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Evans’ mum is a Sheila, but that’s where the similarities end

World Vision
15 August 2013 by Mike Amos
Evans’ mum is a Sheila, but that’s where the similarities end

World Vision videographer Mike Amos chats to children in Zimbabwe who are benefiting from World Vision's food aid program.

Stories stay with you for different reasons. Sometimes the reason you initially remember a story is pretty shallow, like a name. In this case, it was Sheila – a very Aussie name!

Late last year I was in Zimbabwe to gather stories, videos and photos of families who had benefited from food aid distribution.

In the rural community of Nkayi, we met and filmed Sheila, a single mother with four children and very little food trying to keep her family healthy. For the past seven years of drought her crops had failed. But still they kept planting…and hoping. Sheila pointed to the cloudless sky – if there were no rains that month, the crop would fail once again.

Zimbabwe is a country of nearly 13 million, where over 1.6 million people are HIV positive. Sheila is one of them. Life is already hard enough without this extra burden.

Sheila’s middle child, Evans, is a sweet boy who loves school and dreams of becoming a bus driver when he’s older; he likes the uniform. I remember thinking the same thing when I was a boy.

Evans and his younger cousin like to play soccer with the discarded plastic bags they fold together to make a ball. Here they are playing with their dog Cheetah:

Evans and Nigel with Cheetah

I have two sons approaching the same age of these boys. They have a soccer ball and plenty of food.

This is when it hits home. Evans might be just a normal kid, but he has a very adult problem. Evans is HIV positive. He’s getting medication but he needs to take it on a full stomach, which makes the food aid even more essential.

The food aid World Vision provides keeps people like Sheila and Evan going while other projects focus on the community’s access to markets, clean water, health services and schools.

Evans’ school is a simple building with a blackboard, desks and passionate teachers who know that education is one of the keys to unlocking the cycle of poverty. Quite often when in a classroom of children I will ask them if they know any songs. They might start singing a song in English that they’ve learnt in school. I then ask them to sing a traditional song, one learnt at home. They always come out with something amazing! Take a listen.

When you get home from trips like this, perspective settles in even more. My boys have more than they will ever need in life. They never go hungry or face the risk of malnutrition or malaria. They are lucky and I hope they someday have the gratitude I have now in life.

Cheers Sheila.

World Vision partners with the United Nations World Food Programme and the local communities there to distribute food fairly, safely and regularly to those who wouldn’t survive without it. Through this partnership and our Multiplying Gift Appeal we’re able to feed many more people for less money – and also support them to get back on their feet through food for work programs.

Mike Amos

Mike Amos is a cinematographer, photographer and communicator for World Vision Australia.

 

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