The potholes around Harare are so bad now that visiting beneficiaries in the outlying areas is becoming more and more challenging and Donny* lives way out in the backstreets of Southerton.
I used to be able to go out there in my little car but now I have to wait until one of the other team members can take me out there in his pick-up truck – we also made a decision a while back that none of us should go out on our own as it is rather isolated and sometimes downright scary.
On Monday at our weekly meeting we noted that Donny would be running out of his blood pressure medicine so we planned a trip for the next day.
We work closely with another charity in Harare that deals mostly with food and Donny is on their list for a monthly food parcel, but we always try to take a few extras when we go so we packed up some tea, powdered milk, some biscuits, a loaf of bread and just as I was closing the box, I added a jar of jam.
As always, Donny was sitting on a small boulder outside his place which used to be the outbuilding for a small business and is now a crumbling derelict old structure but he clings on and has resisted all our attempts to move him into any sort of institution, “I canna move at my age” he always says in his broad Scottish accent – he is 81 years old now.
The three of us stepped inside his tiny room and as our eyes adjusted to the darkness after the bright sunlight outside, we could see that he had made an attempt to tidy it though his possessions are meagre and threadbare – he has a rickety old bed, a few blankets and a table with two chairs – “one for visitors” he always says!
He unpacked his pills and then the food and laid it all on the table and his eyes lit up at the sight of the jam, “I hanna seen anything like this in years” he says and I feel my eyes prickle with tears as I realize yet again that this is why I do this work – just a jar of jam, but given with the love that can make such a huge impact on a life – all made possible because of people like you, the reader, and our wonderful donors all over the world.
Thank you for making a difference.
* Names and images have been changed for security reasons.