working lives.
This happens to us from time to time even though we have been living and working here for so many years. The standards are just different and it takes energy, persuasion and the occasional coincidence, like the friendship between Cynthia and Nomthandazo, to finally get there.
In mid-January 2022, at the beginning of the new school year, we were able to present the new kitchen to our sponsor Vicky Roper. Vicky was just as excited as we were about this beautiful, functional kitchen with a new gas stove and plenty of storage space.
We thank Vicky from the CHEAFRICA Foundation for her patience, equanimity and financial support of this project. We are delighted that many meals are now being prepared for the children in this beautiful new kitchen.
For today, say bye-bye from Cape Town
Britta & Bernd