Acknowledge those on the streets

Dean Ramjoomia, founder and director of Nehemiah Call Initiative (NCI)

Giving them a face and identity.

They are not skarrelers, beggars, homeless, gemors or garbage.

I’ve heard people say.

Their names are… You are the children and family of Mitchell’s Plain.

I would be blind and naive if I miss and don’t see the people, boys, girls, young men and women and older folk.

Seeing them always and first as people equal to myself.

Seeing them embarrassed as we make eye contact.

I always make sure I look them in the eye, greet them, enquiring how they are doing.

Sharing a word of faith and hope, seeing their heads bowed often out of regret or shame I suppose.

Making sure with others serving with me that we fully recognise their humanity.

I’ll be blind and naive if I miss to see the pain and sadness as they drop of their heads of shame because their hands are dirty.

Once someone apologised for himself being dirty and not having clothes.

How could I miss the tears in his eyes?

I often speak to them and as they share lives with me I tell them not to surrender.

Not to give up.

For them, I know it’s far more difficult than words spoken.

I’ll be blind and naive not to see men, fathers, sons and daughters away from their families and loved ones for choices they made and stuff done to them – which often get lost in the judgemental comments and stigmatisation of others.

I would be naive and not honest by telling you that often I feel completely inadequate even in speaking to them, frustrated that I just can’t do enough.

I just don’t have enough money, resources, and can’t do the things I know I can and should do.

But then again I’m reminded and thank God that I’m but one, privileged to be alongside others to contribute in the lives of our people.

I’m nobody’s saviour and certainly nobody’s hero.

Me being of service to these people is indeed the highest place.

To all of you that pray, love and contribute to the service we are doing, Jabulela zonke, baie dankie.

Whose living on the streets in Mitchell’s Plain – probably your son, child, brother, mother, sister, dad, husband or cousin they are emotionally and spiritually abandoned.

Sexual abuse, victims of domestic violence and gender-based violence, victims of family dysfunction, unemployed, those running from gangsterism, those trapped in the same, caught in web of substance abuse.

Often I see how they spike or inject unga into themselves or just to “escape” the divorce or physically or mentally disability.