Mai Fungai has not been seen in church or at any other community function for some time. She has never been in good health, but now the mother of five grown-up daughters, all single mothers with babies, is worse. She can hardly breathe. She desperately needs to be seen by a doctor to be given the right medication. But the house, if you can call it that, smells of poverty. It is so low you need to keep your head down.
Our outreach network of medical people who do voluntary work for people who can’t pay can perhaps help, but only if some generous donors somewhere far away give us the necessary funds. Last night, I received a message from such a donor, “Very sorry, but this year we can’t help.” This morning I was busy writing to another donor, sending them pictures of our volunteers on outreach work. Normally, someone responds in the end, and the work goes on.
Dorothy had an operation costing USD 530 which she could not pay. So they just kept her in hospital for a few more weeks until a relative got her out by paying USD 220. But she still has a debt of USD 310. She is still not well, and really needs to see the doctor again. But no one will see her unless she has paid off her entire debt. We help with USD 20 or USD 30 at a time. But what about USD 310?
If we pay such a big sum then we can’t help many others who need medication which is much cheaper than a major surgery. What to do? This is a real dilemma.
Our youngsters like nothing more than travelling to faraway places, whether for sports, or for a church congress, as long as they can travel and see the world outside Mbare. Who will not sympathize with them? The trouble is some form of travelling can be quite dangerous. I always tell the organizers,”Look at the tyres of the bus you hire! If the tyres are very smooth and sworn don’t take that bus! Take another one. Burst tyres cause horrific accidents.” The most frightening thing is travelling at night. That is when most fatal accidents happen. But how to convince them that travelling at night in a ramshackle kombi is not a good idea?