Trip With ZPSF July 2019 ( by Boet Holmes)
It was a special privilege to be invited to accompany Linda and Johan Schultz on their “Welfare” trip to Zimbabwe this year. Linda does all the admin work for the ZPSF in Malelane, and travels to Zimbabwe to see what the folk there need, and what will make their lives easier.
It was 6 years since I had last been in Zimbabwe, I used to go with the truck as a spare driver, and to help with loading, etc. I knew there would be changes, but nothing could have prepared me for the very dramatic deterioration in the lives of the old folk there, as well as the fact that quite a number of the faces I knew had now passed on.
We left Malelane on Wednesday, 3rd July, and spent that night in Musina. The next morning after breakfast it was the challenge of the border at Beit Bridge! Fortunately it wasn’t as bad as I had expected, and after a couple of hours and a few hundred Rands, we were on our way to Bulawayo. We spent the weekend in Bulawayo, Linda trying to sort out some solar lighting to help at the homes, power is out for up to 17 hours every day in Zimbabwe, so much help is needed to help with lighting, heating and cooking. I was able to spend Sunday with an old friend, Norman Conway, he was best man at my wedding 53 years ago, but we hadn’t met face to face for 50 years, so much talking was done, a very special day. I accompanied Linda on visits to the various homes in Bulawayo, and they all looked in good shape, with clean buildings and cared for gardens. The problem is, as always, the cost of food, with the cost increasing all the time, sometimes even hourly, at one outlet I saw 2 prices listed, one for now, and the other was what is was earlier in the day!!!! There is a Doctor who sees the people at Edith Duly and The Salvation Army Home, but the cost and availability of any medication is a huge problem.
On Monday we left for Gweru and the towns en route to Harare. Redcliffe first, the area is very run down, at the home Linda checked her lists, and spoke to the person in charge, and then it was on to QueQue. Here we met Ken and Beda Connelly, who run the home, Lynnbrook, they do so much for the folk there, and also put us up for the night. The next day it was onward to Chinoyi, Rusape and then Mutare. At every home Linda checked her lists, spoke to as many of the people as she could, and showed them the solar lights that we were trying to organise for them. It was so good to see old friends , but sad to see how in many cases their health was suffering because of the poor diets and worry over where they would end up, as in many cases these folk have no means to support themselves, through no fault of their own. In Mutare we met up with Des and Sally Becker, who do the distribution of our boxes there, and also do much to help the old folk at the homes in that area. On our way back to Bulawayo we overnighted at Masvingo , and called in at Shurugwe, checking in with everyone there. After 11 days we were ready to return to RSA, the total distance covered was about 4 500 Kms.
I cannot explain enough about how these folk really need the help that the ZPSF is giving them, in many cases they are out of food when we get there. There are imported goods available in the shops, but it is completely out of reach for them, the prices are ridiculously high, and the currency situation is such a muddle, the infrastructure is virtually non-existent, with both electricity and water only available for certain hours every day. Yet they always greet us with a smile and an offer of a drink and bite to eat, always sharing what they do have, their strength and resilience is truly amazing.
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