Written by Elena Georgieva.
It is Saturday and our last weekend in South Africa. However, after an intensive week we were still active and full of energy and enthusiasm. Today was a different day. We had to contribute not with our “brain muscles” but physical ones/power.
Today we were volunteers for building houses for the people from the Makukhanye community; not with Lego bricks but with real bricks, cement, shovel and trowels. The volunteers were organized by Niall Mellon Township Trust and the houses itself are funded by the Government, which provides free homes for the poorest people from the community. In reality the picture is not so rosy and not simply every poor or homeless can take a house. The process is long and requires an application. However, many people get a place to live and the chance for real cozy home and new dreams.
Today we felt we added concrete value to somebody’s life and tangibly contributed to the further development of the community. We saw how a few hours and common efforts are enough to build a home for someone who really needs it. It was extremely inspiring how a huge group of people from all over the world, with different background and age are gathered with one common aim: making a difference in someone’s life.
We were a bunch of amateurs having only one strength: our motivation however, with the contribution of the professional workers who were coordinating our crew, succeeded to put the lower half of two houses. We were working, sweating, mixing concrete, laying bricks, it was hot, we were tired but smiled, enthusiastic and satisfied.
Moreover, today we had the chance to feel the real life and spirit in this neighbourhood, to go around the houses and talk to some of the people. What we saw is indeed poor people living in simple and small 30 m² houses (sometimes seven family members in one place) but happy, smiling and grateful for the chance of a real home they had been given.
The working day could not finish better. The favorite song of our Indian friend Ankhur: “Eee, aleee, allele gita-gonga, a masa-masa-masa…” gathered a bunch of the neighbourhood’s sweet little children around us and all together we were singing, dancing and jumping.
In a conclusion I would say that a couple of hours of one’s day could make a big change in somebody’s life. In the end it is not only about the tangible house, but the hope for cozy home and better life one gives to these people.
Hang on for many, many more pictures: