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Serafina Ngal: Living on $20 a month

Serafina Ngal sits with her granddaughters under a shade tree at a house in
Maputo, Mozambique. A UMNS photo by Kathy L. Gilbert

MAPUTO, Mozambique | (UMNS)
By Kathy L. Gilbert*

March 20, 2008

Serafina Ngal has struggled with her health since the death of her husband, the Rev. João Tove Ngal, in 2003. He was a pastor for 23 years before he retired.

When he became ill, her children moved them both to Maputo, she says. The house in which she lives belongs to her eldest son. She receives only $20 a month in pension from the church.

"My health has declined since my husband’s death," she says. "I can’t take care of myself anymore."

The United Methodist Church is developing pension systems to help Ngal and others like her in Africa, Eastern Europe and the Philippines. Details on the church’s Central Conference Pension Initiative are available at ccpi.umc.org.

Ngal would like to go back to her home in Massinga, about 560 km from Maputo, "but life would be hard."

"I have nothing to do during the day," she says, as she sits on a mat under a shade tree. "Sometimes I go to my daughter’s small farm to help out." When her husband was a pastor, she was active with the women’s groups and would often head meetings and conferences.

"I was happy when my husband was a pastor serving the church because we did everything together," she says.

*Gilbert is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville, Tenn.

News media contact: Kathy L. Gilbert, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

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