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A truly moving experience

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Children’s Book Network has a new home. It is an office with carpets, a desk and bookshelves. It also has a collection of boxes of books, stationery, art materials and teddy bears. (The teddy bears arrived in Stanford riding pillion on motorbikes in the annual Biker’s Run, and are much loved reading companions for the children).

The office is a garden hut. It is at the bottom of the garden of the house Lesley shares with Penny and William Louw – and it was donated by them when the room CBN rented in Stanford was sold (along with the rest of its building). It is not a huge garden hut, but it is big enough for now – and we will find somewhere to have workshops when the pandemic allows us to again.

In the meantime, Wilien is in charge! Newly promoted to the post of Operations Manager (which includes everything she did before, only more so), it is she who packed up and organized the move. Lesley prepared the ground in advance by emptying and transferring the previous contents of the hut to a smaller hut, emptying the garage and sorting about 1.5 million objects into piles of the same kind of thing (mostly books). Daisy summoned up The Boyfriend (Judge), a bakkie-with-trailer and an excellent attitude. Elzane brought her bakkie and her feisty view of the world. Suleiman tirelessly carried boxes, a large drum, the furniture and … the books. Judge and he formed a useful team and uncomplainingly achieved the move to 14 Longmarket in (we timed it) an hour and a half.

Where did we get all this stuff? Kind friends and people in Stanford and elsewhere gave it to us. Every carpet, plastic chair, teddy-bear, recorder, drum, paint-brush – and book – has been given gladly, whether in the form of funding, or actual objects. It was heartwarming to see it all standing waiting to be moved. It was heart-wrenching to see our old home emptied and to remember the workshops we have given there over the last four years. It was heart-lifting to be part of the team that willingly accomplished the move.

We will give workshops again. We will find a new home for them. In the meantime, we continue with our online projects for those children who can access computers, and distribution of printed reading packs for those who can’t.

And in the final moving episode of the move, board member Hildegard Witbooi appeared out of the dusk, unloading the very biggest teddy bear of all from her car (with some difficulty!). We’ll have to get another hut for it!

With thanks to:
Penny and William Louw for the actual hut!
Royd and Lindsay Frith for their kindness in waiving rental during lockdown.
All the many people who have donated the things we moved.
The CBN Team for sticking together.