Thursday, March 26, 2009

Lutheran AIDS Widows & Orphans in Kenya Need a Home

Who are the widows?
Think about the widows in your congregation. There are many, who in the midst of their sorrow and loneliness cling to the Word of God and the fellowship of your church. They are kind. They can be stoic and yet compassionate. Now let me ask you a question?

When you thought about your church's widows, how old were they?

For the most part, I'll bet they were... well, let's say over 55? There are those few who are younger, rarely with 5-10 children to care for, right?

Who are the Widow in Kenya?
$800 Will Build a New Home for a Suffering Widow

In Kenya, as with most Sub-Saharan Africa countries, the widows are young, 20 -40 years old. It goes like this. A wife notices her husband is losing weight and the alarm sounds. It means he is "sick." The word "sick" is a reference to AIDS, which causes extreme weight loss and eventually kills the bearer. She knows that soon she will be alone and will need to raise her children alone. Most families have at least 3 children of their own and are already caring for other family members children who died of AIDS.

However, this means that she, too, "might" get sick and die. Then what?

Her husband, if he was fortunate, earned $1 a day. She doesn't have a job. Eventually, after her husband dies, she too, will begin to lose weight.

Too often, parents die by the age of 30. Then, other family members step in and try to raise the orphans.

And chances are, her children are also infected with HIV.

AIDS is now taking its toll on her and other diseases creep in, usually malaria, and her body, because of HIV, can do nothing to stop any kind of illness, even a cold. A sneeze and cough is likely to kill her.

She gets sicker and weaker. She is so weak, she can't even get herselft to a medical clinic or a doctor. If somehow she does get help, she could end up in a state hospital, there she will share - NOT A ROOM - BUT A BED with one or two other women.

Friends of Mercy, in partnership with Pr. Dennis and Deaconess Lorna Meeker, provides funds to help these women in this devastating and heart breaking circumstance. The Meekers seek out AIDS widows of the community and especially the Lutheran churches and provide help. They will provide anything from medical assistance, to food, to education, and even funds for the local church to build a home for her.

Because the widows are raising so many children and are sick, their mud-dung homes quickly fall into disrepair. The annual rains wash away portions of the mud walls and the thatch roof deteriorates on a daily basis.

When Friends of Mercy provides funds to build a home for an AIDS widow, we provide enough funds to build her new home with a tin roof, which protects the walls better than the grass roof. In turn, the walls don't deteriorate so quickly.