Christian Care Provides Food for Zimbabwe

Nov 19, 2002 03:00 AM EST

As the Famine in Africa continues, the local aid organization, Christian Care (CC) provide food for the hungry, in alliance with ACT – Action by Churches together, a global alliance of churches and related agencies working for humanitarian relief. Hundreds of people gather in Basera, a village in Zimbabwe's Gutu province, where CC is stationed. The CC targets distribution to 40,000 general feeding beneficiaries, and 13,500 supplementary feeding youth recipients.

People are registered and vetted according to their needs and "the level of poverty is the main criteria we use," says Courage Chirobe, a CC program officer. "Also female or child-headed-households are considered first."

According to another CC program officer, Mugove Chakuria, explains the selection process first to the village leaders, then to the rest of the people who have come. He especially emphasized the unbiased vetting process, taking note of the neutrality of CC to political affiliation, gender, or beliefs.

Jacob and Patricia Magarire and their 10-month-old baby are among the hundreds of other villagers trekking toward the small village to register their names for food distribution. Since the drought and the subsequent depression, the Magarires have become solely depended on foreign aid.

"Nobody needs my services at the moment," says the 29-year blacksmith. He explains that he and his wife lost all the maize, groundnuts, and sorghum in last year's disastrous harvest.

Anna Zindonga who used to reap two bags of maize, stands in the registration queen also, since after the drought, she and her family had resorted to begging from her neighbors. Her husband works in Bulawayo to support his wife and four children.

Another couple Sokai and Janet Shoko says they have no more food left to eat. Until recently they could buy from the shops, "if there was anything", says Sokai. But now they have run out of money and they had nothing to eat for the last two days.

A group of women who have come back from registering for food relief in a nearby village expressed their relief by chanting and singing as they walked home.

"People are very happy that Christian Care is distributing food," says Rev. R.D Mavinga from Basera who assists in the registration process.

Program officer Courage Chisobe hopes that they will receive more funding, as "this would allow us to extend the number of people, who will benefit from food relief," says Chisobe.

Joseph Goko, Christian Care area manager comments however on the challenge of definition the needy one during this time where "Almost every family here is in need of food." Goko added, "the only solution is food aid," noting that often times, villagers would not be able to find a place that sells food at all. He emphasizes that this food crisis will escalate in Zimbabwe by the time the world realizes the extent of the emergency.

By Pauline J.