When I write this newsletter it is already May. Yesterday 16-05-2020 it was a day of doing washing again, as usual on a Saturday morning and yes, as you can see in the picture, I just do the laundry by hand! No washing machine, I just use my left and right hand. Fortunately, the weather here is so sunny that the laundry dries quite quickly. It was a Saturday that may seem like every Saturday, but that’s definitely not the case anymore. The same as with you, no matter where you are in the world.
The corona virus. For a long time I have been able to observe from a distance how the numbers of infected people went up in Western countries. In Zambia on the 18th of we had our first 2 cases. Travelers who had been on vacation to France. It has been fairly quiet for a long time, but since this week the numbers are going up quickly. Over here we cannot escape from it either.
New things to do
At the end of March, the OM organization, which I work for, decided to go into ‘Lock Down’. The government had already decided that all schools should be closed, so that also meant that our schools, training and activities had to be discontinued. Of course we don’t know how the situation will develop and it is wise to keep everyone safe and healthy. But over here it is also a strange situation.
Initially it did not effect me so much, as I could just continue developing and adjusting the training that I had done earlier this year and working on all the other ideas which are there to possibly set up in the future. It wasn’t until several volunteers were brought back by their “home country” when the question also arose with me; “what am I doing, will I go back to the Netherlands?”. But it soon became clear to me; “I will stay here!”. I couldn’t and didn’t want to leave my African friends and colleagues behind because I am able to get much better care in the Netherlands when I would get the virus.
Mouth Masks | Face Masks
Together with my housemate I came to the conclusion that we should do “something” in this situation. She works with disabled children from the poorer neighborhoods and during this crisis they are also unable to go to daycare or school. In other countries, more and more they made use of re-usable fabric mouth masks and this gave me the idea to raise money to also make fabric mouth masks and to distribute them in different places. Along with bars of soap. Soap is scarce here in Zambia, people have no money for it and in this crisis soap is so much needed, along with the mouth masks!
Raising support via Facebook and WhatsApp already brought some necessary funds, of which I have had 2000 masks made by the women of the Skills and Development Center! They receive a fee for each mask they make and they are so thankful that they can do something in this situation, earn money and even get more experience on the sewing machine! Since then, this project has kept me busy 7 days a week from early in the morning until late at night (yes, also on Sunday’s). I am very tired, but now that everything is up and running I can slow down ‘a bit’ and that is really necessary.
In addition to have the mouth masks produced, I made a whole description and I made videos with the media team on how to make the masks, so that this can also be explained in other places in Zambia, Africa and other places in the world so that people themselves can make their own masks!
Covid-19 Response Team
A Covid-19 Response Team has been established to visit churches and distribute soap and masks. In addition, there are also a number of Bibles available to give away.
During the church visits, all are sensitized on how to behave during this Covid-19 pandemic, the women are explained how to make the mouth masks themselves and the men are taught how to hold a DBS (Discovery Bible Study). This makes “being a church” possible in a different way today.
Visiting the Mayor
To ask permission to visit the different churches and neighborhoods, we visited the mayor. He was immediately super enthusiastic and from this visit various activities emerged! We were guests at a meeting where the usefulness of good and safe mouth masks was explained, I was asked for advice regarding an official production of mouth masks and I can currently also can be heard, together with one of my colleagues, 4 times a week on 3 different radio stations. We have been asked by the local “GGD” to spread the importance of wearing good mouth masks, how to use them, sensitization on the Covid-19 behavior and the great thing is, we can weave the gospel into our conversations !!!
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…”.
At this point, I would like to specifically ask you for a donation for this particular mouth mask project.
For € 25 we can make around 40 mouth masks and distribute them to the vulnerable! Do you also help?
1] Via Jannie’s personal bank account **
This way Jannie has immediate access to the money that comes in, which means that your donation is converted into materials and support for the seamstresses as soon as possible!
You can transfer the amount to the following account number NL43RABO0346142229 in the name of. J. Dijkstra mentioning Covid-19 Mouth Mask prod. BIC code needed is RABONL2U (or RABONL2UXXX)
2] Via Operation Mobilization **
You can also transfer your amount to the organization into Bank account NL13 RABO 0114 2329 38 in the name of Operation Mobilization mentioning COVID-19 Response Zambia KMP-0001802561 MouthMasks. BIC code needed is RABONL2U (or RABONL2UXXX). This way it takes a while before Jannie can have access to the money.
What’s my story again?
Through the mission organization Operation Mobilization I will go and work in Zambia and Africa to give the women Hope and Recovery through lessons in sewing, pattern drawing and Bible study. In addition, I will also coach them and provide pastoral assistance. My salary consists entirely of financial donations. In this newsletter I share with you what happens in my work and life.
Any questions, remarks, want to know more? Feel free to contact me!
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