EXCERPT FROM AN EMAIL RECEIVED FROM SOAP BULAWAYO
We cannot express to you how valuable your donation is to SOAP, especially our old age pensioners. It gives us security in knowing that we have money to continue for a time as our donations have been slowly dwindling over the years.
The cost of living in Zimbabwe has sky rocketed and prices are beyond what we could have dreamed. They are shocking to us, the ordinary public, so our pensioners must find it even more terrifying. The price of a loaf of bread has gone from $1.00 to $9.50, 2 litres of milk costs $35.00 and meat is now a luxury.
We have not been receiving all the items ordered and sometimes our bags are not as heavy as they used to be. We feel very guilty about this as they need us more now than ever. We apologise to them but they always say that they are grateful for everything they get as every single thing in their parcel makes a difference to them.
Our pensioners are resilient, they have no choice, but it certainly does show when we visit. They quietly accept what is thrown at them time and time again. Many of them laugh about the situation but there is no joy behind those laughs. It is terrible that they are put through these hardships in the last years of their lives. We wonder how they get through each day because their pensions are a pittance. A lot of our pensioners only receive $88.00 per month which is the national pension payout. From this they are expected to pay for rent, utilities and food. Each day the shops are increasing the price of items (sometimes it can be as much as 50%) and each day our pensioners find they are relying more and more on any help that they can get.
Added to these hardships is the fact that electricity is cut off everyday from before dawn till late at night. Because our country cannot generate enough power they load shed us daily and any chores that require electricity (which is most household chores) can only be done after 9 or 10 at night. Furthermore, the Bulawayo City Council has begun to cut our water off for two days a week. This affects our oldies quite badly because it is difficult for them to lug heavy buckets around to store water for those two days.
Having said all the above, we Zimbabweans complain a lot, but we do look forward to seeing our oldies and they look forward to seeing us too, their parcels are worth much more than just the price of what we paid and for this we have our Donors to thank, and you have given to us so generously.
Thank you does not convey how thankful and grateful we are.