Day 5 ... Can I See My Room Again?
Day Five and the final day! We lay and nail the tiles on the roof, the doors get fitted, and we are all busy filling in the gaps we left to get the roof on. The carpenter is running behind, so I decide to fit the door locks and handles myself, and finish literally 10 minutes before the dedication service.
It’s a simple ceremony, and as I’d been to one before didn’t think it would affect me that much. We gathered in a circle, and passed the keys one to another around the whole group of neighbours, friends, builders and volunteers. Each person took it in turn to say what the week has meant to them, maybe something they have learned. A number talk about travelling to Africa and thinking they were giving, and yet were feeling that somehow they were taking away than they had given. (Feel free to read that again, if you were there you would understand this).
Nokawe thanked us all, turned, unlocked the door, opened the door to her new house, and went in. As she went in, all of the women immediately burst into song, and danced straight into the house after her! It was one of those moments. The reality of what this plain simple house meant to this family, was absolutely awesome. Some of the volunteers cried, it was a very emotional moment.
We eventually followed to join the singing and dancing inside. We stood in a circle, laughing that in the rush we had forgotten to clear up the pile of dugha in the middle of the room. We had a simple prayer, presented Nokawe with a bible, and then Eric presented us all with certificates. Just as we were finishing, there was another one of those moments .. the youngest daughter Anita turned to her Mother and simply said “can I see my room again?”.
We went back to the Community Hall for a final celebration, and we are leaving behind 12 families in a decent home, something worthwhile celebrating! The local musicians "The Marimba's" were back on stage as we entered. We have felt accepted by this community, who brought more singing, more dancing and more food. There is a joy and a richness here that we seem to have lost in our own society. Maybe it is us who are poor? I think Tutu was right. I think God really did smile down on all in Mfeleni this week.