Stand outside, look at a house. What do you see? A mansion with a driveway and a fountain. Nice. Come inside. What do you hear? The pitty patter of feet, clanging pots in the kitchen, a child is singing at the top of her lungs, someone is twirling around in front of a mirror, someone is reading the paper, a child is crying upstairs. It’s a home.
Stand outside, look at a house. What is it to you? A unit with trees at the front and a small red door with a red doorbell. Ring the bell. Come inside. What do you see? Careful, someone is crawling and creeping around. Another one is performing in front of a small audience of mom, dad and one other sibling. There’s no judgement or comparison in here. Only applause and acceptance. She’s a star. She’s got fans. She’s loved. She can take on the world! Pictures hang on the wall. Happy memories. The hum of the dishwasher can be heard in the midst of all the family’s noise. This is a home.
Stand outside, look at a house. What do you think? A wooden house standing on stilts. Climb up the stairs. Come inside. What do you notice? Hmm, the smell of toast, porridge and coffee. A little clean kitchen shows the hard-work and love of someone special in this house. Look outside the kitchen window. Clothes hanging on the line. Little clothes for little people, made clean again after their rough and tumble. Work shirts hanging there too. A few aprons hanging there as well. Some work dresses hang there too. Someone’s labour of love. Feet thundering down the wooden stairs. It’s time for breakfast. This is a home.
Sit on your couch, watching TV, look at a house. Or what is left of it. There was a tornado. A typhoon. A hurricane. A flood. Call it what you like, but it was the Big Bad Wolf and he blew this house down. Was it made of bricks? Perhaps. Was it made of sticks or straw? Perhaps. What is it to you? What was it to them? The pitty patter of little feet. Clanging pots in the kitchen. Children singing. Children dancing. Someone reading the paper. Babies crying, crawling, creeping. Someone performing, others accepting, applauding, loving, instilling the confidence to take on the world. Pictures on the wall. Happy memories. Dish-washing. The smell of breakfast. Clothes hanging on the line. It was a home.
It doesn’t matter how it looks, how grand or humble, how big or small. Let’s make home ‘Home Sweet Home’ and let’s show our compassion and help to those who have lost their ‘Home Sweet Home’.
Dedicated to people round the world who have been affected by natural disasters.
– Nancy Eluigwe.