Great news! Remember this post about Unakho, the women’s group in Mdantsane Village? Well it generated some notice from my Canadian friends, and today I am taking an envelope stuffed with donations to Mama Celia.
As Craig and I jump into the car, he flashes his cheeky grin. “Do-goodery: engaged!” he exclaims, and throws the BMW into reverse. I am a little numbed by the realization that this will be my last trip to Mdantsane… That, and the diabolical hangover perpetuated by too many oversized Windhoeks at the Duncan Village shebeen last night. These final days are reserved for all the important pilgrimages that I have not yet taken, and despite feeling like turds on toast I am excited about today’s mission.
The forty minute drive feels like a week and a half as I spend it directing my laser-intense attention on a spot on the dashboard while the car bucks and rolls over the speedbumps of NU13. Sending Craig as my ambassador was out of the question, African Tick Bite Hangover or not.
Mama Celia’s house is an RDP with a small yard in front and a larger sloping garden in the back where she grows vegetables to feed herself and the people in her community. Inside, the place looks a lot like any number of homes I have been in, with the exception that the couch cushions are bedazzled with hand embroidered appliqués that reassure: “God is Good”. We sit, and I give a very short speech and produce the envelope.
There is something about Celia that does me in. I noticed it on our first meeting and now again, as I stand hugging her compact body I feel a little overwhelmed. She’s older and calm and powerful and warm. I am so pleased to be able to bring a gift, but I also feel certain that she will continue her work with or without my help. This, after all, is the women who inspired me to recognize the hand of god.