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."

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Grandmas are my heroes

Earlier this fall, my husband came down with a nasty flu bug which turned into a nastier sinus infection. He was sick for over a week, which left me balancing my job, our household, his care and our newly mobile eight-month old son. By the end of the first week, I was exhausted.

Enter the hero of our story - my mother-in-law. Armed with chicken soup and a stack of adorable baby clothes (she can't help it, she's a grandma!) she spent two days helping take care of our son so I could get work done. She played with him, fed him, rocked him to sleep, and I could relax knowing he was in good hands while I tended to other matters.

I read multiple reports each week from our church partners in Zimbabwe and Zambia. The week my husband was sick, I read through these reports with new eyes. Over and over, they referenced the needs of families made up of grandparents caring for grandchildren, after the middle generation of parents has died or become too sick to help. In Zimbabwe and Zambia, 86% of children orphaned live with a grandparent. Often these grandparents are both physically and financially unable to fully care for their grandchildren. The entire family faces hunger, children drop out of school, housing becomes unreliable and they become increasingly vulnerable.

I was tired after just one week of taking care of my child and sick husband. It's hard to imagine the impact of raising my son while my husband slowly died of AIDS-related complications.

I was relieved when my mother-in-law babysat my son so I could be gone for a few hours running errands. I can't imagine being HIV-positive and wondering who would care for him after I was gone - forever.

The holiday season is a time when many of us see our grandparents more than usual or remember the times we had with them more frequently. Will you join me this Christmas in making the grandparents in your life feel extra appreciated? And when you see them or think of them, remember to say a prayer for the millions of grandparents in southern Africa bearing an incredible burden of care for their families.

Ellen Shaffer - Director of Project Management

PS – One way to pay tribute to a grandparent in your life this Christmas is to give a donation to Forgotten Voices in their honor. Click here to find out more!

No comments: