It was early morning when I heard my bell ringing.  The familiar sound of the bell was nothing new – in fact it sometimes annoy me, to be very honest.  When it rang non-stop for the third time I knew it was urgent as everyone knew I do respond …. within a minute or two.  But even in Mozambique patience is a virtue … and when an emergency lingers …. the local community can get quite in your face.

At my door was a man I knew for 17 years.  He looks tired and sweat pearls were running from his forehead.  He was out of breath.  Still nothing looked out of place as it was hot … and people around here walk many miles to visit the mission base.  It was his sadness and tears that caught my attention.  Pastor Mabuleza runs a small village church about 30 km’s away.  He greets kindly and holds my hand.  I offer him a chair to hear how I can help.  The story is a heart breaking one …. yet again.  He was truly sad and worried at the same time.
Pastor Mabuleza and his wife …. visiting their village house and providing emergency relief and care!

A family member died …. she was young and suddenly fell ill.  Her death came quick.  Due to the lack of hospitals and good and quick medical care …. death often comes expectantly quick.  It was sad.  Pastor Mabuleza was left with 2 orphans.  I was waiting for the worse …. “how do we take care of another 2 orphans”, I quickly thought.  We have a good policy on the base on how to react in these situations but even our limited resources were stretched to the limit with the huge amount of orphans we take care of on the base.  With very little food available for communities at the moment – with many only eating 1 meal per day as everyone waits for the summer rains so they can plant crops and feed their starving children.  “We made a plan”, he said.  “We are taking green mangoes from our trees and make a porridge to feed them.  But they wake us every evening with stomach cramps as the green mangoes is not ready to be eaten.  The porridge is bitter ….. please ….. please ……. please ….. can you help us?”  I see his tears welling up again.

I take out a few apples and 2 packets of biscuits the school couldn’t finish.  Pastor Mabuleza immediately started eating the apples … which was strange as they usually wait and are always very well mannered.  I realized it wasn’t only the orphans left behind that didn’t eat for some days. Even while I was driving to the house of Pastor Mabuleza … he didn’t talk much …. but was continually finishing the first packet of biscuits.  The other packet was hidden in his jacket …. as is the custom – make sure the others in the family could also enjoy the blessing he received.   We managed to organize and emergency food package and with the help of our orphan coordinators on the base made sure that they would be able to survive until the end of December when we will asses the situation again.

After a personal visit to the house of Pastor Mabuleza we got hold of the birth certificates of the children to bring us up to speed of who the orphans are.  Finding a birth certificate is a strange affair.  A family member will go into the house of the diseased and bring out an old piece of plastic wrapper.  Inside is an interesting collection of documents which contains the history of the family.  ID documents, school reports – basically any peace of paper with their names on.  It brings value …. proof of existence … even here in the bush where no one really knows you.  But this plastic wrapper …. gives the right to be called Mozambican.

Pastor Mabuleza searching for the correct birth certificates.

We eventually find all the documents and Eliza and Anna do have birth certificates.  I meet them briefly and could see they were in some discomfort.  They greeted me with staring eyes … still trying to come to terms with the death of their mother.  Their father died a few years ago.

And the wonderful news before Christmas is that through you we could reach out to girls that were not just hungry but were trying to find out where they fit it.  And this was only made possible through YOU …. your prayers and financial support made it possible for all of us on the base to help.  It’s not a ONE MAN job … it’s all of us on the mission base ….and YOU …. wherever you are.  Thank you.  Thank you!  Thank you!!!

Pastor Mabuleza with Elisa and Anna.  Please pray for them as they adjust to a new life with a new family!