While writing my previous article Habitat I had a sense of discomfort. By reading my notes and reliving my outings, I became aware that it must be in contrast with Maranatha. Thats my perception anyhow. I need to understand it IS someone elses house. A small community where a life is led. Where people work and live and they got there for a reason.
The fact that people are at Maranatha is a result of their previous living situation which must not have been warm, good, safe and inspirational.
What kind of feeling of living it evokes, for each individual it is reflected to what was once. It’s obvious that that’s different for everyone. So it could just be that it is a lovely house for the residents and a great living environment where to me it seems a bit poor.
Anyway, as in all the other places I’ve been, also in Almere at Kwintes, I feel like I want to apologize for the rich life and the good living that I enjoy. That might be something I need to shake off.
I let the programmanager do the welcoming tour. Listen to his interview and you feel like you’re inside Maranatha. I’ll stay here for at least 2 months.
Momentarily there’s a lot going on due to an upcoming inspection of department of social development. One of the funders. All residents and volunteers help to get the place in order. As so will I. My focus is set on making inventory and getting the corresponding administration in order. It may also lead to a modern way of administration and stock/resources management. Sports and game materials, musical instruments and the library. The time pressure makes me run quite a pace. I help in a different way than what I had in mind, but am happy to contribute to the viability of Maranatha.
At the moment I am developing a workshop programme for the young adults. It has a similar set-up as I gave at kwintes.nl and Evolving cycles. The curriculum is aimed at “life skills”. The idea is to also give workshops to the adult residents.
Now I’m in a dusty room and cupboards full of books. I’m educating myself becoming a librarian. Scanning and checking books with an ISBN app. The list I have suggest 750 books but I counted 2200. And I am not done jet. I never thought there were so many different releases, shapes and sizes of bibles. I also learn a word of Afrikaans. isiXhosa and isiZulu I’ll just let those languages pass;-)
I get frequent visits from the adults sometimes just for a chat and others who offer help or discuss the accessibility of the library. These visits teach me about the older residents and how they and why they are here. Distressing situations. People who used to have a different life but got on a difficult track along the way. I have been going around in a world where people has this need for help for 4 years now. I recognize their stories and even though I recognize them, it keeps hitting me.
I also have good lunch conversations with the youth and young adults. When they are 21 they have to leave and should be ready for a world outside this haven. Then they will have to take the long walk in this world by themselves. I feel like not everyone is ready. Images of unemployment street crime lies are on their minds. So different from this small salvaged community.
Two weeks with just books, sports and game articles and musical instruments did gave me surprisingly enough lots to think about. A mind full of questions, a heart filled with empathy and a piece of paper full of things that can be done. I am stimulated, a urge to contribute more to the growth of the people who live here.
George is a volunteer who, like my brother Humphrey takes school-going children back and forth to school. He took me with him at a school run. I’ve met the school-age kids and young people in this way. During the school run we also stopped to deliver vegetables. The schools are quite scattered in PE. I see big differences in the neighborhoods through driving back and forth. I am told that in addition to private schools there are also hospitals for the affluent and for less deprived. You notice it directly by the look of the buildings, the size and the crowds.
In the schoolbus, the children watch outside the windows and see street children. Some just walking
around and other playing some streetgames. I feel that the children from maranatha feel blessed that they are not outside in the same condition. They exchange their thoughts with each other. They find themselves lucky.
For now they have a house and maybe even a home.