The Winnie Mabaso Foundation, known for its commitment to community sustainability, will be hosting an upcoming field trip for its Grannies Club, a heart-warming initiative that has been a beacon of hope for the past 12 years. The field trip, the second of its kind, is set to take place in Durban from November 18 – 24, marking a significant milestone in the Foundation’s ongoing efforts to provide purpose and joy to the elderly community members in Meriting in the South of Joburg.
The Grannies Club, which initially began as a gathering of grandmothers seeking solace from communal loneliness, has evolved into a close-knit community of both grandmothers and grandfathers. The sense of family and companionship fostered by the club has been instrumental in addressing the emotional gaps prevalent among the elderly in the Meriting community. The weekly meetings, centered around shared meals, reading sessions, and just catching up on life, have grown into a vibrant friendship group that continues to flourish.
CEO of the Winnie Mabaso Foundation, Lisa Ashton, expressed her enthusiasm about the upcoming field trip, stating: “This trip is not just a holiday; it’s a testament to the love and care we aim to provide, creating memories and giving our grannies a chance to experience the world beyond their everyday lives.”
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and prolonged isolation, the trip holds significance for the grannies, marking a symbolic return to normalcy and social engagement. For many, it’s their first encounter with the ocean, symbolising life’s limitless possibilities beyond daily routines. The ocean’s cultural significance adds another layer, connecting the grannies to tradition and offering a therapeutic backdrop for reflection. This excursion serves as a promise of hope, representing positivity and resilience post-pandemic.
At the previous trip in 2019, Ashton says she’ll never forget the sheer excitement and awe she witnessed as some of the grannies set foot on the sandy beaches, feeling the ocean breeze for the first time.
“Astonishment filled the air when one Gogo tasted the seawater, discovering that it was salty. These moments capture our commitment to bringing new experiences and joy to the lives of the elderly,” said Lisa.
The Grannies Club has lost many of its members since 2019, so the trip also serves as a celebration of the life those who are still with us get to live.
Sibongile Mokoena, one of the grannies who will be going on the trip for a second time, shared her emotions, saying: “I never thought I would see the ocean in my lifetime. The sound of the waves, the feeling of the sand beneath my feet – it’s like a dream. This trip has given me a new perspective on life, and I am grateful to the Winnie Mabaso Foundation for making it possible.”
The field trip itinerary includes visits to Butterfly Valley in Ramsgate, MacBanana in Port Edward, and an expenses-paid excursion to Ushaka Marine World, courtesy of Ushaka Marine World. Each carefully planned outing aims to provide the grannies with a diverse range of experiences, from the tranquillity of nature to the excitement of marine life.
As the Winnie Mabaso Foundation continues to grow its initiatives in community sustainability, the Grannies Club stands out as an example of how a sense of belonging and purpose can transform lives.
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