Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Monday, October 5, 2015

Congratulations Dunedin.

The post below appeared on the Dunedin Night Shelter facebook page today. We have finally purchased the Night Shelter. I guess it has been a dream a few of us have had for the last eleven years. We have been trying to raise the funds for about three years. It has been a long journey with a few bumps on the way, but in the end the people of the city were incredibly generous and supportive. The post went on the facebook late in the afternoon and already has over 230 "likes". I reposted it on my facebook and friends have been liking it warmly. 

Dunedin Night Shelter
6 hrsEdited
We're delighted to be able to tell you that as of today the Dunedin Night Shelter Trust officially own their premises at 18 Lees St smile emoticon
Many thanks to everyone who helped us get here and a big thanks to our solicitors Lucas and Lucas for providing their services and conveyancing work pro bono. Another great example of ‪#‎DunedinHelpingDunedin‬smile emoticon
When I reposted it I expessed my feelings by commenting with these few sentences. 
Feeling deeply pleased. It has been a long held dream which will go on serving the needs of Dunedin for generations to come. Relief... joy... humble...grateful and feeling a real responsibility to use the buildings well.
We had a bit of a hiccup last Wednesday. (Thursday  was meant to be the purchase date.) One of the Trusts giving $200,000 was not able to transfer the money. We had to negotiate with our friendly landlord to extend the time, and his lawyers came up with a suitable deal. It was all very stressful. I had a phone call from our lawyer at about 3 p.m. today to tell me it was all finalised and felt relief.  One of my facebook friends who I met through being in Habitat for Humanity together shared this thought...

WOW! You made it! YOU and all your minions made this happen for the people of Dunedin who needed it. I am proud to call you a friend! When the going got tough, you continually did not quit, you kept pushing, kept making this visible to the community. You made it happen! CongratulationsDavid Hilliard Brown!

I was quite moved by that comment. It has been quite a journey, and there were times when I began to wonder if we had bitten off more than we could chew. But we persisted, and if I may say so, one of the few talents I have is persistence! I seem to be able to hang in there when others drop by the wayside... maybe it is stupidity and stubbornness.  I have had good friends along the way who have pulled their weight too.
At about 3:30 p.m. I texted a friend saying, "I could die tomorrow. I have a legacy. Dunedin has a dedicated night shelter building. I have done something good for my city." 
On Wednesday after meeting with our lawyers, we went to the bank to transfer a big sum of money. A helpful and patient man was assisting us as we had to transfer money from different accounts, then on to our lawyer's account. At one stage he had to go to the bank manager to seek permission to transfer such a big amount. He came back and we proceeded, only to be interrupted by the bank manager. He warmly grabbed my hand and said, "Congratulations. You have done so well. What a lot of work. Isn't it great?" He went on to comment, "It is marvelous how the city got behind you. You have so much support. It wouldn't happen in any other city in New Zealand. Well done!" I was taken aback by his positive warmth and the sincerity behind his comments. 
It is a very big milestone for the Dunedin Night Shelter Trust and an incredible step for our city. For generations to come emergency accommodation will be available.
Mahatma Ghandi said, "A nation's (or community's) greatness in measured by how it treats its weakest members." My city, Dunedin, is pretty good. We have had so much support in our work to care for the vulnerable in the city.

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