It was the stranger on Whatsapp
Who was begging for assistance
Asking for someone to help her
Siphon fuel from her car
When the petrol stations ran out
So she could drive and give it to a friend in need.
It was the Zulu grandmother
Who I called after only 2 days
Who was sitting in the dark and bitter cold, alone
With no electricity, no gas
Who softly and humbly answered "nothing ma'am"
When I asked her if she had food to eat.
It was a friend with MS who answered
Another community member's call for food for their children
Giving what he had to spare
Even knowing he too might soon be without
And offered it freely.
It was a young African lady
Who I saw drive to a Pet food shop that was closed
And watching her drive away on the verge of crying
Hopeless and helpless.
It was the local small farmers and businesses
Who banded together
To create pop-up markets
To feed their communities
Hundreds of people volunteering
Their time and energy.
It was the lady who worked tirelessly
To try to secure food
For an elderly home of 200
Who couldn't find bread
Or even simple things like milk and eggs
But she continued.
It was local bakers I know
Who worked over 18 hours a day
To make bread for their community
Losing sleep to help others eat.
It was a 22-year-old skate boarder
Who offered to do errands for people
Volunteering to clean up
Be on guard duty
To help in any way he could.
It was the friends who contacted me from abroad
To ask if I was doing ok, if I was safe
Who asked me "what can I do?"
And I said Pray for Peace, and if you can send money
So I can feed a few more people
And they did!
It was the desperate mothers
Looking for formula and nappies for their babies
And watching others share
And work tirelessly to find solutions.
It was the men and women who I saw
coming together every night, all night
To stand guard on their neighborhood streets
In almost zero degree weather
To protect their children and homes.
It was the hundreds of people
I saw on social media
Cleaning up the streets
Helping each other
Choosing to act constructively
After such destruction.
It was the kindness and the sacrifices
It was the care and love
The generosity I have seen in the past days
In the face of danger, fear, uncertainty and even possible death
That broke me down to tears
It broke away my fears, my panic, my anger, my judgments
And rather than running away
To a "safer place"
Or hiding in my house
Hoping I would be safe and have enough
I was broken open
And invited silently
To join a Revolution of Love
To find ways to help others
And in so doing
Forgetting all my worries.
Written 16 July 2021
Jacqueline du Plessis, Founder of Growing Hope.