This is the first in a series on Botswana. It is written for the international audience through the eyes of an American, but with the heart of an African who has lived here for over 25 years. Let’s look at it from the inside out.” As the title states, it truly is “The Jewel In The Crown Of Africa”. These next few writings will hopefully turn some heads towards this remarkable Country.
Part I- HIV & AIDS in Botswana
On her deathbed, a Zimbabwean teacher in Botswana, wife and mother, said, “But my husband was the only man I was ever with.” Months before, she suspected her husband might be HIV positive. She was pregnant when he passed away and the newborn baby struggled for life just weeks after the birth. When the baby passed away it was almost more than she could bear. In just a matter of months, her health also deteriorated. Finally, she went for the test. Stunned, she then knew for sure, it was the worst news imaginable. She told her pastor’s wife, that she had lived faithful to her husband, unlike him who had multiple affairs throughout their marriage. They had one other child, a daughter, several years older, a product of happier days. What would become of her? The whole family would be gone in the space of one year. After her mother passed away she was sent back to Zimbabwe where her grandfather lived and worked as a headmaster of a school.
A few years later, there was a Motswana lady who came for prayer at our church. She told me, “I am sick.” This carried a deeper meaning and as our eyes met, I knew what she meant. We prayed together and after that, through what has now become an official department on our NGO called Love Botswana, people were mobilized to assist and help her get back on her feet. She had been sick for some time, with no treatment options available. She was skin and bones and hardly able to walk.
It’s no good praying for someone and then not doing anything for them, if it is within your power to do so! First, does the family have food to eat? Second, what kind of shelter do they have? Living near a bar with broken bottles and trash everywhere, help came from the church. People from the church came to clean up the yard, put in a playground area for the kids, and rallied around her and the family to help in various ways from shelter, to food, clothing and school uniforms. Today, through the dedicated service of staff, local and international volunteers, many people are receiving help in their lives.
The Church should be the hands and feet of Jesus in our communities. Getting out to where the people are is critical. Most people will never step foot in a church unless there is a change in their paradigm of what church really is. A prayer is great, but here is what Jesus said about this kind of scenario: “I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ Matthew 25:43
Further help came for the young woman just in time, as the Botswana Government was about to undertake something never before done in Africa in the fight against HIV/AIDS by introducing ARV’s for those citizens who qualified for the meds. For this young woman, help was there. Over the span of just a few years she became healthy and strong, gaining weight and benefiting from the programs extended to her. She went on to finish her own schooling, taking classes after work, secured land, and built a house for her and her elderly family member.
Stats presented by source: http://www.npr.org/2012/07/09/156375781/botswanas-stunning-achievement-against-aids
Day 19 My 500 Words