A little while ago we met a lady called Zandile. Zan has lived on the streets alone since she was 12 years old. Shes now 24. Half of her life has been a matter of survival. No love, no care, no support, this woman has fought daily to make it through till tomorrow, every day potentially her last.
By the time we met her she was already dying. He body riddled with a number of illnesses that are slowly breaking her down. Eating her body and taking her life. That first Thursday night we fell in love with her. One of my team members pulled her into her embrace and just held her. Singing songs of love and freedom over her Paula let the Holy Spirit use her. Zan told us her story and gave us an idea of how sick she was. But we were not ready for the full truth of Zan’s condition.
After that initial meeting we were all praying for Zan, for her health and her heart. When she came to us the following week we had a glimpse of how broken her body was. But still we did not know the full extent.
That night I cleaned her Norwegian Scabies infested feet and tried to cover her open sores. I had never seen anything like it before, my heart was broken. She was clearly in so much pain and I was losing my grip while trying to seem like I was in control. I didnt want her to see my horror or the tears that I was desperately trying to hold back.
And then Zandile disappeared. She didnt come to us for weeks and we were very worried about her condition, where was she? Was she even alive? Then one Thursday night one of her friends came to find us, to tell us that Zan was sleeping in a shelter and she was really sick.
Leanne and I dropped everything and went to her, we managed to get into the shelter and found Zan on a bunk bed barely breathing. She was way worse than we had realized. We had to get her to the hospital, right now. Leanne picked Zan up off the bed, carried her down 2 flights of stairs and put her in the car.
Now here’s where I want to explain some things…
Nothing we do is straightforward, nothing is easy, NOTHING. When I say that we had to get her to hospital it wasnt that simple. You see Zan’s body was going into withdrawal. She was shaking, vomiting and her body was shutting down, she HAD to have fix before she could go to hospital, otherwise the withdrawal was going to kill her. In first world countries the hospital would just take her and give her meds to halt the withdrawal, they would sedate her or give her methadone to fight off the symptoms of withdrawal. But not in the government hospitals here. Zan is heavily addicted to a drug called whoonga, its a sreeet drug that has low grade heroin cut in with loads if other highly dangerous chemicals. Often things like rat poison, chemical cleaning products and prescription medications. It is HIGHLY addictive and incredibly dangerous. For R7, 50p, 70 cents, you can get a rock which will keep you high for a couple of hours, and the withdrawal can kill you if not done correctly. So here we are, in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Durban trying to figure out how to get Zandile a fix without drawing attention. Thankfully one of our ladies came to see what we were doing and she went to get Zan a rock. We do what it takes.
Once fixed up we took Zan to hospital. We pulled into the emergency ward and found a gurney, no one bothered to help us as we carried her in and then wheeled her into trauma. By this time Zan was calm but her breathing was very poor. Doctors immediately put her on oxygen and they told us to wait for the doctor to come.
So we waited. We tried to keep Zan calm, and stay calm ourselves. At one point she pulled off her mask and tears were pouring, she looked at me and said…
“I have been alone for 12 years and now I have you loving me like a mother does.”
This sentence will be with me forever.
A few hours after arrival a doctor finally came to check Zan, it was the worst news, there was nothing that they could do for Zan other than make her comfortable. Her organs are shutting down, her CD4 count too low, immune system nonexistent, TB in her lungs and a severe infestation of Norwegian Scabies attacking her whole body. In short Zan is a few weeks away from death.
After a bit of a fight we convinced the hospital to admit her. She was put onto a fantastic ward where the staff really cared for her. She managed to stay in the hospital for 2 days, but her addiction got the better of her and she discharged herself so she could get a fix. Our hearts were shattered, but we understand. We understand addiction, we understand our ladies and their needs.
So now we are supporting Zan as she tries to survive a bit longer. We are paying for her shelter fees so that she doesn’t have to die on the street. At least there will be some level of dignity and when she does pass away we will be contacted.
It is INCREDIBLY painful when one of our ladies “fails”, but we understand. We get it. Our commitment to Zan is that we will love her and walk with her until she is no longer with us. And in it all Zan has experienced the love of not just a mother but also the love of her heavenly Father.
Please will you be praying for our Zandile? Please pray for our team, and please pray for our family.
And just a bit of exciting news…. Our new Hope’s Anchor website is LIVE!!! Please go to
And check it out. And here are a few ways that you can support our family in this work that we are doing…
Thank you to all our supporters without your prayers and financial support we couldn’t do this vital work and ladies like Zandile would suffer and die alone.