Archive for March, 2009

Report on the current affairs of Maforga district

Dear Friends and supporters,
Greetings from Maforga, and many thanks for your generosity. It’s been an
exhausting but good time here as every morning we awake to a crowd of up to
a thousand people in our driveway. Usually there are roughly fifteen to
twenty people who have managed to push past the guards and sit, gazing up at
us hopefully, outside the office. It is impossible to go anywhere without
groups of desperate women with small babies on their backs, approaching and
pleading for help.

We have tried as far as possible to prevent a dependency by organizing a
food-for-work programme. We have a two-pronged strategy – Kees Tanis, on the
north side of the main road, has organized a food distribution in the
school – every child receives a pack of maize-flour and in that way we know
most of the kids in the area are covered. Of school-going age, anyway. He
also does distributions in the village on the north side, Chigueda village,
among widows and orphans. One group severely in need is the AIDS victims –
many cannot get to the distributions. The AIDS work programme at Maforga,
Rubatano, has been researching ways of meeting this need. Kees has been
involved in food distributions since October as the fire we had in 2008
destroyed the grain-stores of more than 450 families in the area and the
erratic weather patterns caused the people to lose two crop plantings from
that time, and many have lost a third – and it’s very late, now, for maize.

On the south side of the road at the farm called Khoro, we have a system
whereby two hundred “senyas” – tickets – are given out in the morning, and
those who arrive first take them and set to work under the supervision of
Joaquim Ernesto, earstwhile troublemaker who is now a foreman on the farm.
There are sometimes upwards of four hundred people left and Roy gives them
200 “senyas” for the next day’s work. The amount of food we are able to buy
is not always enough for them all so we have to stagger the groups. Those
that remain, are divided into groups: the pregnant women and those with
small babies are given preference, whilst the elderly and disabled are next,
then the men, then single women and children. Smaller amounts are given to
these as they have not worked for it, but enough to keep them for one or two
meals.

We have also exchanged maize flour for turkeys, goats and chickens and also
sweet potato seed and this has given us the chance to plant many sweet
potato beds in preparation for more tough times ahead. We have an instinct
that we need to grow as much food as possible, and to be ready to help
people in the future ourselves if  help isn’t forthcoming from overseas. We
stand on the scripture in Isaiah 3:10, “Say to the righteous, ‘it shall be
well with him…'” in the time of famine and chaos that has begun and may
become worse.

On weekends we are just too tired to do the food distributions so we have
begun to make 1,000 litres of maheu, a nutritious drink which is made from
fermented porridge and sugar and tastes a little like ginger beer. Those who
are really hungry can at least have a drink and take two litres home to
their families. However, last week, the maheu was not sufficient – we were
left with about a hundred people who had received nothing.

The guards help with giving it out – there are tickets given out otherwise
there is chaos with people trampling each other to get near the tank.
Preference is given to those who are weak and ill. A woman collapsed in our
lounge last Saturday but one. She was nearly dying of hunger – she slept on
our veranda after being given a glass of milk and a plate of porridge, At
the day’s end she was able to wander home.

The food-for-work group have planted two vast bean fields and are working on
a third. These are springing up like a vast green carpet. We have also
planted a stand of rice this year, and are thinking of flooding another area
in order to plant more. We feel urgent about producing food.

There is a group called “Farming God’s Way” which originated in Zimbabwe and
is teaching/helping/learning to do more productive gardens here. Although
here at Maforga they have produced a good harvest which is finally ripening,
it is far too little, too late, for the whole region. They have a course
nearby Gondola where they help families – we are hoping to send a group from
Mtsunza village, where a group  of young men has been helping to clear the
eucalyptus forest of invasive plants in return for food.

God has answered prayers for rain so far and the crops of many people are
beginning to stand up again after having been flattened and dried out. Some
new, fresh maize is coming in, so we are hoping the crisis will begin to
ease as the people have access to it. However, the crops of some are beyond
redemption. Many are now only eating pumpkin leaves – the other things have
dried up.

We are most grateful to you who have contributed to relieving this need.

