My community.

Millard Fuller said that for a community to be whole and healthy, it must be based on people’s love and concern for each other. This is exactly what the people in the Sunninghill area experience every day. I sometimes think we don’t even realise it.

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At the moment we are organising an event for Carols in the park later this week. I remember last year when I first suggested the idea to Sunninghill Community, I was convinced that because it is a “Christian-celebration” it would not be allowed. However, not only was it allowed, Linda Gildenhuys phoned me in tears and said, “We have to do this, our community needs to be together now after the horror of 2020.”

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So, we are doing it again this year, only bigger and better.

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It has been great fun organising this years’ carols. The commitment from the team at Sunninghill Community under the leadership of Chrissy Louw and Linda Gildenhuys is wonderful.

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Yesterday I popped in to Sunninghill Village to collect some of the amazing prizes we’ll be giving away. I walked in to the Spar and found the owner, Chris, chatting to Roy (owner of Beach Blanket Bohemia restaurant ) while pointing at the Citizen newspaper. I gave them each a hug and we all expressed our shock over an article in the paper. I was there to collect the mountains of sweets and vouchers Chris has donated. Roy also gave us great meal vouchers which will be won (last year we giggled as BBB’s meal voucher was won by the owner of the Elm tree restaurant in Rivonia… of course Tony and Dani from Elm tree & Syrene boutique hotel have also donated amazing prizes for us to give away this year).

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After my stop at Spar, I went in to Sunninghill Optometrists. Unfortunately, they know me well and I can literally hear a collective sigh when I enter. Wayne and Diane have to fish lost contact lenses out of my eyes more often than I care to admit, but they did not hold this against the community and still generously gave us sunglasses and a gift voucher.

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My happy place is Serenity Spa and they gave me three treatment vouchers! How awesome, and downstairs is my husband’s happy place, Sunnyside Biltong, who is giving us a hamper (I hope a Banter wins this since they can’t have any mince pies this Christmas).

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My next stop was at Tuckers pharmacy. Do you guys remember all the years back when Estelle’s dad owned the pharmacy? I’ve known her since then! She is fabulously Jewish, but this is about community, not just Christmas, and of course, Estelle generously donated cash and cosmetics to be won. She asked me how my broken rib was. I took my doctor’s advice that I need a break, rather literally. I love that our community is so small, that Estelle knows my name, my address and all the bits of me that are not functioning properly.

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On my way back to the car I waved at Zwai, the most fabulous hairdresser. He often comes to cut our guests’ hair at the Recovery Lodge when they are not mobile. Zwai is extravagant, glamorous and can transform even the ugliest of ducklings. Paula, owner of Style café, has also donated to our Christmas carols (Based on the condition of my roots, we all hope I win this voucher!).

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As I ran all my errands, I felt so loved. It is simply wonderful that community enables us to help each other and achieve what we could never do as individuals. Team work really does make the dream work.

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On Thursday, one of the ministers from Hope Ridge (who is hosting the event) came with me to pray for an incredibly ill patient from Uganda lying in our Netcare’s general ICU. Can you imagine the desperate solitude one feels fighting for your life in a strange country? But somehow, because she is under our wing as the Sunninghill community we have embraced her and love her on her family’s behalf. Hope Ridge serves the Sunninghill community’s Christians and we are proud that we can join hands with other churches in the area, and all people in the community, regardless of their religious affiliation to have this special carols event.

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In all my years of being a resident of Sunninghill, I’ve taken lost dogs, run-away cats and members of my own zoo to the Sunninghill Village Vet. (They are sponsoring a huge pet hamper by the way). The owner of the vet’s daughter and mine have a strange book exchange programme going too, but it’s way too complicated for me to understand.

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We all know Ronel is almost 80 and she runs the Steam Café at Chilli Lane as if she were 25! (She has generously offered to feed our musicians and the teams setting up on the day) Speaking of fabulous women, Lisa from Sunninghill Sorbet gave us a prize for our raffle without hesitation and Genevieve who owns Del Forno at Chilli On Top feeds our musicians each year. Nothing like pizza to motivate our team! Alma from Coffee and Crunch is doing a gorgeous hamper and biscuits for our goodie bags (Have you guys been to her new spot at near the river? It is worth a visit) Heidi from AMS is giving us a gin hamper and guess who is sponsoring all the cooldrinks of the day? My dear friend, Rashida, who is a devoted Muslim. I love it!

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Our estate agents have generously contributed including Linda Lazarus and Urban Spaces. Kerry from Rawson must really get a round of applause, in fact, I am hoping a choir of angels descend from above to thank her. The most expensive part of the day is the hiring of our state of the art… toilets! Yes, not sexy, not glamours, but rather essential. She paid the full amount in a heartbeat. She is amazing! And she is from Naboomspruit… those chicks really rock.

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Of course, Santa will be making a stop at the carols picnic, and although he might look like Rob Kimmings from Mr Lawnmower, that is just an illusion. Santa has the generous help of Savika in making sure the kids have gifts to open.

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We giggle as Savant, the best home automation company, is sponsoring our sound system. He does this not because he is in our community, or because he is a Christian. He does it because he needs to do something good to make up for all the naughty things he does during the year. You see, it is a balancing act. I get that! I guess he’s trying to get into Santa’s good books too.

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My good friend, who should be my enemy as he has a guest lodge right next to mine, is giving a voucher for two people to stay at his upmarket 6 on Morris guest house; and Sunninghill guest lodge is sponsoring a voucher in our penthouse.

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Sunninghill Recovery (us too) would sponsor a recovery… but I think people would not want to jinx that. So, we’ll just help pay for the fancy tent which was hired.

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We are also giving away 300 fabric shopping bags filled with sweets, masks ( the coolest Christmas masks from Sunninghill’s The party shop at the Square ), water and other treats.

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But the real heroes of the day are the musicians and the team setting up. Weeks of practise has taken place and sacrifices made. We are incredibly grateful to be part of a community that does this; that cares for each other, uplifts one another and joins hands to celebrate another year we survived.

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