Melody is a 16 year-old orphan living in Magandanyama shanty compound on the outskirts of Kabwe. Her mother, Twas a patient of Makululu Home Based Care until she died on the 23rd of November 2003. At the young age of 11, Melody was left to look after her 2 little sisters and 3 brothers. Although forced to drop out of school to find work in order to survive, the earning was not enough to buy food and other needs.
In January 2007, Melody began selling her body on the street and became deeply involved with friends who were a bad influence on her. But when she became bedridden by TB in 2008, the team of childcare workers from Makululu HBC were there to support her with visits, helping her with things such as buying charcoal, mealie meal, relish, washing plates, fetching water, cooking her food, and bathing her daily.
In January 2007, Mary began selling her body on the street and became deeply involved with friends who were a bad influence on her. But when she became bedridden by TB in 2008, the team of childcare workers from Makululu HBC were there to support her with visits, helping her with things such as buying charcoal,
You are a middle-aged woman living in Ka Phunga, Swaziland, _ older than most; Life expectancy is less than 40 years. You have seen many deaths in your community from HIV/AIDS, leaving hundreds of orphans. There are still many sick people. You hear of a death almost every day.
- How do you feel? ~ Ashamed at the stigma that goes with this pandemic?
- A strong feeling that something must be done?
- Distressed or angry that the rest of the world seems unaware?
- That it looks as if you are the one who must do something, when you were looking forward to a more restful life as a grandmother.
You remember from your childhood, how the land produced all that people needed. The community lived simply, but there were fields full of maize, and no-one went hungry. Now, much of the land is uncultivated. So many people of working age have died, and orphans cannot work the land and attend school.
- How do you feel about the problem of trying to feed all of the orphans? ~ Can the food be grown locally or must it be bought?
- Where will the money come from to feed all of the orphans, or to buy seed, fertilizer and tools?
- How can the orphans be helped to begin to produce their own food?
Ka Phunga is up in the mountains, far from tarmac roads. Orphans and sick people are in scattered homes spread over a large area. You and your volunteers travel on foot. Sick people get treatment too late, or not at all. Many suffer chronic or fatal illness for which we would quickly and easily obtain treatment. It is hard to get supplies of food to many of the orphans. For a few days each year, visitors from other countries come to work with you, and for a short time you have the benefit of a vehicle.
- How do you feel about your isolation from the modern world?
- Do you feel supported, _ by your king, _ by your government, _ by people from other countries?
- What would you like the visitors to do when they return to their homes?
The young people of your country are giving up hope. Many would leave, if they could, to make a living in another country. You were brought up to be proud of your country, its king, and its traditions. It is a beautiful country, which could feed itself. You are a Christian.
- What do you hope and pray for, for the future of the children growing up in Ka Phunga now?
Jessie Monarch is from Kentucky in the US and volunteered with Hands at Work for the last year, serving in South Africa and Zambia. The following is her account of her first trip to see the work being done in Mulenga, a poor community in Kitwe, Zambia; a work led by James and Sukai Tembo since 2004.
“How many children do you have?” I asked him as we passed through the solid metal gate guarding the entrance to his “mansion.” I knew he called it that, always following the reference with a carefree laugh, to warn us of the simplicity of his lodgings.
“You will see,” he said with a grin. In the brief stint of our acquaintance he had used this phrase to answer almost every question I had concerning his work, as if believing to revive the sense of mystery and anticipation so often lost with age and life.
When we exited the car, he immediately pointed across the yard and a large field to Mulenga. As he enthusiastically pointed out the house from which the twenty orphans are fed daily amongst the mass and spread of huts far in the distance, we pretended to know exactly which hut he was pointing to. It didn’t really matter; we knew the beautiful work he was doing there, we knew the beacon of light that house was in the sea of darkness surrounding it and in the lives of the children
Flora is 15 years old. Life began well for her, her 3 sisters and 4 brothers. Unfortunately, sadness came in her life as her father died when she was only 12 years old. Then the hard work began, as she was now responsible for the family as her mother was also sick and could not work. Flora, grade 8, has missed much school due to the problems often missing school to sell vegetables and charcoal by the roadside. The family received help from Gondola Home Based Care (HBC) in 2007. They have helped with food, clothes and are now helping with her education. She knows her mother will die soon, but Flora wants to complete her education and believes this will help her take care of her brothers and sister and get them through their education as well.
