Most of you know that over the last 20 years, the Magaya's have been instrumental in "holding the energy" for Nhimbe for Progress. This all began with Joshua and Matilda, as heads of the family, and Cosmas as the musician and ambassador for his homeland.
Over the years many of the family members have participated in Nhimbe a variety of ways. Yesterday, sadly, Hilda, one of Cosmas' younger sisters, passed away from an unexpected heart condition. The family had a few short days of trying to source basics like saline, by driving to multiple locations throughout the capital city of Harare, since the current hospital situation is still in a deplorable state. In 2000, on my first trip to Zimbabwe, we found ourselves in a similar situation as Cosmas' wife, Joyce, passed on 3 days after my arrival. The current state of medical care continues to be heart-breaking.
Some of you may remember Hilda as our travel team's main helper for many years. She would cook our meals and tend our laundry. She was well-known for an incredible gift of working with food and getting the nuances of our requests for international cuisine from Italian to Mexican and everything in between. One would always, and yes I mean always, hear her singing in the hut as she was preparing the meals. What a blessing! She also always participated in our embroidery projects in between her duties. Most recently, Hilda has been a key player in the Mhandara Monthly Care program as she was one of the team, monitoring the quality control and handling the packaging for the girl's supplies.
During my last trip in March/April, you heard about Hilda because her only daughter, Lillian, was our chief cook and bottle washer, as well as our laundry-lady, computer person, and translator, but then too, amazed us with her intellect and speaking abilities as she addressed the young girls about the virtues of staying focused on their education. We asked you for funding for Lillian's education so she could finish her 4 year degree, since she was within months of completion but without funds, and you rallied to support our request. She is now sponsored to be in a position to finish her degree this next year.
The death of Lillian's mother has come at a critical time though, as her tests for this term are 1 week away. I ask for your prayers to help her during this stressful time, to stay focused, while still also being present for the family and funeral, taking place right away. I also ask for your prayers for the family as a whole.
Losing family members is hard enough, but the helpless nature of having no medical intervention just rips away the veils, and leaves everyone standing naked before the Creator.
- There were heart tests that were to be done on Monday costing almost $1,800, which in Zimbabwe, would not be completed without payment up front. Try to imagine how the average person there receives medical help, as insurance is not an option.
- Any hospital bills must be paid before any other family members can be admitted for care. Maybe you remember 7 years ago July, when I wrote about Benita's mother passing away leaving a $500 hospital bill, and so Benita (our executive assistant) couldn't get care for her son John, without first paying for her mother's medical care, so we asked for a hardship aid loan on her behalf.
- With unemployment at an all time high, of course people can't afford buses, or petrol if they do own vehicles, so how does anyone get to the funeral? If one hasn't been to Zimbabwe, it takes a large imagination to think about the enormous difficulties in facing the simplest things.
- The current state of affairs has those with both a car and money waiting in long ques to be able to get fuel, as petrol availability is at another all time low.
- The family is currently looking for a bus to hire so that anyone who can get to Harare, can get a ride to the Mhondoro rural funeral. They will supply a cow to feed everyone attending and help get guests back home. Quite a different custom than ours.
Life in Africa is so unlike life in the states, I feel like we forget about other parts of the world when our own problems here are going through their up-and-down cycles. It doesn't diminish the impact of tragedies and traumatic experiences in our lives, but having a glimpse into another window on our planet helps me find more balance. We are all so very connected. And because of the music, we have found one another.
Hilda was survived by her brothers Cosmas and Leonard, and sisters Efilda, Winfilda, and Emilda, as well as her sons Nyasha, Tafadzwa, Norman, and daughter Lillian, as well as her husband Daniel. Any financial help towards these expenses can be sent through Cosmas' daughter, by mailing a check made payable to her, Tsitsi Hantuba, at 5311 S. 45th St., Rogers, AR, 72758. Thank you in advance for all of your good thoughts, prayers and encouraging words.