EXTRACT FROM AN EMAIL RECEIVED FROM LOUISE CAMPBELL AT SOAP BULAWAYO
I have done the costing on a single parcel and it comes to Z$7 897.00. I thought I might get a fright!! From what I can gather the average pension here is Z$1 000.00 per month so it just shows you how much our poor old people are suffering and how much they rely on our parcels, and how much more reliant they will be as time goes by because everything here increases, even in the US$, even though the rate has been static.
This is one of the messages I got after last delivery:
Hi Louise thank all the donors for another lovely grocery bag. It’s amazing that even during these very difficult times people are so very generous towards the elderly. May everyone who gives be blessed abundantly. Many thanks to you, Cecelia and your helpers and your donors for putting the bags together. I admire you despite not being well, you continue to deliver the bags so faithfully. I am so thankful and you be blessed.
I also related the story of Cynthia who telephoned to say thank you, and that as each month goes by they rely more and more on their parcels. She told me that they had had their pick up for 47 years, but because of the high cost of insurance and licensing they had to sell the vehicle. She told me she cried a lot that day.
We have had THREE electricity increases in the last month, each has been a 50% increase. How are people meant to cope? Those who work are really finding it hard to make ends meet so how our oldies keep going beats me. Water is very short in Bulawayo and we only receive water once a week if we are lucky. Sometimes the pressure is so low is just trickles out the tap. Living certainly is very hard here and it’s heartbreaking to see what people are subjected to when they don’t deserve to have to go through such tough times.
We are trying our hardest to really beef up the Christmas parcel and give them a few luxury items. Recently we have been able to supply them with shampoo and body lotion and we have added eggs which they have been getting monthly recently. For Christmas we have ordered them Christmas cake, custard powder, a big packet of chocolates, tinned pilchards and some bacon.
We have been sourcing quite a few of our grocery items from South Africa and these are brought through the border by what we call a ‘runner’. This system seems to be working very well for us and each month we have been able to supply them with powdered milk, tinned meat and packet juice. We will continue to buy shampoo and lotion for them but we will not supply this on a monthly basis.
Please can you thank all our donors for all that they do for SOAP and our pensioners. It is amazing to see the generosity that comes our way, because we would surely not be in a position to continue to deliver parcels if it were not for them. I don’t know what words would show the measure of our appreciation – I don’t think there are any, but please know that we are very thankful and eternally grateful for all your and our donors time, assistance and generosity.