15 September 2012

Zimbabwe: A Never Ending Struggle


Mrs Makoni is a retired matron who runs a geriatric nursing home. Lame and in her seventies she would rather be at home enjoying her grand children but since no one else is willing to do her job she keeps going. The challenges are many.

The families of the residents are poor and cannot afford realistic fees so there are outstanding bills to keep Mrs Makoni awake at night. Frequent load-shedding means that the electricity is off more often than on, so she has to find firewood to cook the residents' food with.

A farmer offered her wood for free if she could collect it. She went to the Forestry Commission for a letter granting her permission to collect it and sent a driver in the home's pick-up (which also serves as their ambulance).

On his way back the vehicle was impounded by an official of the Rural District Council who said the letter was not an official permit. Mrs Makoni then got a letter from the head of the Forestry Commission for the CEO of the rural council but found that she could not give it to him directly - the letter had to pass through a hierarchy of officials before it would reach his desk.

The CEO is elusive and cannot be contacted directly.

Now the home is still without wood for cooking and when the residents need to go to hospital the only alternative is the ambulance service but there is no money for that.

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