We're including excerpts from a recent email Paula sent:
- Most hospitals have closed down, including Parirenyatwa in Harare, and Harare Hospital, and I'm sure the main ones in Bulawayo and other towns, and here in Mutare as well- only responding to extreme emergencies, as no meds, lack of staff, no food for the patients, etc.
- Strokes, malaria, broken bones, gunshot wounds, flu, diarrhea, burns (unless very serious) etc. are not now emergencies. What is still an emergency is fetal distress, or complicated pregnancies, heart attacks, cerebral malaria (if patient unconscious), asthma, and insulin dependent diabetics if no med available. Yesterday one of our drivers came in with an unconscious stroke patient. This isn't an emergency so they had to take them back!
- Alex was rather in a state of shock when he saw this baby boy near death from starvation in the hospital. He died yesterday. Last night another lady died of a lack of food, AIDS, pneumonia, etc. and there are many more. We had given Mahewu (this nutrition drink to some of the hungry at the hospital. We are no longer allowed to do so.
- Food is extremely scarce. I can look at our own workers and see how many have lost weight. When I returned from the U.S. one came to me crying. She and her 7 children had no food that day or the day before.
- Australia and others are trying to do all possible to assist with food, and we are now requesting no luxury food at all, but to increase as much as money allows for mealie meal, flour, oil, soap, beans and soy chunks, as well as dried milk and formula. Luxury items like jam, sweets and chips for the kids are now an extreme luxury when they don't have the basics to eat.
- The exchange rate doubled again during the past week, causing prices to more than double once again. No x-ray film to be had. I'm going to try to contact someone that goes to S. Africa to see if we can source it.
- Lest this sounds 100% negative there are bright spots. We managed to source enough food locally by going to some rather extreme measures to provide our now approx. 300 workers (this includes the ones gathering leaves, village health workers, home care givers, drivers, guards, orphanage workers, etc.) More and more people are of course flocking every day.
- There is so much that needs to be done to maximize the survival, but the powers that be are making things extremely difficult. I went out with Alex to our fields and gardens and of course discovered that the workers hadn't done what I told them about treating the maize plants so even though we are growing maize it won't be a good crop. A volunteer knowledgeable about agriculture needs to be there at all times. I've explained to Alex what needs to be done, but even he can't be there all the time. There is a young man that was working here in town in the yard while going to school and he has been going to agriculture school and I'm sending him out as his exams have been postponed. Someone with this skill and a mechanic are our most urgent needs, and of course a nurse or two.
- I wanted to say a lot more but the battery is almost down and no power, so will close and send this when I can. This time of day it is impossible, especially with what is currently going on. If any of you want to know more go on the web for Zimbabwe Situation.
Blessings to all of you as we face this uncertain future. Love, Paula
We often get questions about how people can help, so we are including a link here to Paula's website, where you can find more information on donating or contacting her.
Update: Someone just sent us a link to another article about Paula.