HIV/AIDS has created a trail of destruction in Africa, and many adults have died because of the disease. Left behind are orphaned children…young, struggling to survive, and in many cases, carrying the responsibility of parenting younger siblings.
But there is hope, thanks to passionate volunteers like CHI’s Deanna Curry, RN, and her husband, Jim. In August 2012, the couple spent three weeks working in Zimbabwe as volunteers with Strong Cross Ranch, a faith-based nonprofit organization that provides spiritual reconciliation and humanitarian relief to impoverished areas throughout the world.
“Zimbabwe is a very poor country with little infrastructure,” explains Deanna. “Roads are bad, and electricity and water supply systems – where they exist – work just some of the time. It is difficult to deliver relief and supplies.”
The couple spent much of their time in Zimbabwe delivering supplies, including items from baby clothes and formula to soccer balls, to four orphanages. They delivered medical supplies to Eden Children’s Village Herbal Medical Clinic in the city of Doma.
“It provides housing, education and medical services to more than 200 children in rural Zimbabwe,” said Deanna. “Eden Village’s registered nurse is certified in herbal medicines. The clinic provides herbal remedies for burns, pain and infections associated with HIV.” The orphanage also feeds hundreds of people every day from its orchards, farm fields, chickens and cattle.
Now, Deanna and Jim continue to serve by collecting donated items to fill cargo containers that are shipped to Eden Village twice each year.
“Our trash is their treasure,” said Deanna. She rounded up a 15-man tent that now serves as Eden Village’s mobile medical clinic. Throw-away items like empty medicine bottles hold the locally produced herbal medicine, and egg cartons are used to distribute eggs produced by the Eden Village chickens.
Deanna’s passion has even spilled over to her coworkers, who have participated in donating items, too.
“Our team at CHI donated more than 100 aprons after a team-building retreat and cooking exercise last fall,” said Deanna. “Everyone gave me the aprons we used in the exercise for Zimbabwe. When a mom brings a baby in for wellness checks and to participate in feeding programs, she receives an apron. A simple item like an apron is a luxury there.”
Deanna and Jim feel that God has led them to align with Strong Cross Ranch and to serve the poor in our world. They plan to return to Africa for a month in spring 2014.
“There is great work being done in Africa, but the needs are vast,” said Deanna.