Tendai Rupapa in MHANGURA
FAMILIES living at Impala Downs Farm Compound here had an Easter to remember, courtesy of First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa who paid them a surprise visit and gave them clothes and other provisions while on a mission to assist three-week-old twin girls who were born in a maize field and orphaned at birth.
So elated were members of the community that they burst into song and dance while others shed tears of joy.
The twins were born in a maize field on March 8 and are now in the care of their mother’s younger sister, Yeukai Karembera, who is a farm worker with her own three children to fend for.
The deceased, Sarudzai Muza, who was 37-year-old, left behind six children.
When the First Lady heard about the children’s plight, she took the journey to Mhangura to assess their needs and assist them.
She brought the children infant formula tins, feeding bottles, reusable diapers which she is personally sewing, clothes and baby blankets.
The provisions she brought also included laundry soap, washing powder, rice, sugar, cooking oil, macaroni, salt, maize-meal, dried kapenta and chunks.
All the goods were handed over to the deceased’s sister, who is looking after the children. Amai Mnangagwa went on to give out clothes to all children at the compound and other surrounding compounds.
A hands-on person, the First Lady fed everyone rice, sadza, chicken, beef and vegetables.
The compound has tiny pole and dagga huts which most affluent people shun, but the First Lady personally dressed the twins in matching dresses and wrapped them in nice baby blankets which she brought.
She took time to lend an ear to Ms Karembera, who narrated what transpired on the fateful day.
She also fought back tears while listening to the heart-rending story.
“My sister started having labour pains at around 2am and she knocked on the door to tell me she was unwell. She said she wanted to use the toilet and went into the field where she gave birth. When I reached where she was, I saw that her tummy was still bulged, meaning there was another child inside. Before she could walk away, the other child was born. We wrapped the children in a waist cloth and called for transport,” she said.
She added: “Unfortunately, the main boom was locked and it took the driver several hours to get to where we were after navigating his way into the farm. My sister was bleeding heavily and we took her to Green Valley Clinic around 5am. The ground was wet, hence the road was slippery such that we also took a long time on the road.
All this while my sister said she was feeling pain in her heart, and she passed on when we reached the clinic.
“We did not notice that she had died and we knocked on the doors, where nurses did not take time to respond. We asked that they attend to the mother first, but when I shook her, I noticed she had died. When we lifted her into the hospital, the nurses confirmed she had died,” Ms Karembera narrated.
The First Lady promised to continue checking on the children to ensure they get access to good nutrition and healthcare.
“Our mission is not ending here. We are going to continue looking after these children so that they have access to good healthcare and nutritious meals. I encourage members of the community to put their heads together and also assist those in need. Let us help those of us in need. It takes a village to raise a child,” she said.
The deceased’s father, Mr Mark Karembera, expressed gratitude to the First Lady for her kindness and love.
“I came from Hurungwe this morning when I heard that our mother was visiting the compound to see my grandchildren. I did not believe it because vanhu vemumapurazi takashoreka. We always felt neglected and looked down upon but in Amai Mnangagwa’s eyes, all her children are equal,” he said.
“My daughter has been facing challenges providing for children who were left behind by her sister. I am glad our mother of the nation, Amai Mnangagwa, has come here today to assist us and I am overjoyed to see her here. She has given them lots of items that include clothes, food and toiletries. I have never seen such a kind gesture from a whole First Lady here in the farms. It is a first of its kind. All the other families have come to witness for themselves this spectacle,” he said.
Equally elated was the deceased’s husband, Mr Lameck Mufanechiya.
“I want to thank Amai for this show of love. We used to see this on television, but today she has come here and I am grateful for her assistance,” he said.
Headmen Arnold Magwedebure of Jechenene Village 1 was happy with what the First Lady had done in his area.
“We are thankful for the First Lady’s visit. We did not know how best to handle this issue of children who were orphaned at birth. We ask God and the ancestors to ensure these children grow into adulthood. If I live the next years, I will also emulate the First Lady’s good deeds and seek ways of assisting these children. We never dreamt of being remembered by the mother of the nation. This area is under-developed and we are deep in the forests, who would have imagined seeing Amai here,” he said.
Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Mary Mliswa-Chikoka praised the First Lady for her love and said she had done something great, which helped unite people in times of calamity.
“What she has done shows she has love for all citizens despite one’s status in society.
She has come to this place which no one would want to visit. She has seen it fit to come to this place after hearing of the plight of these children who were orphaned at birth and she quickly took action. We thank Amai for her hands-on approach. It is such action which make us realise Vision 2030. No one will be left behind and these twins have been blessed because Amai heard their plight. We will see to it that the children go to school. She has started something that will unite the people,” she said.
Mhangura legislator, Precious Chinhamo-Masango, said what the First Lady had done is something that will linger in the minds of Mhangura people for a long time.
“Indeed, the First Lady will be remembered in this community and by the country as a whole. She has brought smiles and hope to the people of Impala Downs farm compound and other surrounding compounds. May God continue to bless her,” she said.
Amai Mnangagwa brought along nutritionists Mr Handrea Njovo and Mrs Melania Hofa, who took the deceased’s younger sister through issues of hygiene in feeding the children and the correct measurements for their formula feeding.
She made a passionate plea to the farm owner, Mr Christopher Atchison, to build a shed at the compound so that health personnel can visit the area and have a place to do health checks for farm workers.