This week saw us reach one year under lockdown for South Africans. We have run many outreaches over the course of this time, to the hungry, destitute and disenfranchised. We asked Ntsoaki, an Impophomo coordinator, what outreach held the most impact for her over the last year? Here’s what she had to say:
It was brought to our attention that a large number of pregnant women and women with children were at the traffic lights near NPCC.
I took a drive through Bellairs drive to Olivedale hospital, I saw that each robot had 10 to 15 women with children, some pregnant. I was so moved that these women were so desperate to stand with their children there. One pregnant woman was so weak she could hardly stand up. So Impophomo together with NPCC decided to do something about this.
43 tickets numbered were given out at only two robots, mainly to women with toddlers, babies and pregnant moms. All are foreign nationals, so they don’t qualify for social grants or any government support. Tickets were given on Wednesday and distribution at the church took place on the very next day in the parking lot.
Every single ticket came back, with a few more (over 15) trying to get food packs.
Northpoint community generously donated clothes, toys, food packs. All donated clothes were sorted in piles in men’s, women’s and children. We then sorted each pile in different age groups and sizes. They were then packed in sets of 3 sets of tops, pants, and 3 pairs of shoes. Plus age appropriate toys.
When the women came, they were ticked off the list, filled in a form with full details and size and family members and ages. Then fill in the details, name, address, (most didn’t have addresses or id numbers) plus cell phone numbers. The gospel was shared, and they were prayed for.
Being able to reach out to a pregnant mom out there, and the ones with little children – no one in their right mind will stand at the robot begging, they were so desperate that they took the chance and put themselves in danger so they can feed their families. To me it was the place for them to be seen and heard, some were holding signs asking for any domestic jobs.
I don’t know what it feels like to be pregnant and hungry, or how it would affect the unborn child. And other children. I could see a lack of nutrition in these children, and as a mom, I cannot even imagine watching my child go hungry.
We think we’re struggling, yet you look at these hungry and desperate moms, and I realised how privileged I am.
It made me emotional – some emotions came out that I never knew I had. One thing that I know is that it didn’t bring that much joy to me because there are so many more out there. The reality is we don’t have the resources to help everyone, but still, for the 43 moms, it made a huge difference and that is what matters.
I remember Debbie and I had a conversation about asking them to come with someone to help but the complex rules are limiting so I said we won’t ask them to bring someone to help them carry – they can do it themselves. The reality was very humbling. Seeing a pregnant, hungry woman with a baby on her back carrying a 22kg bag of food and a large bag of clothes and toys, shows me how harsh I was in my judgement (if needy they’ll make a plan), and showed me how incredibly strong women are.
Words and tears.