When the volunteers arrived at the distribution site that morning, they found a long queue of people waiting. It was a far cry from the first distribution there several years ago. Most residents could not believe that a group of foreigners would want to come and help them: so they declined to give their names to register and stood outside watching. When they saw people being given necessities of high quality, they regretted the opportunity they had lost. Since then, every distribution at Spruit has been well attended.
It was a piece of good fortune that brought the volunteers to Spruit. Several years ago they were visiting AIDS patients in Centurion when a white volunteer called Linda told them about Spruit: it is a poor district of Pretoria, South Africa's administrative capital, inhabited mainly by migrants who live a hand-to-mouth existence. When they eat one meal, they do not know where the next is coming from. So, in holding the distribution, the volunteers do not only want to help them improve their living conditions but also understand their situation better and set up a training center which would enable them to become more self-sufficient.
On the morning of the distribution, 71 volunteers came. Seeing the residents queuing up in the bitter cold, they prepared as quickly as possible. Nearly half the recipients were pregnant or had children with them. At the beginning, the volunteers explained about the Tzu Chi Foundation and that the rice and the blankets had come from Taiwan, a symbol of the love of people there for them. They also explained that the blankets were made from recycled PET bottles: they hoped that the blankets would inspire them to keep such bottles and resell them for money and to do what they could to preserve the environment, to leave a better and cleaner world for their children. The volunteers started with the pregnant women and those with children. Each recipient was given 20 kilograms of rice, second-hand clothes, blankets and a cooking pan. The volunteers helped them to carry the items back to their homes.
Since there are many children in Spruit, the volunteers prepared sweets for them. When they put them in their mouths, they made a broad smile, warming the hearts of the volunteers.
A total of 597 people received the goods. They walked home with a joyful heart, chanting 'A-Mi-Tuo-Fo (Amita Buddha)'. When they saw this, the volunteers felt a great happiness. Although they had had a busy morning, they did not feel tired because they had brought a little good fortune to the people of Spruit.
Newer news items:
- Tzu Chi to Build Seven Classrooms for Open-air School in Zimbabwe
- Tzu Chi Foundation Holds Winter Distribution in Swaziland
Older news items:
- Tzu Chi Volunteers in Durban South Africa Start Winter Distribution
- Volunteers Conduct Four Winter Distributions in Lesotho
- Volunteers in South Africa Distribute Winter Goods to 2,000 people
- Relay of Love from the South African University