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Supporting the Poor and Old

7th July 2017:

The fact that we have been welcomed and befriended by the St John of God Community in Mzuzu, has made our work in Malawi possible, over the past twelve years. We have a comfortable home, with all the support we need to keep us going every day. Our achievements have been magnified by their support

A few years ago we discovered that one of the brothers, Ephram, had a project where he visited some old people regularly to offer friendship and support. Mary did a few trips with him and discovered a vast need for old people all around who had little of no family support (often as a consequence of the AIDS pandemic) and were regularly starving.

She decided to set up a fund in the organization to support these activities and when wages are paid at the end of each month, this fund is paid as well, and now that he is back and a qualified physiotherapist, working in the services, he has taken over administration again.  Thanks to all the other brothers who filled in in his absence.

Today, for the first time I did the driving for Mary and Ephram and it was such a humbling and enriching experience. We visited three old ladies and two old men and it brought the tears to see the welcome we got and the warmth of the relationship.

The picture shows our last stop where we visited this 85 years old, living in a single room within a few paces from his son and grandchildren.

When we arrived an old man came out to greet me in excellent English (few young people now have English, such is the state of the education system). I thought he was the man we had planned to meet, but he was a visiting friend and at just a mere 75, was still one of the oldest I ever met in Malawi. The man himself came out then, stepping over a little fire on the floor in the middle of the room. He hugged Mary, so tightly, talking and praying and really excited. We all sat and talked as with the grandchildren joined in, the moon rose in the sky and the cold took a firm grip.

Ephram brought his bags with rice, soap, matches, oil and sugar, but the most welcomed was the new blanket from the market, because recently the temperature at night is getting as low as 9 ºC.

Mary and we all held hands started on a song that the kids knew and we all joined in.

As we drove our the tiny dirt track we realised that this had been a very special and what we call a Sacramental Moment and something we will remember forever.

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