Khetho, my maid, is very sad and worried these days. She was planning to go home to Zimbabwe for Xmas. Her family lives in Zimbabwe, while she lives here in SA, to make end meets. She has a son of 4 years old, which she hasn't seen since he was 9 months old, so she was really looking forward to this trip. But she is scared to go. The situation at the moment is worse than ever. A cholera outbreak sweeps the country. Zimbabwe, formerly Rhodesia, is in southern Africa, a landlocked country bordered by Botswana, Zambia, Mozambique and the Republic of South Africa. Successive droughts in the region combined with Zimbabwe's political and economic problems, as well as the prevalence of HIV/AIDS have created a worsening situation for most of Zimbabwe's population, and it is estimated that over 6 million people are at risk of starvation. Close on 2 million people have no access to safe water or sanitation, and there have been increased outbreaks of cholera and other diseases.
Nearly 300 people have died already from this disease and many people are fleeing to South Africa, so it is coming closer to home. A lack of clean water and poorly maintained sewage systems have allowed the waterborne intestinal disease to thrive. Zimbabwe's deepening political and economic crisis has crippled the country's health system.
These days there are almost no hospitals open any more, no schools, nothing available in the supermarkets, it really is a shocking situation. Khetho, my maid, dries a few white sandwiches a week and sends them to her mother and child. By arrival they can dip these dried sandwiches again in milk or soup, this is their food, nothing is available in Zimbabwe. I really feel for her and her family and it is hard to celebrate Thanksgviving and Xmas with all the abundance of food and gifts around while a member of your household has nothing to share with her family.
I feel so sad and helpless with her, what can we do to help these people? There are many ways to help in general, here are a few charities which you could help and donate. Think about it when you are dressing up your Xmas tree, just give a portion of your gifts instead to each other share it with people in need. We are doing it, I hope people who read my blog will be thinking of it as well.
Check out these websites for ways of helping, there are so many children, especially the children I have a hard time with who just need our help!
SOS Children villages, the world largest orphan charity, who also works in Zimbabwe.
What you need to know about poverty at Educate 2 Escape.
And of course there are many charities that are maybe closer to your heart, I am just hoping that in these times with the holidays coming around you will think a little bit further than your child, cousin or niece.
Have a good week!