I heard today that we're up to £84,208 on our way to raising £100,000 for Serenje! How brilliant is that! It is amazing to be part of such a generous community of people.
Catrina is continuing her blogs about her Serenje trip and here is the another one:
Let me introduce you to Mrs Catherine Mumba. She is 42 years old. She is married to Peter, who is a peasant farmer. Together they have 6 children ranging in age from 2-21 years old. Catherine and Peter are both Volunteers for the Serenje Project.
Every morning begins with Catherine making a 1 hour walk into the villages to buy produce, like cabbage, onion, rape and tomatoes. She walks with a group of women for their pre-arranged appointments with different farmers in the villages surrounding Serenje town (the Boma). Catherine and her friends then carry the produce back on their heads and backs to the Boma to sell at their market stall from 6am to 6pm.
Remember she has 6 children too!
Catherine has 5 clients. Two of them are living with HIV and on ARV drugs. Three of her clients are on TB drugs. She also has some school-aged children to monitor. Some of Catherine's clients need seeing daily; all are seen weekly. The support she gives them include spiritual encouragement; physical help; hygiene and health education; perhaps also going to the clinic to collect medicines and food supplements. She will also often give some of her own food to her clients. As Charity (she heads up the volunteers) said of the volunteers: "They leave their families without food and they work tirelessly".
In response to my question "How do you do it all?" Catherine simply replied "I divide my time". The reality is that the volunteers are living in very similar circumstances to their clients - they are not meeting their needs from a position of having much. There is no monetary or earthly reward for what Catherine and the other volunteers are doing. They do it because the love of God has so transformed their hearts and lives. It's so very humbling to see how they truly are meeting their neighbours' needs.
The money raised from the Gift Days contributes to the training of incredible volunteers like Catherine.
Isaiah 58 v.6, 7 & 10
"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter, when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? And if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. "