Over the past three years, the Aberdeen district has been through a horrific devastating drought which has led to huge losses in production and has had an enormous impact on the community itself, particularly the farmers and their employees. This desperate situation has not gone unnoticed by caring organisations in the country.
On the morning of Sunday 16 December a convoy of thirteen links arrived in Aberdeen under police and traffic escort bringing fodder for the farmers in the Aberdeen, Fullarton and Rietbron districts. Amidst a fanfare of hooting horns, the trucks made their way to the Dutch Reformed Church in the centre of town, with many locals gathering to watch and cheer the arrival.
The consignment of fodder was put together by a number of organisations which saw the urgent need to bring relief to these farming communities.
Naude Pienaar of Agri NW set the ball rolling, and handed over to Anrina van Heerden of the Caring Daises to run with the project. A number of other organisations were involved in this huge relief effort: Gift of the Givers, Agri SA, Boere in Nood, Save the Sheep, Waterfall Farmers Association, and Manna vir die Boere. The convoy of vehicles was sponsored by Vibro Bricks and Paving, and fuel donated by Texan Petroleum.
A special word of thanks must be conveyed to all the drivers and support staff who took on this journey of about 1 200km from the North West province. “We as a farming community cannot thank them enough for their time and the commitment that they showed for our community” said Colleen Ogilvie, secretary of the Aberdeen Farmers’ Association.
After a symbolic church service of thanksgiving conducted by Ds Abe Beyers in the Dutch Reformed Church, the convoy and all the farmers left for the farm Louisan owned by Louis (Hommie) Slabbert and his son Louis (Jnr) to unload the fodder, which was then collected by the farmers. A monetary donation was given by the farmers, which will be given to the organisations to ensure that other communities in need can in turn be helped. The drivers and support staff were treated to a Karoo braai and salads before heading home again. The local farmers and their staff were given a hamburger and cooldrink organised by Toesie Slabbert, Colleen Ogilvie and Irene van Schalkwyk, and sponsored by the local Farmers’ Association.
The Aberdeen Farmers Association would like to thank the Slabberts for the venue, Derick & Umelda van Rensburg for the cooldrinks, Dirk van Schalkwyk for the sheep and Louis Slabbert, Johan Lategan and Fanie de Jager for their tractors, as well as those who brought along sails and scales. Great teamwork ensured that the distribution ran smoothly. Thanks too to Estelle van Wyk and the ladies from the church who organised the very welcome coffee and snacks for the drivers and support team before to the church service.
“Our community has been humbled by the help and generosity of the general public in the country who have helped us in time of need” said Dickie Ogilvie, Agri EC councilor and vice chairman of the local Farmers’ Association. “Words cannot describe our feelings of gratitude.”