Towards the end of November 2020, Dorcas was feeling unwell so she went to a local clinic and then the hospital – both places sent her away as there were no doctors working. She then suffered a suspected stroke and her family contacted us to tell us what had happened. Kathy took her to a private doctor who confirmed she has had a mild stroke and prescribed the medication she needed and they discussed what could be done for her moving forward.
Getting the medical care you need can be very expensive in Zimbabwe and costs can quickly escalate. The majority of the population of Zim don’t have ‘savings’ so when unexpected (or even expected) medical expenses arise it is very difficult to know what to do. Family members, friends and Church congregations are all called on to see if anyone can help and Zimbabweans are great at rallying together – but often this still isn’t enough. This is why we have an Emergency Fund at Gogo Olive – if any of our ladies find themselves in a situation where they have expenses they can’t meet (this is not just for medical expenses) they can come to us and together we will work out the best way to move forward. Sometimes we will offer them an interest free loan, other times we will pay for part of the expense and give then a loan for the other part or we will cover the complete expense. Sometimes there isn’t time to look into all the options…the need is time sensitive and the decision to help needs to be made quickly!
Dorcas’ situation was identified as one where we felt we should meet the cost of all her treatment, especially as it was unclear if she would be able to return to knitting. Around the same time as Dorcas had her stroke, Hume Sweet Hume, a knitwear company based in Orkney, started making ‘Peedie Pebble Penguins’ (penguins look for the perfect pebble to give to their loved ones!) that their customers could take from the Christmas tree in their shop and make a donation to Gogo Olive. I told them Dorcas’ story and they were eager that these donations go towards her expenses. So, they did!
The donations were used to pay for her doctors appointments and medication, a wheelchair and physiotherapy. Dorcas and her family were so grateful, they felt quite overwhelmed as they would never have been able to meet these costs themselves. It gave them hope in a dark time and a positive plan to give Dorcas the best recovery possible. After these donations were used up, we were planning to go to our Emergency Fund to access money so Dorcas’ physiotherapy could continue. We were encouraged to hear that she was making good progress and was able to walk again, although progress was slow. We had sharded her story on the newsletter we send out (let me know on firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to be added to our mailing list) and we were so encouraged when someone offered to cover all her physio costs!! Leaving the money in the Emergency Fund to be available for the next time it is needed.
We continue to be blown away and humbled by the generosity and faithfulness of our supporters – thank you! Dorcas is continuing to improve and it looks like she will be able to return to knitting soon. She has been crocheting mats as she finds this easier but is almost ready to pick up her knitting needles again! We are so thankful for her life and the progress she is making x