"The journey of a thousand miles begins with one single step"
The Journey of a Thousand Miles
Building a Home for Phumie Ndlovu
The above article pretty much sums it all up.
This project started with raising money for bricks to assist Phumie in rebuilding her collapsing home.
Well, needless to say, I ended up building the entire house.
I had no financial backing and absolutely no idea how to build a house, but I had a vision and I had a voice.
I was 24 and in my last year of studying film, while living on a beautiful plot of land at Sinakekele Children’s home in Oakford, Durban.
Phumie was working for Sinakekele at the time, and we had formed a close friendship over the years.
The short story is simply this; Phumie’s house (made from mud, rotting sticks, and pieces of corrugated iron) was caving in on her and her two children.
Guided by compassion and empathy for a fellow human, I asked her what I could do to help the situation.
“Bricks, I don’t have money for bricks Tazzy,” was her response, with tears slipping from the creases of her hopeless eyes.
The First Step
One Person, One Brick
“I will get the bricks for your house.” The words rolled off my tongue before I could even register what I had said. It was as if Spirit had spoken for me, through me.
After moments of contemplation, I had a master plan.
We needed bricks (R10, 000).
- If one person could buy one brick, for R100, and I sold 100 bricks (R100 x 100 people = R10, 000), we would have enough.
- I created virtual bricks for people to buy online.
- I added a photo of the buyer, as well as their chosen inspirational quote. (I’m a hopeless romantic for inspiring, motivating and uplifting!)
It seemed simple in my mind, but 4 months down the line, and constantly pumping this idea on social media, I had sold only 50 bricks.
Only 50 people of my 2000 contacts wanted to help support me build a home for a lady whose house was collapsing on her and her two kids...
During this phase a gentleman asked me who would be building the house.
I stood in silence, surprised at myself for not having asked the same question.
Phumie’s response was priceless, “the man who delivers the bricks?”
It felt as if she was asking as opposed to telling me.
In that precise moment I had 2 choices.
- Give her the bricks and walk away (knowing the bricks would eventually disappear one by one)
- Help her build this home.
It was time to learn a new profession.
Piece by Piece, Brick by Brick
- Hire a local builder in the community. Check.
- Make a list of what we need to build this house. Check.
- Phone, email, and meet with over 100 individuals for possible help/resources. Check.
In between my lectures and assignments, I spent my days driving around Durban collecting all sorts of second-hand materials (in the ultimate Hyundai Atos, possibly a secret 4x4 transformer).
Piece by piece, month to month, slow and steady, with all the faith, will-power, patience, determination and tenacity I could muster, the walls got higher and higher.
Running out of resources and connections, hanging on to my last string of will power, I was saved by social media.
Our story had reached East Coast Radio and they called Phumie and myself into the station for a live interview on their morning show, Heart Stuff.
This allowed us to reach more individuals outside of my immediate online social group. More second resources from my list were donated, sending my Atos on quite the venture!
Through much effort, time, and manual labor, the building became a home.
One Moment, One Chance
To Make a Choice, To Be a Part of the Change
Together, over 200 people helped build this home, from donating materials, funds, and sand delivery, to truck support, additional transport, and even just sharing this story with others.
Every single piece of this home has been a part of someone else.
What an incredible process to pioneer and witness.
We truly can make a difference when we join together.
We each hold something different that when we place it together like a puzzle piece, it creates the bigger picture.