We would never have imagined possible the miraculous transformation of the Unit 6 house which had been condemned and deemed unfit by the social worker for children to live in. Bupahmelele desperately needed an emergency unit for older kids, usually girls, who came seeking help – using running from sexual abuse.
Jullie, Fazila and I attacked the first back bedroom…The years of grime and dirt made the paint job a much bigger project. But with rubber gloves on hands, we started. Soon we had a good system going, Jullie would cut in and Fazila and I followed with the roller. It seemed no time that the first coat was on, and with the lovely cool breeze coming through the window, coat number 2 was not far behind.
By the end of day two the whole house was painted! Already my brain was dreaming of an HGTV style ‘reveal’, where we would bring Mama Rosie in and she would see a fully renovated home, ready for her girls. On our way home we wrote a list, new beds, new bedding, curtains, a new couch…and lots of colourful finishing touches. Our enthusiasm was infectious and our wonderful new friend Richard was quick to sense our excitement and desire to see the job to the end. He rallied family and friends and almost immediately there was a plan to deliver a sofa bed and two other beds to the home!
You could call it serendipity, certainly it seemed bizarre that the shop in the nearby village seemed to stock almost exclusively all the bright colours of the donorworx logo and we began pulling sheets, throws, pillow cases and towels down from the shelves on to the floor, mixing and matching green, blue, purple, pink and yellow.
We had just half an hour to quickly get back to the house and dress the rooms. With a flurry of plastic wrap and cardboard, we all set to work making beds and putting up curtains. Here is the result.
Quick! Mama Rosie is coming, mad scramble to pick up the empty packages. This incredible woman radiated such gratitude for the tiny contribution that we had made for her centre. ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you”, she kept saying over and over again. “Now we can help these girls, before you came, we could not use this house’. Her face says it all.
In true Edelgard and Richard style, they had prepared a closing ceremony with some of the children. We wanted to leave something symbolic behind to mark our new relationship with Mama Rosie, the centre and the children. But first we had a flag to hang and Richard was going to plant two trees at the front of the fresh new house.
The bright colours of the balloons had the children running to see what was going on. We all held on and on the count of three, released the balloons into the beautiful South African sky.
To end a beautiful day, Richard and his company W-Tech presented us with a shield of partnership. The last three days he had sent 3 people up every day from his company to help us with this labour of love. Can’t wait to hang it in the office!