Questions and answers

The month is gone and again we could distribute food parcels in our villages. A lot of planning, arrangements, driving, packing, unpacking and distribution is now behind us again. But it is always fun and great joy, despite all the efforts. Especially when you meet the people again, who you could now get to know a little bit closer and then you can see their grateful faces again when we hand out the food.

We were asked from time to time how the one or the other thing happens at the food distribution and so we thought, let's answer a few questions that we were asked again and again.


Where is the food actually distributed?

Meanwhile we distribute food packages at 4 points. In three different villages in our area and at a spring around which many mountain villages are located. We can't drive to all of them individually, otherwise we would be busy with the distribution for another 2-3 days. Since the villages are also very remote up in the mountains, we asked the people to pick up the food at the spring. For them this is completely ok, because if they would have to walk to the next shop, it would be far away. The people (mostly mothers) then come with their children or a donkey and transport the food away on the back of the donkey or on their own heads. This happens so fast that I watch the whole event with open mouth every time.


Where do you get all that money?

We get it donated from various sources. There are many private persons who donate, but also our churches in Germany (EMK Spandau, EMK Lankwitz) and in Pretoria (Hatfield Christian Church) are great supporters. Unfortunately, we do not know some supporters from Europe, because the names may not be passed on to us for data protection reasons.
God has opened all doors and we have not had a struggle yet, for which we are more than thankful.


How many adults and children are receiving food?

In July, we were able to provide almost 80 families (that is over 420 people) with a monthly ration of food. More than half of them are children.


How much time does such an distribution take?

So, the exact planning and how much food is needed, isin Stephan's hands and he usually needs a week of planning to negotiate with the wholesalers what is available, what quantities we need, if and when it can be delivered. Then a truck with driver is hired, as the load is now far beyond the loading capacity of our two cars. Then our male team members drive into town the day before the food is distributed, pay, load the food by hand on the truck and drive back to our village to carry the load from the truck to our warehouse (garage). The goods are then temporarily stored for 1-2 nights to be distributed in the third week of the month, on Thursday and Friday and if necessary on Saturday. The delivery is then still complicated, because then we have to load the food into our 4x4 with trailer according to the packing lists for the respective villages. And that is now already 2 trips per village where the distribution takes place. The ways into the villages are not far, but they take longer, because the fully loaded off-road vehicle with the trailer has it harder to get up the mountains.

The last month there were some additional trips to town because there was a shortage of dried beans and peas. This had to be made up for by other food and that took a lot of extra time to visit different shops and suppliers. It wasn't easy and in the end we had to leave out these foods because we just couldn't get them anymore. But only the distribution campaign itself takes 4-5 days without planning and organizing.


Who had determined where the food would be distributed, or who would be the recipient?

When the whole action was planned in March, we got together as a team and thought about where to start, where the need is greatest. We prayed about it and then clearly all felt the same. It should be in the area where our church is and where we (as a team and family) and also our church members live. And so only the Moteng and Malefioane areas came into question. The second area stretches far into the mountains and is over 90%, like most of Moteng, completely without electricity.

We wanted to reach people in the best possible way and of course we can do that best when we are also their neighbours. So we already have 3 different villages where OM Team members live and that was a great opportunity.

But we could not and did not want to decide alone who should get the food. On the one hand, there are cultural rules that have to be observed, such as getting in contact with the chief and involving him in such decisions. On the other hand, people here very quickly become envious, especially when it comes to such decisions. Especially when someone else gets something, but he doesn't, even if he is actually well taken care of himself.
And so we asked the chiefs, together with the elected village representative and the respective village nurses, to determine the most needy families and then to inform us. We then added our needy church members on top of that and so the list was complete. Where necessary and when more donations come in, we occasionally add more families following the same principle.


Are there other people who are not in the OM Team helping?

Yes, we always have different people from our community, or sometimes even neighbours, who help and give a hand. As far as the health regulations allow it, the food recipients are now also involved and help to get the food out of the car and trailer and then put it in order.

What happens now that the lockdown is being tightened up again?

We have obtained a special permit from the local authorities in the provincial capital, which allows us to do the shopping and the distribution. Luckily this worked out well and now we just have to make sure that we comply with all requirements according to the World Health Organization (e.g. special disposable masks were used for distribution) and then nothing should stand in the way of the next distribution. The villagers have gotten used to the fact that they have to come to the food distribution with their cloth masks, otherwise no food distribution would be possible. We made this clear right from the beginning.


I hope we could give you with these questions and answers once again a better insight into our distribution campaign. If there are still more questions somewhere, please write us and we will hopefully answer them soon.

Almost daily you can find current pictures and short videos on our Instagram account: @familyschmidtinafrica or on our website.


God's blessing for you, wherever you are in the world and be safe.

Yours Chrissi and family

Categories: Information, Newsletter,  OM  | A comment

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One thought on "Questions and answers

  1. Katya Gustafsson

    Dear Chrissi, dear Stephan, thank you very much for this valuable information! It helps a lot to be with you even more inside. It is great how God takes care of you and the families. I pray that people will open their hearts more and more for our Lord. Be blessed and protected!

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