It is Tuesday. The sun is particularly hot and the sand below her feet is dry. Loveness is accompanying a care worker on one of her daily home visits. They arrive at a home nestled in the bush, where a grandmother sits on a grass mat, and leans against the wall of her home. She has been sitting on this mat from the time the sun rose, and will stay there until she is ready to go to bed. She is the guardian of Agnes*, her seven-year-old granddaughter. Agnes’ mother passed away due to HIV, leaving her behind with her memory, and her disease. Seven-year-old Agnes and her grandmother take care of each other, but there is no source of income, and their small home is not secure and is falling apart.
“When I see some of these situations it sometimes makes me want to turn away and forget about this job that God has called me to do. But then I remember that we serve a God who is able. By His grace, these people are still alive. Now in Agnes’ situation, you can say that there is no hope. But God is the hope. He is the father to the fatherless. He brought Agnes to four years old, when we encouraged her grandmother to take her to the clinic to get ARVs, [life-saving AIDS drugs], now Agnes is seven years old. Where humans see impossible, God sees possible.”
Part of the objective of home visits is to encourage and advocate on behalf of the vulnerable to be able to access local resources such as schools and clinics. There is a tradition here of only consulting traditional healers when someone falls ill. And if the family agrees to go to the clinic but cannot afford the cost of the trip or clinic fees, the care workers will pool their money together to ensure that the children receive access to health care. All of this care is done in a holistic manner, following the Christian mandate to look after the orphaned children and widows in their community.
“We are able to pay their school fees, and we hope to continue providing food, education and health care for them. [God] is the source of our strength, hope and guidance. He gives us love that we can share with others. We are nothing without that love. We must continue to trust that God has been with them since the day they were born, that he knows their situations even better than they do. And he will always make a way. With him, there are no obstacles. I could not do this without the hope of the Lord. Without the compassion that He gives us, without our hearts, what we do would be nothing. I can do this because I put my hope in Jesus, so I know I can never fail.”