Huis Maria is a normal looking house on 20th Avenue in a suburb of Cape Town called Elsie’s River. This house is not different from the other houses in the street, until you actually take time to step inside. “This house shelters recuperating mental persons”
WWWA members as part of their community connecting and relationship building to mark world refugee day this year paid this house a visit.
We a good time sharing information, cleaning and cooking and having lunch, with residents who were very trilled to see and talk to these other people from Africa as they constantly referred to us. The coordinator of the project Carmen was happy to introduce us to all the residents. Some of the residents were quite frank when they mentioned that they never thought that there were people called refugees but that they had knowledge of these other people from over seas.
They wanted to know why these refugee have to flee their homes and why some of them had to choose south Africa to come to, there were questions about what languages are spoken by these “fugees” as they kept referring to refugees, they wanted to know when and how will refugee go back home and if there were refugees from Europe as well.
A touching moment for me was when I watched three guys sitting together , one black, one white and the other one colored , what stood out for me was how closed they were , they shared a cool drink from the same cup , every time some thing was passed around these three performed the sharing ritual until the last bit , it started with a cup of cool drink then a packet of chips then an orange, and even a piece of chicken.
They sat there so close to each other in their own world whispering and looking out for each other. these was my big moment I was deeply touch how we all needed as a world to became mentally deranged at some point, in order for us to actually realized that we all are one and the same and capable of love for one another.
Huis Maria is a place of love and care and offers hope to people who have lost hope as well as family ties and respects from the community. Perhaps that is why we connect to this project; refugees are more in the same space.
Monday, June 22, 2009
Huis Maria, a humbling experience
At WWWA, women refugee/asylum seekers come together to support one another rather than rely on handouts. These women have come from different countries in Africa, such as Angola, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, DRC, Republic of Congo, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda etc