By Duncan Mlanjira
Bishop Benjamin Chalemera of Evangelical Mission Church at Chigumula in Limbe has deeply thanked South Africa-based athlete Gloria Chitedze’s donation of COVID-19 relief food hampers to underprivileged kids by describing it as priceless.
Bishop Chalemera said this on Saturday when the Mission received a consignment of COVID-19 relief food hampers which Chitedze procured from funds she realised in a charity marathon challenge she did on June 14 together with her South African colleague, Ntabaleng Tsusane.
The final consignment of 15 hampers were delivered by Stewart ‘The Cyclist’ Kambewa since Chitedze could not travel from her base to distribution the relief food herself because of the foreign travel restrictions in her host country due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Each hamper of 13ltr pail had 5kgs of maize flour, two packets of Soya pieces, 1kg sugar, 500g of salt, 1kg beans, two bars of soap and two face masks.
This was the third distribution — the first was done by Chitedze’s sister to 5 orphans at her church and 35 Zomba kids received theirs last Sunday at Zomba Development Center carried out by Athletics Association of Malawi and Southern Region Athletics board officials, Benadicto Makumba and Francis Munthali, who coaches for the Zomba kids.
Bishop Chalemera said they do not take the gesture for granted, saying 70 percent of Malawi’s annointment is mostly receiving and the rest is giving.
“Your gesture is a calling from God to assist the underprivileged and in turn you receive His total blessings,” he said.
“It’s God’s wish that led you to do goodwill and as the Bible says, if you give, you shall also receive blessings.
“This is priceless and we hope for better relationship with Gloria and yourself as we forge ahead to assist underprivileged kids.”
He appraised Kambewa, who was in the company of fellow cyclist and confidante, John Moyenda that theirs is a big campus and that their learning institution — ‘Growing Together School’ — caters for over 400 children most of whom are orphaned.
The Bishop added that the Mission Church also takes care of the elderly as well as people living with disabilities.
Stewart ‘The Cyclist, who rose to fame when he cycled the breath of the country from Nsanje to Chitipa for charity together with Kwame Kaira, took some time to demonstrate to the kids the safe use of masks and also on other COVID-19 preventive measures.
Chitedze and Ntabaleng Tsusane completed 45.5kms each in a time of 4.59hrs in the Virtual Race of Legends challenge to raise the funds to procure foodstuffs for children, whose parents have been affected by the COVID-9 lockdown due to job losses.
The 35-year-old Chitedze from T/A Mkanda in Mchinji District, has been based in South Africa and for the past six years she has been running under the banner of Atlantic Athletic Club (AAC) in Cape Town, with which she has participated in over 10 full marathons and many half marathons.
This year she had intended to take a mile further by participating in the taxing 90kms Comrades Marathon having felt she now has matured enough as a runner to give it a shot — only for COVID-19 to creep in and force the annual event to be cancelled.
Instead she channeled her energy to assist the underprivileged and orphaned children of ages up to 13, based in the rural areas of Malawi.
In her post on www.backabuddy.co.za advertising her charity challenge, Chitedze had said “a smiling child brings light to every home. Smiling children can shine the whole world. It’s in the eyes of a child where hope is often restored.
“To have a better world tomorrow, we have to teach the children, and no better lessons begins without love and care. To care for each other even in the midst of the hardest times.
“COVID-19 has stolen so much at the moment — dreams, hopes and smiles have been lost due to the impact of lockdown on most employees and small businesses.
“To teach a child love and care, you have to show them how it’s done,be the example you want to see. You cannot teach a hungry child and no child should go to bed hungry,” she had said.