I Was a Stranger (SA)

Assa and her brother Gabito at the Care Centre in Welverdiend, Bushbuck RidgeAssa and her cousin Gabito were born twelve years ago in Mozam­bique. They travelled together with their mothers (who were sisters) from Mozambique in 2010. When they first arrived in Welverdiend, Assa, Gabito and their mothers stayed with their eldest aunt. After only a short time, this aunt chased them away because her husband was complaining that he did not have the resources to feed them and look after them. At this same difficult time, Gabito’s mother passed away leaving Assa’s mother to look after both of them. With no home or money (being from Mozambique and not having a South African ID and Assa’s mother not being able to get consistent work) the family desperately searched for a place to live. Thankfully, someone from the community offered them a temporary house built by the government and to this day, Assa, her mother and Gabito continue to live in this house. But with temporary housing comes the continual fear that the original owner of the house will return and kick them out, leaving them homeless—a very likely event in a poor and despairing com­munity such as theirs.

But things are not all hopeless for this precious family. Last year, Nomsa a Care Worker for the local Hands at Work partnered Community Based Organisation, Pfunani, heard about their situation and began to visit them at their home every week. She encouraged them to go to school and helped them with their house chores, especially when Assa’s mom was away working at the local orange farm. She also took time to encourage Assa’s mom and urge her not give up even though life is very hard.

In order to lighten the burden even more for their family and other families like theirs in Welverdiend community, Pfu­nani Care Workers cook five nutritious meals per week for the most vulnerable children at the Care Point. Assa and Gabito enjoy playing with the other chil­dren in similar situations as them at the Care Point. Pfunani Community Based Organisation has also helped the family by providing them with blankets and a mattress during the cold winter months. This was a huge blessing because their home lacked these basic items.

For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.”   Matthew 25:35