One lone woman feeds 1,000 Zimbabwean refugees a day

Posted Dec 21, 2008 by Adriana Stuijt
One lone South African woman, Tracey Mulville from the Agape Family Centre, cooks giant pots full of maize porridge every day for the army of destitute Zimbabweans streaming across the border at Musina, South Africa.
Three weeks ago, the petite young mom and fellow church members set up a temporary kitchen at the Musina livestock-showgrounds where the local Red Cross and SA health authorities also started outdoors emergency rehydration centre to save the lives of cholera-victims streaming across the border from Zimbabwe each day.
"We saw the great need and felt we had to do something,' says Mulville - indicating to the long row of bedraggled Zimbabwean refugees hoping to get a bowl of porridge, waiting at the barbed-wire fence.
They even cook some small quantities of the most precious commodity of all - tiny bits of meat, donated by church members. "One feels like a drop in the ocean - you just don't know where to start, the need is so great,' she says. See: see
The steady stream of desperately ill, hungry and empoverished refugees into South Africa is caused by the collapse of the country's infrastructure -- due to Mugabe's grotesque mismanagement of Zimbabwe, which 20 years ago was still growing so much food that it was exporting it in large quantities to the rest of Africa...
The independent news agency ZimOnline reports today that the latest death toll from the spreading cholera epidemic, caused by the country's collapsing health-care services, has now reached at least 1,110 people.The United Nations 's latest report also said that Zimbabwe’s devastating cholera epidemic continues to spread with a new outbreak in Chegutu town about 120km southwest of the capital Harare now being reported. At the Botswana border, local authorities are also treating a steady stream of Zimbabwean refugees, that country's health department spokesman said today.
The border town of Musina inside South Africa now is overwhelmed with refugees. Residents are also increasingly getting involved in helping them.
Travey Mulville uses up a daily batch of 180 kg of maize-meal every day all by herself -- and starts cooking from 9am in the morning. They do get donations from the Red Cross - but most of the hard work is being done by Mulville and her church friends.
We just have to keep on cooking as long as we can get the food supplies...
She said the people showing up for food can't afford to buy any in Musina's well-stocked grocery shops.
"There are wealthy people from Zimbabwe who buy up all the food in town and drive it back to Zimbabwe. But we only help the people who arrive here only with the clothes on their backs.' "And as long as we can get the supplies, we will have the energy to keep on cooking."