Good Samaritans help destitute pensioners

Thelma Muller was a familiar sight to Toti motorists at the Winkle robots.

A destitute pensioner couple living in Winklespruit bushes will live out their remaining days of their lives in a clean, comfortable home, thanks to good Samaritans.

Gerald and Thelma Muller relocated to a farm in the High Flats on Friday, 16 January thanks to an intervention from the South African Family Relief Project and the farm owner.

Thelma was a familiar sight to Toti motorists when she stood by the Winkle robots, begging with her trusted four-legged companion.

Project volunteer, Anthony Symes of Winklespruit has been organising food for the couple once or twice a week and got to know them after spotting Thelma at the robots.

“They are alcoholics and he is suffering from cancer. He can’t walk and she couldn’t even make it to the robots to beg anymore,” he said.

“They lived among whoonga addicts in bushes along Camp Road. A few weeks ago they were robbed and someone even stole her dog. When I saw her recently, she looked like a broken flower, with tears running down her cheeks.  They have got to a point now where they want to change.”

The farm owner offered them a place to live on the family-owned farm, where they can live out their last days in safety and comfort.

“The work we do is not an easy one and many a time we are faced with a decision to help or not and is it very very difficult to walk away in some cases,” said the founder of the South African Family Relief Project, Leigh Oxley Du Preez.

“Each case is investigated to see whether the person or family truly needs our help. First, we look if any children and elderly are involved, if so we do not turn them away. We speak for those who can not do for themselves.

In the case of the Mullers, it might be that they chose to be there and that they have not made the effort to better their own lives and circumstances, but we still chose to assist them these past months.

Their medical situation deteriorated fast and we felt the need to intervene. Some might say that they do not deserve the right to be helped and we respect their opinion, but Anthony kept on working with them, taking them food and sat by them and actually listened to their problems and needs, and their story of how they got there,” said Leigh.

“We deal with these people because nobody wants to help them,” said Anthony.

Earl Baillache

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