Monday, March 03, 2008

The Hidden Hearts of Zimabwe

From Aid to the church at need:

One such hidden heroine is Barbara Makalisa. Her own five children have already all died; now she is caring for over 30 grandchildren. But despite this heavy burden, the smile scarcely ever leaves her face and she is never heard to complain. She says, "God has given me my children and has taken them back to himself. But since He has given me enough strength, I can now care for others instead." And indeed she even finds the strength to care for people who do not belong to her family. Nobody leaves her without also having been helped by her, and within the parish they can likewise count upon her silent but steady support. Father Martin Schupp, the apostolic administrator for the Archdiocese of Bulawayo, knows Mrs Makalisa and many other women just like her. He says, "These people grow to a new stature. Their Faith, their personal encounter with Christ is what gives them this strength. Such people can be an example for us." Another priest adds, "The nation should give the highest honour to these grandparents who have opened up their houses unhesitatingly to the children."

Even in wealthier countries it is far from easy to feed a large number of children. But in Zimbabwe, where the shelves in the local shops have been empty for months, it is a heart-stopping undertaking that demands great trust in God. Even in the better provided supermarkets there is nothing left but a handful of dried caterpillars and -- at astronomical prices -- Coca-Cola for the few who can afford such a luxury. In the other shops there is absolutely nothing. Milk powder is unaffordable for most people, and as for fresh milk and bread, these have long since ceased to be available. The average wage is now around three US dollars a month - for those who who can find work - and unemployment now stands at around 80%. Galloping inflation of 100,000% and an HIV/AIDS rate of 30% only add to the misery. ...

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