This year's projects
United Caribbean Trust
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THE TEN DOLLAR CLUB - Malawi Project, December 2003
$1,150 went to the Malawi Project to provide maize, a highly coveted staple of the local diet, to 115 home-bound AIDS patients in Malawi for the next two months. Ultimately, each $10 bought two months of food for one AIDS patient in this small African nation of eleven million people. Malawi, one of the poorest nations on the planet, suffers from an extremely high occurrence of AIDS. 15% of the adult population between ages 15 and 49 has HIV/AIDS. This includes roughly 450,000 women and 65,000 children. It is terribly difficult for these poor souls to get the medicine they so desperately deserve, but food is equally necessary and hard to come by. This is especially true in Malawi, which has been struck by famine as well as AIDS. 33% of the total population is considered undernourished. You can read more about the health crisis in Malawi at http://www.boston.com/globe/nation/packages/lives_lost/malawi.shtml, an award-winning special in the Boston Globe from January 26, 2003.
A few weeks ago Evance Nkhoma was born in the central region not far from Blessings Hospital. His mother and father celebrated his birth, and his father gave him a proper name. The next day his father went out into the field to till their garden ... and died. I do not know the reason for this tragedy, but I do know it took away all of the joy and celebration surrounding his birth. His mother, Alifa now had to deal with the loss of the love of her life, and with the growing fear for Evance’s future. How would she support him? Who would teach him how to become a man?
Alifa was quiet and withdrawn. It seemed to be the right response and the expected behavior for a young grief-stricken wife and mother, but a closer look would soon reveal a much bigger problem. Alifa was not simply reacting to sadness; she was very, very sick. With Evance a few days old, his mother was taken to the hospital, then to the operating room where she died on the operating table.
Only 12 days old, Evance was alone in the world. He was crying for the soft touch and loving murmur of his mother, and for the strong, firm hands of his father.
His care was turned over to his late mother’s sister, Maurine KamKuzi, but she could not lactate, and no funds were available for formula to keep him alive. Maurine was faced with the horrible possibility of watching her sister’s only child starve to death. She was the one who had to deal with his continued cries for food.
Maurine brought Evance to Blessings Hospital's “Under 5 Clinic” where the nurses quickly brought him to me. “Mama Suzi, this baby will starve to death if we cannot feed him,” they pleaded. Evance’s cries were letting us know he had a will to live, and they were his way of begging for love and food.
Two days before Evance was brought to the hospital a shipment of medical supplies arrived at Blessings, a gift from the Green Valley church of Christ in Noblesville, Indiana. It contained boxes of gift bags for mothers, and in the diaper bags were large bottles of ready-made Similac. Who knows who donated these life-giving supplies. The Malawians say they were “postmarked to Evance from God through American Christians who care enough to gather supplies and send them to Malawi.”
Evance is now a "Blessings baby". We will give him free formula and free medical care, as well as love and support as we watch him grow. When shipments come in, Evance will be one of the first recipients of the life-saving materials. We will give him Vita Meals when he is old enough to eat, and we will delight in the joy of watching him grow into a strong, God-fearing young man. Maurine will have our love, support and encouragement as she loves and cares for her nephew.
This story is being seen over and over in Malawi. Only the names are different. What a privilege to be a part of God's plan as he “postmarks His love to the children of Malawi”.
- Suzi Stephens RN
For more information: www.malawiproject.org
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