NEW RESPONSIBILITIES OF GRANDPARENTS IN MILANGE
From my work experience at the Milange District Hospital, I have accompanied many cases of children who lose their mother before the age of one year due to various diseases or complications of childbirth, which if they had arrived in time could have saved their lives. But long distances, difficult and impassable roads especially in rainy weather easily lead to traditional treatment and delay in getting to the hospital. That is why many times it is our car which serves as an ambulance to take pregnant women to the hospital.
Since 2017, we accompany grandparents/grandmothers and some great-grandmothers with small babies in their arms: milk, enriched flour, clothes, weight control, vaccinations, care of the little ones and documentation. The parents, according to tradition, leave the children with the woman’s family and go on to form another family, leaving the little ones orphaned of father and mother. It is important to note that many children are not registered, so it is as if they did not exist.
The families of these children arrive monthly at the Dominican Missionary Sisters’ home and form a support group where each one shares their experience, difficulties, and joys in the care of the little ones, thus forming the support group “Banja Achimuemue” (Happy Family). They join this group voluntarily after the children are discharged. The Banja Achimuemue group carries out the following activities:
- Welcomes all the families of the orphaned children and twins, encourages and accompanies them in the difficulties that the families feel. They identify family or health problems, and together with the person in charge of the program, they channel them to the different institutions or local authorities: Social Action, Hospital, Civil Registry, Education, etc.
- They visit families with social difficulties to better understand their reality and thus we can give a better response.
- They prepare flour enriched with soy, peanuts and corn, for malnourished children (which unfortunately are many in the first months of the year) and teach them how to prepare it.
- They collaborate and promote festive gatherings on special days: Christmas, Children’s Day, etc. These meetings are a great joy for the children and the grandparents. On the one hand the children enjoy games of their own age, and the grandparents dance traditional dances. On such occasions, they have fun, and they share meal together.
- They work together to grow corn, beans and sweet potato to get food for their grandchildren.
In this year 2023 they are working much more and many times with the children on their backs, the corn was almost ready to be harvested, the intense tropical storms, generated by the cyclone Fredy, which affected the province of Zambézia, destroyed the plantations, bridges, houses, etc, leaving a great sadness. But the group is not discouraged, when the rains passed, they restarted again the work of preparing the land with the hope of having some product in the second season.
We started the meetings under the trees, but thanks to the support of generous people we now have a cozy place. We still prepare the enriched flours under the trees, but we have hope that better days will come.
We feel that God is walking with us, his presence encourages us to overcome the many difficulties we encounter along the way and to continue striving every day. We thank God for the journey made by this group, for His presence in this experience. Thank you very much!
Sister Fanny Caiza