The Luke Commission has a kitchen supervisor – chef, cook, organizer extraordinaire. Her name is THOLAKELE GAMA.
But on clinic days, Thollie declares, "The kitchen may just step aside." Then she laughs, but she is serious...
"I want to go to the clinics. The work The Luke Commission is doing takes my heart away," she said. "People are very sick. They need medications. They live far from a clinic and do not have money to go anywhere. But, oh, they need help. You are doing a great job for the Emaswati."
Tholakele Gama extends compassion and kindness to children and adults alike, as she registers patients for TLC free medical treatment.
Thollie lives outside Mbabane, Eswatini’s 2nd largest city after Manzini. It takes her a long time to get to TLC campus every day, but "I love my job."
"We live in town, and we think everything is easy. We have a cough and we run to a clinic," she noted.
"Too, we have jobs," Thollie said. "Many families we meet in the bush have no one who is working. I ask how many are at home. They tell me 15 or 10..."
From a small kitchen and a residential stove, Thollie prepares meals for 20 to 50 people a day, all with a smile and a desire to please.
Thollie was cooking in a city restaurant before she accepted a position with The Luke Commission in February 2011. She attended cooking school in the evenings and now has certificates in catering, waitressing in hotels, decorating, cooking, health and hygiene.
"You must be clean to working in the food industry," Thollie emphasizes. She is teaching her helpers in the kitchen these principles, also.
Thollie has two daughters, age 17 and 11.
Her husband is a motor mechanic, employed in a government workshop. On late clinic nights when TLC's caravan of vehicles and trailers pull into Manzini at 2 or 3 am, Thollie husband waits in the nearby hospital parking lot to drive her home. "He is a part of our TLC team, too," she accurately points out.
Thollie loves clinic days, though they are usually lengthy and taxing. Here Thollie registers and encourages a grandmother and the granddaughters she is raising.
Thollie was housekeeper for a "white man, a principal, a Portuguese" for many years. "That's where I learned to love cooking," she said.
Her journey with Jesus started in primary school, where she accepted Christ. "Aunties used to come to school and teach us the Word of God. They brought us snacks and took us on picnics. They came every morning."
Thollie is thankful for those "aunties" – women in the community who volunteered to teach the Bible to children and were allowed that privilege in the schools.
Her mother was a Zionist, Thollie explained, "but when I grew up I chose for myself."
Thollie especially appreciates The Luke Commission's practice of praying and singing and considering God's Word each morning, before the immediacy of the day takes precedence.
"Not many places can you go to work and get something for the soul. Harry and Echo even bring pastors in to talk and encourage us," noted Thollie.
by Janet Tuinstra of The Luke Commission