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Tribute to Roda Bobo

Seven years ago ASM’s Compassionate Care (CC) Team was literally chasing an elderly woman down the red dirt roads of central Mozambique.

Dara explains, “As we were heading to make our scheduled visits, we passed a woman carrying a small container in her hands but what caught our attention as we passed by was that her pelvis was higher than her shoulders, as she climbed the rolling hills.”

Quickly braking, Dara told Rabeca, “She certainly is in pain and could benefit from our program. Please go talk to her.” Rabeca jumped out of the car and this woman, noticing the stopped car, started running in the opposite direction, nervously glancing over her shoulder.

She feared that our CC team may want to harm her in her vulnerable state, sadly, like the stories of exploitative strangers she had likely heard.

After a short conversation, she realized that the team may not be out to hurt her. Dara says, “We learned that her name was Roda Bobo (Bow-Bow). The team took her on and started visiting her regularly. It only took a few weeks to know that she was as full of fun and life as her name is fun to say.” Roda’s health ebbed and flowed, as is often the case with many of the elderly patients that the team cares for.

On one visit she had severe burns on her feet from tipping hot oil off her fire onto her feet. Though Roda lived alone, her caring daughter lived very near. Even so, Roda never wanted to burden her daughter, who cares for her children and grandchildren, so until this year, Roda has always worked her fields and had grown enough food to feed herself despite her posture and S-curve spine.

On March 4th, Roda died. She had been steadily declining and her heart was weakening. It was no longer able to sustain her life. Up until the last visit the CC team made, Dara remembers, “Roda was making us laugh. We had plenty of inside jokes that had developed over the many years of regular visits and, just as Roda lived all her years with dignity, she also died a dignified death. Her daughter kept her beautifully clean and as comfortable as possible as she passed away on the grass mat in her mud hut.”

Roda was a woman of hard work, and dignity, full of life, and brought joy to everyone. She wasn’t afraid to speak the truth and she didn’t want anyone to tell her anything but the truth. We enjoyed singing with her,” Dara said, “dancing with her, hearing stories, and doing art with her. The hours of conversation we had with her and every visitor that we had the privilege of introducing her to walked away blessed and feeling as if they were able to experience the Lord through Roda’s life. Roda was special and the Compassionate Care Team grieves as we miss our weekly visits with this woman who had become deeply special and close to all of us. Every wrinkle on her precious face told a story of hard work and a difficult life. Despite this, she never complained, she looked out for others and always, always made us laugh.”

We don’t know how old she was. Roda didn’t know her own birthday or year but we know she lived through colonialism, Independence, and difficult years of civil war and armed conflict ravaging the area. In the slow rebuilding that comes after trauma, she faced many challenges in her life of subsistence farming. What she saw in her lifetime is more than anyone can imagine.

She is no longer suffering and we praise the Lord for that.

Her funeral was a precious time of honoring Roda and the Lord. She even directed her daughter that she wanted a piece of art that she had painted with the CC team to be placed next to her wooden cross at her burial site. 

Thank you for your prayer and support that makes this ministry possible. “We were honored to know and care for Roda Bobo for the past 7 years,” Dara and her team reflect. “What a precious woman.”

You’re deeply missed, Roda.

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