My good friend and ally in story-telling Micaela Hamilton stands in the Joza township on the outskirts of Grahamstown during the making of her participatory journalism video in 2012. 

Cold wet rainy puddled days are good for museums. that’s what I learnt from my grandfather. After being cooped up in the house for too long he’d initiate cultural trips to knowledge factories. Although it wasn’t always to mine or my sisters delight - traipsing about looking at guns and old photographs didn’t always successfully curb our appetites or stifle our boredom - but I’ve grown to love and appreciate museums as I get older. The Albany Natural Science Museum in Grahamstown is fascinating in its collections of taxidermy, bones and other pieces of history.

Hence, in a fit of boredom-combatting initiative I meandered through it equipped with fisheye lens.

Can’t stop taking photographs of bees. Or flowers. Or this whole Spring Thing. 

Making Sarmies

Gaelyn Grigg and Nomkhitha Xamyimpi slice up bread to make sandwiches for children who need lunch at the Seventh Day Adventist Combined School in Joza. Bread, jam and peanut butter are donated by the Seventh Day Adventist Church to maintain the program.

 

Sandwiches and Sun

A group of about 27 designated children queue up for the sandwiches delivered by the Meals on Wheels Community Service at the Seventh Day Adventist Combined School in Joza.The teachers and the principle have identified this group of children as having a particular need for lunch at school and heavily rely on their single peanut butter and jam sandwich delivered each Tuesday and Thursday.

 

Pick ‘n Pay

Nancy Kate, Gaelyn Grigg and Nomkhitha Xamyimpi stand beside a trolley-full of donated foodstuffs collected by Pick ‘n Pay in July 2012. The store collected a total 52.6 kg of dry foodstuffs including samp, pap, beans and rice. Thanks to the kindness of its patrons. It is the first time Meals on Wheels has used this method of collecting donations with much success.

 

Unpacking Goods

Pick ‘n Pay branch manager Werner Pienaar helps the Meals on Wheels team offload the trolley full of donations collected by the store into the organisation’s 17 year old bakkie in the Peppergrove center.

 

Old Car

Willie Erasmus fills up the water compartment in the engine of the faithful Ford bakkie, which was donated to the Meals on Wheels Community Services in 1995 new out of the box. However, 17 years on the car has been the source of great difficulties, hindering meal delivery and racking up large vehicle costs.

 

Michelle Sparrow

Michelle Sparrow, the previous branch manager of the MOWCS Grahamstown officeand current treasurer for the organization sits at her desk beneath the old congratulatory photograph the Ford bakkie’s delivery in 1995. Sparrow does the books for Meals and Wheels and is worried about the future state of the organization, which is either on the brink of bankruptcy or in need of dire change and reevaluation if it is to continue successfully.

 

Love Letters

Appreciative recipients of the Meals on Wheels Community Services in Grahamstown write their thanks to the organisers and workers of the small group who provide them with quality meals. The organization has its limitations, but in future the capacity to do more seems endless with adequate funding and the dedication of volunteers.

 

Nancy Kate

Nancy Kate has worked with MOWCS for nearly 15 years now. She is a local Xhosa-speaking woman who was born in Grahamstown and relies enormously on the care from this small organization. She only works twice a week and shares her payment, in the form of a meal, with her sightless mother in the Joza Township.

 

Nomkhitha Xamyimpi

Nomkhitha Xamyimpi, dishes out peaches and custard to compliment meals delivered to the elderly or otherwise vulnerable in Grahamstown. The preparation of the full meal takes about two hours to hit the plate.

GaellynGrigg

GaellynGrigg slices bread for the sandwich project in Joza and is the current branch manager for the Meals on Wheels services in Grahamstown and has been running the show since October 2011. Grigg only recently arrived in Grahamstown with her husband Anthony Grigg who serves as a priest in the local Seventh Day Adventist Church. 

 

Food

The Meals on Wheels menu varies from week to week, but the organization always strives to ensure their food is wholesome, healthy and affordable but of a high quality. The food is carefully prepared and gets paid for in part through government grants from the Department of Social Development.

 

Prayer

The three women involved in the morning Meals on Wheels processes join hands in prayer prior dishing out the food. They give thanks for the kindness of the organisation’s providers and share the hope that the project shall continue.

 

Dish Up

Cooks Nancy Kate and Nomkhitha Xamyimpi aided by the driver Bettie Smailes serve out a chicken dinner complete with butternut and mushroom sauce for recipients across Grahamstown. The trio of workers makes the process pass quickly and ensure the early delivery of the packed meals to waiting community members.

 

Delivery

Nancy Kate, Nomkhitha Xamyimpi and Bettie Smailes fill the Ford bakkie with the carefully packed meals ready to be warmed and eaten. The meal packages are propped up and supported by cushions for transportation across Grahamstown

 

Exchange

Louise Donaldson pays the driver Bettie Smailes for meals delivered to her at Somerset Place during the month of August. Samiles is on good terms with all the recipients and the meal deliveries are often used an excuse to catch up. The initial costs of the meals are approximately R27, but with government grants in place they go for the more affordable price of R10 to R12 a meal.

 

Recipients

Louise Donaldson, Stella Cornwell and Molly Puchert all stay at Somerset Place, a retirement village behind Settler’s hospital. Mrs Cornwell is happy to receive the meals twice a week from MOWCS because she finds standing and cooking for extended amounts of time hurts her back.

 

 

 

Zena Webb

Zena Webb stands outside her home in African Street with her meals and oranges supplied by the Meals on Wheels Community Service in Grahamstown. Webb is now just shy of 90 years old and has been receiving meals from the organization for the past ten years.

 

Meals

RinaNel and Lorna Tesnar stand with their meals on the street beside their home in Grahamstown. These two women are the only non-white recipients of meals from the organization, which has only delivered meals within the immediate town. The MOWCS would like to extend its operations into the township and other immediate areas subject to extensive poverty, but their funding doesn’t allow for the preparation of either cheaper meals or an increase ein the number of meals without sacrificing their quality.