Last week, guests at Caritas Bakhita House went to the Market.
It wasn’t an ordinary market, and they didn’t have to go far. This was a market held in the living room of the House. The goods on offer were clothes “previously loved” by others, and now donated, or created lovingly by knitters such as those at St John Fisher in Harrow North
To some eyes, this market looks rather messy. A jumble sale, and not a very well organised one at that.
Others, looking beyond the material, see the kindness of others, who have given what they can to benefit our guests.
The guests themselves see joy and freedom.
This market brings guests, who have come to the House with almost nothing, the joy of having something different to wear.
To be able to choose what they want to wear and not what others tell them to wear, brings a new sense of control. Although small it is always a step forward.
The women attending this market ranged in age between 20 and 60. They laughed as they tried on the clothes. One giving style advice to another, one asking if this colour suits, and one parading like a model wearing a priceless dress. To her it is priceless because it represents kindness – something that she has known too little of in her life.
It really is heartwarming to see – that a small item, donated and then forgotten, can mean so much.
As well as clothes we often receive toiletries and newly knitted scarves and hats. Whatever the items the guests are overwhelmed that others care for them and want to share. These are things that most of us take for granted, forgetting to be grateful for the good things and the freedom we have, forgetting that many today are not so lucky.
We are celebrating the seventh anniversary of Caritas Bakhita House this week on 30th June. That’s seven years of being there as women start their road to recovery from the horrific situations of slavery they were in. Seven years of being a safe place, and of providing therapy and support, and seven years of finding joy in the little things.
In those seven years, Caritas Bakhita House has been a home to 152 guests, not to mention 12 newborn babies, and Marley the cat!