ZIMBABWE: December is a special month for Christians as they celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. It is believed to be a season of returning the favor of God who gave his only begotten son to save the world.
This is the time where relatives and friends get together and celebrate the ‘joy of giving’. Gifts and presents are exchanged, whilst lunches, dinners, and parties are held during this time of the year.
Celebrating Christmas with the elderly
In the same spirit but different style, a United Methodist Youth Fellowship (UMYF) member Raymond Makuwaza made it a habit to celebrate Christmas Day with the elderly people at Zororai Old People’s Home in Mutare. Makuwaza took this decision in commemoration of his grandparents who passed away long ago.
“In memory of my departed grandparents, I have committed myself every year to do something for the elderly, if my grandparents were alive would be in the village. On Christmas day, people enjoy with their families and friends, but our elderly at Zororai will be lonely but filled with memories of Christmas times they enjoyed”, said Makuwaza.
Despite, financial challenges Makuwaza works tirelessly to impress the elderly through donating food and sourcing donations from the mass. “We are in the giving season and love season. This season we celebrate God giving us Jesus out of love. We imitate God by loving and exchanging gifts”, he said.
Motivating people to donate through WhatsApp
To help these people, Makuwaza conducts WhatsApp campaigns where he introduces Christmas lunch with the elderly. He said that the program had inspired many people.
“This year we have been organizing a lunch but this time will be different.” Someone in Harare after having seen my post on WhatsApp offered to take care of the Christmas breakfast and all the resources needed are now available. She also donated part of the lunch.”
“After the WhatsApp awareness drive individuals and families have pledged to support the Christmas lunch in cash and kind”, he further added.
His commitment towards the elderly
Makuzawa was invited to an event which was in partnership with the Community of Saint Egidio in 2016. Through this event, he got to know about the Christmas lunch program. Saint Egidio is a Catholic organization that brings together young people to serve the community.
Talking about this organization, Makuzawa said, “With the Community of Saint Egidio, I caught the spirit of Zororai Old People’s Home Christmas lunch. The event changed my life and transformed everything, so from that time l have never looked back.”
Besides Christmas, almost every week he donates and collects donations to help the elderly people of the Zororai Old People’s Home.
Being a Red Cross member, Scout, Member of the Community of Saint Egidio has made it easy for Makuzawa to commit himself to the elderly.