Sitting in the living room, we can smell the food cooking. “I am still cooking so I have some time,” Lesang, a volunteer for AGLOW, says as she sits down to converse. Born and raised in Maun, Lesang has been working at AGLOW since 2014. Today, she is preparing food that will be distributed to elderly recipients throughout the community.
This is all part of AGLOW’s mission to give dignity and love to Maun’s elderly. As an AGLOW representative, Lesang’s duties extend beyond preparing and delivering daily meals. During visits, she often cleans their houses, helps bathe them, and offers support in any way possible. “Most of them have no family to visit them” she says, “they are lonely in their home… [so] we sit with them, we talk to them. They can also feel the warmth.”
However, working with the elderly presents many challenges. “This is a high-risk job,” she says. Many of the homes AGLOW visits are not in good condition, and oftentimes many are sick. Additionally, working with the elderly takes patience. “You need to have compassion,” she says, “you need to have love.” Lesang clearly demonstrates both these qualities. When she is not around, they will ask ‘where is she?’ and ‘what is happening?’ “I think it is because of the bond and the love they have of me,” she says. She finds this relationship incredibly rewarding, “when they are laughing, when they are accepting me… that is where I get my joy.”
Working with the elderly, Lesang hears plenty of stories. “One man in Boseja,” she says, “is always caught up in current affairs… he will tell me stories of China or Russia… he will tell me stories of the chiefs and how Maun was.” Additionally, some of the clients have nicknames for her and another client insists that Lesang is supposed to get married to the President!
Not only is AGLOW providing food and other essentials, but they are building relationships; they are spreading warmth. After seeing the impact made, Lesang believes that AGLOW will continue to grow and make a difference in the community. “Right now, we cannot even reach 1% of the elderly around Maun,” she says, “AGLOW will grow… They will reach out to many.”