Limbe CCAP Congregation last Saturday donated assorted items to 40 needy families, including street-beggars. On top of the basic items, the congregation also gave each of the families K5 000 cash. Our reporter, WATIPASO MZUNGU JNR, chats with one of the beneficiaries, Heaven Alfazema, a visually impaired street begar on what he made of the donation and whether begging does not undermine God’a abiltiy to supply everybody’s needs. Excerpts:
How do you express your gratitude?
On behalf of my fellow blind beneficiaries, I wish to thank Limbe CCAP Congregation for this assistance. There are so many Churches and congregations in Blantyre, but I do not remember any of them making a huge donation such as this one. There is nothing else I can say more than asking God to bless the congregation so that it continues to assist us. As you can see, I am blind and have no means of earning a living.
I rely on well-wishers to survive.
Some people argue that street-beggars are ingrates because of your persistence on begging, regardless of how much one may assist. With the assistance you’ve received today, should we expect you to vacate the streets?
I do not think I can promise to vacate the streets unless I’m assured of continued assistance. You may wish to know that we do not regard begging as a profession, but rather a means of survival because there is no one to help us. Let me seize this opportunity to tell you that we have an association for the blind and visually impaired. The association is called Tithandizane Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired (Tabvi). If there is someone willing to assist us so that we can vacate the streets, they can do so through this association. We will certainly vacate the streets.
Before presentation of the gifts, Reverend Rabson Chinkwezule urged you [the blind] to consider your blindness as God’s will. In your daily lives and experiences, do you really think God cares for you?
Oh yes! I wholeheartedly believe that God loves and cares for everyone, including me. What the reverend has said today just affirmed my faith in God. I liked the sermon. It touched my heart. I do not deny being blind but that has never stopped me trusting in God. I know He loves and cares for me and that is why I am still alive today. A number of my peers have died, but He has spared me so that His greatness can be manifested. I may look useless to some people, but God has a purpose for me.
By the way, which church do you belong to?
I am a member of Word of Love Revival Church together with my family.
Every Sunday, I go to congregate with my fellow Christians at Bangwe Branch.
As a Christian, don’t you feel guilty that you’re denigrating God and underrating His power to provide?
You are right! To some extent, we are like underrating the power of God. But someone in my situation feels this is the only way out of financial problems because the society does not seem interested to help. Hence, as human beings, we fail to wait upon God’s time and that’s why we find ourselves trying our own means to satisfy our physical needs. Of course, that does not mean we do not trust in God.
It simply means we are lacking in faith at times, just like anybody else. Given resources, we cannot go begging!
What is it that you would like to achieve in your life?
I would like to be empowered with skills in knitting, weaving and tailoring. We do accept being blind, but we can contribute to the socio-economic development of this country once empowered with necessary skills. Personally, I have a dream to open a private weaving factory in Bangwe specifically for people with blindness and visual impairment. I have always believed that begging cannot sustain our livelihood. We need a sustainable means of survival and vocational and technical education is the right way to go. I wish there were well-wishers to support us.