Category: World News Written by Roz Edward, National Content Director
Mourners were aghast when they witnessed Brighton Dama Zanthe, who passed away after a long term illness at age 34, twitching in his coffin during his funeral in Zimbabwe last week. Many at the funeral ran for their lives, fearing that the young man had come back to haunt them, reports the New Zimbabwe.
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As the young man moved around, many of his friends and family who had come to pay their respects stumbled over one another as they hightailed out of the funeral service.
Lot Gaka, who had been a friend and employer of the deceased, managed to keep his wits about him and sprung into action. He approached the coffin, snatched off the blanket and called an ambulance. After spending two days in intensive care, Zanthe was discharged from the hospital.
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"I don't know what happened, and I only remember being on a life support system in hospital," the New Zimbabwe reports him as saying.
People are still incredulous of the fact that Zanthe had resurrected after being ill for so long. As a matter of fact, Gaka actually expected to receive a call from Zanthe's wife with news that he had passed away.
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"Zanthe had been on sick leave for some time and everyone at work was aware that he was critical," Gaka told the New Zimbabwe. "We would visit him at his home in Mkoba 14. I was not surprised when I received a call from Zanthe's wife on Monday night of last week saying that her husband had died."
Before Zanthe woke up from a sleep that all thought was permanent, his body had been placed in a coffin. A body viewing procession followed which ended with the deceased being transported to a mortuary. According to Gaka, it was during the viewing that the twitching was spotted.
Zanthe says people are still stunned by all that took place at his funeral. But he goes on to say, "Everything is history to me. What I can only confirm is that people gathered at my house to mourn, but I was given another chance and I am alive. I feel okay now."
Last Updated on Monday, 20 May 2013 07:19
Category: World News Written by News One
JOHANNESBURG — The president of the Central African Republic fled the country for Cameroon, after rebels overran the capital of the impoverished nation long wracked by rebellions.
South Africa said Monday that 13 of its soldiers were killed in fighting with rebels, prompting criticism about why its forces had intervened in such a volatile conflict.
Ousted President Francois Bozize (pictured) sought “‘temporary” refuge on its territory, the Cameroonian government confirmed Monday.
Central African Republic’s new leadership appeared fragmented, with a split emerging in the rebel coalition that seized the capital.
The African Union on Monday imposed a travel ban and asset freeze on seven leaders of the rebel coalition, known as Seleka, and said their advance had undermined prospects for a lasting solution to the crisis in the landlocked country. It urged African states to deny “any sanctuary and cooperation” to the rebel chiefs.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 March 2013 14:28
Category: World News Written by Roz Edward, National Content Director
Editor’s note: Watch “Mozambique or Bust” on CNN International: Friday, February 15 at 1630 GMT, Saturday Feb. 16 at 1400 GMT and 2130 GMT, and repeats Sunday until Wednesday.
Denver, Colorado (CNN) – Tashina was trafficked for sex when she was 15-years-old. Ofelia, when she was 12.
Tashina finds it helpful to talk about it. “We lived in darkness,” she said. For Ofelia, talking about the past is too painful. She just winds up crying.
But both women smile broadly as they talk about their future. A future filled with promise and hope, thanks to the kindness of a complete stranger half a world away from their home in Mozambique.
Kimba Langas is a college-educated, stay-at-home mom in suburban Denver, Colorado. She says she grew up in a middle class family with loving parents, never wanting for anything.
“I am fortunate,” Langas said. “I was born at the right time, in the right country, under the right circumstances, so I've had many privileges as a woman growing up in the United States. I've had just about every opportunity I could want.”
Her life could not be more different from those of Tashina and Ofelia. And yet, today these three women are connected in a most unusual way.
The story began when Langas got a call from Dave Terpstra, a former pastor at her church. He had just moved his wife and three children to Mozambique on a mission to help rehabilitate women who had been rescued from sex trafficking.
“The way people find themselves trafficked is normally out of desperation,” Terpstra said. “I think sometimes we have in our mind that somebody somewhere has a gun and they're stealing them away and selling them. But so often, people are taken advantage of simply because they're so vulnerable.”
Terpstra wanted to help them find jobs, a sustainable income that would make them less vulnerable and reduce their risk of being trafficked again.
He found his answer in the bustling used clothing markets of Mozambique.
They could sell bras, a luxury item that enables them to earn about three times the minimum wage.
Together, Terpstra and Langas founded the charity Free the Girls. She collects donated bras in the United States and he delivers them to sex trafficking survivors to sell.
“Bras actually command the highest price per kilogram in the used clothing market over there,” Langas said. “And so for our girls, why not provide them inventory that they can not only make money off of, but make good money off of?”
They tested the program ahead of time and the girls were able to make three times the minimum wage selling the bras.
Langas created a Facebook page to ask people to send her their bras. She figured there were other women, like her, with a “bra graveyard.”
“I had probably five or six bras in the back of my drawer,” she said. “As women, we buy a bra, don't try it on, get it home, wear it once, it doesn't fit... so we all have these bras hanging around that we don't know what to do with.”
Her plea resonated with thousands of women across the U.S. and bras started pouring in. Her home was quickly overrun by boxes and bins of bras. She stored them in her basement and her garage. She stored some at her church.
Within just a few months, Langas had more than 20,000 bras – and a big problem. She could not afford the $6,500 it would cost to ship them all to Africa.
That’s when the story was featured on CNN, and everything changed.
“I got up early the next morning after the story aired and the first email that was waiting for me was from a man named Paul who has a shipping company in Chicago,” Kimba said. “He saw the story and reached out to offer us assistance with shipping the bras to Mozambique.”
Paul Jarzombek is director of operations at LR International. He says he was very moved by the story.
“I have a 12-year-old daughter myself and immediately that's what I thought of was my own daughter,” he said. “I was horrified, quite frankly, that these girls could be sold into this kind of slavery and probably like most Americans, sort of naive about the fact that these things happen so readily.”
His act of kindness led to another when a truck driver offered to put the bras in the back of his 18-wheeler and drive them from Denver to Chicago. Rick Youngquist had recently joined Truckers Against Trafficking, an organization that educates long-haul truck drivers about how to spot signs of human trafficking on the road.
“Now that I know what's going on out there, I can't just ignore it,” Youngquist said. “I mean, I think this human trafficking thing is just a horrendous thing.”
So Youngquist drove the bras, now totaling 34,000, to Chicago where Jarzombek loaded them into a shipping container and sent them on their way.
Langas cried as she watched his truck pull away. She thought about the thousands of women who helped make it happen.
“Sometimes we know why they were inspired to send to us and sometimes we don't,” she said. “So you can only imagine what compelled them to box up a bra and send it our way.”
She also thought about the young women on the other end, and the opportunity the bras represent for them.
Three months later, the bras arrived in Maputo, Mozambique's capital city.
A lifeline for Tashina and Ofelia - and a most unusual weapon in the war against modern-day slavery.
“I am happy, very happy, to know that I have a lot,” Tashina said, “a normal family. I am very happy.”
And she is quick to thank the people who made it possible.
"I just want to tell the people in America, they've given us the strength we needed. Thank you very much,” she said.
The success of this project has led Free the Girls to look outside Mozambique, even beyond Africa. They now have plans to start operations in El Salvador, Kenya, Mexico and Uganda later this year.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 February 2013 14:56
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