Paris Rotarians help to save the lives of children in Africa
It’s hard to believe that there is a person out there with the sacrificial mindset and humble, fearless nature that is required to give a large portion of yourself to the benefit of those in need; on a daily basis and in a place very unlike home and far away.
eParisExtra had the honor and opportunity to sit down with one such woman that has spent much of her life bringing hope to those in an otherwise — seemingly — hopeless land.
Tracy Evans is a lady that has given over thirty years of her life to missionary work. A native of California and graduate of Stanford, Tracy is now the head of a clinic in Mozambique, Africa with 900 orphan infants.
This clinic she started did not begin with this many young children, most assuredly. It’s been work and dedication on her part, as well as the many others that have helped her bring this vision to life.
Mozambique is a country that is roughly twice the size of California, running along the south eastern coast of Africa. The Indian Ocean makes its coastline. The tropical environment makes the land ideal for farming, and the culture is mostly tribal, although some industry is trying to be established.
Being a mostly tribal land, there are over 48 languages spoken in Mozambique, with Portuguese being the language of commerce. There is currently a Communist government in place, after years of brutal civil war, which has now ended.
Because of the lack of a constant food source and the tropical environment’s susceptibility to deadly disease, many citizens in Mozambique were dying, including the mothers of many nursing infants. When this happened, the nursing infants — having their mother’s milk as their one and only food source — were laid to rest beside their mothers. The alternative would be starvation.
This is where Tracy Evans comes in. During her travels she arrived in Mozambique. She was witness to much of this horror. She decided that feeding these babies and saving the lives of these children was her mission. A mission that she embarked on.
How did she decide to feed these children? By using a powdered milk formula. The only problem was, there was no powdered milk in Mozambique. So, she hopped in a jeep and drove approximately 2 days, through the very hostile and militant territory of Zimbabwe, to an area of South Africa where she could obtain powdered milk. She could only get what she could fit in her jeep. She then drove the 2 day trek back to Mozambique.
“It started with one child, then ten, then one hundred,” stated Tracy.
After some time, two members of the Paris Rotary Club walked into the ‘bush clinic’ that Tracy had started. Dee Bandel and Tamara Ingram, on a Rotarian Study trip, had landed themselves in Mozambique, Africa. They soon met Tracy, and this encounter would certainly change things for those infants, for the better.
They asked Tracy to speak at a Crisis Pregnancy clinic that was being held in Paris. After hearing her speak, the Rotarians of Paris Texas then began raising money to purchase a container — 40ft long, capable of holding 15,000 pounds of powdered milk — for the ‘bush clinic’ in Mozambique. They were able to raise — with the help of Rotary International — over $55,000, giving them the ability to purchase the container and the powdered milk to fill it for Tracy and the orphans in Mozambique.
This project is again in swing this year, as one container will only last approximately 6-8 months, so Rotarians are again attempting to raise funds for this cause.
It means a lot to save the life of a child in Mozambique.
“When we save lives, it gives us extreme favor amongst the tribal people and government,” explained Tracy.
There is now a hospice, a school, the orphan clinic, and many other things being established to care for those in Mozambique, which all require many meetings with government officials and much paperwork to get started and maintain. Now that so many lives have been saved, and favor gained, it has made the processes easier, which has led to more.
It is really a touching thing to see those amazing people in Paris, on the Greater Paris Rotary Club and Rotary Club of Paris, that have reached out to raise funds for such a far away and huge cause. With their help and Tracy’s inspiration, there are now 900 orphans that are being cared for and fed using powdered milk, which is held in the container that our Rotarians, and Rotarians around the world, helped to purchase.