As we sleepily drove into the suburbs back to the Baphumelele orphanage, our bones ached from the previous day’s activities, painting a ‘cluster’ which is a little house for 8 children with a house mother. The walls were a dark dirty green or purple colour, the blue of the linoleum was scarcely recognizable through the grime and after a hard full days work, our little group had only managed to fully paint two bedrooms in this 3 bedroomed bungalow.
A welcome break arrived while we waited for some more paint. The day was going well as we were joined by some new friends from W-Tech – another incredible supporter of the Children’s Home Project. We were introduced to one of the social workers who shared some stats of the home….65% of the children were infected with HIV and 75% had endured sexual abuse. The news hit like a bullet. Only hours earlier we had snuggled and cuddled and played with these children who were so excited to see us and so desperate for affection.
The house we were painting, explained Lera the social worker, was to become a ‘safe house’ for up to 8 teenage girls. Girls who were literally walking the streets, who had been sexually abused and who left alone may not survive. All of a sudden our project became personal. Hours later it was all painted and we started to dream out loud of bed spreads and posters and a new sofa to give these beautiful young women a home, a real home, somewhere cozy and safe.
Mama Rosie who started the whole centre 20+ years ago thanked us for our time and work and it seemed unfitting and that we should really be thanking her for giving us the opportunity to be part of something so positive and wonderful.
As I prepare for bed, my heart tonight is an inflated balloon of love and gratitude that with so little effort we really truly can make a positive contribution to someone who is hurting and needs to know that they are worthy and loved and beautiful.
Stay tuned for before and after photos!!!!