For me, the most meaningful renovation project so far was the first on my list of priorities: a new bathroom for our housekeepers and cooks. On any given day there are 13 women preparing meals and taking care of our buildings, yet only one bathroom for them to shower at the end of the day. I have often seen them so rushed that one woman will dry and dress in the cramped space while another gets in the shower, often still dripping wet when she emerges from the bathroom. These are women who get up before dawn to get their children ready for school, work through a busy day, then share a crowded bedroom with their families at night. They do so much to mother and care for hundreds of us each day; at the very least they deserve a few moments of privacy!
So, as we began renovation in the new building, my vision was to turn the dilapidated old bathroom into three shower stalls and three toilet stalls. Now with room for everyone there is no need to rush, and each woman will be able to shower and change in peace, enjoying a rare moment to herself. On Mothers’ Day I gathered the women together and our celebration began with the gift of a brand new bath towel and a first look at the completed showers. They were incredibly moved, not used having their needs be the focus of attention. Deeply appreciative for these efforts on their behalf, they took turns giving thanks for how their lives have changed because of Education and Hope. A small gesture in light of all their great contributions to our program, but I’m grateful to be able to offer a few precious moments of space and solitude during a busy day. It may not be all that Virginia Woolf was aspiring to, but we’re making our way one step at a time.
Before the work.