When Gertrude was 6 years old her father died, leaving her mother to care for her and her 4 year old brother, Alexandre. “It was sad for us to lose our father,” Germena says. “It was difficult. No one was helping us, and my mother worked very hard in the fields to provide food for us. We did not have any money and many times we went to bed hungry. Without a father in the house we did not feel safe and were scared of other people to abuse us.”
The family lived many years that way. Then in 2009, when Gertrude was 14, “God finally answered our prayers,” she says. Local care workers from Rubatano Home Based Care (HBC) came to help. “They give us food, school supplies and soap,” she says. “They visit us and check up on us. Now everything is easier. We are not hungry anymore.”
One of those care workers is Rosa Ernesto, who has been caring for vulnerable children and patients in Gondola with Rubatano HBC since 2003. When she began volunteering, she had just lost a husband and was alone with 5 children. Though she had hardship in her own life, she says she knew she was being called to serve others poorer than herself. “I had the strong feeling in my heart that this is God’s plan for me,” Rosa says.
It was also part of God’s plan for Germena’s family. “We thank God for the people who came and are helping us,” Gertrude says. “My mother is much happier now because a big burden was lifted off her shoulders.” Gertrude now attends Grade 7.