#FarFromHome: Amkelwa

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Welcome to our global #FarFromHome series: reflections on the time of Covid-19 from people who are are far from their family and home-country. We hope this brings comfort and reassurance. We chat to Amkelwa, who lives in Paarl and is from the Eastern Cape.

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This is a difficult time for us all. But, what activity, or thought, or philosophy, has guided you through this time in the pandemic? During the pandemic, I involved myself in an English learning group. That helped me a lot to improve my English. I was also involved in a community soup kitchen. We were cooking porridge for small children every day in the morning, because we are a very poor community. 

What other emotions has this period brought for you?  

This pandemic has brought me nothing but pain, because I can’t watch people going to bed with an empty stomach. I had to take food from my home and share it with those who have nothing, even if it’s 2 people I will know that at least I have tried. But in this whole situation I felt helpless because I couldn’t help other people because I needed help myself.  

What in your life history has made you better able to deal with this situation? 

I was able to deal with this situation because of the situation that I grew up with. When I grew up my father was an alcoholic. He used to drink the whole weekend, from Friday to Sunday. When he was drunk he would beat my mother up, and we went to go ask for a place to sleep with our neighbours. Growing up like that has made me strong and I can deal with tough situations. I was the reason why my father has changed and become a better person.  

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Thinking about the Covid-19 pandemic, what good qualities has it brought out in you? I would say I am good at solving problems. The pandemic has brought out the real person that I am – some of the things I have done for other people, I never thought that I would do them for anyone. The thing that made me get through this pandemic is being tough, because if I wasn’t tough and brave, I wouldn’t have made it.  

Has this experience changed your interaction with your neighbours or community? If so, how?  

Yes, I have learnt a lesson that I must always look after my neighbours, because you know when people need your help.  

What would be your advice to those people facing difficult situations at this time?  

My advice to other people, if you have problems just pray about your problems and be patient, have faith. God is alive you just need to communicate with him and put your trust in him. 

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