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We are so immensely grateful to you for your support and belief in our work and service. You have contributed in so many ways, financially, with supplies and with your prayers and faith in the work we are doing.
It became abundantly clear today how much basic need there is. 150 homes in the township burnt to the ground and 89 resorts and homes in the rest of Knysna were completely destroyed. While there was a lot of damage to the homes of wealthy white people, 40% had no home owners insurance and so many are left essentially bankrupt. While resorts are being rebuilt, the jobs they provided have been lost to the black people and so many are left completely destitute with nothing on whichto fall back. The interconnectedness and interdependence of the community has never been more apparent. The man who opens our gate at Pezula got no municipal help because only his roof, doors and windows were blown away by the fire winds. This meant the pigs got into his home and destroyed everything foraging for any food they could find. Payday is still a week away for him and so my sister went and bought him food today. There are a hundred stories like this and we have heard them all day long. People providing hay for the bushbuck, water for wild animals, fruit for the birds. The charred black remains of trees have been spiked with oranges for the birds. Burnt tortoises and reptiles, deer with burnt hoofsand small mammals are filling the rescue centers for animals. Even the baboons have been given some grace with their incessant theft and breaking into homes! 8 people died, two of them firemen.
The immediate outpouring of help during a disaster is a beautiful thing - it is as if, for a moment communal suffering awakens the heart. The usual defenses fall away and suddenly there is a rush of charity and good-will, a shared suffering to which everyone can immediately relate and respond. Differences and hostilities melt away. It gives us a brief glimpse into what a loving, interconnected community could be like. However, it is always very short-lived and in just a few weeks this will be forgotten as people get on with their lives. Their hearts will close over again, the old defenses will reassert themselves and Knysna will be back to business as usual, absorbed in self interest.
This is why the work of breaking down defenses, healing old traumas, and reconnecting people to their souls and their hearts is so essential - so that we can live in harmony and love, with nothing but a willingness to give and serve, and that this be a permanent state, not just a brief opening to the light.
Your investment is in the long term vision of this possibility. There is no immediate visible, and tangible result, no expressions of gratitude for being encouraged to enter into the hidden hell of your life and do the hard inner work. It is truly an act of faith on your part, to trust that the work we will be doing will result in deep inner change that will lead to communities where there is open-hearted giving, listening and presence, not just short term emergency charity.
This all reminds me of an old parable I once heard about a vision of hell in which people were sitting at round tables. In the middle of the table was a large pot of delicious stew. Each person had a long spoon to reach the pot, but the spoon was so long that they could not fill it and get it back to their mouths - so they were doomed, with the tantalizing aroma of food, to be eternally hungry.
Heaven surprisingly enough showed exactly the same scene - the same tables, the same stew, the same spoons, but here everyone was laughing and joyous. What do you suppose the difference was between heaven and hell?
Thank you all for your ongoing generosity and open-hearted giving and for wanting to contribute to creating heaven on earth, by changing lives from the inside out. To be able to offer this work for free to those with nothing, is truly a blessing of sustenance and nurture, growth and freedom - in their lives and in their community.
What you do for the least, you do for me….