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Trust no: MA2471/2004 Protocol no: 328
Many of you will remember my name and association with S.O.A.P. for 8 years until my retirement in August 2010.
Retirement it seems, has very been short! I have now been asked to help in the day to day management and fundraising of S.C.S Bulawayo.
S.C.S. Or Senior Citizens Service was founded in the hyper inflationary days of 2004 with the mission of assisting destitute pensioners with acquiring their chronic drugs and, if funds permitted, very minor surgical, optical & dentistry work.
It will be hard for those reading this in the ‘first world’ to understand that if you have no or little income you will not be able to buy relatively minor medications such as cough mixture or aspirin without even thinking of blood pressure tablets or even medicines to control diabetes. For instance, I personally have known pensioners who take their blood pressure tablets on alternate days to save on cost. Perhaps you may have an ailment other than a relatively common cold or flu. Where do you go? Answer in short, without S.C.S? Go home and try to manage the best you can.
S.C.S. has recently opened a clinic within the grounds of Coronation Cottages, which is a senior citizens complex in Bulawayo. This has been made possible by Edith Duly donating the premises with electricity and water supplied free of charge. There is a nurse ‘B’ who is in attendance Monday to Friday, a receptionist ‘I’ who trained in the independence war as a Para medic, and ‘A’ who is I think best described as a medicines co-coordinator. I can almost hear you thinking ‘Wow! They don’t need my assistance then.’ Wrong!
On my first visit I spent 4 hours chatting and asking questions, here is what I found out;
Through donations this 1950’s building has been repainted and a floor covering laid. You enter by a fairly steep footpath (as I observed, difficult if you have a walking frame) then climb a few steps to the entrance. Once you have proved your fitness (!) by gaining access to the office/ reception/ waiting area, you are made very welcome by all. Off to the left is a small room with three very small beds neatly made up, depending on your needs you may be directed here by either ‘I’ or ‘B’. If it is repeat medication you will see ‘A’ who will check to see when you are due and issue more if need be. This is carried out through a very tight procedure, although not taking long ensures that duplicate medicines are not issued. Your 3 monthly check-up of blood pressure etc may be taken in the waiting room. The check up is for the destitute who may not be sick, but offers that little re-assurance that someone is there for you if need be.
Down a corridor to the left, is the very sparsely appointed doctors consulting room, next to it a storage room for second hand wheelchairs, walking frames, crutches etc..
There are two volunteer doctors who call on Mondays in alternate weeks, should anyone call in who is in distress on other days either ‘I’ or ‘B’ will asses the situation and if they need to will telephone the doctor and give symptoms, the doctor then will decided on a course of action. He may refer the patient to a 24 hour emergency clinic which costs US$100 a day specially discounted from $150. An ambulance can be summoned if needed, again hugely discounted at $30, all this funded by donations received by S.C.S.
Monday afternoon, the day the doctor calls, this part of the day starts at 2pm, (actually 1:20pm when I was there). How long is the Doctor there? Until he or she has seen everyone. This day he had 26 patients to see. If a prescription is issued and the drugs are not in stock they will be ordered by ‘A’ and she will keep track of the order right through to delivery to the patient packing them herself. Due to finances or lack of them, expensive drugs such as those for cancer can not be bought. Those with cancer, serious heart problems, or needing major surgery can only be made comfortable and in some cases admitted to the next door Edith Duly Nursing home which costs $600 monthly for nursing care with whatever medicines are affordable donated by S.C.S. I understand there are two people there at the moment supported by SCS in this manner. One is a gent aged 78. Who after having a stroke was nursed by his 74 year old sister, this fearless, feisty and brave lady used to lift her seriously disabled brother, bathe, feed and care for him on her own. When the staff at SCS found out they arranged to have him admitted to Edith Duly at their expense where he now lives out his remaining wheelchair bound days in some degree of comfort, security and dignity. His courageous sister has recently passed away, now his only visitors are the staff of S.C.S.
As I was leaving the clinic I also saw ‘M’ a pensioner lady who calls free of charge and will give the patients massage whilst they wait for the Doctor.
The inevitable question is how much does all of this cost?
