In March a fire destroyed a part of the informal settlement in Phumlani. If a fire is burning in these areas with lots of wooden shacks it is almost uncontrollable. When Benjamin noticed the fire, his shack was already in flames. He only thought of his children and wife. Heroically he rescued his 6 children and wife. On the way out he could grab a few burning cash notes he had from his salary the day before. That was the only possession he could rescue. The fire destroyed all their possessions in minutes: Home, clothes, shoes, blankets, mattresses, … In a flash their lives changed from having almost nothing to having nothing at all.
We asked in our network for cloths and shoes for children. And with full bags we visited the family shortly after the sad day. The children were walking barefoot over the ruins of the burnt shacks and soil covered with sharp glass pieces. In this moment of darkness the children welcomed us with big smiles on their faces. There was no sign of depression or discouragement, only hope for a better future. That moment touched me personally. When these children without any possession do not worry about their future, why should I worry about my future? And I remembered the scripture where Jesus teaches us to become like little children. We could bless them with shoes and clothes and we offered Benjamin a bed for the children as soon as he rebuilt the shack. One week later we returned with a bed, donated blankets and a mattress.
The newly built shack looked good and Benjamin proudly showed us his work. He specially reserved one corner for the bed for the children. With the help of two youngsters from Westlake we assembled the bed and it fitted perfectly into the space. As soon as we finished the children were all over the bed!
We left the family with happiness in our hearts and a knowing that these children will have peaceful and warm nights in the cooler season ahead.
Written by Roger Morf