Forgotten catastrophes

by Martina Zelt, 2014/06/27

Be it earthquakes, famines or war, the catastrophes on our earth shatter the lifes of millions of people. At the same time, there are devastating consequences for communities, whole nations. Whereas the consequences are always dramatic for the concerned people, the perception by the world public is very varied; in fact it depends on different criteria.

We don’t hear anything about many catastrophes, we don’t even know about others. In a new series, we pick out these forgotten catastrophes as a central theme, we tell the unheard stories of the people whose lives are concerned directly.

Be it famine in Niger, flight, expulsion and extreme violence in Congo, extreme needs of supply in Zimbabwe or poverty in Myanmar: humedica helps, and at the same time we also want to be the voice of those who depend on our support, but who do not appear in the news programs of the world.

Zimbabwe – Little medicine, hardly any hope

humedica commitment in the country of the sad records

What, in fact, do we know about Zimbabwe? We know about statistics nobody wishes to have. Unbeaten the unemployment rate of up to 90% in the last years, in the human development index it is situated at one of the last ranks. What it really means to live, to dream in such a country, to fight a daily struggle for life, becomes clear in an intensive telephone conversation between humedica staff member Martina Zelt and Sister Anuarite from Zimbabwe.

Nearly simultaneously to the phone call, a humedica container with precious aid supplies is on its way: 7 tons of hope seaborne to Zimbabwe, the specific aid supplies are needed there urgently.

For about 20 years, Sister Anuarite has worked in hospitals and schools of the diocese Mutare, she has worked as a spiritual advisor and as a nurse. The health system of the country is ailing and shows many shortages and deficits. Hundreds of patients go to the hospitals daily.

Eleven hospitals, three doctors

“The nurses are shouldering nearly everything, they are doing an incredible job, but they lack everything.” At first, an innovation in the health system seemed to promise hope. All children under five years of age should be cared for for free.

But it didn’t all add up: Since then, there has been no more money for children above five years of age and for adults, the medical care for the population has become more difficult than ever.

“Many people walk long distances, sometimes up to 50 kilometers and this in an ill and feeble condition. Then they finally reach the hospital and we cannot care for them”, tells sister Anuarite moved. The diocese and the hospital depend directly on donations, often they lack the most basic things.

Disgusted and sad, the sister says that in the hospitals, besides medicine and medical equipment even food is scarce: “But you cannot give them medicine, if you cannot feed them as well. Then the children will lie in their beds and be hungry.” An unimaginable situation.

Unfortunately, it also happens that people don’t survive the walk. Sister Anuarite reports of a 12-year-old girl who had been carried by her grandmother for many kilometers, always aiming at the next hospital. When sister Anuarite found both of them at the roadside, it was already too late, the little one had died of the consequences of malaria.

humedica fights against situations like this one, for example by paying for the repairing of an ambulance. Only this way, the difficult journeys for the patients can be facilitated. Since then, the ambulance has done precious work. An improvement which saves human lives.

“Those who can afford food …”

During the conversation we also exchange cultural differences between Germany and Zimbabwe. For example, what is a typical dish in Zimbabwe? How much I am stuck in my thought habits! The beginning of her answer brings me back to reality, to the reality of one of the poorest countries in the world. Her answer starts with the words: “Those who can afford food … “

Because in Zimbabwe there are many people who cannot, for whom three meals a day must appear like a luxury. Most of them can only afford one meal a day. So they have dinner with leafy vegetables – a tree unknown to me provides the food – this way they can at least sleep at night, because the stomach is appeased.

Especially the women fight for their families and children. A mother usually has to care for an average of four children – often alone. Sister Anuarite starts brooding when I tell her that, in Germany, there are families with only one child. “They must have big problems”, is her explication. When I tell her that mostly this is intended, she starts laughing, is completely baffled and murmurs: “That is crazy, in Germany.”

Since 2008, humedica has sent aid supplies to Zimbabwe. Medical supplies, mattresses, aseptic bedclothes for hospital use and dressing material – all this is precious help, which supports the hospital fundamentally and renders medical help possible.

A bridge to Zimbabwe

At Christmas, many children in the diocese and in regional orphanages receive a lovingly packed “Geschenk mit Herz” in the context of the humedica Christmas campaign.

When Sister Anuarite and I slowly end our conversation, we feel closely related to each other, two women from two different cultures and with different lives and backgrounds. Related to each other by listening, telling, understanding and building bridges. Because this is another thing which the humedica help is also able to do: building bridges and supporting.

And in order to maintain the bridge of support and of supply assistance, humedica depends on donations and so we kindly ask you for your support. So that the precious work of people like Sister Anuarite can be supported in the future, too. Thank you very much for your contribution!

      humedica e.V.
      keyword supply assistance
      account nb. 47 47
      bank code 734 500 00
      bank Sparkasse Kaufbeuren

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