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KwaXimba - Hidden within the canvas
#1
Traveling the steep and winding road down into KwaXimba, I am immediately struck by the beauty of the region. Hill after hill, ravine after ravine, this has to be GodÂ’s own canvas. Rolling hills, blue skyÂ’s, Eagles soaring up above. Aloes and thorn bushes, wild flowers and butterflies add to the stunning beauty of the region. But it is only once you reach the bottom of the valley that the truth becomes visible and the canvas that, initially held my attention, begins now to reveal a new truth.

Poverty looms large as we travel through the first valley. Children standing by the side of the road wave but I am looking at the rags they wear. I wave back but my heart hurts. I see the homes built along the ridges, along the valley and along the dirt pathways, which tell another story. Homes made of mud and wattle that are collapsing; homes with rusted metal sheeting that are barely able to keep out the elements, homes that are in desperate need of repair, homes that I am told, house in excess of 40,000 people.

This is not going to be an easy day but working for Habitat for Humanity, many days are like this one. Days when you see the in balance of wealth in this world, days when no matter how hard you try to remain apart from what you see, the words of a child will draw your heart into their world, and their words will remain with you as a reminder as to why we at Habitat, do what we do.

Today, I have come to talk to the families who are caring for orphans. To find out, what life is like for the children whose parents have succumbed to the ravages of Aids. The stories will be many but in this first article I want to share with you some of the hopes and dreams of one of those families.

Scelo Shezi aged 20 is caring for his two younger brothers, Thabiso who is 7 and 6 year old Bonga. Their parents died in 1990 and 1998 and Scelo was left to raise Thabiso and Bonga on his own.

The Shezi family lives in a two roomed, mud and wattle house which has very little furniture and only one single bed for all three to sleep in. I had taken along balloons and small toys for the children and so as we inflated the balloons, and working through Nathi, the KwaXimba project manager as my interpreter, asked Thabiso what he wanted to be when he grew up. Thabiso was fairly shy but with some encouragement from Nathi, he began to speak in Zulu, “I want to be an Umlungu when I am big”. Not understanding what Thabiso had said, I turned to Nathi who explained to me that Umlungu meant a white person. In that one sentence, Thabiso had laid bare his heart, he wanted to be white.

My heart felt heavy and very sad. I had no response for Thabiso but I know that in the coming months, Habitat for Humanity will reach out to this child as to the many others with the love we have for him and his brothers. We will through the KwaXimba project build Thabiso a new home. Where he will be able to grow and live in safety with his brothers.

Scelo, listening all the while explained to me that he had dropped out of school in standard 8 to care for his siblings. He has temporary work from time to time but he has constant worry about how to feed the little ones. Scelo wants to honor his father by providing for his brothers. He wants a decent house in which to raise Thabiso and Bonga and when I spoke to Scelo about a new house, he said, “When asked where I live, I point in the vague direction of this place, but when I have a Habitat house, I will be proud and point to the Habitat house and It will bring honor to my family”.
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#2
I think in these few lines Sue has brought out all that is wrong with this World we live in - "the have's and the have nots" - many of us are quite happy cuckooned into our lifestyles and rarely stop to think of those less fortunate, but then you read an article like this and it brings it all out in the "open".
Always enjoy life - and remember there is always someone worse off than yourself - treat others as you yourself would want to be treated.
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#3
WOW!

Your words there painted a vivid picture for me Sue..

You are one incredible lady!


:thumbs:
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#4
Oom Rob Wrote:I think in these few lines Sue has brought out all that is wrong with this World we live in - "the have's and the have nots" - many of us are quite happy cuckooned into our lifestyles and rarely stop to think of those less fortunate, but then you read an article like this and it brings it all out in the "open".

Yes, so true - I have always lived such a sheltered life, it's heartbreakening to read about the circumstances you describe so powerfully, Sue. Sometimes it seems so unfair, these have and have not's .........
:bigcry:
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#5
I only voted, but after what Rob and I had to say about our local skips ... I sat wondering about the plight and the desperate poverty of peoples in this world. No wonder the West is either hated or envied.

Thanks for this article Sue



:hartlik:
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#6
Strawbs Wrote:WOW!

Your words there painted a vivid picture for me Sue..

You are one incredible lady!


:thumbs:
Ditto :friend:
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#7
Hi strawbs

Thank you but not really.

I know I have been blessed to be able to see each day and feel from the heart, what the really important things in this world are REALLY all about.

I find I have been given skills that 5 years ago I never knew I had, to be the 'voice' if you like of the 'voiceless' and that tends to be the women and children affected by poverty.

I am not swayed by wealth, in fact I sometimes find excessive wealth stored for selfish purposes, absolutely obnoxious. We are given skills, abilities, knowledge and finances and we need to know and understand how to share with others, what we have been blessed with.

I can write.....so I use what I have been given to bring awareness to what I see....that's all.

So, find out what you have....and share it and you too can be an "incredible' lady' :lovef:



Strawbs Wrote:WOW!

Your words there painted a vivid picture for me Sue..

You are one incredible lady!


:thumbs:
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#8
Sue....i am indeed humbled to have read this piece.....it brings a person down to earth again and we remember those who are needy...
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#9
Cubs

What hurt me was the fact that a child would aspire to be 'white'.

In that one sentence, that child spoke a million words to me and I had no answer for him.

The fact that the child thought that to be 'white' is something to aim for and achieve. Because of how he views his life fom his position living in poverty, 'white' people are still the have's.

I wish I could show him the thousands of black African's who are now living in middle and upper class suburbs, working in managerial positions etc.

This child needs to be proud of his Zulu culture. He needs to have 'black' role models to build his future dreams upon. He needs to believe in his abilities and not his colour. He needs to be taught that 'if one can believe, one can achieve'.

Poverty does teriible things to people. It robs them of dignity and self worth and that is the cycle that needs to be broken and the children of SA need to be given hope. We will have a generation of children who will grow up without parental support and those children need to believe that they do have a future and that future will rest in their own hands and their own abilities.
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#10
i wonder how many people who have the privilege of living in monteseel actually consider these thoughts when looking down into the valley.
http://www.mabot.com/images/2000/0004-02...alley.html
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