A highlight of every trustee visit is the chance to accompany Sister Jeremia and Leonard, the counsellor, on the weekly Hospice Outreach programme. This journey into remote areas of the countryside around Lusaka brings into sharp focus the realities of poverty and the difference your donations are making to deliver food, medicines and care directly to where it is needed.
On Wednesday we joined Sister Jeremia, Leonard, a counsellor and driver Juvee on the weekly Hospice Outreach programme to deliver food to vulnerable patients.
En route we stopped to provide some food to one of the school’s supported by the Hospice. St Patrick’s, has 456 pupils on a small site provides lunch from Monday to Thursday. Enshima (starchy food made from maize), cabbage, mealie meal and beans were on that day’s menu. For some children it would be their only meal that day.
The first patient, Moses and his wife both have HIV, and attend the clinic regularly. They were given protein meal HEPS, Mealie Meal, beans and meat. Sister Jeremia explained to them that not every delivery could include meat.
Leonard was carefully recording the contents of each delivery, taking patient details and getting signatures. In each place Sister asked about the children, how old they were and if and where they attended school. She carries sweets in her pockets and these are distributed to the children who run up to the truck at every stop. Technology is now playing a part in Sister Jeremia’s role and she was also carrying two mobile phones and a camera taking pictures at every stop explaining to the patients and families that she needed a record for donors.
We visited Mahpeppa, a very poor compound and met Joyce and Richard pictured left, who were living with their seven children and grandchildren in a two room house they had built from waste asbestos pipes. Richard was around 50 with HIV and almost blind.
Our next visit was to a more remote settlement where Anna, lives with her daughter and three grandchildren. Sister Jeremia explained ruefully that in the more remote areas the involvement of the local witch doctor can delay patients from getting treatment and Anna’s health had been affected by this delay, but she was now improving with the medicine the Hospice is now able to provide.
On our return Sister Jeremia took us to meet another cause dear to her heart: the children of the Little Guardian Angels School, adjacent to the Hospice. These are the children in the Pre-school class who entertained us with their impromptu singing during their lunch break.