Family turns Buffalo Flats home into rehab centre

In what is sure to prove to be a valuable community asset in the long term, the One Day at a Time (ODAAT) Drug and Alcohol Recovery Centre officially opened in Buffalo Flats on Saturday.

The centre was originally the residence of ODAAT board member Donovan Smith.

SAVING THE COMMUNITY: ODAAT board member Donovan Smith converted his home into a drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre in Buffalo Flats Pictures: MATTHEW FIELD

“For us as a family, this was a big decision we had to make in our lives. The decision we made was we give up our home to open this centre,” said Smith.

He said that the message he wanted to send to the community was that “there is help out there”.

The centre will run a three-month recovery programme in conjunction with Narcotics/Alcoholics Anonymous.

Speaking at the opening was River Valley Community Church pastor Randall George, who set the theme for the day by reading from Isaiah 61:3.

According to George, this passage was relevant to ODAAT’s work because it contained the phrase “beauty for ashes”.

River Valley Community Church pastor Randall George

What made this phrase interesting, said George, was that the Hebrew word for “beauty” and “ashes” were phe’er and epher respectively.

“In these two words, you look back on your life and find moments in your life that, like the moving of a letter, the Lord by His power can move in your life, bring about wonderful circumstances that shift you out of ashes and into beauty,” he said.

George praised the work of ODAAT and said the centre was an important addition to the community.

“Buffalo Flats needs a rehab,” he said.

Another speaker at the event was social worker and ODAAT chairperson Suraya Leeuw who will be serving at the centre as a councilor.

“This centre is long overdue.”

ODAAT chairperson Suraya Leeuw

She urged the centre to avoid falling into the trap of only reacting to the rising rates of drug and alcohol abuse, citing the recent protests against gender-based violence as an example.

“People before this week have died and our voices were silent. We were reactive.

“You know what happens when we just react? Tomorrow, two days after and in the weeks to come, we go silent. The protests happen and we think we’ve done enough,” she said.

Warrant officer Themba Lamani encouraged members of the community to work together with the SAPS to help fight addiction.

He also stressed that people must do their part instead of solely relying on the police.

“What are you doing as an individual to save your community?” he asked. the audience.

“I pray to God that this programme assists the children of East London.”

For more information, call 066-111-8615, 063-043-33140 or 083-761-5274

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