I had the most beautiful experience when I visited the community centre in Paterson.
I arrived at the centre after a thunderstorm so unfortunately most of the children had gone home.
I still wanted to visit because I had a large black bag full of new clothing for the children, I was excited to visit and hand over what I managed to bring from England.
I was greeted by a beautiful kind hearted man named Themba. His name is the meaning of HOPE! How amazing is that!
His parents must have known he has a true heart!
He volunteers his days with others at the community centre.
The community centre was once know as the orphanage for many years. An inspector came along and said the standards wasn’t great and issued the families in the area a small cost to adopt a child.
These children now live in the houses with the local people but please understand the housing situation is very poor.
Some houses are at the first stage which is a tin house and once they live in the first stage for 10 years they are given a concrete house by the government providing they earn less than 3000 a year.
With no jobs in the area most people decided to sell the concrete house for money, in the hope the money will see them through whilst living back in the tin house.
When you see the area you can understand as to why, there are no jobs which means no food, no water, nothing. They can not move because they have no cars. There only means of travel is to hitch hike on the road. It is a very dangerous way of living with many risks.
The community centre soly relies on donations. The centre was built by volunteers, the books was donated, the clothing donated, the staff volunteer, the food spinach is grown and the grains donated.
The children go to school and after school they go to the centre. They can do Home Work or play games but the most important thing is that the children are given a meal. The meal will either be grains, eggs or spinach depending on the season. Once the children have eaten they will go home. Most house holds can not provide food but can provide shelter.
The centre recognised there is a problem with sex and ask for condoms however the go government only provide a hand full because of the costs.
Most people ask all the time why do the people keep having babies? Well the answer is down to rape and religion.
Themba considered the children and some people in the village as poor people. It did catch me by surprise because I would consider the village as poor, is that wrong of me? I came to see that what one considers as poor is another’s.
I later visited the centre two more times. Playing games, learning songs and making bracelets with the children.
Amakhala do great work with the children at the centre! The children create hand made bracelets which they love doing and these bracelets are sold at the Amakhala lodge! With the money going back in to the centre and the organisation! I managed to bring a hand full back for family and friends!!
A true experience. 💜