We pride ourselves on always having a game plan. Nothing major, but our hearts are in the right place. We never hesitate to assist our communities in whatever capacity we can resources permitting, and by the first quarter of 2020 we had a fairly impressive Wish List.
But then came the global pandemic, mass confusion, economic stagnation, and the lack of already scant community resources rapidly exposed. Time was against us. We were locked down within days. To sit quietly, cough and sneeze into our elbows, and wash our hands as often as we could without being certified. We texted and invaded spaces through virtual visits. We cooked, cleaned, decluttered, washed the windows we and our pets would stare through for the foreseeable future. We exercised and then blogged about exercise when it looked like no-one would ever see our muscular development in daylight and entertained all the introspection we could muster without acknowledging we were still stuck inside. There was always hope that each sunrise would moves us up a level nearer normality or freedom. Something would come to stir the latent uneasiness that pervaded the solitude and the 3-item-on-repeat To Do Lists as many lost their income and some their sense of control. The hours turned into days.
Soon enough came the phone calls, texts, or emails from all over and Kindness Corporation was in the thickest of things they had never anticipated. We started partnering with other NGO’s and NPO’s, schools, donors, families, and a host of genuinely kind friends. A year on, we can safely say that COVID-19 brought both bleakness and blessing. It took so much, but upon closer investigation it created opportunities for individuals and organisations to do things differently. Together. Our humanity united us against a common enemy that wasn’t fully understood, and then in many other effective ways. Organising food and relief parcels while cooking gallons of soup each day became the norm. Facilitating mask-making and distribution created new opportunities and networks that will survive long after people are heard talking about that “dark time in history”. We found the resources and those willing to brave the desolate Level 5 streets when Jhb traffic resembled VIP Valet parking. We had a police convoy outside one of our homes when a concerned citizen dropped soup ingredients and donations mere minutes outside curfew. It was not pretty; it was an interview involving a permit never to be recalled nor repeated, but we persevered.
But the greatest gift of all must be the rallying of supportive, hitherto unrelated people who just wanted to be part of the solution. No sacrifice was too great. Any request on any platform found a positive response within minutes. Deadlines were made and promises kept. New friendships were formed. Organisations were holding hands while being physically distanced. And did we say we got things done…largely without fuss???
We are always just one call, text, conversation, or news report away from a whole new way of operating. The pandemic taught us to move things swiftly along. Pre-pandemic many decisions that may have taken weeks involving countless meetings and a dozen signatures, now came down to a quick “Yes” or “No” and “How fast can we get there?” When everything is uncertain and time is a luxury, you suspend fear, need for control and perfection. The Lockdown exposed our false sense of security on many levels (not a pun in sight) and in that surrender came peace and progress. We found new ways of thinking, of connecting, of problem-solving, and enabling our communities. It was purpose and teamwork on steroids, and we can take that into our projects in 2021 and beyond.
We learned that:
Stay safe and stay with what is yours to control. A HEARTFELT THANK-YOU to all our donors, supporters and friends for your unfailing care and kindness. There are many challenges in the aftershocks of the pandemic – physical and mental health, our children’s education, economic growth, youth development, and all things empowerment are waiting for our willing and able hands. It will not be easy, and we cannot do it alone. If you are reading this, you survived and can be part of what feels a lot like Planet Rebuild.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. – Margaret Mead
See you on the Other Side!
The Kindness Corporation Team