During this month, we’ve been reflecting on the importance of being generous. What does it look like to be generous with whatever God has given us? Whether it’s our time, money, or any resource we have, what impact does it actually leave? It turns out, we haven’t had to look very far to find an answer. Here’s a story about generosity within the TTH family.
“My name is Sesi Dube, and I live at Embonisweni with my son Siyabonga. We used to live in every place we can have shelter and a bed to sleep.” Sesi, a woman who has been working at one of TTH’s After School Programs for almost four years, begins her story with the bare facts. For a long time her small family moved from place to place to simply have a roof over their heads. Living without a home breaks one’s spirit. Living life well is nearly impossible to think about when you are simply focussing on survival.
We’re grateful to say that Sesi doesn’t have to worry about that anymore. Her beautiful, charcoal gray home is now perched overlooking a beautiful little green valley in Embonisweni. At the end of every day Siyabonga comes home to the same place: “This house is a huge blessing to me and Siyabonga because now we have a place that we can call home, and I don’t have to worry about being kicked out like before.”
This process didn’t happen overnight. For a long while Ten Thousand Home’s saw Sesi’s need for a stable home. The process for this is daunting. Before making building plans and buying supplies, you have to first find a piece of land. This can prove to be a difficult task. First of all, we had to buy the land, but also needed to gain the trust and support of the neighbors in the area.
Someone in the TTH family decided to do something about this step. Lennon Malambe thought it would be best to donate a piece of his family’s property for the house to be built on. Lennon has known Sesi from a young age, and he didn’t want to wait around for somebody else to help her out: “At that time it was way hard to find the land…because people were wanting a lot of money. An opportunity came [to us], so we gave.” He took initiative by being generous with the resources he already had.
That’s what generosity boils down to. He saw a need, and he realized that he had something that could fix it. “Being generous, you give of what you have. You don’t give out of your surplus.” It’s not the amount, but where it comes from. He shares a story in the Bible about Jesus seeing a widow give an offering of a few coins, not even worth a dollar. Yet he took the time to praise her for it because those coins were all that she had. There is always room to give wholeheartedly.
This type of giving is where we see real change taking place. It is humbling to see the transformation Sesi has had. This journey of owning a home has given her purpose. We can see the physical change this has brought to her. She used to be shy and soft-spoken. Over time we’ve seen her take initiative. Her mindset is no longer about how to make ends meet, but about how she and her family can thrive. She smiles more, and isn’t as afraid of the future. Her vulnerability with her story makes her shine.
“I had been praying to God to bless me with a house for a long time. One day that prayer was answered by Ten Thousand Homes that they want to build a house for us, and I was so happy because my heart was always worried about where will be sleeping tonight.”
Generosity is necessary if we want to see positive change happen amongst us. It is the first step in what we know as “the domino effect”. When one person decides to step up and give, it ends up benefiting multiple people in many ways. In fact, the impact of giving is a bit immeasurable.
And because Sesi was given to, she has also been inspired to give. Her gratitude runs deep because she sees the bigger picture. She doesn’t think her house is just a building. It represents a huge transformation in her life. It represents owning something with dignity because of the compassion of someone who really cares for her wellbeing.
“Now my life has changed,” she says. “I have a purpose and it’s because I have a house, and I get to wake up in the morning to give back to my community by cooking at the church for the kids. Unlike before, I used to wake up and do nothing. What I’m doing now makes me happy and I don’t see myself finding another job because this one gives me a purpose to live for.”
interviews by Mzwandile Ndlovu & story by Phoebe Giffey-Brohaugh
Photography by Rebekah Ness