Yesterday Beauty took me out on one of her visits to see a grandmother in need.
When we arrived Magadalena was sleeping on her veranda on a grass mat at the front of her house.
Beauty stirred her sleep with a pat on the back. "Mbuya (grandmother) we are here to see you."
We entered her clean tidy house and sat on furniture from earlier, better times.
I was there to hear her story and to see how Chikumbuso could help her.
Magdalena was born in 1931. She was married with 9 children, her husband worked at Lusaka airport and life was okay for a while until the AIDS epidemic. Now Magadelena is a widow with four children and her only son is very ill.
She lives in Ngombe in the house of her deceased son and cares for three grandsons, or they care for her.
Today there is no food in her house. I ask her what she dreams about and she tells me she only dreams of dying. She wakes and asks God if today will be the day. Other than that she only thinks of food.
Beauty and I go and buy her an assortment of foods, soaps, and charcoal and take it to her where she dances in delight at the feast before her.
"Today I will not sleep! I will just eat and eat!" she tells me.
As we return to Chikumbuso, Beauty reminds me of just how many grandmothers there are in Ng'ombe all with the same dream. Please help us to reach out to these women.
We received our monthly delivery of mealie meal this past Friday, and the bags have been travelling across the compound to Chikumbuso’s adopted “grandmothers” over the past few days. Our widows deliver critical food supplies to the grandmothers each month, and check in on them frequently. This is just one of the ways that Chikumbuso cares for the community.
The grandma pictured here is Mainess. She is sitting next to her monthly supply of mealie meal, which she will use to make the Zambian food staple n’shima. Since all of her children have passed away, Mainess is cared for by our widow Barbara. She is thankful for the food and love that she gets from Chikumbuso. Thank you for providing for vulnerable elderly women in N’gombe by donating to this fund.
First, thank you! We at Chikumbuso are breathing a huge sigh of relief right now thanks to your help. All across Zambia, the cost of basic goods has increased at an alarming rate. In some cases, prices have doubled for necessities such as wood, charcoal, cornmeal, and more. And while our widows and grandmothers are struggling to get by as their incomes are no longer sufficient to cover their expenses, we can at least find comfort in the fact that they would be much worse off without their fuel efficient stoves. Each woman needs to buy much less firewood in order to cook and heat their homes, which means, especially with winter approaching, they aren't spending as much as many of their neighbors. Wood costs have skyrocketed and therefore each piece is that more precious.
Please help us to provide these stoves to the other grandmothers in our community so as to help everyone cut costs where they can while continuing to provide for their families.
It's the hot season in Zambia, which means even hotter rooms for those grandmothers still without fuel efficient stoves. Unlike the traditional stoves, fuel efficient stoves require less wood and use the wood they do consume efficiently enough to make sure the fire is used for cooking and not heating up already hot rooms. In addition, they produce less smoke and other toxic byproducts, making them much safer for the user and their family.
While you may think winter is the ideal time to buy stoves for our grandmothers, we actually need them more in the Zambian summer, when temperatures are above 90 degrees Farenheit and these women are sweltering over hot fires to cook meals for their grandchildren.
We are so excited to have been able to provide so many stoves to our grandmothers, and hope to be able to finalize this project this year. Please partner with us to get those last stoves in their houses!
As the holiday season is upon us, we at Chikumbuso are preparing to celebrate with family and friends, as well as the entire Chikumbuso community - whether here in Zambia or across the sea in the U.S.. We are so grateful for all the folks who make up our circle of love and count our blessings that each of you is in our lives.
During this busy cooking season, our thoughts are with the grandmothers of our project, who continue to cook on open flame in smoky rooms. Fuel efficient stoves are not only safer for them and their grandchildren, they also reduce smoke inhalation, asthma, and other respiratory diseases. In addition, they are much cheaper for the grandmothers to maintain, as they only need small amounts of wood. We hope, in time, to provide each and every one of them with the means to cook healthy (in more ways than one) meals for their grandchildren.
Please consider supporting this project during this time - a time when being reminded of love, community, and meals with family is so important. Blessings to each of you.
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