EXCERPT FROM AN EMAIL RECEIVED FROM LOUISE CAMPBELL, SOAP BULAWAYO
Thank you so so much for your continued support – we are finding it difficult these days to get donations and it is a real worry. We have closed our lists for now, we are so worried that we will not be in a position to continue supplying parcels if we allow too many people to enjoy groceries from Soap. We have been receiving more applications than we usually do, but to protect those already receiving a parcel we feel it necessary to close our lists. We will, of course, add anyone who is urgently in need of assistance, but these will only be added under strict conditions. We like to think that people are mostly truthful with us when giving details of their means, but quite often we find that the situation is not quite how we were led to believe. It is always imperative that we investigate applications. Recently we received an application from a couple in an old age home who advised that they were unable to cope with getting through the month without appealing for help. On making investigation we found that they owned a house, which they rent out, but when asked why this was disclosed to us, they advised that because they are not on medical aid, all of the rent from the house is spent on medication. Whilst they feel they had no reason to bring this rental to our notice, because they were not receiving any benefit from it, to us it is an grave omission!
We have begun the year, once again, and as always, hopeful that things will change this year. Surely, we will celebrate new leadership this year and any little improvement will be welcome to all of us and especially to our old age pensioners. It is amazing to think of how long some of them have been together, 50 years and over, and it must be a total shock when one of them dies. A couple were visiting Harare for medical consultation for the wife. Their son is in Harare so they were staying with him. On Sunday afternoon the husband took a nap, but had a heart attack and never woke. The wife died nine days later. What a shock to all of us.
Our lives become intertwined with theirs even though we try to keep distance between us. There are so many that are needy and where do you draw the line? No one helping with Soap is able to be completely devoid of love and concern for those poor old ducks that are waiting for us once a month, very seldom do they miss seeing us on delivery day and they are a lesson to us, because they are happy to see us and most of them never complain – what a nice atmosphere when in fact everything around us is in a shambles!! We Zimbabweans are so resilient, and these old people are testimony to that fact. My opinion is that it is not fair for them to spend their last days toiling with the hardships living in Zimbabwe brings, but amazingly most seem truly happy to be alive and to have the little they do have. We will continue to serve them for as long as we physically can and for as long as we are able to supply these groceries – it has been an honour to help them, through all of you good people who provide the funds to buy the groceries – that is the big job, finding the money to help us help them – so we are forever grateful for your loyalty to our organisation – thank you!