The Western Cape Synods of the Dutch Reformed Church and the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa intend to create some “centers of hope” for Zimbabwe. Following a fact-finding trip by Kobus Odendaal of the churches’ combined Commission for Witness and Action, the churches said they want especially to focus on emergency funds to keep some hospitals and schools open.
Odendaal reported that the 20 church-supported hospitals in Zimbabwe are about the only places left where basic medical care is offered. Zimbabwe dollars, however, are practically worthless for the purchase of food and medicine. Odendaal observed that people traveled hundreds of miles to get to the hospital at Morgenster, which is run by the Reformed Church in Zimbabwe. He pledged funds to restore the pump at the well and to get the hospital’s ambulance working again.
Odendaal noted that there has been widespread publicity about the country’s cholera epidemic, but that is just one sign of the damage created by the financial crisis there. He noted that U.S. dollars and South African rand are the two main currencies now used in Zimbabwe’s marketplaces. “Teachers have refused to teach unless they are paid in foreign currency,” he reported.