True fasting (SWZ)

Alicia Ralph, a long-term volunteer from Canada, visited Swaziland earlier this year. Here she reflects on her encounter with a young family in the care of the local Swaziland team.

It was our last home visit of the day. The sun was low and the dry grass on the hills shone like spun gold.

We parked on the side of the dirt road, got out and starred way down the mountain at a tiny house in the valley. There, we had learned, two young boys – Dumiso, 14-years-old, and Ayanda, 13-years-old – lived with their sister. Their parents had passed away some years before and they were left to care for themselves.

As we started down the hill my mind was busy with so many questions: How did these boys get food? Did they go to school and, if so, how long did it take them to walk there? Hours, I imagined.

Dumiso, 14-years-old, and Ayanda, 13-years-old, live in a mud shackAfter some time we walked into the dusty yard surrounding their mud hut. Two boys in tattered clothing stood shyly in the doorway. Three friends stood by with huge grins on their faces.

Although Zodwa, their care worker from ASB Home-Based Care, had nothing material to give these boys, their faces lit up at the sound of Zodwa’s name. She knew them and they knew her. You could instantly tell that Zodwa had spent time building a relationship with this vulnerable family. She had given of her time and herself to bring hope to these young lives. She cared for them and did what she could to ensure their health and well-being. From helping to collect wild vegetables for food, to advocating on their behalf at a school in their community, Zodwa helped to bring stability and love to a family that faces many challenges.

"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?" - Isaiah 58:6

Hands at Work identifies African, Christian leaders who demonstrate a passion to serve the poorest of the poor. We support those leaders in developing a community-owned organisation, such as ASB Home-Based Care, that unites local churches and mobilises congregation members. Through a long-term partnership of supporting these organisations, we work to increase their ability to provide effective, holistic care for the vulnerable.