Adriano and Juma live alone quietly on the outskirts of the village of Mlevelwa. We aren’t quite sure of their history but they have been surviving day to day without anything or anyone for at least 14 years. In addition, their diminutive size has kept them from participating in the rigors of village life. It is a wonder that they are still living.
Our students got involved in December to rebuild their home. The mud, stick and thatch house which their parents had left them was caving in leaving them exposed to the elements. What started as a “semi-community project” ended up being our students’ big pet project as different people contributed in many ways to make this house even better than originally planned! Our students went from thinking that we were going to build another stick and mud house for them, to the final project of a burnt brick and thatched home. And it is lovely. Adriano and Juma moved in last night!
What is delightful is not just our student’s satisfaction at working together with Juma and Adriano to do such a good job, but the true joy all of our students had over the last two months helping Juma and Adriano. Our students by World Bank standards are the poorest of the poor in the income brackets of the world, but what the statistics can’t describe is the amazing ability packed into these young people. They are poor – no question of it – but they are generous and they are hard working. Our kids, who have been helped by so many so that they can get the chance to study, have now been able, through this project, to be of great help to two people, even more needy than they are. And they loved it! As I drove the last team of boys home this afternoon, they wanted to know who we were going to help next!
Although I have never seen it, I have heard about a TV show called “Extreme Makeover.” So I would like to share with you some pictures of what our very own Extreme Makeover was like here. There is great joy in working with our students. I'm glad I get to be with them both in and outside the classroom. They are the future of this great country.
Adriano and Juma’s original dwelling from the outside.
Their old house from the inside.
The kids measuring for the new foundation.
Cosmas and Timotheo finish attaching the thatch.
The last team of students standing with Adriano (red cap) and Juma (standing in front with his arms crossed.)