We successfully ran a training workshop for the care workers in Sakubva, which has subsequently resulted in improved relationship building between the care workers, OVCs and patients/primary guardians. The training was also successfully closed with a ceremony that saw the caregivers being awarded with medical aid kits. We managed to invite local authorities, including the Councillor for the Sakubva ward, the Deputy Director of the Mutare City Health Department, one of our trustees, Dr. Geoff Foster, and our country representative, Emily Dinhira, all of whom were present and spoke at the ceremony.
Martha is a 7 year old girl in grade 1 in the Kikula Community School in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). She lost her mother when she was only 3 years old and soon after her father abondoned her and her 3 siblings. Martha was taken by the aunt to stay with while the other 3 siblings were taken to Lubumbashi to stay with other relatives. Life is not easy for the small girl with her big new family where the income was not enough to support all the children for feeding and Schooling, but today Martha is attending School for free in our Kikula Community School and receiving a nutritious meal per day together with other friends at the feeding point. Above all she is also enjoying Home visits from care workers and this is bringing a new level of trust and security to the girl.
Christa Roby—from Chilliwack, British Columbia, in Canada—has been volunteering for Hands at Work in South Africa and in Kabwe, Zambia. A registered massage therapist, Christa had no idea when she applied to volunteer with Hands at Work whether her skills would be useful in Africa, but she came with an open heart to serve. Since October 2009, Christa has trained volunteer care workers in 12 villages in massage therapy. Care workers are being empowered when they see the impact they can make in the lives of their sick friends and neighbors with only their hands. Read more about a home visit Christa made with volunteers from Katondo Home-based Care in Kabwe, Zambia.
“Peter had a stroke in Feb/07 and had lost function of the right side of his body. I asked Floyd (one of the volunteers) to begin with working on his back while I worked with the right leg. I showed Floyd how tight Peter’s hamstrings had become and also how to assist them in relaxing. Peter explained that he is only able to move around on his back. I was confused, so he took the opportunity to go to the washroom and show me. From his bed he lied on his back and
Kennedy Kashiwa, 14, has faced many obstacles. Following the death of his parents, he and his older sister moved in with their grandmother who had no steady source of income - an uncomfortably common story in the impoverished communities surrounding the city of Kabwe, Zambia where Kennedy lives. But Kennedy has faced more adversity than most. At the age of 7, the young boy fell from a tree and, because there was no money to seek treatment and no access to aid for health purposes, he lost his ability to walk. Kennedy couldn’t attend school for a long time because he had no means of getting there.
Recently, concerned care workers communicated Kennedy’s story to a donor in Canada, Visionledd. Now, Kennedy has been given a wheel chair and can attend school and, though the setbacks have placed him at a grade 4 school level, Kennedy has strong aspirations to complete his education.
Kennedy is regularly visited by local care workers who monitor his health and provide food parcels. The donation of a wheelchair has made an immeasurable difference in Kennedy’s life. Because of the love and encouragement of local care workers, Kennedy has hope once again and dreams of one day visiting specialists to help him walk again.
Shooting went well for this years Living Truth telethon to raise funds for Hands at Work in Mozambique and Zimbabwe! We’re really excited to share this event with an even wider audience of Hands supporters this year. Dates for broadcast are as follows:
Oct 11 Mozambique update and stories
Oct 18 South Africa update and new Zimbabwe stories
Oct 25 Malawi
You can check out www.livingtruth.ca for specific broadcast times. Please send this on to your friends at home who have the opportunity to watch.
Thanks for your interest and support of this exciting event!
The pulse of Africa is felt in six-year-old Lebo. She carries a story of brokenness in her heart but fights back with a strong and resilient spirit. This is the tension that exists within Lebo and within Africa. Lebo's mother and father died of AIDS when she was only a baby, and left her with the same disease, which is slowly claiming her life. There is no access to affordable treatment for AIDS in her community.
