Dear friends of Tariro-
I want to begin today’s post by thanking you for the generosity of your response to Noleen’s need for emergency medical care. So far, we’ve raised $1,105 toward her care. I received an update from Fadzi earlier this week about Noleen’s condition. As always, in the Zimbabwean medical system, Noleen and her family must a host of challenges we would not encounter here in the US. Here’s Fadzi’s report from the field in Zimbabwe:
Noleen went for the final scan on Friday, and then we will know what sort of an operation she needs. I gave her mother another $250 to cover their ongoing costs. Noleen is OK now, but last week she got a catheter that was too big, and made her condition worse. They took her back to the hospital and she got the right size, which is working fine. Another problem is also that the family doesn’t have a car, so its hard on the mother, as she has to hire a car or carry Noleen on her back.
Mai Noleen also brought up another issue, concerning the school Noleen has been attending. She doesn’t think the school is good enough and that they are taking of the kids there. She says Noleen wasn’t well when she left school last term and no one informed her. She thinks it will be wise to look at other schools and see if things don’t change. I told her that she can start to research other schools, and see whether they are any better.
I’m hoping that by Monday, we will have a conclusive report on how Noleen’s surgery went. Thank you for your continued support. If anyone would like to send a card to Noleen and her family with wishes for her recovery, please feel free to send them to Tariro’s mailing address at:
Tariro: Hope and Health for Zimbabwe’s Orphans
PO Box 50273
Eugene, Oregon 97405
I will hand-deliver any cards to Noleen’s family when I leave for Zimbabwe at the end of the summer. I’m sure they would be happy to hear from well-wishes in the US, as Noleen’s health and care is an ongoing struggle for her and her family.
Finally, last week I promised updates on two other issues which are close to my heart, concerning both the story of Tariro’s origins, and also Mai Chipira’s family. In today’s post, I’m going to address only one of the two, and save the other for next week.
In talking about Tariro’s beginnings, I mentioned the importance of my friend Blantina, my host sister at my first host family’s house in Highfield, where Tariro currently works. After having lost touch with Blantina for several years, and wondering whether she was still alive and well, I finally heard from Blantina late last year when she called me from a tenuous cellular connection in South Africa. Because of the ten-hour time difference, my phone was turned off. As I’m not very diligent about checking my voice messages, I didn’t get her message until a few weeks later. I was overjoyed to hear her voice, but wasn’t sure that I was able to make out the number she left for me to call her back. When trying to get through using a phone card, I was unable to get a connection, and I thought perhaps I had the wrong number.
Just before leaving Zimbabwe this past May, however, I thought that perhaps I should try calling Blantina from my Zimbabwean cell phone, which can make direct calls to South Africa without the need for a calling card. When I heard Blantina answer on the other end of the line, I was too happy for words. Blantina said that in addition to calling, she had tried to write me an email, but had an outdated email address for me. In our phone conversation, she told me that she is struggling in South Africa, where she is unemployed and living with friends. Like many Zimbabweans in the diaspora, however, it would be difficult for her to come home, as she has even less opportunities or resources available to her in Zimbabwe than abroad. Blantina is especially disadvantaged after losing almost all of her known family members to HIV/AIDS, poverty, and illness.
Despite the challenges facing her, though, I’m primarily just relieved to know that Blantina is still alive, and surviving in South Africa. I’m hoping to see her before the end of the year, whether in South Africa, or in Zimbabwe. And the fact that Blantina tried so hard to stay in touch, emailing and calling me from South Africa despite her meager resources, showed me how strong the bond we formed as young girls has grown to be. I hope that the experiences of the girls Tariro currently sponsors, such as their participation in our annual empowerment camp, will likewise lead them to form life-long friendships.
Thanks for reading! I’ll be posting again early next week, so stay tuned for more news on Noleen, Mai Chipira, and other important updates from Tariro.