Since 2004 SCNs Vinaya Chalil and Nalini Meachariyall have cared for more than five hundred people who are infected with HIV/AIDS in Botswana, Africa. The two run a holistic care program in Mmopane, Metsimothlabe, Tsolamosese and Mogoditshane. The program focuses on the physical, mental, spiritual, emotional and social well being of their patients.

While in the grips of battling AIDS, many people struggle at home for access to nutrition, medication and care. In response to this reality, the Diocese of Gaborone is constructing a ten-bed hospice, which aims to provide high quality palliative care and support to those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. The hospice will be named “Pabalelong” – Home of Love and Care. As there is no facility of this kind in the entire country, this will be a pioneering institution.

The construction of the hospice began in April 2008 and should be completed by early 2009. The facility is slated to be operational by June 2009. Sisters Vinaya and Nalini will administer and manage the center and together with Father Tony Robello, SVD, will also meet the spiritual needs of the sick.

During a visit to Nazareth this summer, Sister Nalini shared stories of the struggle of individuals and families she has worked with closely. She has counseled people contemplating suicide upon learning of an AIDS diagnosis and comforted individuals moments before death. In all of this, she and the other Sisters of Charity of Nazareth ministering in Botswana share a message of love and hope. Sister Nalini humbly said that “a drop of love, compassion and kindness has made a difference for many and has transformed many lives.” Pabalelong will provide one more way to offer compassionate care.

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