The Bonde Family: A World AIDS Day Story Highlight
The story of Mr. and Mrs. Bonde of the Chivhaku village of the Buhera District in Manicaland, Zimbabwe chronicles a family twelve, and their battle with one of Africa’s deadliest pandemics: HIV/AIDS. On World AIDS Day – December 1, 2007-- Africare looks into the lives of two parents as they care for the health and well being of two chronically ill children and an extended family of eight under Africare’s Nutrition on Wheels Program.
“I have a large family of 12,” begins Mrs. Bonde of ward 10 in Buheara. “My husband who is 65 is too old to work. I have two chronically ill children: Kidwell, age 30, and Stella, age 33, and take care of their families as well.”
It was only recently the Bonde family became a large unit of 12. Mrs. Bonde’s son, Kidwell, married and with two children (a boy and a girl aged 6 and 4 respectively), returned home to his mother in 2004. He developed an unremitting illness that rendered him bed bound for almost one year. The little resources the family had were diverted toward his treatment.
Fate struck the Bonde family again when Kidwell’s sister, Stella, a widow with two children, was diagnosed HIV positive. She was forced to return home to her family after her husband’s death in 2006.
In a matter of two years Mr. and Mrs. Bonde became the new caretakers of ten close relatives with no dramatic shift in income or resources to care for them. The Bonde’s were heart broken as they nursed their son and daughter who were both faced with imminent death. Their children were growing weaker by the day without proper nutrition to fuel their bodies, and it seemed clear they would have to look out for the future of their grandchildren.
On the surface, the Bonde family had more odds working against them than opportunities to succeed. Still, this family of 12 managed to provide food, shelter and a limited income for each family member; largely on the shoulders of Mrs. Bonde who herself looked to a food aid program under Africare/Zimbabwe to meet the daily needs of her family.
“I am really grateful for the food aid support that I am receiving,” says Mrs. Bonde. “Our harvest this year did not last us two months. We did not have enough inputs to plant on our 2 hectare piece of land. The little that we planted was severely affected by the dry spell.”
In February 2005, the family was registered for the Nutrition on Wheels Program under an Africare/World Food collaboration that targets individuals who require home based care and/or children that have been orphaned and are considered vulnerable as a result of HIV/AIDS. The Bonde’s are receiving a monthly food ration that consists of Cereals, Pulses, Vegetable oil and a corn Soya blend to meet their nutritional needs. Commodities the family found it hard to secure under a failing harvest and limited income. Since being identified for the program, the Bonde’s have been able to divert their attention and resources to more important matters: the health and well being of their children and grandchildren.
A combination of treatment and nutrition has enabled Kidwell to regain his mobility. He now engages in gardening, brick molding and many other livelihood activities to support his family. Stella, who was also house bound, is now able to walk around and do light household chores. Additionally, the Bonde’s are able to invest in the education of their grandchildren, ending them each to school with money freed up from the provision of food.
Monthly food rations through Africare/Zimbabwe’s Nutrition on Wheels Program has given the Bonde family the ‘break’ they needed to take life back into their own hands. The family has since been able to launch a new income-generating business, provide a nutritional meal for a family of 12, nurse their chidren’s failing health, and give their grandchildren an the opportunity to receive an education. Their story is one of thousands. More than 80,000 beneficiaries in the Buhera District have been touched by the Nutrition on Wheels Program since 2004.
Africare is a leader in development assistance and humanitarian aid to
. Over its 37-year history, Africare has delivered more than $675 million in assistance—representing over 2,000 projects and millions of beneficiaries—to 36 countries Africa-wide. Today, Africare’s 150-plus programs reach families and communities in 25 nations in every region of Sub-Saharan Africa.