Pensioners and food security: Part 2
Following up on their earlier story, iol.co.za posted an interview with Mrs Abrahams, 72, about how she gets by (link).
Note: The benefits of the local traders in comparison to the inflexibility of the supermarkets.
“Galieda Abrahams, 72, shares a community home with 10 other senior citizens. But while Neighbourhood Old Age Homes (Noah), the non-profit organisation which manages the house in Elsies River, only demands the bare minimum from its residents to cover rent and medical expenses, Abrahams and her fellow dwellers are left with just R30 a day to spend on the essentials. “I manage,” she said. “I more than manage.”
For Abrahams it’s all about staying away from the supermarkets and only dealing with the small community-run businesses around her.
She buys her meat from the local butcher, her greens from the grocers who have set up shop at the train station and she gets her clothes and toiletries from Chinese merchants who have sprung up across the city.
“We get everything, even cheeses and milk,” she said. “There’s always someone who is selling it for cheap.”
But when Christmas rolls around it’s a different story.
Abrahams said December was a tough month, particularly for residents who didn’t have any family left.
“All the food is sold out and everything is more expensive,” she said. “It’s harsh for some of the people here. We are a family and we try make up for it.”
Joanna Kleintjies who moved into the home seven years ago said Christmas was not only difficult but lonely.
“All my family have died off,” she said. “At least I have these people around me now.”
Abrahams said that in previous years, local businesses chipped in to help them through the month. Last year, a nearby bar donated crates of soda, while a shopkeeper gave chicken supplies for a week.
But Victor Pland who moved into the house this year, is not happy having to rely on the kindness of others.
“I don’t want to sit, I’m not old,” he said.
The former pastor spends most of his time in the kitchen, making ginger beer which he sells.
He has big visions for the home, with the ginger beer business just being the start of a long line of ventures driven by the 11-strong team living there.
“I want to rent a bus for everyone next year and drive out and see the flowers,” he said.
The money will also help cover numerous repairs around the house caused by thieves who have stripped it of door handles, piping and fencing.
But apart from the damage to the property, Abrahams said she felt safe walking to the shops every morning.
“Even the skollies show us respect,” she said.”
University of Cape Town