Our Love Howick Dream
Fire season is upon us and the cloak of ash seems to have settled in everywhere. Beyond the momentary irritations, as my fresh washing hanging on the line is covered in fine ash particles again, the thought of fresh buds in spring keeps me going. As with every season, the promise of another beautiful landscape of green as far as the eye can see keeps our vision of the future alive.
This metaphor is much like life. Ash is the perfect environment for beauty to spring up in, and it’s this passion that is driving our vision of a prosperous community, right here, right now. When we set out to establish the Love Howick Non-Profit Movement, we had one goal in mind – to bring solutions to every problem plaguing our community. We believe that in the ash of our challenges, lies opportunities for beauty to unfold. And before you dismiss this notion as naïve, let me highlight the wisdom of an 8-year-old child that challenged this perspective.
A large part of our desire to see meaningful change across our community was sparked out of a casual (but deeply impacting) conversation I had with my 7-year-old daughter. Rolling through the sea of rubbish one morning on a route through the centre of Howick, I did as most of us would do and began an incessant rant about the lack of value for our town, the total disregard for the environment, how things never seem to change – and the list goes on. It was the small voice in the back seat, that for this moment seemed to boom like a megaphone that challenged me to the core and kick-started the launch of a solution. She asked me, ‘So dad, what are YOU going to do about it?’
It was at that moment that I began to realise that we live in the world we create by our own responses, our own action or inaction, our own perspective on life, and led me to discover that even though I may not be able to change everything, I can change something – and bring beauty to the world that seems so covered in ash.
Love Howick NPC was formed as a partnership across this community between churches, government, business, and you the citizens of this square of the world. Our desire has always been to come ‘together for transformation’ and create the world around us we believe the future generations will be proud of.
That’s why I am not trying to find the ‘greener grass of distant shores’ because I believe in South Africa and what we have here is beautiful – it just needs more people to believe that and ACT. So in this vein, as Love Howick, we are calling the whole community to ACT. Let’s believe in the potential of what can come out of the ashes we see around us; let’s take what’s in our hands (no matter how big or small) and do something with it to create beauty in the people & places we are planted; lets remove the walls of hostility and come ‘together for transformation’. Here’s how:
1. We need solutions for the rubbish that fills our streets.
Decide to clean up your verge/the front of your business/adopt a spot in the community. Stop dumping your rubbish in our water systems and green spaces. Sponsor a bin, switch to recycling instead of filling up our landfill site and say NO to plastics – we can all do that! Love Howick has full-time teams on the streets doing various clean-ups but need donations of brush cutters, chain saws, a suitable vehicle for refuse removal and regular donations towards the running costs of this operation.
To donate email email@example.com. Join Love Howick’s efforts to RENOVERGE our streets.
2. We need to deal with crime at its root, and eradicate poverty.
While we bemoan the fact that we don’t feel safe in our community, we have to realise that crime is a fruit of the widening economic disparity that exists in our country. Hopelessness is a larger problem than we think – as the mindset of poverty outworks in anger, addiction, depression and releases survival tactics that people resort to meet basic needs at all cost. We need to rally behind a collective vision to address this poverty mindset through training and mentorship.
The Love Howick Dream Centre needs your help to roll out training initiatives that say to those in poverty, ‘We see you. We believe in your future. We will equip you with the skills needed to get there’. Donate towards the training programmes, offer your time to mentor someone, donate clothing/food to the Street Store and Hunger Busters Feeding Scheme, or employ a graduate from the Dream Centre.
We have shared some immediate solutions here to some of the big giants facing our community and encourage every one of us to ACT today – no matter how big or small. I leave with you with this thought: ‘when we get to the end of our days, we won’t be wishing we had made more money or acquired more material possession, but rather wishing we had loved more, given more, forgiven more, laughed more, and focused on the things that really matter. Let’s do that today – let’s LOVE HOWICK and start with those closest to us and the things most precious to us.