Sr. Elaine, our Formation Director, is spending two months in South Africa on mission and has the following information to share:
The government has been building “low income” housing called RDPs (Rural Development Plan) by local folks, for those who need it (mostly these are for the indigenous people of color-). All these homes are small- about 4 rooms including “kitchen” area. They all pretty much look alike made of brick and tin-looking roofs. From the airplane, they look like rows of green or gray dominoes lined up. Newer ones are connected to electricity. Older ones, residents have to dig the hole for city to lay the wires for electricity. All residents have to pay for is the electricity. Some have “boreholes” (wells) most do not. Over time some families build extensions onto their homes.
Another typical South African structure is called a “randvaals.” These belong to those of all incomes.
To pay for electricity, residents in government built homes purchase so many minutes of electricity –like a pre-paid phone card, go home and put their purchase number in a box and have electricity until they’ve used up what they bought. Joyce, a coordinator for the carers said she had 0.2 minutes left the morning we went out, so she couldn’t finish cooking what she started until she bought more minutes.
The Townships where we deliver the nutrition packages are mostly made up of the RDP homes. Some people are ingenious in finding ways to make them look pretty with plants and mats and expand the size with card board and tin pieces creatively put together.