Girl collecting a food parcel in Melville

3000 Food Parcels (Lockdown Day 98)

It’s Day 98 of the South African lockdown, which I literally cannot believe. Earlier today I suddenly thought back to my Day 9 post, when I said it felt like Day 900 and questioned my decision to blog every day of lockdown because I suspected it might last longer than 21 days. Ha! Hahahaha!

As usual there is a lot of bad news in South Africa today, but I won’t torture you with it. It’s Thursday, food parcel day, and the Melville food program has now surpassed 3000 parcels donated (400 of them today). This isn’t “good” news exactly — it’s definitely not good that this program is so sorely needed — but it’s quite an achievement nonetheless.

Food distribution
Inside the church this morning. The distribution gets more and more organized every week.
The line outside, which thankfully moves very quickly so people don’t have to wait for too long.

There has been some debate about this program in Melville — around who is receiving the parcels and why, who is/isn’t worthy of receiving food from charitable programs, etc. If you’ve been pondering these questions yourself (or not), please watch this video, which includes short interviews with several of the parcel recipients.

Those of you who read my food parcel post last week might recognize Josaya the poet in this video. I chatted with Josaya again this morning — he told me he had a meeting scheduled this afternoon to discuss the publication of his poems. I really hope it works out.

Just a reminder: Each parcel costs about R130 and is designed to feed a family of four for a week. The parcels are distributed to whoever signs up to receive them, regardless of circumstances. The majority of the recipients live in or around Melville and a huge number of them have lost their jobs due to the pandemic.

Many people who read this blog have donated to the food program. Some of you have even donated more than once. Thank you so much. It means a lot to me.

Girl collecting a food parcel in Melville
A young girl registers to collect her parcel.

If you’d like to donate to the food parcel program from within South Africa, please send a payment to the Viva Foundation using the following bank details:

Name: Viva Foundation
Branch: FNB Olympus Plaza Code 258155
Acc Nr.: 622 4884 3270
Reference: Melville
SWIFT: FIRNZAJJZXXX

If you’d like to donate from overseas, please contact me.

My lockdown posts are getting shorter and shorter. I feel bad about this and I don’t know why. I feel compelled to try to explain myself, even though I know full well there is no need to explain. My brain just can’t think of interesting sentences to write anymore. Maybe it knows, subconsciously, that this series is about to end and is gradually shutting down in response.

Anyway I’ve got some interesting content planned for tomorrow and Saturday so please hold on until then. Good night.

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14 Comments

  • Reply catji July 2, 2020 at 7:08 pm

    The posts, you kind of solved that problem yesterday – the flat beetle, amazing. Quite amazing what can turn up in city gardens.
    …Aside from that…yes, we’re getting into the deep end now,…wonder how deep in the shit we’re going to sink. :-s
    98 days, ohhhhhh. Waiting to see which comes first, they stop the ban on tobacco sales or open the border to Mozambique.

    • Reply 2summers July 2, 2020 at 7:55 pm

      I feel like both those things are very far away 😔

  • Reply Catrina July 2, 2020 at 7:42 pm

    Awesome and mesmerizing photos as always, Heather! Thank you. ❤️
    You have been doing an amazing job at keeping us updated with your daily posts. I think for day 100 we all have to open up a virtual bottle of champagne with you!

  • Reply Peter July 2, 2020 at 9:06 pm

    It’s amazing what a difference one American can make. We need more Liberated Americans on African soil …..

    • Reply 2summers July 2, 2020 at 11:24 pm

      Well, it’s really the South Africans making the difference in this case — I’m just taking their pictures.

  • Reply Nancy McDaniel July 2, 2020 at 11:46 pm

    The video is wonderful. So many people who lost their jobs with lockdown (here in the USA too. The food bans are very busy as well). Thank you and thanks to the Viva Foundation for their wonderful work.

  • Reply AutumnAshbough July 3, 2020 at 3:34 pm

    I don’t know about South Africa, but white people here get really, really upset over the thought that someone might be getting something free that they don’t deserve.

    Unless, of course, it’s a CEO of an oil company.

    • Reply 2summers July 3, 2020 at 5:16 pm

      Yes that’s basically it.

  • Reply eremophila July 4, 2020 at 12:48 pm

    It’s heartbreaking, good people doing their best in a system that appears to want to destroy them.
    Hang in there Heather, what you do, does matter.

  • Reply James Wadsworth July 23, 2020 at 12:27 pm

    It is absolutely amazing how much effort has been put in to make this a reality. Well done! Belly’s are full, families can survive in this difficult time and hope is renewed.

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