Postscript – today Roy visited the administrator to hire his tractor and he
told Roy that because of the distributions, theft had greatly decreased in
the area. Normally at a time such as this the people begin breaking into
each others’ houses and stealing each others’ crops. (Last week an Indian
man in Chimoio lost his whole herd of seventeen cattle as bandits arrived in
a truck in the night, slaughtered the lot and left with the meat, leaving
the remains for him to clear up. He was devastated.)The theft has been
occurring but the people are very grateful that it has been curbed by the
distributions.

Please pray that we are protected from such things and that for next year we
will have a strategy that counteracts whatever may occur.

Many thanks and blessings,

Roy and Trish and all at Maforga

 

Past posts

Admin ~ I apologise for the delay.

[13 Feb 09]

Dear Friends,
2008 passed so quickly and was a good year generally, we pray 2009 will be a
year of destiny. This is how it started for us!

Rodrigues, one of our boys whose mother prayed for his education, graduated
from Teachers’ Training College amid great joy. Rodrigues has a job in
Sussundenga: a victory for a boy with beginnings so negative. Thanks to Kees
and Sarah Tanis and their team, Rodrigues has had a
substantial start in life. Pray for him as he sets out on his new life.

He was one of several boys who passed and went on to work in other places.

There was a severe drought up until Christmas. Food ran out and it became a
humanitarian crisis here as people died every day in the surrounding
villages from hunger. Many thanks to all those who contributed to us being
able to buy several loads of food for the workers and villages around us.

Kees held a conference for the pastors encouraging them to repent of
witchcraft and idolatry. They really caught the message and went on to teach
their congregations, leading them in a prayer for repentance. And then the
rain came – it really poured. On Christmas Eve the Christmas programme went
off with the electricity being knocked out in one of the most violent
storms we’d ever had, the generator ran
for most of the evening until it popped a screw and the fuel ran out.

There was a happy feast –  groups each doing a drama or
song – the small children sang with a glittering cloud of
flying ants swirling round them like a chiffon curtain. All
went to bed happy.

Next day we drove into the village to do a musical programme
towing a 1,000 litres of Maheu, a nutritious drink made from fermented
porridge. Roy and Marta poured it out while the
people gathered with every receptacle they could find. For many people it
was the only food they had for Christmas,
indeed in several days.

A second village could not believe it when we arrived with the tank still
half full and they, too, filled their receptacles. The children laughed
and clapped their hands, running to and fro with cups and
tins. The Lord was so good to us to help us do this for the villages.

Shortly after Christmas, the storms grew more violent and rain literally
slashed down. New Year was upon us and we saw it in with the girls watching
Pastor Chris’s New Year Celebration. On New Years Day we drove to Beira to
fetch Angela Waller and Kristy Rivers – Angela had been the donor of the
loads of food
we had had to buy. Many thanks to her for her generosity.

The next day Roy went down with malaria  – thanks to Aaron and Sarah Beecher
we had malarone which worked against the resistant strain.

Joshua Rouessaoult and his team from Alon Christian Community in South
Africa,
arrived bringing a great encouragement. The electricity
had gone off again and we were told that our transformer had blown – a huge
expense and time-consuming to repair. The generator had been fixed and
members of Joshua’s team helped to fix the Nissan which had been off the
road for some time. Just as the Toyota broke down. The cylinder head needed
to be replaced or fixed, and then the Isuzu’s diff as well, collapsed.

Amid much fun and help of the team, the children had a good time and we
shared our testimony one night with them.

Angie tried her hand at mixing cement but sliced open her toe with a sharp
shovel and had to be carried down to the Log Cabin to be treated. However,
she still managed to paint beautiful murals for all the girls’ rooms.

On Sunday we shared in Pastor Mudzimba’s church and Trish spoke about the
Abrahamic Covenants and the Biblical prophecies concerning Israel. The
people were very receptive and afterwards we attended a delightful party for
Francis Fitzsimons’ 50th birthday. Trish went down with  malaria and a
stange ear infection, but is recovering.

We are grateful to the Lord for seeing us through all these times with a
sense of joy and destiny and for providing a table in the desert.

