Friday, already? Our short time on our build site has come to an end. The work has been tough. At times slow. But always fulfilling. And now we must say goodbye. These are goodbyes that you are never ready for. Once the rhythm of the new routine has been established, it comes to an abrupt end. It’s surprising to realize come Monday we won’t be at work. At least not in Pelican Park.
We wrapped up our work a bit early today so that we could have a celebration lunch at the church, a delicious hot lunch, rice and home-cooked chicken curry complete with ice cream and fruit. We were lucky to have some great cooks catering our lunches this week. A few of us said some words expressing our heartfelt thanks and gratefulness on all sides. As outsiders we were made to feel most welcome. The hospitality was amazing. We have made a lot of new friends; thank goodness for email and Facebook!
The house building in Pelican Park has only begun, but the community building is going strong. In the next three years at the completion of this project I believe we will see a thriving, bustling, successfully integrated community of friends and neighbors, living, worshipping, learning and playing joyfully together. Our team has been humbled and blessed to have played a small part in it.
To those of you back home who support us, thank you. We can vouch for your contributions. Someone else who needs affordable housing will have it because you chose to give.
Let’s keep paying it forward!
[NOTE: I said yesterday that the people we met who were squatting in shacks on the land had barely any hope. The living conditions are horrible and they have been dealt a shockingly bad hand. That part is true. But we learned today that community liaisons as well as folks in the church have reached out to them, inviting them to come in for help and to take meals at the feeding program. Yet many times the squatters have refused.
To me, this is where we must consider personal responsibility and its role in shaping our circumstances, no matter how bad they are. All of us. When we make choices we must own them. It may be many years in South Africa before people stop looking to government and others to give them what they believe they are owed and instead take charge of their destiny. From time to time we all need help doing that. But when we refuse to help ourselves by not availing ourselves of the resources that are available, the burdens we carry rest squarely on our own shoulders.]