My mom told me a story of when we had just moved house (we moved many times in my childhood) and this particular story stuck with me.
It had been a rough week of packing boxes ensuring all crockery and glassware made the journey safely. She arrived at our new home, excited for the new chapter of life but exhausted from what lay behind and anxious for what lay ahead – another week of unpacking those same boxes and finding new places for everything. The removal van arrived and started offloading our belongings and then a very well-meaning neighbour visited – so excited to come and welcome us to the neighbourhood and meet a new friend. In her hands was the most beautiful bunch of flowers to brighten our new home. Quite a contrast to the chaos of the dusty boxes piled everywhere. My mom burst into tears as she realised she did not know which box the vase was in. That beautiful bunch of flowers was doomed to lie in the sink and block the way until they died.
I tell this story because this is what we are doing to these unfortunate people who have been impacted by the recent floods in Durban. We are pitching up at their door (if they have one) with food, clothes and blankets and they have nowhere to put them, nowhere to store it to keep it dry. Yes, I cannot deny that those items are needed and welcomed; but what they really need is their house fixed and free of mud. The best way you can help in the situation is get hold of a NPO operating in the area you want to make a difference and either make a cash donation so they can help the people or donate building materials (roof sheets, builders plastic, cement, bricks, pallets, wood, nails, hammers, spades; literally anything that can be used to get a house structure back together). The best way to get involved is to give in a way that truly helps and not just patches your need to have been involved. Come on Durban, let us engage the problems we face wisely that make lasting impact. Let us see Durban become the most caring City. Let us do this together.