My daughter moved to South Africa 10 years ago and married a South African. She has since made her life and home in Cape Town. Once a year I take a 2 flight (20 hour flying time) trip to visit the Herr family; Meagen, Caine, Tyler and Camden.
When South Africa went into their lockdown to fight the COVID 19 virus, that meant both parents working from home and homeschooling the children via an online connection with their school. As a way to relieve some pressure on the parents and to spend more time with my grandchildren, we began FaceTiming to read bedtime stories, play board games, hold staring contests, play charades, play I Spy and have dinner conversations.
My iPad has a keyboard attachment, so my handy farmer husband, Doug Bone, built a wooden stand on which I could position the iPad in order to play board games. In Cape Town my granddaughter Tyler and my grandson Camden take turns rolling the dice and here on the farm in Saskatchewan I move the game pieces. The kids love it and can easily see where their man is and how close to home their moves advance their men – lots of excitement! We play at least once a week. The other favourite activity is bed time stories. Tyler is 9 years old and is into chapter books – Pippi Longstocking being a favourite. Camden is 6 years old and likes picture action books. The games and books are all leftovers from when Meagen and her sister were children.
Meagen and the children were planning a June visit to Saskatchewan and Alberta to visit family. That trip won’t happen now. My annual fall visit to Cape Town won’t happen either as my husband and I are both in the high risk category. We don’t expect to see our South African family until a vaccine is developed and distributed world wide. That may take several years.
In the meantime I have set up a permanent video space on my dining room table so I can be ready whenever Tyler and Camden call. I look forward to these morning sessions (SA is 8 hours ahead of us) as they brighten my isolated day.
I thank you for this community archive project as I eagerly read stories from the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic and expect future generations to have a similar interest. I hope my submission will have value for your project. – Faye Atkinson