International Ministries

uMama

June 2, 2010 Journal
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A dozen young chicks zig-zag and chirp behind their mother hen in the dust outside of the rondaval.

Inside in the dim, smoky light a slim, ancient Zulu women wearing a patterned blue dress sits with legs extended on a wicker mat. Flies buzz about her as she stares through cataracts from a mask-like face. She is motionless except for a rolling tremor in her right thumb and forefinger. The black smoke from the smouldering log on the floor near her makes our eyes water as we offer our greeting: “Sawubona  Mama!”

Health builder Nomthandazo (“our prayer”) tells us that Mama had a stroke. Together Devi, Kate, Nomthandazo and I spend some time with uMama and find that her blood pressure is 130/80, her sugar is 153, she can move all her parts and her pulses are good. Her ID shows that she was a baby while World War I raged in Europe.

We help her up as she uses a slender dry sugar cane to take short, barefooted steps down from the grimy concrete floor into the sunny dust amongst the chickens. As the sun illuminates her pearly cataracts, she smiles a toothy smile and calls for her snuff! Not bad for her 93rd trip around the sun.

This is one of the 1000-odd remote households served by our Zululand partners, where Devi, Anita and I continue to train about 28 people in health building skills. Each day now about a dozen of these are going out to visit about ten households each.

Yesterday 19 of these trainees joined us for a bible study called “Discovering God together.” We are using this study to make disciples who will tell others, obey the Scripture, and meet practical needs each week.

Riding over the hillsides in the back of an open-bed Toyota Land Cruiser along with 13 African women, bags of food and health supplies, I praised and thanked God for allowing us to bring His healing and His Word to this people who live in remote, rugged poverty.