Lebo lives, along with her brother, sister, and elderly grandparents, in the city of Likasi. They stay in a one-bedroom brick home that has neither electricity nor running water. Lebo’s grandfather worked in a copper mine for thirty years before being forced into mandatory retirement in 1995; he now stays at home most of the time and takes care of his wife, who is blind and requires assistance with basic tasks.
Alisha Volkman, a 25 year-old from Alberta, Canada, has been volunteering with Hands at Work for the past year, serving mainly in Kabwe, Zambia with Emily Osborne, from USA. What follows are her reflections on her time in Zambia and South Africa as she prepares to make her journey “home” again.
As things wrap up for Emily and I here in Zambia, every day has been full of, oh just full of so much! As our time is coming to an end it feels like I am meeting more and more people all the time. Many relationships around me are just peaking, and with each day I am finding it harder and harder to leave.
I'm now at a point where I have absolutely no idea what is next. All these years I was always just headed in a direction to come back to Zambia. And that I have now done. Now what? Now where? I know many people come through Hands every year. Many are impacted, and many make an impact. Some stay. Many move on. Where do I fit?
I LOVE Zambia! I have officially classified myself as a white Zambian. In so many ways I just feel like I belong. My heart is here with the people. I can't help but cry when I think of being away from this place for too long.
I want to go home although I don't want to leave. I have a feeling when I get there I will be again saying, “I want to go home.”
This month, 16 nurses from Rosewood Care Centers in Missouri and Illinois, USA travel on a mission trip to the Republic of Zambia, in Southern Africa, a land plagued by extreme poverty and a disproportionately high number of HIV/AIDS cases. They will be encouraging the work and the people in Hands at Work in Africa’s local community based organisations.
We invite you to follow alongside the Nurses for Africa via thier journal, which will document the experience via blog entries, photos, videos and more.
For more information, please visit: http://www.nurseforafrica.net
Jan and Mado are two women who are overcoming the odds in the community of Likasi in (DRC), Democratic Republic of the Congo. They are two women who are using the power of friendship to survive and they are two women who live out love in action daily. Both Jan and Mado are widowed and, years ago, found support in each other when their lives began to crumble and fall apart.
Mado’s husband was killed in 2003 in a mining accident and left the family without a source of income. Consequently Mado and her seven children were evicted from their house. The family sought refuge in an abandoned school house where they still live to this day. It was during this period of grief and crisis that Mado found a true friend in Jan. Mado says that Jan was one of the only people who saw her through the pain of loss.
Jan’s story is similar in pain and tragedy.
Jackie, 17, and her sister Laura, 11, live in a dilapidated one-room shack in the village of Welverdiend, within Bushbuckridge. Their mother died in 2006, leaving the girls in the care of their grandmother and father. In 2004 the girls suffered yet another loss at the death of their grandmother. To make matters worse, later that same year their father, their only provider, was involved in a road accident that left him paralyzed and permanently hospitalized.
Jackie and Laura face daily challenges, such as, hauling water from the community water tap which is two kilometers from their home and rationing the food they receive to make it last. They comfort one another as they spend each night alone and vulnerable in their rickety room.
Osborne Mwape is 11 years old and lives with his grandmother, Bana Kulu, in a community in Kabwe Zambia. His parents were HIV positive until they passed away in 2003. His mother died from Tuberculosis. She was not a believer but did give her life to the Lord on her death bed. The suffering and hardships Osborne endures are great. The hut that he and his granny share, burned down recently, and they had to use plastic and grass as a means of shelter during the cold and rainy winter season. Food is also scarce and Osborne sometimes misses school to look after the house while his grandmother goes out to look for a job or food.
Hands at Work representative Floyd Mwila, a home based care manager in Kabwe oversees, New Life Christian community school which Osborne attends. The establishment of the school was partly due to a request by Osborne whose wish was to get some education to prepare him for the future. The school not only provides education but also helps to support and encourage Osborne, giving hope for his young dreams to be realized.
Osborne has the spirit of a champion; even at school, he is known as an encourager of the other young boys. His energy and willingness to participate, far surpasses his small size, be it in sport, school clean-up chores or any other school activities. Osborne is in grade 4 and is achieving good marks; he is positive and his little spirit is on fire!
