1. (noun) relationship, kinship, sense of family connection - a relationship through shared experiences and working together which provides people with a sense of belonging. It develops as a result of kinship rights and obligations, which also serve to strengthen each member of the kin group. It also extends to others to whom one develops a close familial, friendship or reciprocal relationship.
Last night while waiting for our chips at the fish and chip shop, four young teens from school started asking me questions “Does Pete give you extra fish and chips?” “No, I responded, never, we pay for what we get”.
“How much do you earn? “
I responded by telling them how the more years a teacher works the more they earn and how principals get paid the most. “So Karyn doesn’t pay you?” “No, the government pays teachers. The government paid for our new school.”
“Are you rich?” the teens asked. “Well, I have enough to pay for my rent,food and clothes” One boy looked at another “That is all you need ah”
“How much does Pete get paid?” Well he gets paid by the hour. Sue owns the shop and she needs to make money from it. So she has to pay for the food they cook, plus Pete’s wages and his helper and if they were to give food away they wouldn’t make enough money”
While it is difficult to live in the community you work in, it can pay off in big ways. I have lived in this community for nearly three years and for three years I have patiently observed. I have built up relationships, a sense of family, of being connected with many of this community. Whanaungatanga can make the difference. Initially no one trusted me and now at least people feel like they can ask me questions. I totally believe the illustration of a life being like a house with a window. It is possible to open a window in a house otherwise shut up (through relationship), so that the person can see another place, another view or another way. And this can make the difference.