Forgotten Voices' Mission:

"Demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ by equipping local churches in southern Africa to meet the physical & spiritual needs of children orphaned by AIDS in their communities."

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Jan 6th Update from Zimbabwe

Today we visited Peterson, the little boy whose story has been featured on the FVI website before, and the inspiration for much of the work of Forgotten Voices. His story is a sad one, with the challenges of losing a mother and a sister to AIDS, and being left to live on his own as an orphan with the ravages of the dreaded disease. It is a wonder that he is still alive, and without the support of Forgotten Voices providing medicine and intervening to have him placed with relatives, he would have died several years ago. He is still very frail, and will eventually die of AIDS. In the meantime, he has been granted a life that has its share of joys and childhood playfulness. As a person who likes to fix things, his eventual fate is distressing to me. Seeing him relate to Ryan today is a reminder that providing help even in cases where death casts a dark shadow is work worth doing.

The tour of Mtshabezi hospital was very interesting but less exciting than expected. The hospital census was very low, partially due to the holiday, but mostly due to the fact that they have been without power for the past 3 weeks. It is impossible to imagine running a hospital without a reliable power source, but this is Africa. They have emergency power generators for critical areas, like surgery, but not for the whole hospital. I was surprised by the prevalence of TB, with special holding area for new patients until their TB status is determined. FVI is a significant supporter of the hospital and its outreach program to orphans affected by AIDS.

We also had an opportunity to visit Neatness, who is featured in a video on the FVI web site. While I have seen the video clip many times, she is even more bright and articulate than I expected. She is living with her grandparents who are in their 80’s, a rare occurrence in my observation. Both of them are very engaging individuals. One can see that part of the legacy that they have passed down to her is the gift of a positive spirit. The faith that serves as her source of hope is so real and vibrant that just being around her is uplifting to me. Her hopefulness and optimism in the face of huge barriers is a lesson for all of us who find that the little things of life seem to get us down.

Steve Proctor

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