Visits to Mthatha and Queenstown
Johan Viljoen reports on the visit to the Diocese of Mthatha on Tuesday 25 September and Wednesday 26 September to monitor the orphan housing project. It was the first visit to Mthatha by SACBC AIDS Office since the inception of the project. I was hosted by Catholic Development Centre (CDC). There were previously, most as a result of poor communication between CDC and SACBC AiDS Office. The Diocese also experienced logistical problems – building material was not delivered for more than four weeks after it had been ordered and paid for. CDC is now making use of a new building material supplier, who is cheaper and more cooperative. New beneficiaries have been identified in areas closer to Mthatha, thereby reducing the cost of transport. The Diocese has already completed five houses. Of the five, I visited three. The houses are of very high quality, painted inside and outside, with strong wooden doors. The Diocese has been given the go-ahead to complete another five houses. Beneficiaries have already been identified, and funding for three houses has been released. I visited two of the three new beneficiaries.
Overall, CDC has good management capacity, and an extensive community based network capable of identifying the most indigent cases. Mthatha in recent years has experienced a massive influx of people, living in abject poverty in appalling conditions. There is a clear need for a project of this nature.
On Thursday 27 September I visited the Diocese of Queenstown, and met with Bishop Mpako and the Philani Committee. The TB detection, OVC and home based care projects (based at Ntaba Maria) are going well. There have been logistical difficulties with the first orphan house being constructed at Sada. The builder under-estimated the amount of bricks and building material required, and subsequently abandoned the project, to work elsewhere. An additional 100 bricks now have to be bought, as well as a small amount of additional building material. Bishop Mpako has personally intervened, and is ensuring that the project is being completed. The next house will be built at Ntaba Maria, for a family of orphans living in a mud rondavel, of which the thatch roof is blowing off. This will be easier for the Sisters to monitor, as it is situated in their immediate area.