South Africa is in pandemonium and there is fear and terror everywhere. Who could ever have imagined a pandemic called Covid-19 sweeping through the world at a terrifying speed, leaving leaving death and destruction in it’s wake. A pandemic such as we have never known before, capable of literally causing the entire world to come to a standstill. Us South Africans are still grappling with the concept of the lockdown that was announced 5 days ago and trying to make some sort of sense out of it all.

Day 5 of lockdown in Bloemfontein is cold, gloomy and rain. Being an essential worker, I am 1 of the few people allowed on the roads and on my way to Lebone  I am still stunned at the empty roads and public spaces. It eerily resembles a ghost town and the few people seen are all sombre and nervous.

Yet as I enter the main communal house at Lebone the sun comes out and all around me are rays of sunshine and joy. The true beauty of children’s naivete and innocence hits home. Here at Lebone there is only love, laughter and a true sense of family spirit.

Running Lebone on a skeleton staff has been an unavoidable consequence of the Covid-19 lockdown. How beautiful to watch each and every child here at Lebone pitching in where needed, from sweeping and washing floors to the older children taking the responsibility of helping with the younger children where needed. Then to my amazement I watch how,  as the stock for food parcels arrives, each and every child rushes outside to help offload and pack away the supplies. All with a smile and laughter too!

The children have all been educated about Covid-19 and the safety precautions that need to be taken have been drilled into all and sundry.  It is incredible to see this bunch of boisterous, energetic children form a line and take turns to hold out their hands for a squirt of sanitizer at routine intervals. Witnessing the older children gently helping the younger ones  wash their hands properly brought a lump to my throat. The sense of peace and happiness  in such stark contrast to the world outside.

The feeling of family, love and joy around me  so great that I would happily  spend the rest of the year in lockdown here at Lebone Village.