This year, 2020, has been one for the history books. The impact of this pandemic has reached people from every walk of life and every part of the world. COVID-19 has touched all of our lives, impacting us to varying degrees. Some have lost loved ones, jobs, homes. We feel like the fortunate ones. We are grateful for the privilege to help support those who are suffering through this season.
This past July our Ten Thousand Homes local partner Antony, CEO of Tumani Africa Foundation, told us the story of Charles. Charles lives in Kayole, Nairobi, Kenya and worked at a church in Kayole, but when COVID-19 hit, the church had to close, and he lost his job. Not only did that mean no money for their day-to-day living expenses, but it diminished the hope of fixing their house to make it suitable to live in. That resulted in Charles’ wife and kids needing to go live elsewhere for a few months. We knew right away that this was our next construction project, because it wasn’t just about making a house livable. It was about uniting a family.
We had received a donation for a new roof. We believed that a roof would be enough to bring this family back together.
What happened next is something we dream and pray for wherever we work. Antony, Nan-c, and the Tumaini members took that roof money and multiplied it. After contributing their own finances and labor, they not only put on a roof, but they added on another room to Charles’ house making it a two-room house with a small kitchen area.
What started out as a simple roof donation rallied a group of people around helping someone who needed it. It reunited a family so they could sleep under one roof together. And it empowered a community to do more than they thought they could.
That is powerful, life-changing stuff.
Antony and Nan-c lead Tumaini African Foundation in Kayole, located in Nairobi, Kenya. They care for the most vulnerable in their community. Ten Thousand Homes helps to fund their feeding program every Saturday.
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Man of the world, Mzwandile, or Swazi as we like to call him, is a vital part of the Ten Thousand Homes team. A keen explorer, Swazi’s time with Ten Thousand Homes has seen him venture across Africa’s heart in far flung expeditions to Mozambique, Swaziland, Malawi, Uganda, and Kenya. As well as a life changing journey to India.
Further to his role, Swazi is an exercise enthusiast whose brute physical power has attained mythic status in TTH folklore. Built like a teenage bison, Swazi undertakes a grueling regime in order to ensure he remains in peak condition. Do not be mistaken, though.
Jen is the doting wife of TTH czar, Jeremy. She is the Cleopatra to his Anthony, the omega to his alpha, the ocean breeze to his desert heat. A Jack of all trades, Jen has her fingers in many pies across the TTH campus. As well as providing spiritual guidance to our often wayward female contingent, Jen is an events guru. She is the brains behind TTH’s thriving social scene and has planned numerous evenings of raucous entertainment. The Valentine’s banquet, Colour Party, and Easter masquerade would not have come to fruition without Jen’s expertise. In addition to her stoic organizational talents, Jen also dabbles in more expressive pursuits. Following a chance meeting with Michael Jackson on a teenage jaunt to Disneyworld, she became enthralled by the art of dance. Now an accomplished break-dancer, Jen wows the TTH family with an ensemble of gravity defying moves at both dance parties and during times of worship.
Hewn from the most rustic Texan oak, Jeremy is one of Ten Thousand Homes’ founding fathers. He is part of the fabric of our organisation and has played a key role in the conception and development of the TTH family. Jeremy was there on that most momentous of days nearly ten years ago when we erected our first home in a destitute South African slum. In his spare time ‘Jezza’ can often be found with a guitar in his hands and a melody on his lips. A skilled singer songwriter, his recent polemic ‘From The Woods’ is a chilling work capable of rendering the most cold blooded listener a quivering, foetal wreck. A must for any lover of the arts.
White River, South Africa
Builder, leader, legend…… Local lad, Sam, is the heartbeat of the Ten Thousand Homes maintenance team. Whether new construction, regular maintaining of the grounds, or emergency plumbing issues, Sam is is on the frontlines in the war to protect the campus.
Following a chance meeting, Sam landed himself a temporary gardening role at TTH. It wasn’t long before Sam was promoted to a full-time position in our grounds team.
Sam’s stupendous building abilities and relentless work ethic are matched only by the size of his heart. He is passionate about giving back to the communities from whose loins he was birthed. In addition to leading the grounds team, Sam is the spearhead of an initiative that seeks to provide sanitary towels, stationery, and uniforms for downtrodden female students in local high schools.
White River, South Africa
Not long after visiting South Africa to build a home with TTH, Joel knew that he would be returning. In 2020, this Englishman left behind the shores of his homeland and set off into the unknown, ready to take on the adventure before him. He arrived in South Africa armed with an arsenal of power tools and the skills of a master craftsman, joining the Ten Thousand Homes team as the property manager. His eye for detail and keen sense of creativity has brought construction and development projects to life on the campus and in nearby communities.
Adventure, mixed with a healthy dose of English tea, courses through his veins. He can often be spotted charging through the dense bush with his faithful dog at his heels or scaling the side of the largest boulder in sight.
White River, South Africa
Hailing from Iowa, USA, Rebekah first came to South Africa in 2013 to participate as a student in a uVillage training program. She returned to the corn fields and started a photography and creative design business but felt the pulling back to Africa. In 2017, Rebekah, along with her 2,148 books (maybe not that many but enough to fill a small library), joined Ten Thousand Homes staff as our “pretty maker.” She is the face behind the beautiful content that we publish. Rebekah also exercises her pretty making by bringing her green thumb and all around goodness to the everyday life of the community.
Coming from a large family, Rebekah loves to entertain. Walking into her house, however, you might think you took a wrong turn to the jungle. Never fear. The love of plants is strong with this one. At least you know, while feasting on her delicious home baked foods, no one at the party will run out of oxygen.