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  • Writer's pictureGrowing Up Africa

"I am changing my life!" by LEBO

One of the lead reps for Corobrik tried to convince "the powers that be" to donate bricks, in the early days, to build the campus project in Devland. With just under 30 pallets contributed when we needed hundreds of pallets, it was a start, and we were very grateful.

The rep continued to visit every few months, so engaged with our mission; he became very interested in everything “inside and outside” the campus. It was gratifying to feel his passion and to know of his interest.

Clement, from Corobrik and Lebo, our neighbor, meet for the first time to discuss "meaningful opportunities" for Lebo and the area near the campus.

A young 14-year-old, at the time the campus construction commenced, watched as the project rose out of the dumping ground from across the street where he lives in a shack. Although underage, I invited him to learn some valuable skills and lessons in work ethic and had him join my training sessions and the odd clean-up on the street where he lives. To date - from groundbreaking - I have trained more than 200 youth in the community in various tasks on the site, both gals and guys. This boy chuckles when asked about having me as his mentor. Teasing me, he says he would rather be whooped by his Dad! Now at 20, after mentoring this young man, he wants more for his life. I think some of those lectures may have impacted him in unimagined ways. He wishes he trusted what I shared in those lectures, now trying to catch-up for what he thinks is time lost. Little does he know, "this is his life journey."

He came to ask if I could help him figure out how to build a perimeter wall around the property. So welcome was his query; I indulged him, thinking it would be all too daunting for him even with my help. He said, “no, Miss Terhune, I will do what you tell me." On Monday, he started clearing the property, Tuesday, he dug the foundation and poured, and by late yesterday I was calling the Corobrik rep requesting they donate 5 pallets of brick face bricks.

Clement then said he would like to stop by the site to check out what was needed. What I did not know at the time was that he had a bigger vision than even I. Those sporadic visits during the build-out of the campus got him thinking. After touring the campus, he said, “ I have an idea," and so spurred the offer to provide enough bricks to build three of our neighbor's perimeter walls, all neighbors of the campus. The bricks donated to the campus in the early days were used to build the entrance ramp, all 'unseen,' which he felt Corobrik could benefit so much more from their efforts and generosity if visible....." brand exposure representing social responsibility and social investment." The Corobrik rep needs only to secure board approval. In the meantime, the young Lebo is racing to prepare for the free bricks already approved. Earlier today, I showed him how to get his levels right to plan for the installation of the XXL off-cuts. He would like to create a mosaic paved area in front of his shack. What 6 years working in Devland have taught me: "We need to learn to see and to open our eyes because there is always a lesson to learn from the street."

THE AGREEMENT Lebo will do all prep work and labor, even securing the bricklayers. GUA will contribute the free materials, the mix, cement, sand, brick force. The suppliers of these materials have agreed to this arrangement. HOW DOES THIS BENEFIT THE CAMPUS PROJECT? To clear paving off-cuts, we have needed two flatbed trucks, driver, labor, and cost to haul and dump. So we agreed he would bring a wheelbarrow [ we only have two wheelbarrows, and we need those to complete the paving around the campus site ], collect the off-cuts, enough to pave the area around his shack. We don’t have the cash to load, haul, and get rid of the XXL paver off-cuts, so the young man collects, cuts, and lays at his shack.....a win for us and a win for him, especially where no Cash will be needed. This opportunity to help others ( particularly a young 20-year-old boy ) overshadowed the uphill battle with completing the campus. Helping the community, setting an example of HOW to make for sustainable lifestyles, and as necessary, improving the streetscape at the campus entrance.

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