Zimbabwe needs your help.
Mrs. Scribe is participating in 6-Word Saturday today. This morning, we have a life-or-death message for you.
Mozi Esmé's Mommy sponsored Operation Love Zimbabwe in February. As part of an outreach & fundraising campaign to help this destitute African nation, she hosted a series of giveaways. Mrs. Scribe is more than humbled to be the recipient of the Shona Stone Carving, pictured above with Mozi Esmé, which is a symbol of what family means to the people of Zimbabwe.
Mozi Esmé and her family are humanitarian aid workers in Mozambique, one of Zimbabwe's neighbors. After their stint with Maranatha Volunteers ends, they will be headed to Mutare, Zimbabwe, to work at an orphanage there. Because Mozi Esmé's family feels so close to the Zimbabwean crisis, her Mom decided to launch Operation Love Zimbabwe.
A recap of the dire situation in this East-African nation, taken from Mozi Esmé's blog:
Not much more than a decade ago, Zimbabwe was known as the bread basket of the region. It produced enough food to feed not only its own people, but those of other countries as well.
A lot can happen in a decade. Today, Zimbabwe is a basket case.
Robert Mugabe, of the ZANU-PF party, became prime minister of Zimbabwe following independence from British rule in 1980. In the early 1990s, as neighboring South Africa was approaching its first democratic election and Mozambique was in peace negotiations at the end of its civil war, Zimbabwe began a downward spiral.
In 1997, Mugabe announced a land redistribution program, taking productive farmland and dividing it among landless blacks. Due to protests, the government backed down, but in 2000 government-backed militias began violently occupying white-owned farms.
Allegations of voter intimidation tainted the 2002 election. which left Mugabe in power. In 2008, inspite of voter intimidation, Mugabe had only 43.2 percent of the vote. Yet Mugabe is still running the country.
Zimbabwe is in the middle of social and economic collapse. State-sponsored terror and anarchy is rampant. The downward spiral continues to exceed worst expectations. And it seems very little is being done to stop the madness.
Inflation. In December, Zimbabwe's annual inflation rate was reported to be 516 quintillion percent. Think 18 zeros. In most minds, including mine, that's unfathomable - kind of like infinity. Consumer prices are doubling on average every 1.3 days. That means you've got a lot of starving billionaires.
Life Expectancy. At 37 years for men and 34 for women, Zimbabwe's life expectancy is the lowest in the world. Infant mortality has doubled since 1990.
Starvation. Seven million Zimbabweans are in need of food aid, up from 5.1 million last June. But food aid is actually in decline, thanks to the multiplying problems facing aid providers in Zimbabwe. Donations to food programs are down around the globe. And all indications are that next year's harvest will be worst than the last, resulting in even more need.
Health System. Hospitals have been shutting down due to lack medical supplies and personnel. People are dying for illnesses that aren't supposed to be fatal. With a box of latex gloves costing the equivalent of US$500 at times, there is little available to combat the current cholera epidemic, which was killed well over 3,000 people so far. The collapse of the country's water and sanitation systems hasn't helped.
AIDS. Even with the cholera epidemic, AIDS remains the biggest killer. The 2005 UNICEF statistics put the HIV prevalence rate at 20.1%. As one doctor puts it, "people are dying of AIDS before they can starve to death." And the number of AIDS orphans increases.
Education. The start of the 2009 school year has been officially postponed, as there are no teachers willing to work. A teacher's monthly salary in December was US$1, about the cost for bus fare to get him or her to work one day. And so dwindles the hope for Zimbabwe's future.
How you, Dear Readers, can help the people of Zimbabwe:
Donate Money. There are many great humanitarian organizations working in Zimbabwe. Click here for a list of relief organizations and U.N. agencies working in the Zimbabwe crisis.
Volunteer Your Time. Many of these same organizations are looking for volunteers, too. They may need them in Zimbabwe, or they may be looking for remote assistance.
Write to Your Government Representatives. If you are a citizen of a free country, consider expressing your concerns to your government representatives. Pressure from outside countries can make a difference. For information on who to write and what to say, US citizens can check out Christian Solidarity Worldwide's website.
Light a Candle. See the earlier post on this.
Pray. God is ultimately in control here. "For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him." Colossians 1:16
Zimbabwe is running out of time. Whatever you can do, no matter how small, can make a difference. We need to act. Now.