Hannah Chung from Welspring Church California, been volunteering with Hands at Work since August 2008, volunteering in Mozambique.
Last Friday was my first experience in encountering something so real but so… sad.
Tuesdays and Fridays, I go on home-based care in a community called Nhambia. The people in this community live relatively far from each other and grow their own maize in their mashambas (fields). If a bicycle or money to catch a shapa (local taxi) isn’t available, people must walk tens of kilometers to visit a market to obtain anything else.
A home-based care visit in Nhambia with a volunteer named Marcelino led us to the home of a thin and gaunt middle-aged lady. She greeted us, bringing us a mat to sit down on. She talked a little, but didn't say much; it was apparent that she was very sick. Every word was interrupted by what seemed like a chronic cough.
"Is she positive?" I asked.
“We don't know,” Marcelino said. “She didn't get tested.”
"Did you go to the hospital?" Marcelino asked her.
Levy Mwenda is a nurse from Zambia who has worked with Hands for many years. Residing in South Africa, Levy has assumed many roles with Hands in several countries, including Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, and Nigeria.
Levy’s first trip to Malawi is a ten-day undertaking to map out the community of Ngwele in Dedza. Knowing no one but a contact through a South African church, Levy goes to find out if this is a community in which Hands should work. Pastor Roy, the contact, is the headmaster of a school in Dedza. The two-room school holds 120 children in one room and 95 in the other, and Roy is the only teacher. He runs between the rooms throughout the day to teach both groups of children, who are packed tightly into the relatively small space. Roy has dreams of starting his own school, Levy discovers. Though the school he teaches in is extremely overcrowded, there are still many children who can’t afford the fees to attend. Roy wants to start a school that doesn’t require any fees and serves the most vulnerable children, those who have nothing.
Before doing anything else, Levy must receive clearance from the community leaders, including chiefs and tribal authorities. This step is important, as these leaders have the power to either enable or disable the work to begin. Levy seeks approval and partnership by sharing the heart of Hands at Work: to see the local church effectively caring for the dying, orphans and widows.
The luxuries of paved roads and street lights have long been left behind by the time you reach the mountainside homestead of Samuel and Nomsa Lukhele, who head the Hands at Work community organization in Swaziland. The last leg of the journey into Kaphunga is treacherous, taken over roads so deeply weathered with grooves and ruts that you wonder each minute whether your vehicle will make it any further. The winds and twists of the road up the mountain are so frequent you are certain you will never find your way down. About twenty minutes into this body-jarring trek, you start to wonder if people could possibly live here at all; so remote, such a difficult trip, no other cars, no sign of civilization, how could people live here? Another half-an-hour and suddenly people are coming out of the dark night from all directions; women walking down the road, men offering to give directions, and lights peaking through trees are evidence of the living that is taking place here, where you would least expect it.
The next day we, a group of volunteers visiting Swaziland for the first time, drive to meet one of the home-based care’s oldest volunteers. Maria makes her way out to the road to greet us. She is 70, we later learn, but she doesn’t look it. She is strong and active. She proudly shows us the chickens she keeps for the orphans served by the home-based care and the wooden tool she uses to make mats out of river reeds and twine; painstakingly sewing each thin reed to another to form a mat for sitting and sleeping. The one she shows us has taken her three weeks to make. And she shows us the children.
Maseo is ten years old. She lives with four siblings in Nhembia, Mozambique; the eldest is her sixteen-year-old brother. Maseo watched her parents die: her father in 2005 and her mother in 2006, after suffering long illnesses. This was too much for the young girl to handle and, shortly after their deaths, Maseo ran away from school and home to a neighboring town, selling sugar in the market.
Volunteers from Rubatano Home-Based Care, Hands at Work’s partner in Mozambique, had been helping the young children care for their sick parents. When the parents died, no relatives were available to live with the children, so they lived alone, and Rubatano’s home-based care volunteers watched over them. When Maseo ran away, the home-based care volunteers went to Beira to bring her home. The young girl, unable to cope with life without her parents, ran away a second time. Again the volunteers went to find her and this time she stayed in Nhembia.