Many of this year's JCWP homeowners come to their new neighborhood from the informal settlements that surround Durban. Lacking basic infrastructure such as running water or electricity, makeshift shacks like this one are common in these settlements. Pictured above is the soon-to-be former home of Patience Lisa.
Homeowner Patience Lisa at work on her new home #913
Homeowners Mambo and Juliette Mkhize, owners of house #1000 which Pres. and Mrs. Carter are volunteering on.
Thursday June 6, 2002
The father of five children, Nathi Mthembu says, “Partnering with Habitat for Humanity was a good choice for me because it is going to change my life in a way I never thought possible. Habitat for Humanity has taught us how to maintain our houses and to look after the environment.”
Nelisewe Dolly Buhlala
At the age of 34, Dolly still lives with her parents, where she shares a room with her two children. She is eager to become independent and to learn to take full responsibility for her and her children’s lives.
Nhlanhla Chiliza was raised by his mother. Now, the 28-year-old looks forward to owning a house, providing shelter for his own child and his mother.
Nimrod Sibisi came from a broken family and was later orphaned. Getting a house will be a great relief to his wife and three children, because they have been living temporarily in a house owned by their church. A pastor, Nimrod enjoys watching soccer, listening to gospel music and telling people about the Word of God.
Nombuyiselo Kuboni never thought she would meet so many people and make so many friends as she has since she applied for a Habitat for Humanity house earlier this year. Nombuyiselo currently rents one room, which she shares with her four children. She looks forward to living in a real house with space for everyone.
Nompumelelo Sibiya lost her mother some years ago, and at a young age she shouldered the responsibility of caring for her sisters. Now 29, Nompumelelo is a receptionist and currently rents a one-bedroom house, which she shares with three of her sisters and her three children.
After living in a hostel for 13 years, Nomvula Mvelase is excited about making a real home for herself and her 18-year-old daughter, Buyisiwe, who is a student. Nomvula does laundry work and enjoys being involved in her church.
Nonhlanhla Mvelase, a widow, is very proud of her son and daughter, whom she says are gifts from God. She looks forward to living in her own home where she can have her children and her beloved mother with her.
Nonhlanhla Nhlangulela is 41 years old and works as a domestic servant. She and her husband have four children: Zamokuhle, 11; Londiwe, 9; Nokwanda, 5; and Muzi, 3. It’s difficult, she says, to have four children staying in one bedroom, and never having a home to call their own. She adds that her months of “sweat equity” with Habitat for Humanity have changed her life, teaching her to work and share with other people.
Ntaoleng Letsekha is 31 years old and works as a cleaner. She has four children ages seven to 14. Between her job and children, Ntaoleng acknowledges that it has been difficult to work each Saturday on her “sweat equity.” But she adds that she believes Habitat for Humanity cares for people and that she is learning much from working with the organization.
Patience Lisa moved to Durban to find work and has lived in a small shack ever since. She has struggled to find a decent place large enough for her children and mother to come live with her. She says that this is a new world for her and a start of wonderful things.
Like many others partnering with Habitat for Humanity in Durban, Patricia Tsotini came to Durban to escape the poverty in her home area. She is currently employed as a domestic worker and shares a one-room shack with her son and daughter-in-law. She says she feels lucky that Habitat for Humanity is here to help her.
Since her divorce 10 years ago, Peggy has had responsibility for her three children and mother. Getting a house of her own will make it possible to keep her family together.
A native of Swaziland, Petros Mdlluli originally came to Durban with a construction job. He liked it so well he decided to become a citizen of South Africa. He says it is wonderful to also have an opportunity to become a homeowner.
Mthembeni Phillip Mbelu
The father of three children, Phillip Mbelu’s greatest concern is for his family’s safety. He says his children are growing up in a community dominated by crime, vandalism and abuse of drugs. Homes are broken into at any time of day. His wife is never safe. The house they live in is not theirs, so they cannot improve its security.
Phillip has long sought an opportunity to own a house. He says Habitat for Humanity has created an opportunity for a safer environment in which his children can grow up with respect for society and people in general.
Phindile Maureen Mbonambi
A teacher and mother of one child, Phindile says, “Being involved with Habitat for Humanity has restored my faith in God. I could not have dreamt of owning my own home, but thanks to Habitat for Humanity that dream is now possible.”
Phumelela says he is very happy to have the opportunity to own his own house. The months of sweat equity leading up to the build have been fulfilling, and he says he believes that with God everything is possible. He looks forward to easing the burden on his brother, whose overcrowded shack he currently shares.
Phyllis’s quest for a Habitat for Humanity house was aided by a friend who is also allowing her to stay on his premises until her house is ready. Phyllis says, “My dream was to get a house, and I am glad that finally I’ve had a chance to have my own house.”
Princess Bongiwe Sibiya
After her parents’ divorce, Princess and her two siblings were shuttled from one relative to another. An unsettled lifestyle continued into her adult life, as Princess rented one place after another, always on the move. In 1998, she tried to buy a house, but she ended up losing money and the house. When she heard about Habitat for Humanity, she felt in her spirit that this was from God. Princess has two children, Sthembile, 13, and Mpendulo, 14, who will share her new house.
Richard is very proud to be a father of two children and to support them and his wife, Phindile. Nonetheless, he was unhappy about not being able to buy a house after 12 years of marriage. Richard says that in addition to being able to own a house, partnering with Habitat for Humanity has helped him make new friends. (See “Diary of House 949” for stories about the construction of the Zondi house.)