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Israeli Ambassador’s honourable visit to Gansbaai

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Grootbos Foundation and especially the Masakhane Soup Kitchen Hub were honoured with a visit by the Israeli Ambassador, Eliav Belotsercovsky and his family.  The visit took place on Tuesday, 19 April 2022.  Phil Murray from Grootbos Foundation first met with them at Grootbos Foundation before taking them to Masakhane.

In Masakhane they were impressed by the vegetable gardens under the supervision of Pontsho Chibane.  “We started from scratch with these gardens,” Pontsho told the ambassador.  “Where you see the various beds with vegetables, there were only grass and weed.”  After the walk-around, the ambassador and his family joined the staff members where a ‘vegetable harvest lunch’ was prepared for them by the Sjef, Ziyanda Dulani.  The family also tasted traditional ‘pap and sous’ and looked quite impressed with it!

“Ambassador Belotsercovsky and the Israeli Embassy are deeply committed to alleviating food insecurity in South Africa.  They are always ready and eager to share knowledge about growing food in water-scarce countries just like South Africa,” Phil said.  “Israeli knowledge and technology, particularly in response to farming needs in arid areas and semi-desert regions transfer well to South Africa which shares similar weather, rainfall patterns and poor soil quality to Israel.”

Phil said over the last two years, the Israeli Embassy has donated a HomeBiogas biodigester (an energy-saving, waste management invention developed in Israel), high-quality vegetable seedlings, six rainwater tanks and six drip-irrigation kits to the projects of the Grootbos Foundation.  “So far, the Masakhane Hub, Masakhane ECD, Takalani ECD, Elim Primary and Okkie Smuts Hostel have received brand new rainwater tanks and drip irrigation kits,” Phil said.

Ambassador Eli, as he introduces himself, visited the children and their teachers at Masakhane ECD.  He and his family loved the children’s welcome song.  They also met the grade 6’s and 7’s who are part of the Grootbos Foundation’s Earth Rangers programme.

The Ambassador’s family also enjoyed a tour in the Spaces4Sport facility, the wonderful, open, shared space where everyone is welcome to play sport, exercise, and get healthy in the great outdoors.  His family also managed to fit in a quick pop-in at Gansbaai Coffee Company for a local takeaway brew from which they could also take in the great views over the working harbour.

“On behalf of Gansbaai and Masakhane, Grootbos Foundation is deeply grateful to the Israeli Embassy for its ongoing support, interest and encouragement, especially in food security, community farming projects, farming technology, building sustainability and conservation,” Phil concluded.

by Hardus Botha

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