The role of field worker for ZANE in Zimbabwe is hugely challenging but also very rewarding. Every day is different; one cannot predict what the week will bring. I might start Monday full of hope and end it in tears of frustration. Equally, I might have the worst start to the day with a traumatic assessment of a pensioner in dire need, and end it drinking tea and laughing with a veteran whose health has been transformed thanks to effective diabetic medicine.
What follows is a snapshot of one week in September 2019 and all it entailed.
Tuesday is a blur of visits and paperwork. One visit is particularly distressing. Janet* greets me on the road outside her flat. Her adult schizophrenic son is having a bad day and it isn’t safe for me to go inside. He is a recluse and frequently violent. Janet tells me he is now refusing to use the bathroom so one can only imagine the state of both him and the flat.
ZANE provides Janet with a monthly grant to cover her rent and bills. She is entirely dependent on this aid. It’s clear she is struggling with the pressure of looking after her son. She says, “I just try to keep the peace and hope a friendly person will come along to care for him”. Sadly, there are no suitable care facilities in Zimbabwe appropriate for him; those that do cater for the mentally ill are over-subscribed and struggling under the burden caused by zero state funding.
I later visit the Salvation Army to assist our registered nurse with her weekly appointments with the ZANE recipients residing there. We check their blood pressure, administer medication and listen to their news and growing list of ailments. Two are struggling with deteriorating eyesight. I make a plan for them to visit our partner eye clinic, 50 miles outside Harare.
We are so grateful for their support, which means our pensioners can receive a cataract operation for just $140.
Please find it in your heart to donate whatever you can to ZANE so that the important work of helping the most vulnerable Zimbabweans can be sustained.