Inspired by the WordPress Photo Challenge with the theme Dense
In the early hours of Saturday morning 11 March 2017 Hout Bay experienced the worst ever fire to occur in the Imizamo Yethu informal settlement. Three people lost their lives and thousands of people lost their homes. Due to very strong winds and difficult access to the settlement it took more than 24 hours to extinguish the fire. An informal settlement is built up very dense making it difficult for the fire fighters to physically get to the fire. Also the smoke and fire create a dense impenetrable wall. But this is not that dense I am referring too although it certainly applies to the theme.
Imizamo Yethu is a Zulu word which is translated into English as “Our Efforts”. Another African word is Ubuntu referring to the spirit of humanity, love and co-operation which often follow a tragedy. This Ubuntu is not dependent on government intervention but on the human soul. The fire indeed brought about Ubuntu in people and organizations across the board worked together to assist the people which lost all their possessions. It was indeed an Imizamo Yethu – the community’s efforts in assisting.
The company I work for Glacier decided to assist as well. Donations of clothing, food and financial assistance ubuntu-ed in. The lady who is the chairperson of Community Care at our company, is in my team as well as last year’s chairperson. I was surrounded by these good (and assertive) souls with the qualities of compassion for the community and the drive to get things done. When I came to work I had no role in this but that was soon to change, as I was asked to transport the donations to the collection point. It also means I didn’t have my camera with me but cell phones can take pictures.
Now I see myself as sort of a specialist at packing a vehicle. The seats of my X-trail can fold flat creating a storeroom worth of space and I have the ability to utilize that space. I looked around at the donations and assessed that with my applied mathematical packing skills it will fit in the vehicle. About 20 people then proceeded to make repeated trips to my car taking the donations and I starting packing. My car soon became very dense inside with all the donations and I realized I was very dense in believing it will fit in my car. Attacking the meager space left I realized that this battle was lost but that the war can still very easily be won by hiring a trailer.
I even got the chance to live out my childhood fantasy as for a half an hour or so I became a fireman!! In the post ‘n Beproewing in Bellville Biblioteek you can read about my childhood fireman dreams.
A fellow blogger Ally was inspired by the fire and wrote a short poem about how a very negative experience can often change your life for the better (my interpretation) please go and read it: Lessons from the fire