Harvesters Hands of Hope
Thanks to your gifts, Harvesters’ Hands of Hope project, established in the aftermath of the looting in South Africa, was able to respond swiftly. Within a matter of days, food was on its way to the Mboza region of KwaZulu-Natal Province.
Immediately the reports came in of very grateful individuals who had received provisions. So far, 80 families have been fed in the worst hit area, Jozini. Danie and Erika, who train Harvesters student pastors there, explained, “In our terms, a family is at the most 5 people. In their terms a family is anything between 10 to 15 people,” meaning even more needy people have been helped.
None of this would have been possible without your generous support. The cost of a food parcel for a family of 5 (although often shared with more), costs £15/R280/US$20. That small price provides enough food for around ten days.
There’s Nothing Left
This is not a simple matter of a few shops being robbed. ATMs and other fixtures have been hauled out of walls. Entire shopping malls resemble construction sites. Buildings have been set alight and residential areas have been attacked. The whole region is lacking resources that have been destroyed or stolen.
Roads have been shut, cutting off supply chains. Proof of residence is now required for purchases and “if you don’t live in the area where there is a shop, the check points don’t allow you through,” explain Danie and Erika. People feel isolated, vulnerable and helpless.
“Nothing is left!” they report. “Massmart, a major shopping centre, and Affrox, a gas store, are up in flames. People are queueing for food, and friends of ours that own a little Kwikspar had to turn appropriately 400 people away. They ordered food and they’ve had to organise security to protect the truck coming in.”
Shops that have supplies are implementing a ‘take only what you can carry’ system. No cars allowed. People are queueing for hours and yet when it’s their turn, there’s nothing left.
Not Over Yet
The aftershock of the frenzy will reverberate for a long time to come. Expectedly, product prices have shot through the roof, making basic food items “totally unaffordable” for the second poorest area in South Africa.
“Something that is heavily on my heart is that a lot of business owners are not going to rebuild,” reflects Erika. “Please pray for them as well. The estimated job losses so far for KwaZulu-Natal are approximately 20,000.”
A Widow’s Pain
All of this comes on top of South Africa’s present third wave of Covid-19. One poor widow lost her grandson to Covid in the middle of the looting. Days later, her first born also passed away from the virus!
“Yesterday she received food parcels,” reports Danie. “Her gratitude was intensely touching as she had family that came to support her and could now feed them. A little bit of kindness and care brought some comfort and hope for this widow as she saw the manifestation of Jesus in action.”
The Light is Stronger than the Darkness
A small percentage caused the chaos felt by everyone. Yet, the South African community spirit is growing higher and louder. “It is absolutely incredible how communities are coming together, exchanging goods and as far as possible protecting one another,” observe Danie and Erika. “In many areas clean up teams have started to clear the rubbish. Trading has become active with ‘I swap you 6 eggs for two toilet rolls.’ Communities are closer than ever.”
Thanks to you, Harvesters Hands of Hope is also providing some relief. Your gift today will make a difference. Prayerfully consider giving:
£15/R280/US$20 to feed a family of 5 for 10 days.
£30/R560/US$40 to feed two families
£45/R840/US$60 to feed three families.
Update 3rd August 2021
A further seven tons of food (including maize, rice, oil, soya mince, soup, sugar, tins of fish, soap and potato chips for the children) was delivered to the Jonzini Mboza area in the last few days. All thanks to the generous giving of our Harvesters friends around the world who helped project Hands of Hope SA to respond to this crisis. Together with the first delivery described above, around 2000 people have been fed!
The shock is starting to sink in for people. “We encountered a different atmosphere than ever before,” described Erika and Danie. “Some great excitement, some just completely speechless and then those that burst out in tears. Life here on the border of Mozambique and Swaziland is hard, and you seldom find an African woman crying. They are exposed to so much in life that they have become quite resilient.”
“We focused very much on the elderly, orphans and disabled. We want to thank everyone for their contribution in giving,” they said. “The churches are incredibly grateful and they know exactly who needed the food the most in the communities.”
“With the second food run I have realised looking at the response time, that the first round was really a miracle,” reflected Beyers, the Regional Director for Southern Africa. “With the second round we faced many obstacles. We are very grateful for all the donations that Harvesters received to make this possible.”