Claire Oosthuizen relates her experiences after joining a recent community clean up day at Kwanokhuthula
Have you ever had a pile or an unpacked box or a mess somewhere in your house that you keep meaning to tackle, but you don’t get around to it and every time you walk past it, it gnaws at you? Guilt-Denial-Excuse-Ignore-Overwhelm-Stuck.Record-Repeat?
Can you imagine if this was your front yard?
The sense of complete overwhelm? The way it quietly drains your energy? Problem getting bigger everyday. Rats moving in. Possibility of Disease- You really want this to change but you’re just one person-Stuck.Record-Repeat?
If you have ever had that mess and one day decided to just-do-it, face it, clean it, declutter it, sort it!
Then you will also know that sweet feeling of relief when it’s done, followed by another thought: That was SO easy, why didn’t I do it a long time ago?
Can you now sense the extent of that collective relief? Hear that deeeeeep sigggghhhhh of satisfaction? Quite liberating, isn’t it?
The pictures you see here are part of People of Love’s ongoing successful initiative, Community Clean Ups in local townships.
I joined the team in Kwanokhuthula a few weeks ago to experience the transformation firsthand.
Shirley Redman arrives at a predetermined site in need of clean up love (broadcast to her soup kitchen ladies’ network during the week). She brings with her: fresh muffins (homebaked by Shirley herself), fruit, juice, refuse bags, tongs, disposable gloves and neon vests. She distributes clean up gear as far as it will stretch to residents of Kwano that arrive to help: children, soup kitchen ladies, unemployed ladies, young men, community leaders and elderly Mammas to name a few.
The team then picks up litter and places it into refuse bags, when the bags are full they are put in piles at designated pick-up points to be retrieved later by the local municipality’s vehicle and moved to the nearby waste transfer centre.
Speaking to participants, I discovered many were motivated to come to clean up by the promise of a muffin and a juice at the end of their labours, some are unemployed and the prospect of a meal gets them up and out on a Saturday morning.
Everyone I spoke to shared the same positive feeling:
‘I am doing something!’
‘This is a good thing in our community, to take care of our place’
‘This is good for the children to experience’
‘This is good for our health’
‘Its good to take care of our environment’
For every four Community Clean Ups completed, participants receive a food parcel, which incentivises them to return week on week. The Soup kitchen ladies that I met on the Kwano Community Clean Up participate every Saturday and when they get their food parcels, they take them back to the soup kitchens where they use the supplies to share the love once more.
How you can help: People Of Love gratefully accepts donations of any kind, be it monetary or physical such as blankets, clothing and food parcels