Devon van Hoffen arrived in South Africa as part of Hands at Work’s September volunteer intake. From Canada, Devon has come to learn about Hands at Work, Africa, and God’s heart for the most vulnerable. Volunteers have the opportunity to walk alongside local Care Workers in the poorest of the poor communities as they visit children who need love and parental care. Here, he tells the story of one of his first home visits with a Care Worker in South Africa.
I recently did a home visit in a community in South Africa. I was greeted by an 11 year old girl with a big smile on her face. Her name was Lilian. I don’t know much of Lilian’s story but what little I do know is shocking.
Lilian is 11 years old and is HIV positive. When you are HIV positive you are more susceptible to disease, and because of her HIV she contracted tuberculosis. One of her kidneys has also failed, so she only has one left.
Lilian lives with her mother. Her mother is rarely home, so her aunt takes care of her. Her aunt told us that Lilian’s mother is given a government grant because she has a daughter. Her mother uses this grant to buy food for herself, and doesn’t care for Lilian. Lilian’s aunt can’t afford to buy medication for her, so she has no way of getting the help she needs.
Despite Lilian’s health, she is still attending school. I would guess that she is doing well in school because of how much she understood what was going on, and how well she could communicate with us. Her favourite class in school is English. She told us that when she grows up she wants to be a nurse, so she can help other people who are sick. That answer she gave was truly amazing, because it really shows how big of a heart she has.
Lilian’s aunt gave the Care Workers her medical report, and some papers that said how much her medication would cost. The Care Workers meet regularly, so at their next meeting they can present her report and potentially budget for Lilian’s medication. They will continue to visit Lilian on a weekly basis and pray with her and walk alongside Lilian in her struggle.
You can read more about Devon’s journey on his blog: http://devonvanhoffen.wordpress.com
Hands at Work invites people to come to Africa and see the work God is doing here on the ground. You can learn more about the opportunities to come to Africa to serve, here: /come