Most of the Samaritan Children who at one time lived at Samaritan Children’s Home with ITMI partners, John and Joyce Jere, where their needs were met, they were cared for as their own and taught Biblical truth, have been dispersed by the Zambian government to live with any living relatives they have in many locations. This was bad for most of the children because many times the children had left the reletives that took them in due to neglect and abuse before finding a home with the Jeres. It also creates logistical challenges for the Jeres as the continue to seek to provide for and disciple the children they love. One of these locations is the Kanyama Slam (slum). The Kanyama Slam Just outside Lusaka, Zambia, is the Kanyama Slam. It is one of the most densely populated slams. This slam alone has thousands and thousands of orphaned children. Drainage and sanitation are big challenges for the local people. Kanyama’s sanitation is one of the worst and every year, people there suffer from Cholera due to poor sanitation, no drainage, and pit latrines very close to the houses. The area has many ponds where mosquitoes breed, created by the locals digging up big stones. They crush them for sale to the people who build houses, leaving the holes to collect rain water and disease carrying insects. When it rains, it is filthy and stinking, infested with all kinds of flies, big and small alike. Many people suffer from Malaria, Cholera, dysentery, worms, HIV /AIDS to name a few. Malaria is the second killer in Africa. Some of our people in the slams drink contaminated water and suffer from water borne diseases. Kanyama has thousands and thousands of orphans, widows and few widowers due to these conditions. Men die earlier than the widows because many men are promiscuous. The trend is now changing due to the preaching of the Word of God and the lessons taken from the realities of deaths due to HIV/AIDS. The traditional way of life, of marrying more than one wife is slowly coming to to an end. The Jeres delivered food to the Samaritan Children living with relatives in the Kanyama Slam. Here is what some of them had to say about the food deliveries and the example of love and service the Jeres’ lives are:
“Thank you for the food. I am always respected and better treated when the food comes because the family also benefits.” -Sarah Phiri. “Daddy, its not easy to stay with our relatives but I have learned the hard way. You taught us to do what the owners of the homes like and not to do what they do not like. I have done all that and it seems to be the best secret and it reduces the abuse. More to it, the monthly food helps us a great deal because we are accepted due to the monthly economic contributions such as food and relish. Without that, I would have been forced into the streets long ago.” “I have now completed Grade Twelve (high school). I have written Grade Twelve examination and am waiting for the results. I am hoping to have better grades. I always pray that God may help me to be a better person in society. I have been helped and I also need to help the needy people in my family and society. I will not forget your parental love and care to me from the time I came to Samaritan Children Home. You taught us the Word of God and how to share our faith to others. I have watched you serve us and other people in society and I have been impacted by your life style. I want to do the same to other fellow young people, children and the old. I have got my testimonial from school and I would like to start looking for piece work so that I can do some thing. I do not want to always depend on you. I remain grateful to God and to you, my parents.”
The Challenges of Delivering Food
Just after delivering the food in Kanyama, our vehicle broke down as the roads are very bad, with big potholes, ditches, and rocks. Some slams where we deliver monthly food are nearer but others are far away from one another and more to it, there is more traffic than ever before. It takes three to four days to deliver food to where the Samaritan Children stay. When our only vehicle, which is an ambulance, utility, and mission vehicle, breaks down like this, we ask our children or their relatives to come and collect the food and we pay for their transport. Caring for the Samaritan Children’s Medical Needs Malaria Peter JereIn February, Peter Jere suffered from a very serious bout with Malaria. He fell ill on Thursday night (21st February 2013). His body was very hot and we did not sleep but we prayed for him. The following morning, Joyce and I decided to take him to the government hospital which has some medicine. When the doctor saw and touched his body, he quickly decided to take the body temperature which was 39c (102F). He was hallucinating and convulsing. He was also vomiting yellow liquid which is a sign of Malaria. He took other tests and found that it was Malaria, which almost went into Cerebral Malaria. Immediately he put Peter Jere on Quinine which is the strongest and last Malaria drug. During the same time, Lydia and Catherine, two other Samaritan Children suffered from Malaria, although it seemed their cases weren’t as bad as Peter’s. All three children required treatment for the disease, but were able to recover.
Sarah Phiri “Sarah, how are you feeling today?” John asked. “Daddy, my eye is in flames of fire. Some times, I feel as if it is brimstone fire in my eye. The pain does not go away. I cry day and night and now I can no longer see with the left eye. My left eye is now completely gone blind.” Sarah replied.
John’s experiences getting medical help for Sarah’s very painful and swollen eye illustrate the challenges of providing medical care for the Samaritan Children.
Early in the morning, Sarah and her relative and I went to the University Teaching Hospital (UTH), to get the results of the lump of flesh which the eye specialist previously took from Sarah’s eye. We got to the hospital at 06.00 hours. We thought that we were the earliest people, alas, we were even late because there were over 700 people waiting for the same results. We waited from 06.00 to 12.00 hours and at this time, we were over crowded. There were only two doctors attending to the patients. I prayed to the Lord, to help Sarah and that she could see the doctor before 14.00 hours. While waiting, I decided to ask for some help from one of the young men who told me the truth that the Sarah’s results were not out yet and that it was too early for us to get the actual results. He told me that he knows the system was too long and takes long due to lack of manpower. The same young man I talked to, told me to go to the laboratory and ask for some favors from the officers in the lab, to help Sarah quickly. I was determined to do any thing, to make sure the delays were stopped as Sarah was in pain. Sarah remained at the eye clinic while her auntie and I walked up to the laboratory where we found long cues of people suffering from eye diseases. I went to the receptionist and asked if they would help me with Sarah’s results after the doctor removed a lamp from Sarah’s eye to be tested whether it is cancer or not. The young man went and came and told me that tests were not done. This was after three weeks from the time the doctor removed the lamp. On the 13th March 2013, we came to collect the same results but we were told to come on the 15th March, which is today. Then I asked the young man to help me with Sarah. He asked for extra fee for express services so that we can get the results next week. I told him that I was ready to pay for it because Sarah was in terrible pain. The young man promised to push his way through till we get the results on Monday, next week. Then we went back to the eye clinic at UTH so that the doctor could look at the sore in Sarah’s eye. The eye specialist looked at Sarah’s eye and turned around and said that there was no hope to save the eye because it already damaged and that she could not see any thing like the pupil or cornea. She told me to press hard for the results. She highly suspected it was cancer. If it is cancer, then they urgently need to treat or stop cancer from spreading to the right and healthy eye.
Will you please continue to pray that God may have His own way in Sarah’s life? Will you please pray that laboratory results come early? The long awaited results will help us to go for the next step of surgery.