Families continue to crack marula nuts to sell the kernals to Kudvumisa Foundaiton for money for essentials. Kudvumisa Foundation has begun searching for external markets for the oil we press from the marula kernals. As we are able to find markets for the oil, the volumes we can sell increases. This allows us to expand the number of communities we can buy the kernals from, empowering even more families.
As Covid lockdowns and even civil unrest have upset the "normal" economy, those that are already impoverished and isolated have an even harder time surviving. Being able to sell the wild and locally harvested marula nuts provides a sometimes critical cash income to help with food and other essentials.
As we purchase higher quantities of the marula kernals, we will be purchasing a second manual oil press, designed and built here in Eswatini. This should be a higher efficiency press, increasing the percentage of the oil we can extract form the kernals.
Every week community members make their way into the clinic in Maphiveni or are seen by the mobile outreach into the more isolated areas showing signs of nutritional deficits. It is especially hard to see young mothers struggling to feed their babies and children.
Our nurses take the time to hear each person’s story. We are grateful to be able to "prescribe" food parcels to the most desperate and vulnerable. The only way a person can stay strong and fight sickness and disease is to be able to access a balanced and nutritional diet. Sometimes we are able to supply fortified rice packs; sometimes we can supply full food parcels. Both of these are meant to provide our community members who need it a way for their bodies to fight and recover from disease.
Even behind a mask, Hlobsile’s smile is brightening communities that need love and compassion healthcare in rural Lubombo. She’s one of our HIV testing counselors (HTS) and a member of our Mobile clinic team. This is her Kudvumisa story:
Q: When did you start working at CHIPS and how was the experience at first?
Hlobsile: I started working here in 2013. I still remember the date even- 26th of August. It wasn't easy at first because of the challenging transition between home and learning to live in Lubombo. I grew up in Piggs Peak so I got here and had to adjust to the food they eat and how they live. That taught me a lot about myself and grew my character.
Q: What is the most exciting part of your job?
Hlobsile: The team I get to work with and our leaders. I love them very much.
Q: What inspires you to keep working in these communities and assisting those in need?
Hlobsile: The bonds I have created and the love I have are what keeps me inspired. I also come from a poor background so I see myself through the people we meet. That is why my heart is full of so much love for these communities.
As well as her outreach and HTS duties, Hlobsile heads up the lab housed at the Kudvumisa Clinic. The clinic is currently seeing 30-40 patients each morning before the nurse led outreach teams leave for their daily community visits.
We are planning on expanding the existing solar arrays to provide a greater portion of the electrical needs of the clinic, to reduce our monthly payments to the electric company here and give us more funds for medicines and supplies.