After working tirelessly with resilient girls on achieving goals and resolving conflicts within their community, I was fortunate enough to meet two sisters who fueled my passion for wanting to represent individuals who have faith and hope but limited resources. The forum and I have successfully achieved our goal of attaining hats and scarfs for needy students.
We have now moved on to proposing job opportunities for those teenagers willing and wanting to earn some money for their personal needs. The girls will be looking to present a proposal to the administration that will provide a clear explanation as to why they need the jobs and how they expect the administration to facilitate their request.
This week’s report is going to be primarily focused on the two sisters who have symbolized and validated my time here and have reaffirmed the need for social and communal participation in the lives of the less fortunate. Mbali Simelane, 22 years old, and her sister Rumbi Gumede, 15 years old, are both natives of Swaziland. They moved to South Africa in 2003 after their hard working mother lost her job at Bae’s Furniture Shop. The girls lost their father in 2004. Although the father never stayed with them, Rumbi has vivid recollections of her father. She describes him as a short, dark man. He liked children and working. He was an entrepreneur priest.
These two girls have had a lasting impression on me due to their loyalty to each other. Mbali has committed herself to be a primary caregiver to her blind, HIV infected, younger sister. She has assumed the roll of primary guardian as well; this has been evident to me throughout my stay here. She respectfully upholds her sister’s dignity, and tries her best not to overshadow her. There has been times when her sister has had to address inevitable conflicts with other peers on her own and Mbali is always there to provide moral support for her younger sister whenever necessary.
These two girls have demonstrated devotion to each other in a way that is invigorating. When Rumbi is asked to describe her sister, she proudly describes her sister as a selfless person. She comments, with a chuckle, that her sister is a poor dancer and horribly mistaken that she sings well. But over all, she wishes her sister the best in achieving her goals and strongly urges her older sister to pursue higher education in hopes to have financial independence her sister longs for. Mbali’s resilience has been especially infectious to me.
When asked about her initial reaction to her sister’s blindness, Mbali, seemingly embarrassed and remorseful, says that she was in immense denial. She would test her newly blind sister to verify the seriousness of the alleged condition by asking her to identify colors and clothing articles. Mbali, who was relentlessly seeking for her sister to regain normalcy would include and expect her sister to play games outside with all her friends.
With the very needed support of the therapy Nkosi’s Haven provides, Mbali has been able to come to terms with her sister’s condition, and has accepted her new roll as confidante, provider, friend, and most importantly she provides very descriptive details of anything in sight to her little sister.
These two girls are overwhelmingly hopeful of their future and the goodness of individuals. When I’ve grown doubtful, they have been a constant reminder of the fundamentalism of service and our social responsibility to each other.
As we’ve all stepped up and done our part in bettering lives, I have been fortunate to meet two sisters who have reaffirmed the goodness of service and intervention when needs be.