The interesting thing that struck me in going out to Gugulethu for the Change Works project this past Sunday was that Nomaza, the lady whom we helped, could be me or you. But for the grace of God, good fortune or the trajectory of my inherent genes, there go I!
One's origin could be anywhere or anything.
In fact at one time in my life, my health status was a precise mirror image of Nomaza's, but set in another socio-economic space. Post chronic kidney failure in 1987 I was regularly dialysed for 4 hours 3 times a week for 3 years.
So, whilst fiddling with a door lock which, with perseverance, we fitted into a previously abused front door at Nomaza's home, I reflected on our comparative situations. I was fortunate to receive a donor kidney three years after renal failure in 1990 but Nomaza didn't seem to know much about the local transplant program and her eligibility, or in other related areas such as diet, critical when on dialysis so as not to overtax a low or non functioning kidney.
Not to sound grandiose, Jesus often stood in the gap to speak for those disempowered or uneducated and so can we. It was another unintended spin off of our visit. Perhaps I could look into Nomaza's chances of a transplant - to at least communicate with the relevant medical authorities about Nomaza's prognosis and quality of life ahead. Dialysis is effective but very tiring on the body and restrictive as in consuming no more than 500ml fluid (= 1 small pet bottle of liquid) per day.
It was wonderful to see the bustle of activity in carpentry, cleaning, beautifying, cheering and encouraging as a vivid expression of love in action. Somehow it was physically invigorating, psychologically cleansing and spiritually enlivening to come closer to a different world and engage with it more viscerally, and to give of oneself. The camaraderie to get to know one another better, additional to Sunday or Wednesday meetings at St.B, was also of great benefit. In sum, what a lovely, wholesome and positive experience for all !
Praise God for how enriching the encounter was and a great start to a new initiative ! We must follow up these fledgling efforts such that change can be seen to really work !
Best blessings - Gavin.