There are 3 members of staff who are paid a monthly amount which is less than the weekly minimum wage in the UK. All of these people are on call out of hours getting wherever they need to using their own resources with no extra remuneration provided. They are essentially volunteers.
Basic medicines prescriptions are in the region of $2,500 - $3,000 each month. In November S.C.S will have to find double this amount to cover the Christmas period.
At the other side of town there is also a drop in surgery each Thursday attended by the same doctors and funded by S.C.S. Due to logistical difficulties the weekly clinic at Garden Park has had to be discontinued, any patients there having to travel 6 miles / 10k’s to Coronation Cottage. Remember public transport does not exist & it is not unknown for an 80 year old to WALK several miles for assistance.
What then can you do to help these under privileged destitute pensioners from all walks of life?
S.C.S is a registered trust. There is an account in the UK and in Bulawayo the details of which are provided below. Should anyone be in a position to assist with a donation, a thought or a prayer, we would be more than grateful. Once I am firmly in the ‘driving seat’ I will send out updates on a three to four monthly basis. Should you not want to receive these please send me an email with ‘unsubscribe’ in the subject line and you will not be troubled further. I would ask that the next time you seek medical assistance, or buy an over the counter medicine that you give a silent prayer or thought of thanks of how fortunate you are.
Should you require any further information of any kind please contact me and I’ll do my best to provide it.
Thank you and may God bless you for taking the time to read this.
THE BORRADAILE TRUST (October 2011)
This will very likely be my last newsletter before I retire from Borradaile Trust at the end of the year. I am really encouraged by the choice of The General Committee of my successor. Paul Davies is currently teaching at Peterhouse School, and I have so far only had good reports. No doubt there will be a few negative reports from people who have not been able to manipulate Paul to their own selfish ends, but the one report I have had describes him as a strict, but fair disciplinarian, a man of integrity, and willing to apologise and admit when he has made a mistake. I had the pleasure of Paul spending the day with me a few weeks ago, to get “the feel” of what is involved.
After having started this newsletter in September, all sorts of things have been happening to delay me in finishing this report. I was rather hoping that these matters would have been resolved, so that I could give a positive report. I fear that if I don’t get on and conclude this newsletter, I won’t get finished before the end of the year.
Labour relations have taken a knock since there has been a huge arbitrated wage award, and now the labour have aspirations of “living the life of Reilly”. Most of the labour were actually quite content, but with the help of the Trade Union, and a few malcontents, they are stirring up the rest of the labour. I have had numerous meetings with our Workers Committee, and not making much progress. They don’t (or rather don’t want to) understand that our residents have limited finance, and the same applies to those supporting residents. Unfortunately labour laws are such that it makes it extremely difficult for employers.
“Suicide month” of October has been most unseasonal, and rather cool, with a fair amount of rain. Considering that this is always a hot dry month, is cause for concern. Fortunately, we are not farming, but is of concern to those who are trying to be productive in agriculture. Alan Burl’s observation of our “New Farmers” is that they are “perfect farmers” – they can only produce a crop when the weather, and everything else is perfect.
An annual event which has been taking place for the last seven years, the Dutch Reformed Church “Borradaile braai” (barbecue for those who don’t understand our language) , was another huge success this year. The meat was again donated by Cooper and Daleen Smit, and the ladies from the church worked hard to provide super salads and a wonderful pudding. Needles to say that a few men slaved our guts out getting smoke in our eyes, and samples in our guts to sustain the slavery, while actually cooking the meat.
Departures to heavenly realms since my last newsletter include Lorraine Taylor, Marie van Aarde, and “Matriarch” Sylvia Blythe-Wood. Sylvia took a lot of pride since the passing of Jim Priestley, in the fact that she was the eldest and “longest resident” of The Trust.
For many years, the Cattle Egrets have been nesting in trees around “The Close” area. Every year we have had complaints from residents about the health hazard and stench caused by these birds. The decision was taken to remove the nesting sites, to the consternation of tree lovers. Well the Egrets are back, and have moved into some neighbouring trees, as we suspected they would. Efforts are now being made to discourage them from breeding in our retirement complex. We really do not need a bunch of smelly babies around here. Anyway, it gives a bit of interest and something to talk and debate and complain about into our lives. We have some people who are expected to accept the smell, flies and noise, others who are tree lovers who hate to see a tree even being trimmed of branches, bird lovers who enjoy seeing all the bird life, and Administration who are expected to please everyone.
