Dear Friends of Golden Sunbeams,
when Osvin Nöller is not on a pilgrimage tour on the Iberian Peninsula, he sends his private detective Melanie Gramberg to the Taunus and lets her solve creepy criminal cases there. In the meantime, the former banker just had his fifth novel, “Taunuscraze” published in 2022, which followed his debut as an author in 2018 with “Cursed Taunusblood”, then “Taunusgreed”, “Taunusguilt” and “Taunuskids”.
Are you wondering what Taunus thrillers have to do with Golden Sunbeams? Osvin and Britta worked in the same bank in Frankfurt for many years, Osvin as Divisional Director of Marketing / Sales, Britta as his Head of Marketing.
In 2019 he, his wife and a friend visited Britta for the first time in her new home South Africa. In January of this year, the trio visited the Cape again. But please read for yourself what the three from Bad Homburg experienced:
Dear Friends of Golden Sunbeams e.V.
Finally it was time again: After our first visit to Britta in November 2019, we – that is my wife Birgit, our friend Astrid and I – set off again for South Africa at the end of January after three long years of Covid. After a week of touring along the Garden Route, we spent two great weeks with Britta – and we discovered that in 2024, we will have known each other for 20 years. In addition to the actual vacation, we were particularly looking forward to seeing our godchild Amala again, whom Britta had introduced to us nine years ago, while she was still at Hope and Light.
Britta invited Amala, who is now fourteen years old and already a real young lady, and her foster parents Alice and Robert to an afternoon meeting. It was indescribable how quickly a warm-hearted conversation developed, in which we were not only able to convince ourselves that Amala is going her own way and has concrete plans for the future but we also realised that she is in the best possible hands under Alice and Robert’s care. The hours passed far too quickly and soon the farewell hug was due, combined with my promise to continue to support Amala so that she can successfully fulfil her dreams.
Another highlight of our stay in Gordons Bay was on Valentine’s Day:
Britta took us on a short tour to four township kindergartens that Golden Sunbeams supports, among others.
The first surprise was right at the beginning: Valentine’s Day is much more important in South Africa than in Germany. All the kindergartens were decorated, photos were taken and one centre even went on a Valentine’s Day trip.
Our first stop was the Great Beginning Edu-Care Center in Asanda Village township, where we were warmly welcomed by the principal Naomi. The children also immediately came up to us and greeted us happily, as if they had known us for a long time. In general, the zest for life of the children, who really live in the simplest conditions, was obvious in all kindergartens. Britta even made the children’s eyes light up with very small sweets.
As well as a new shade sail providing shade for the play area, we were also able to admire the new kitchen made possible by Golden Sunbeams. We also met two Austrian volunteers who help here for a few weeks.
After a picture at the Valentine’s Day booth, we went to the Sikuthale Pre-School next door. There we were greeted with the song “It’s my body”, which playfully draws the children’s attention to the fact that they alone have control over their bodies and that nobody has the right to attack them. A great and impressive example of how to counteract child abuse at a very young age.
In another classroom, there was enthusiastic singing until Britta unpacked a balloon, which the little ones used to start a fun competition. Britta’s comment, ‘That’s why South Africans are so good at rugby’, caused further amusement.
The next stop on our visit tour was the EmfundiSweni Pre-School in the township of Nomzamo, which Golden Sunbeams reported on in a recent newsletter. After a mysterious traffic accident there, the gate to the EmfundiSweni facility had to be renewed.
Here we met another impressive woman in the form of Nomalizo, the principal of the kindergarten. She is over 70 years old and has a truly green thumb. So she transformed the outdoor area into a kitchen garden in order to provide for the children as self-sufficiently and sustainably as possible. She also introduces the little ones to the plants and their use. She has already received an award for this. Self-sufficiency is very important as Nomalizo has to run the pre-school on an extremely low budget.
The children had just gathered for lunch and unpacked the fruit they had brought with them. Unfortunately, not everyone had one with them. Now we experienced a goosebump moment. While Nomalizo was slicing up more fruit, children shared the things they had brought with those who didn’t have anything without being asked to do so. We felt anxious when the children refreshed themselves after eating with a cup of tap water from a bucket.
After this experience I became thoughtful as we headed towards lunch.
After that we went to our last destination, the Covenant Kids Edu-Care Centre in the township of Rusthof, which Chrizell runs. The facility takes care of 95 children. It is rather cramped there, so a newly built garage that serves as an additional classroom, brings some relief.
This is where Britta got rid of the shade sail she had brought with her, which she had actually intended for Naomi’s kindergarten in Asanta Village. It was happily received by Chrizell’s husband, George. He immediately checked the dimensions of the existing surface and began to think about how he could install it. Otherwise it was very quiet there, because the children were lying down all over the space, resting and enjoying their afternoon nap, after their Valentine’s Day excursion. The discipline with which this was done was impressive, and that children who were not sleeping also rested well.
In the end, a wonderful day with many happy, but also contemplative moments came to an end. Once again we were able to see for ourselves how important the work of Golden Sunbeams is and how well the kindergartens and pre-schools are supported. Britta and Bernd cannot be thanked enough for their valuable commitment!
We look forward to seeing you again today.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank Osvin very, very much! Not only for his detailed and emotional contribution to our Newsletter. He is involved in so many different ways – as a member of our organisation, with regular donations and as a sponsor of his godchild Amala. Thank you Osvin and we are already looking forward to your next visit to Cape Town!
Britta und Bernd