Every song we sang had a meaning, and eventually our prayers were answered. My mom’s courage changed our lives forever.

It happened early in January 2010. I remember the day like it was yesterday. Our father had just gotten home and everyone was happy, except me. I found out earlier from our mother that we were moving from our grandparent’s house, the next day, to our own house which happened to be a three roomed shack with no appliances; no stove, no electricity, I mean nothing at all! I couldn’t understand why we had to move from a big house to a shack — it was just too much and very frustrating.

I wished I was dreaming but it was happening, we were moving and all of our stuff was packed away and ready to move. My mother was excited while my younger siblings were unaware of the situation, and I really didn’t find anything exciting about all of this. We were starting over and it wasn’t easy after growing up in a huge house with a lot of people and everything we needed. From that day I knew life was going to change, I had to make new friends and I had to get used to sleeping in a shack, something I had never imagined in life.

Well I should say that the first few days were terrible. With no fridge, we were forced to eat tin food, and really, my mother didn’t find it traumatising at all, while I on the other hand prayed for some meat. I should say that the very first time I learned to cook was by using a paraffin stove, it was scary but as time went by I got used to it. I remember the day when the Eskom people came to our place, I was happy because that day we had lights in the house, no more candles! And that was the first step.

Being in a family of six and only having one parent working was a struggle. My dad would come back home at the end of the month and we would have the best meals ever. Yes, he was an alcoholic but we never went to bed with empty stomachs. Then there is my mom, my role model. That woman never really cared about what other people were saying, she shoved that wheelbarrow even on rainy days, and with her asthmatic problems, she never hesitated going to school and selling those ice pops and snacks for us to get some bread in the morning.

And as days turned into months and months into years, we were still living in a shack. Rain would find us and leave us, but God protected us from heavy storms because not even one day did we find ourselves homeless.

Eventually after five years, I was accepted to university. Our father had quit alcohol and he managed to build us a three roomed house which is now a huge house with five bedrooms. I am now an Accounting graduate. Truly I learned a lot from our family’s situation and honestly it was our situation that encouraged me to study hard and make my parents proud. Even though I haven’t found a job yet, I know that God has a plan.

My mother is happy, she has her own house and I am proud of the decision she took years ago because if she hadn’t forced our father to move, we wouldn’t have our own home. I now understand why we had to move, it was never our house.

Sometimes we talk about those days when we didn’t have television and I had to pretend I watched Rhythm City because my friends had no idea of our situation. Sometimes I would be very ashamed of our shack, but that was my house. The truth is, I hated it and it turned out to be my inspiration. When I look back, I am grateful for all that my family and I went through.

Our situation made us stronger; I am saying this because sometimes children make the worst decisions to have it all. But we never cared about having it all because we knew that education was our only transport to success.

My dad is now a preacher, still working and providing for us and my mother hasn’t stopped pushing that wheelbarrow and selling snacks at school, and honestly I am proud of my parents.

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Tell us: Are you proud of what your parents have done for you despite the hardships?