Memory of a beautiful journey lives on in a quilt
Ronél Fröhlich, Botswana From Botswana to Knysna. Through cities and glorious old towns I ended my tarred journey from the Botswana Tuli Block at Avontuur, en route to Knysna. Translated as “adventure” it couldn’t have been closer to the truth. Being utterly familiar driving gravel roads I didn’t even contemplate turning around, even though I was driving a 1000cc small car, and on a time constraint to be in Knysna. Hidden jewel
As I took the heart-stopping narrow turns on the Prince Alfred’s Pass and saw sheer cliffs ending in valleys far below, I felt exhilarated. The magnificence, beauty, and awe-inspiring views took my breath away. Meandering down the trail, I reached a valley with a little shop called “Plaaskind Padstal” boasting antiques. I just had to stop. Upon entering I saw the most beautiful quilts, pillows, homemade wares and antiques. The eye-catching colours of the quilts drew me in. I could see they were handmade and I just had to know by whom. The lady then showed me the labels on the items, and that clinched it for me, I had to have one. The label said it was a Uniondale Community Project (for the women whose husbands work on the farms) and it included a photo plus the name of the quilt creator. I chose the most colourful one, made by one Jacomina Kiewiets, and I knew this would be an everlasting keepsake of my trip. Memento gone
But, as with life, not all go as planned. I spent my days with my sister visiting around Knysna and Plett, fitting in a wonderful Saturday Market experience near Harkerville and then it was time to leave from George Airport back home.
As I boarded the plane I realised that my adored quilt was not with my hand luggage where I had put it. I ran off the plane to the terminal to ask for help, but was briskly told to immediately return to the plane as it was about to leave. Sitting on the plane and watching the lights of these beautiful seaside towns nestled at the base of majestic mountains disappear, I felt sad and disheartened. I lost my memento. Upon landing I phoned and told my sister what happened. Devastated for my sake, she promised to see what she could do to help. Joy returns in the post
With the help of Knysna-Plett and George Herald newspapers, assisted by George Airport manager Brenda Vorster, I got a call a day later to inform me they found my precious blanket.
And so, two weeks later I collected a parcel and opened it with bated breath. Intact and beautiful, I pressed it against my chest and saw a quaint little shop hidden in a majestic pass, blue seas and friendly faces.
I journeyed far from home, and as for my quilt, it found its way from the sea to Botswana, made with love – just for me, I’d like to believe.
I salute the Uniondale Community Project initiative and the women spending countless hours to stitch every square by hand and by heart. I thank the two newspapers and the airport staff for bringing this memory home.
From Knysna to Botswana.