Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Shack 0183

In Africa where does the need end and the blessing begin? Gordon College senior Emmanuel Arango, a biblical studies major (pictured, right), reflects on his SMP (Summer Missions Program) trip to South Africa:

Today while walking around the township of Kayamandi we met this lovely lady. Her name is Leah. Kayamandi is home to 28,000 members of South Africa’s Xhosa tribe, and today, like many winter days in Kayamandi, it rained a lot.
This is no problem for most Americans because we live in actual houses, with roofs that work. Unfortunately for Leah, whose husband died years ago, tin shack 0183 is not waterproof, and when it rains everything she owns gets soaking wet. When our team first met Leah, the entire inside of her shack was covered with water. The ground was soaking wet despite the sea of buckets covering her floor. So we did what any group of people would do. We went into town, bought plastic to cover her roof and spent the entire afternoon making sure Leah didn’t have to live in a leaky shack, sleeping in a wet bedroom. It’s my opinion that nobody should have to sleep in a soaking wet shack with rain constantly pouring in; but definitely not a sweet lady who’s old enough to be my grandmother.
Nobody may care about what our team did today. But Leah cares because she can sleep dry tonight. People may think we made no big difference since there are several thousand shacks that are still leaky and wet. But there’s one that’s not, and to Leah we made a huge difference. Others may think making a real difference means building her a real home. But to Leah tin shack 0183 is a real home. It’s her home; she’s lived in this shack for over 10 years, and it’s always been leaky until today.
To repair Leah’s shack cost about $12 and two hours of our time to listen to her story and fix her roof. All it really takes is caring enough to help meet people’s needs. Everyone can make a difference in one person’s life.

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