|Ana Chuquele: ‘I can’t stand up straight’|
Ana Simeone Elija Chuquele sits with her grandchildren on a mat outside her son's home in Maputo, Mozambique. A UMNS photo by Kathy L. Gilbert
MAPUTO, Mozambique | (UMNS)
By Kathy L. Gilbert*
March 20, 2008
Sitting on a mat on the ground outside her son’s home, Ana Simeone Elija Chuquele is waiting for her health to improve because she wants to go to her village home and attend to her husband’s grave.
Her husband, the Rev. Elija Chuquele, was a United Methodist pastor for 24 years before he retired.
Her son, David, made the three-hour drive to her home to pick her up so she could be seen by doctors in Maputo. She says she is suffering from pain in her legs, arms and backbone. "I can’t stand up straight," she explains.
Her home in the village is "very different" from her son’s home, she says. Her home is a traditional small hut compared to the stone house she is now sharing with six people, including three young grandchildren.
In the countryside, she attends the church named in her husband’s honor, Elija Together United Methodist Church. She receives about $20 a month in pension. She is surviving with her children’s help, she says.
Chuquele is not alone. Her plight is shared by other surviving spouses and retired church employees in Africa and elsewhere. The United Methodist Church is developing pension models to address their needs through its Central Conference Pension Initiative. Details are available at ccpi.umc.org.
"For retirees in the countryside, it is hard to live," Chuquele says. "Even if you are sick, sometimes the church doesn’t help. If you don’t have children to help you can die."
News media contact: Kathy L. Gilbert, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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