2022 Site Visit
On her recent trip to South Africa, Konnie had the opportunity to visit with our partners at Zisize. It operates through the Ithembalethu and Mkhiweni volunteer committees in a former Zulu homeland in KwaZulu Natal. The region has a long history of extremely high rates of HIV/AIDS. The effects of this on individuals and the community has been devastating. Through their Home-Based Care program, Zisize’s volunteers can check in with many vulnerable people and provide them with food parcels, medical attention, and spiritual encouragement.
Mkhiweni volunteers took Konnie to visit a bipolar, HIV+ mother who struggles to look after her five children and six of her sister who passed away from AIDs. Fortunately, three children are under 18 years so they receive about $120 per month. This money does not go far especially now that there is no reliable water and she can no longer grow her own vegetables.
HIV/AIDS has severe impacts on the individuals who contract it, especially if they do not have access to anti-retroviral drugs and good nutrition. The high rates of this disease in Zisize’s area cause other challenges as well, including an increase in the number of child-headed households. Pictured here are some of Zisize’s HBC volunteers with two of these households they support with food and motherly advice and care. The volunteers check in with them regularly, providing them with food parcels, mentoring, and encouragement. One such household has been receiving their support for close to a decade. The four of them have survived all these years on about $75 a month and money they made cutting wood and doing odd jobs. Fortunately, the brother has been able to stay in school. As he may have some prospects for work in the future their lives may become slightly easier, for which we praise the Lord.
The high rates of HIV/AIDS in the region where the Zisize volunteers work and live, has had devasting effects on the fabric of society. This, combined with the effects of a severe drought in the last three years, has exacerbated the plight of the most vulnerable people in that community. For example, many ‘gogos’ (grandmothers) need to care for their orphaned grandchildren, since, as their children died they took on the care of their grandchildren. However, they do not have access to resources to do so, and are now in need of care themselves. The stresses of raising children, usually in poverty, have left many with strokes and diabetes. They need help with personal care and are often unable to get to their outhouses. They rely heavily on Zisize’s monthly food parcels and adult diapers that are provided by the volunteers. Please pray that the Lord would send rain, and that He would encourage these women in their roles and responsibilities.