The latest reports from Zimbabwe show once again how important the work of ZANE is in looking after the elderly pensioners who have lost their life savings. Three of the ZANE carers in Harare write in their own words:
Once again we have an endless stream of messages, phone calls, and requests for help for medical ailments. It honestly is never-ending and thank heavens for the recent top-up of our ZANE medical fund. We have pensioners who are wheelchair-bound, waiting for surgery and it is sad to think that in many cases this is where they will remain.
Two of our field workers raised concerns about one of our beneficiaries who is living in total squalor in his cottage at one of the homes. They have tried to speak to him about his filthy surroundings with no success. I rang the chairman of the board and he has rallied around and sent me this letter:
“Afternoon all – I visited Bill yesterday, and, as you say, the poor fellow has clearly been overwhelmed with trying to keep his place clean. I have asked Frank to take this “project” under his wing and he will arrange for a cleaning party to visit, remove everything; clean the entire flat, and then return only the things he absolutely needs.
Thereafter, he will designate one of his members to keep an eye on him and help out whenever necessary.”
I include this letter as it reflects how closely our team is involved with our ZANE pensioners and the depth of interaction that takes place between us and all the care homes. Our work is so much more than merely handing over an envelope of cash each month.
I spent time with Doug and Fay. I have never seen Doug so ill (he has emphysema) and he could barely walk a few paces without sitting down or leaning against something. He thinks this is because of the changeable weather now so he carries around a portable oxygen machine to which he is continuously attached.
Fay, who is delightful to talk with, was extremely grateful for the deliveries, worrying that she does not deserve them. She is a retired teacher who has no savings at all, barely surviving from one month to the next but is adamant that she will work on becoming self-sufficient.
Several years ago, ZANE helped to pay for the care of her seriously ill brother in one of the Frail Cares, for which she is permanently grateful.
I also spent time with ZANE beneficiary, Susan, working on her traumatic experience when she witnessed her husband dying. She worked hard in this session, clearly needing to process and make sense of her terrifying memories.
I saw her again 2 days ago and she was very much calmer. She had completed several of the exercises I had given her which she found helpful. I will do a follow-up session with her next week.
Mike, who recently had surgery for a strangulated hernia is recovering very well. He has a 7-inch scar which he showed me and this is healing beautifully. Mike has been difficult at times but seems to have calmed down a lot for which the care home manager is grateful.
ZANE beneficiary, Roger. is always fine, and makes the most of his life. Continues to be so grateful for the assistance we give him.
I spoke with Louise, who has been in our pending file since November last year. She and Hilton continue to struggle financially in every way. They don’t have a working car and have to borrow from friends to be able to do shopping, medical visits, and other chores.
They are not on our books right now, but we have agreed we will give them a food parcel with the next delivery. Louise sounds very stressed and their situation continues to deteriorate – I hope we can take them on as beneficiaries very soon.
I finally returned to run the creative therapy class at the Care Home. We did ‘dot’ painting with the group, which was something different but perhaps a little difficult for some. Craig, who moved there in August last year following a stroke, has finally settled down. He sat with the creative group and enjoyed the banter amongst the residents.
Ian’s situation is deteriorating rapidly because he has refused to sign the consent form for surgery. Two weeks ago, doctors recommended the amputation of three toes, and this week the gangrene has spread further, and now he needs to have his foot amputated.
The doctor spoke to us about this after making his diagnosis. We have explained that Ian refuses to have this done and we cannot force him to have the operation against his will – we have explained to him that his condition is life-threatening. The doctor has said the prognosis is not good and soon he will need his leg amputated. We are all very distressed by the problem.
Sandra was her cheerful self and very happy with her food parcel. She said this monthly food parcel is an enormous help for her, as it allows her to have some extra money for her doctor’s visit or any unforeseen issues that may present themselves.
Belinda seems to be maintaining her weight, although that is only 48kg. She expressed her thanks for ZANE’s continued support, saying “she does not know what she would do without ZANE’s support”.
I assessed Tom who is a resident at one of the care homes. Tom was very emotional and embarrassed throughout the interview. It seems Tom has worked very hard all his life at one point owning his own business, but like many in the late 90’s the banks recalled loans forcing him to sell all properties he owned to repay his business loan.
Soon after this, his wife left Zimbabwe to return to Britain, taking his children with her. Although Tom does not suffer from any chronic diseases, I fear he may be in the early stages of emphysema. He is extremely thin and out of breath. He was a heavy smoker until recently.
* Names and images may have been changed for privacy reasons
If you are already a ZANE donor, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. If you are not a donor but would like to be, please follow the link below and know that every donation, however big or small, goes directly to where it is most needed. If you would like to help but can’t donate, please join the ZANE family and ‘like’ or ‘share’ our posts or write us a Google review – every positive step helps spread the word about the life changing work ZANE does.
Thank you – Nicky Passaportis ZANE Australia
Please donate to support pensioners struggling to survive in Zimbabwe
Any assistance is greatly appreciated and goes a long way to giving our pensioners a better quality of life and lift the pressure of money worries which is very debilitating emotionally.
(Donations made to ZANE in Australia, are tax-deductible)