Teresa was scheduled to go back to the States in February on the invitation of Cheri McDaniel in Baton Rouge.
Cheri, a major donor to Kudvumisa Foundation, invited Teresa for a book dedication of Cheri’s most recently published book “Descending toward Darkness: Illuminated by Faith”. She was able to spend time in Louisiana, North Carolina and Maryland before the window closed to return to Eswatini.
South Africa and Eswatini both closed their borders to anyone coming from “high risk” countries (or even carrying their passports). So Teresa finds herself stuck in Baltimore. The silver lining is she gets to stay with our oldest and youngest daughters there. So Daran chose to stay in Eswatini and is now “stuck” there anyway. Daran felt it necessary to stay with and be available for the people that we work with so that they can continue to bring care to the communities that we work in. Our second daughter Danielle, is here as well with him. She continues working at Healing Place Church Eswatini. Though things have changed dramatically here as all gatherings over 20 people have been banned. So churches here are going online as well. Daran will continue to oversee the medical outreach and economic development projects while trying to keep some sort of “social distancing”. So Daran and Teresa will spend (an indeterminate amount of) time, split between the US and Eswatini.
Sarah, an American volunteer here for several years now, was able to fly out from Eswatini after being blocked at the border in transit to the airport, before the last Delta flight to the US. Jessie, our volunteer nurse manager has also chosen to stay on here. She’ll be self-isolating as best she can as well.
Jessie will continue to oversee and manage the health care outreach of Kudvumisa: balancing our outreach services and community access to care with the safety of our staff out in the communities. We will all try to work remotely as much as possible.
The coronavirus has not had a significant health impact here in Eswatini yet. It is only beginning to have a social impact as the country moves to protect itself. Eswatini is one of the many developing countries who have an extremely ill prepared (and under prioritized) health care system. Add poverty and isolation and many communities cannot even access the minimal care which is available. This is precisely why Kudvumisa Foundation has strived for the past decade to provide access to care in these communities. We will continue as best we are able.
The government hospitals do not having access to critical protective supplies for the government nurses to provide care or protect themselves. We are doing our best to make sure our nurses have protective equipment to keep them safe while they continue to work in the communities.
The country is on “lockdown” starting Friday. We need your prayers.