Traveling to Chingazi Rural hospital in Thyolo was quite a challenge for sick people as they were carried on make-shift stretchers made from trees or if lucky they would travel in the back of a pick-up meant to carry goods.
It was even more of a hassle for expectant mothers whom because of transportation difficulties could sometimes deliver their babies along the way putting them at risk.
The area like others in Malawi has not been spared of various problems including caring for the elderly, some of which are forced to become parents again nursing and raising orphaned grand-children.
Two ambulances donated
These are some of the reasons hospital staff and patients at Chingazi Rural hospital and the elderly in the area were all smiles when Youth 4the Elderly donated two ambulances sourced from the De Ruiter and Hoogenraad families in Holland and blankets sponsored by foundation www.shadrachmaloka.nl.
Gladson Monjeza, the Acting Hospital-in-Charge was grateful for the donation explaining how it would ease transportation difficulties in the area and assist patients rush to the hospital on time so that they can get treatment for their diseases.
Group Village heads Mangazi and Mitabali also explained how their subjects would benefit from the ambulance bicycles and how one would be kept at the hospital and the other with the chief.
In her remarks, Grace Mbendera of Youth 4the Elderly explained how the youth can make a difference in society by helping less privileged groups like the elderly and the sick.
Taking care of them
She bemoaned tendencies of some labeling old people like witches (afiti) saying it is wrong and harassment. Grace appealed to villagers not to be cruel to the elderly but to love and take care of them.
She also observed how grannies take care of orphans and other children as well and therefore deserve respect. Grace aged 24 and born into a family of two children; was raised by her mother Doreen Mbendera who is the District Youth Officer in Thyolo after her father died in 1999.
Her mother instilled in her a spirit of hard-work and love for the youth and this determination continues in Youth 4theElderly.