Hunger in VerdwaalHunger! Hunger! Hunger everywhere. It's 8pm, Wednesday, 30 November 2011; we have just finished feeding 6000 people and are about to leave the poverty-stricken area of Verdwaal when the heart-breaking, tear jerking scenes of children running from the distance, with buckets in hand, shakes our inner being. They are desperately hungry, in intense need yet silently dignified; the eyes say it all. The teams offer a silent prayer as they open the pot, afraid they are going to disappoint these little ones but the Grace of Almighty never fails; some food is still found to the jubilation of these children, our children, Africa's children.
Following a report in Independent Newspapers detailing the death of four children who died of hunger after embarking on an 18km trek in search of food, Gift of the Givers responded on 22 November with 600 food parcels, 1500 bottles of 500ml water, 300 blankets, 2000 sweet packs (non-nutritious but emotionally exhilarating for children) and 600 x 1kg washing powder to a community, that shockingly had nothing. The teams returned on 29 November 2011 and fed 3000 "wet" meals to the community. The figure doubled to 6000 last night excluding those little children who came running in desperation. It's December 1st, World Aids Day, and while our other teams are commemorating these events at Duduza, Prince Mshiyeni Hospital and other locations, the Verdwaal team is preparing for an influx of 10 000 hungry people at 3pm today.
Many people in this area do not have the necessary documentation to apply for government grants but are caught in a catch 22 situation, do they obtain an ID document at a cost of R140 or do they buy food with money they don't even have. Tragically, no money, no ID document, no government grant.
Gift of the Givers will commence the building of a kitchen at Motlhatswa Primary School as most of the children attending this school reside in Verdwaal 1and 2, marked as the poorest areas in the community. The children that passed away also attended school at Motlhatswa Primary. The option of agricultural sustainability and school gardens are being investigated. As our teams prepare for the crucial feeding today we all are in a state of silent gratitude that neither us, nor our parents, grandparents or children have to run from a distance with bucket in hand. In addition 600 Food Parcels and 600 Hygiene packs will be distributed today.
Details: Allauddin Sayed 0836677179 and Emily Thomas 0836520315 on site at Verdwaal or call tollfree 0800786911. A special thank you to all those who have contributed in cash and kind thus far.