Beauty from ashes

WHAT a fantastic outpouring of compassion for the elderly couple whose home burnt down in Becker Street last week.

From the Good Samaritans who stopped in the street to help the wheelchair-bound husband off the property after the house was engulfed in flames, to the towing service who moved their car without charge, and the company that cut new keys – also for free, to the people and shops who have donated clothing and other goods to the couple, the compassion has been inspiring.

There have been offers of temporary free accommodation for the couple – all of which were appreciated.

Central to all of this has been the Meyer family, who rallied around the couple and gave them a place to stay while they looked for more permanent accommodation, as well as facilitating other support for the couple.

The biblical saying, that beauty will come from ashes, is appropriately demonstrated by what has come out of a story that began with loss and trauma. It is yet another example of how our small community takes notice of misfortune and tragedy and responds with kindness and generosity.

It is also an example of the wonderful tool social media can be to spread word of need and appeals for assistance.

It is not the first time we have seen our community respond so well to a family’s need after loss.

Aside from disseminating information, social media like Facebook and Twitter are often used as weapons to spread nastiness, broadcasting the vile and profane things of the world and people’s narcissism and personal vendettas. It is no wonder many people stay away from them completely.

But it is encouraging to see how these tools can be used for good instead.

It is not the first time we have seen our community respond so well to a family’s need after loss.

Whether it be the loss of homes and possessions in the 2012 flood, or the number of fires in Nemato that have razed houses and shacks to the ground, there has always been an outpouring of concern and assistance from caring people who have donated food, clothing and bedding, or facilitated help from organisations like Red Cross.

It is getting word out there that has made the difference. Once people are aware, good people rise to help.

Former Ward 9 ANC councillor Skura Venene, now a DA councillor, was well aware of the power of the media to get word out. There were numerous occasions he came to Talk of the Town after a family lost all to fire or suffered some other tragedy, to put an appeal in the newspaper. And there were always kind souls who responded.

May it continue to be so.

– Jon Houzet

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