My good friend April asked how she as an American can help someone tangibly in Africa. That’s a great question and one that can be so overwhelming to ponder that we’re paralyzed into inactivity.
Let me tell you a story to illustrate how we can help; even from a distance. Our community is involved with two other communities; one in Venda and the other in Mozambique. One of our friends in Mozabique, Chinoda, is a shoe maker. When our American friends visited in 2004 Chinoda made shoes for every one of us (twenty pairs). He gave it to us as a gift and it took two weeks to make the shoes. In the last few months Chinoda’s brother died, he had AIDS.
In the Mozambique culture (as was the case in the Old Testament) it became his responsibility to look after his brother’s children and take his brother’s wife as his own. Chinoda now has nine children to look after. To put one of the children through school will cost R1200. His annual salary is R2400. We can help by putting his adopted children through school [no matter where you live.] The key to all of this is relationship. Our friend Schalk, who lives in Mozambique has a very good relationship with Chinoda and now he’s helping us to connect with his friends in Mozambique. Kinda like Paul in 1 Corinthians 8 and 9 connecting the Corinthians with the people in Jerusalem. BTW, if you want to help Chinoda email me.
Another story: A month ago some friends from Canada visited our community. We met them through this blog. They came to South Africa and stayed with some people in our community. As a part of their African visit they went to Zimbabwe and volunteered in an AIDS house in Johannesburg called Lambano. One Friday I fetched our Canadian friends from the house. On my arrival a small boy jumped on my shoulders and spontaneously played with me. We had a blast. He lives with a few other HIV kids in the specific house we visited – they are all positive. The medical coordinator told me that the children absolutely crave male attention, a lot of women hang out at the houses and they would really like some guys to volunteer there too (something our community plans to do).
Before that day I never knew of this particular ministry and it was just so wild that a couple of Canadian girls connected me to this terrific effort. If you want to know how you can tangibly help them, click here. Check out how others have helped this specific ministry. Once again relationship is key.