If it was up to my mum, our kids would stay at her home for the month of August. If it was up to another well-connected friend, he would be posting a full time security guard outside our shack. To some people it is a risqué endeavour that throws our family into harm’s way.
To others, there is great social capital to be made from this opportunity – white people challenging the status quo. People have commented about how we are giving our kids an incredibly unique experience. My favourite feedback comes through a Facebook comment from someone we have never met before. She said we should be prepared to be overwhelmed by all the love that the community will soon be enveloping us with.
If we are truly reflective though, Mamelodi for a Month is really just an empty canvas and onto which my mum, a good friend and a stranger are projecting personal values – be they fears, apprehensions or outpourings of love.
Ena and I are Christian and this is what frames our month in Mamelodi. It is a journey about embracing Christian values far removed from the comfort of our daily middle class comforts. You might call us neo-monastics for want of a fancy descriptive. God does not reside in a church. He is here and now. While it is easy to be a Christian on Sunday morning from 9h00 to 10h30, it’s by living Christian values on a Monday Morning when life happens that really counts.
But we are not missionaries. The people we will live alongside for a month have far greater faith than us in living a daily life of vulnerability. They have far greater entrepreneurial ability than us to live on the poverty line to get by. They have far greater stamina to survive illness without the comfort of a medical aid or in waiting for a bus at 4h30 in the middle of winter that might or might not come. In this regard, we have come to learn from people who have less but often much more.
Mamelodi for a Month is a canvas for us to challenge what is most important in our lives. It is a blank canvas to transform our context. And it is a space to engage you in a conversation around these two fundamentals.