The last eight and a half years have taught me a tremendous amount, and I am very grateful for the privilege of having been able to serve here. My first “preaching assignment” was a funeral, and since then I have been blessed in having the opportunity to share what the Holy Spirit has led me to do. If anyone had told me nine years ago that I would be doing some preaching, I would have asked for some of what they were smoking.
What am I going to be doing next year when I retire from the Trust? I really do not know, but what I firmly believe is that The Lord has something lined up for me, and He is only going to let me know what it is when He is good and ready. I have always found that His timing is perfect – never late, and never early – but there are times when we get impatient and would like to get a glimpse of the future. Still, He knows best.
A very big thank you to all those who have given me wonderful encouragement over the years, and to all those who have supported Borradaile Trust financially, spiritually, and by other means as well. I have met, communicated and been helped by so many wonderful people, and it has been a real blessing in my life.
Located in Cape Town, the Trust assists some 39 Rhodesian Pensioners on a monthly basis. In addition to a R900 Grocery Card, they are also helped with various medical, dental and other services as needed.
I must be aging! Only this early morning I realised that I had not yet thanked you for the donation for the Trust and that is the height of bad and poor management.
So, thank you for the handsome donation of R3,279.35 (with a R130,00 bank charge) which was received on 1 April. I shall brief the Trustees about the donation at the next Trustees meeting and I know that they will again be most appreciative for your continuing support.
Kind regards. Leon
Based in Marlborough, Harare, this faith-based organization helps scores of Pensioners on a monthly basis.
Hello everyone! Unfortunately, I have to start by saying that it has been a very tough year so far – every time one can just about make ends meet, they move the ends!! Sadly, so many of our Pensioners are finding it harder and harder to survive in this new economy based in US$ - they’re battling as much as they ever did before, if not more so! The cost of living has grown exponentially, and many of our pensioners are in a worse state of destitution than they ever were when the Zimbabwean economy was in such a sorry state. It seems that even though we are US$ based now, the inflation is growing at an alarming rate, and besides this, our pensioners have only access to their original pensions, which, with the chopping and changing of the currencies, are basically worth nothing. For example, rates for electricity and water (which are basic human rights!) for a Pensioner in Coronation, are, on average (plus rent), US$75 per month. The average railway pension is between $14-$29 per month. This means our pensioners are $46-$61 in the red before they even start their month, and this is before any food! And then… Bread alone is $1, so 1 loaf every 2 days brings the total to US$100 per month, before any other kind of sustenance!
The majority of our Pensioners registered with us earn pensions on average of $37 per month…
This doesn’t cover rent and rates…
Let alone food…
Our pensioners are destitute!!!
Their situation is CRITICAL!
Please, help us to help them!
EMRAS AMBULANCE: In the first quarter we transported a total of 15 people QUARTERLY COST US$ 450
CLINIC & MEDICINES: 3 Clinics are run on a fortnightly basis: Coronation Cottages, Rhodes Jubilee and Garden Park. These are essential to ensuring the health of our patients as well as supplying them with their chronic medication. We see on average 60 pensioners every fortnight, sometimes rising to 80. QUARTERLY COST US$ 16300
OPTICIAN AND DENTISTRY: Due to our funds being reduced because of the recession we have not been able to assist with optician or dentistry this quarter. We have focused more on the life saving medicines and clinics.
FOOD 4 HOMES BULAWAYO: Deliveries continue on a monthly basis. Dry goods and meat or chickens when available are delivered the last week of every month. The homes are still in need as their residents are not able to pay the rents that the homes require to be viable, which leaves the Homes short every month. Fresh vegetables, eggs and fruit are delivered on a weekly basis. Verity Amm Soup kitchen feeds on average 300 pensioners a week. QUARTERLY COST US$ 15300
UPCOMING FUND RAISERS: We have a few in the pipeline for this year so please watch the FB group and Morning Mirror for more info. Our first Fundraiser is a May day celebration, in the old English tradition of the Maypole and fair to be held at Southern Comfort Lodge on the 30 April 2011. Start 10am until late. Come and join us for a fun filled day and help raise funds for our Elderly!