Many thanks for your prayers and support. Please pray for our health as
malaria has been especially bad this year already. Thank you for the prayers
for rain – we still need more. Peoples’ crops are growing but they still
have no food at home – and when the food runs out at the mission, some have
a terrible time.

Many thanks to the Scheepers family for the generous help they have sent.

Please pray for the young people who are going off into a new life – John
Fitzsimons has enrolled for a BSC in Pretoria, he had malaria on his first
day so please hold him up to the Lord. It was by the skin of his teeth but
also by the miraculous working of the Lord that John got in – everything was
stacked against him, but he is certain his call is to be a doctor. Please
pray he will be able to transfer from a BSC to Medicine at half year – he
has the option but the competition and race relations make this difficult.
But we believe Jesus is able and willing to perform miracles.

May you all have a wonderful new year,
Love from Roy and Trish and all at Maforga

[23 Jan 09]

Dear Friends,

2009 is upon us – it’s well under way and for some people it is a terrifying
future they face. We sent an appeal recently with photos of people eating
green mangoes. It was all they had to eat – they thought the photo was very
funny and fooled around for the camera. But no- one is smiling now. The
green mangoes are finished. There is NOTHING TO EAT.

Really, it’s a quiet humanitarian crisis. Somehow this year it’s worse than
at other times. Perhaps it’s because the Zimbabweans flocking through the
borders to find food have caused the Indians and other traders to hike the
prices of food to beyond what is possible for most people to afford. Of
course the ZANU PF people coming in from Zimbabwe fill three or four
trolleys at the Shoprite in Chimoio, and if some can afford to pay the
skyrocketing prices, who cares about the vast majority who stalk the shop,
scrutinizing the shelves for something they can afford, but leave without
buying anything?

Outside, right now, there is a crowd of starving people with hoes and
slashers, they have helped clear some Baramombe, a noxious weed that’s
spreading like wildfire after the recent rains. They will receive two to
three days’ maize meal – the only meal they will have until they come to
clear the weeds again. When the meal runs out, what will they do?

We are asking for your help in sending money to buy food. The maize is
growing very late: the rains only came a few days before Christmas, after
most of their crops had shrivelled irretrievably. The maize has not even
flowered yet – and when it does it will still be another two months or so
before the crop can be harvested.

The next two months will be the worst. The mangoes have stopped and there
are many other expenses they will face such as school fees and uniforms,
shoes and books. Many babies and small children have died in the last few
weeks, their resistance lowered by malnutrition to the vicious form of
malaria that is attacking at the moment. I wish you could look out of the
window and see their faces – faces haunted by the spectre of hunger and fear
of more famine to come.

To make it through the next few weeks until the maize crop ripens, we will
need US$10,000 – US$1,000 a week to help the people through this difficult
time. When the maize ripens, the need will cease.

If you can at all help, please contact us at 00258825112222 or send the
money to Banco Standard Totta de Mocambique, in the name of Missao Crista de
Maforga, Acc. No. 205~02 11301001.

Please let us know if it would be possible for you to help and we will be
able to help this area in one of the most severe famines they’ve had since
the horrific drought of 1992. The thing was, then, they have said that the
drought was easier than now because it was recognized as a humanitarian
crisis,and there was food aid in the country. But this year has been even
more extreme.

We are grateful to the Lord because He answered our prayer for rain.
However, the extremely heavy rain that came washed away the second planting
of the crop. Many people have no more money even to buy seed to plant a
third time. Now, there needs to be some sort of strategy to avoid this
situation happening again. Please pray for us and advise if there is some
way of helping the people of this area get back on their feet.

Thank you so much, Angie Waller for your generous contribution of a month’s
supply of maize. You saw yourself how it went, how we needed every bit of
help. May the Lord bless you as you have blessed so many.

Please pray for this area and our team as a wave of malaria has swept
through our ranks, leaving many feeling weak and exhausted.

We are grateful for every prayer and every donation. May the Lord bless you
in this new year,

with love from Roy and the team at Maforga.