Mug and Tree – The Reality of a Community in Trouble
Facility assessed by Greg Wells-Clifton of Pay It Forward
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Permission to detail the below granted by Estelle Opperman
Written by Greg Wells-Clifton, so forgive any grammatical or spelling errors. As long as the point of the facility is understood, I don’t mind being imperfect
1. Meeting Estelle and Trudi
Mug and Tree, a Nursery School, After Care Centre, and Soup Kitchen, based in the Krugersdorp area, were assessed this morning by myself. 2 Seconds into our talk, I knew in my heart, that Pay It Forward would ask our valued members to assist us, to help them. Literally. Estelle’s eyes are truly the window to her soul, and her soul is genuine, compassionate, humble, and true. Just like Trudie’s.
I met with Estelle Opperman and Trudie Naude, and also with the man who brought them to the attention of many people, Johan (JC) Crafford, owner of JC CRAFFORD Photography. A huge thank you to him for making us aware of this school.
I asked Estelle if I could do a story on the School, and she asked me to PLEASE do so. I will share some things with you, others I cannot. Reading this you will understand why I had tears during the Assessment, and why they freely flowed as I drove away, so much so that I needed to pull over at one stage and just let them. I am not embarrassed to say that I shed them. I believe, had I not, my heart would be one of ice.
I arrived, and I was confused as I climbed from the car. A group of people were busy bringing goods, black bags of clothes, food, toys, OUT of the Hall, and packing them into two waiting ‘bakkies’ (for those not au fait with South African terms, this would be a [small] truck). Being human – and I am ashamed of my thoughts now – I was immediately suspicious. My thought was – ‘aah, struggling but they’re giving goods away’. A short while later I learned what this was about, and immediately I was saddened to find that this is a weekly occurrence, and today especially early.
Let’s learn about Mug and Tree, how it came about, what these two remarkable Ladies do, how they do it, and why.
2. The start of Mug and Tree
Two Ladies, one vision, a Community in need. Determination ruled, and Estelle and Trudie decided during 2012 to do something, not just talk about doing something. So together, they founded Mug and Tree (I never did get to ask how the name came about, but have an idea. Irrelevant…..)
Trudie drove around the area which she knows well, and spoke to Mothers where families are housed in (initially 167 houses) 166 houses belonging to the Municipality (1 burnt down), where there is no money save the Grants from the State for the children @ R290 per child. She told them what was intended. Thus invitations were extended in this way for the children to join the Nursery School when it opened. Words were used to advise the parents of what would need to be paid, from the Grant, to the School.
And so, in January 2013, the School opened its doors, in a Hall in the area. I told Estelle how happy I was that the Hall was in use by them, and especially that it was at no cost (this was an assumption on my part, based on the initial article I read). ‘No,’ Estelle answered. ‘We pay Rent, and Lights, and Water. The Lights and Water are around R2 000 per Month’. I did not ask about the Rental amount.