24 hours ago I started cleaning and tidying my room which has descended into complete chaos. As I was going through the heaps of stuff to be sorted, it's hard to believe that 14 years ago my family and I were homeless and pretty much only had the cloths on our back as we were residents of Highland Towers (yes, the block that fell)
I suddenly reliased that it was 14 years ago today that it happened.
I looked at this Barbie Doll in my display cupboard. This one is special to me and I will never give it away. Why?
The residences of Highland Towers apartments fell at about lunch time on the 11th December 1993 just 2 weeks before Christmas and New Year celebrations. All homeless residents were offered free accommodation at the Pan Pacific Hotel opposite The Mall. On Christmas Day, out of nowhere, all children affected by the Highland Towers tragedy received a gift. The girls received a Barbie Doll each and the boys received a car. The Barbie Doll you see in the picture is the one I received that day and still keep til today. I was 13 when I got it.
I don't know where or who these gifts came from. Was it someone charitable who went and bought a whole heap of the Barbie dolls and cars from a toy shop or whether it was someone at Mattel, the maufacturers of these toys who wanted to put a smile on some kids faces and made the donation? I wish I knew so I could thank them and show them that I still have her! She also reminds me that material posessions are so easily replaced by other junk. (Joberg, you are forgiven for breaking my vintage phone)
I keep her on display as I have since the day I got her because it reminds me that all it takes is one person to make a difference. All the children affected by the Highland Towers tragedy did not expect to receive anything at all that year because realistically our parents were financially ruined by the tragedy.
As the end of 2007 is near, some friends have started asking what to I want as a New Year present.
As I look around my chaotic room again, all I actually need is a few more big, dark sunglasses (cause I always lose them) and white shower caps (cause they match my bathroom and they wear out so quickly!)
To those who perished that day, may your souls live on in the hearts of your loved ones. To those who survived, look how life does go on....