Jane* and Greg* left the retirement home where they were renting a small cottage five years ago. They left because they couldn’t afford to stay there anymore.
It was one of many moves they had been forced to make as Zimbabwe’s economy collapsed and repeated currency devaluations left their private pension and life savings completely eroded.
After a short stint in the army, Greg spent most of his life working on farms and knew everything there was to know about tobacco, maize and cattle as well as training small scale farmers and government agricultural officers.
In mid 2000, Greg was diagnosed with prostate cancer; he and Jane had already lost all their savings, chemo and radio therapy were unaffordable and so Greg took the only option left: surgical.
Finding a cottage in an area where the rent was much cheaper Jane and Greg tried everything they could to make ends meet: vegetable gardening, baking, cooking and making preserves to sell.
For the last three years the couple relied solely on ZANE to assist them with their rent, utilities and medical expenses, buying their own groceries and essentials from the sale of their home produce.
Six months ago everything started going wrong: Jane fell, broke three ribs and punctured her lung and Greg’s failing eyesight deteriorated to the point where he could hardly see at all. Hospitals bills and medical expenses mounted up and their ability to grow food and sell home made goods came to an end.
One day after Greg heard the news that his application for a small grant for former servicemen had been approved, he collapsed in the bathroom. Jane heard him call her name once and she rushed in to find Greg barely conscious, unable to move.
He had a perforated ulcer and was rushed to hospital; two days later Greg passed away.
Further tragedy unfolded when a local pastor phoned Greg’s daughter in South Africa to tell her that her father had died. The daughter, unable to help her Father through his difficult times because of her own circumstances and ill health got such a shock at the news that she had a heart attack and passed away.
Jane is heartbroken at the double tragedy but thankful for the years she and Greg had together and so grateful that ZANE is there for her.
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* Names and images have been changed on security grounds.