The Ark Church supports the work of Peter and Salwa Ravensdale in Zambia. In Ndola, this includes the support of an orphanage that in which children who would otherwise be dead or used for prostitution, are fed and cared for. Here is a recent report from Salwa in Ndola.
A tiny baby boy was found abandoned and brought to the orphanage about 6 weeks ago, very malnourished. When I went in a few weeks ago, Sarah, the house mother, told me that she had named the baby after my brother, David, whom she’d met once before. And I was so encouraged to hear from her a few days ago that he has more than doubled his body weight in the 6 weeks that he’s been there, from just 2kg to 4.7kg. Isn’t that wonderful?
Another little girl named Melody was admitted into the orphanage at the end of last month. Her mother had died from TB, and her father, a gardener earning just 10 pounds a month, had been struggling to look after her. He finally admitted defeat, and when the home took her in, she was in a dreadful state, suffering from severe malnutrition. Her face and head resembled a skull, with sunken eyes; although, 14 months old, she could not sit up, but would flop over onto her face like a rag doll; her spine seemed to be curved; her skin, which should have been dark and glossy, was pale and pasty, and her hair was wispy and brown, instead of wiry, strong and black; she had a continuous cough, and was suffering from very bad diarrhea. After just two weeks at the orphanage, both the cough and the diarrhea have disappeared; her face has filled out beautifully, and her skin has taken on that wonderful African sheen; her hair is as it should be, and she is now able to sit up, unassisted. Although she is still quite weak and, if you hold her, she immediately allows her little head to flop against your shoulder, she is, nevertheless, making a wonderful recovery.
In addition, a little baby girl called Catherine, who has been there since February 2003, has finally started walking at the age of two and a half years! She, too, was malnourished and it has been a long, slow haul with her, but she has gained weight and strength, and Sarah puts it down to the healthy diet she has been receiving.
These children eat so much better than many other Zambian children: each day, in addition to their staple food of a mealie meal porridge called Nshima, they are given either meat, fish, chicken, pulses or groundnuts as well as vegetables and other foods. Formula milk is always available for the small babies and they no longer suffer losses among these little ones due to malnutrition, thanks to the help of donors such as yourselves. Some years ago, several babies died for lack of formula milk. These days, Sarah knows that, if they are in need of anything, she is able to call me and we will help wherever we can.
That’s what I want donors to realise: that their donations COUNT for something. The money they send has a very REAL effect and is the difference between life and death for these little ones.
Salwa Ravensdale - Zamaid
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