SCS & F4HB would like to thank our donors who have helped to keep us afloat in these trying times…. Special thanks to Fuel Supplies, Outspan Butchery, Mates club, Matbass, Hillside Pharmacy and of course Homes in Zimbabwe who supply the bulk of our dry goods. Thank you for helping our Pensioners, who would die if not for you the generous public. Thanks must also go to the dedicated team behind SCS, Dr Legg, Dr Condon, Isobel, Arlene, Ursula, Sr Heekes & Peter Rollason.
The situation in Zimbabwe for the pensioners has not changed for the better. The main change that has taken place is that the shops are now quite well stocked compared to 3 years ago when the shops were
empty. When the Zimbabwe dollar collapsed early last year the Zimbabwe Government started to use the US $ as the official currency. What this meant was that any person who had Zimbabwe dollars was left with worthless paper. The people that had trillions in the banks were also left with nothing.
The one good thing that came out of the Zimbabwe dollar collapsing was that every person that was working was now paid in US $ or SA Rands. For the first time EVER it was no longer ILLEAGLE to have foreign currency in your possession. For a few months shops selling food would only accepting foreign currency and would not sell you any food if you were going to pay with Zimbabwe dollar. Now the situation had changed, all people working were being paid in forex and shops were opening up in all the towns. They are well stocked but 20 to 40% more expensive than the South African shops. This all sounds good BUT there is another side to this story.
Some of the pensioners were receiving pensions in Zimbabwe dollars. With the collapse of the Zimbabwe dollar this segment of the population were left with NOTHING. If they had money in the bank it was wiped out and they were no longer receiving pensions. The situation for the pensioners is now worse than ever. Some of the pensioners have started to receive pensions paid in US $. Some of the pensioners are receiving as little as 13 US $ a month. I was speaking to a pensioner in Kadoma. Ann was crying and I asked her what the problem was. This is what she had to say. I get a pension of 40 US $ a month from Old Mutual. The bank takes 2 US $ , my rent is 35 US $ so that leaves me with 3 US $ for food. This is a fairly common situation that I come across. There is of cause the very small percentage of pensioners that are well supported by their children.
Some news about the Zimbabwe Pensioner Supporter Fund . We have had a difficult year to date in the sense that some months the expenditure exceeded the funds income. The recession seems to have affected most people. We are currently supporting just over 1650 pensioners in 28 homes, this is about 40% of our target base. We also support SOAP in Bulawayo and have helped to set up a system similar to SOAP in Gweru, Zvishavane, Masvingo, Red Cliff, Kwe Kwe and Kadoma to cater for pensioners that are not in old age homes as well. We are an officially registered Non Profit Organization (Section 21A) in South Africa and are registered with SARS as a Public Benefit Organization in terms of section 18A the Income Tax Act (Which means all donations are issued with a Tax Certificate and can be claimed back). PLEASE LET US KNOW IF YOU WOULD LIKE A TAX CERTIFICATE STATING ALL YOU DONATIONS.
One pensioner at Boggies Trust in Gweru described what we are doing as “ CHRISTANITY IN ACTION “. On the Christmas Trip “ when we also hand out a small present to each of our pensioners, one pensioner had this to say. “ I have family all over the world but the only Christmas present I had to open on Christmas day was The one from the ZPSF “.
We at the ZPSF would like to be able to make the upcoming Christmas of 2011 extra special for our pensioners. As a Fund we rely solely on donations to do what we do. We receive no funding from any Government organization.
We appreciate any and all support received as every little bit helps us to assist the people of Zimbabwe. As you are aware it is solely your donations that keep us running.
Please if you have already supported us could you supply me with the details as we are battling to acknowledge all donations received and believe in acknowledging all support. PLEASE IF YOU DO DONATE IF YOU CAN USE YOUR PHONE NO. AS A REFERANCE SO THAT WE CAN TRACE THE PAYMENT CORRECTLY.
Once again a VERY BIG THANK YOU to all our supporters. May GOD bless you all.
Fund Raising & Awareness for the Zimbabwe Pensioner Support Fund
C) 079 6082676
(T) 013 7900934
http://zpsf.terapad.com / www.zimpen.co.za
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Alone we can do so little, together we can achieve much more!!!!