A Day in Groot

Tsumkwe is a small township with a fluctuating population. Many people live in villages attached to farms that are located in the area surrounding the town. The only place they can access food supplies is in Tsumkwe and so there is a constant ebb and flow of people between Tsumkwe and the farms/villages. As there is a limited supply and range of food and other goods in Tsumkwe there is a need to travel to the nearest big town on a fairly regular basis for many of our residents. We are in the same boat as the locals and so about once a month we make a trip into Grootfontein which we have taken to calling Groot for short.
Before our trip we try to make an extensive list of all that we need from town. We then come up with a list of the places that we need to visit in order to get all that is on the list. We then decide where we will start and work our way around town by location of businesses. Inevitably there are things that we cannot find or are not in stock. Depending on how essential they are, we try and source them elsewhere or think of something else that might do the job! There are many mixed businesses which makes life interesting at times and frustrating at others.
Generally, we leave Tsumkwe in the early hours of the morning, 5am being a late start. This is partly to avoid travelling in the heat, as much as we can, and partly because it takes us about 3.5 hours on a good day, to get there. We travel on a challenging dirt road for all but the last 40minutes of the trip. Our first stop when we get to town is usually a café to get some food and to utilise the toilets and then we get down to running around town.
Initially when we came we did the trip in one long, very exhausting day. We have now changed to doing it as a two-day trip and spending one night in Groot. This was in part because it was difficult particularly for the children but also because we needed better access to the internet than we have in Tsumkwe. Now part of our routine before we leave is trying to have ready everything we want to do on the internet, eg newsletters, blog posts, emails etc pre-written so that all we have to do is upload and send.
We stay at the DRC (Dutch Reformed Church) facility in Groot when it is available. This is a huge blessing as there are plenty of rooms and several bathrooms as well as a good kitchen. When we stay we are able to have showers and some meals we can’t have at home in Tsumkwe.

5 thoughts on “A Day in Groot

  1. Dear Helen and Gerry,
    Hi guys. Thanks so much for everything, your support, prayers, contact….I love getting snippets of your life via facebook when we get the internet access. We love you and miss you, Helen and Craig

  2. loved reading about this aspect of your life. Today in church we spent a lot of time praying for our Glocal Beloveds. Our group prayed for you. Love you very much. Helen and Gerry

  3. Hi Dad,
    We can receive emails sometimes in Tsumkwe it just depends on whether or not there is any power, cell coverage or if the local internet connection is up and working. When all is running well here we have a very slow and unstable connection. When we go to Groot we generally speaking have a better connection but as there are more of us trying to access it this also slows it down for all concerned and sometimes it means whoever gets on first gets the best access and others none at all! We certainly have not received any emails from you since before you went to New Zealand. If you are sending us emails it is best that you use our AIM address: chwaldock@aimint.org
    I will send you a personal email in the next couple of days all being well, Lots of Love Helen

  4. Good to know that you are able to use the DRC facilities as you can all be together and can have a little relaxation and fellowship in good surroundings. Do you receive all your incoming emails during your Groot trips? D & G

  5. Great to get more of an idea of what your trips to Groot look like!

    i fully intend to sit down and write a decent letter soon, so will keep news til then.

    much love from the Coles

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