Hunger, desperation stalks rural Zimbabwe

By Wellington Zimbowa
HUNGER in Seke has reached astronomical levels, exacerbating uncertainty and desperation among villagers with children, especially the girl-child, pregnant mothers and the chronically ill-being the most affected.
With the perennial droughts, coupled with the hyper-inflationary economic environment, life may have always been hard for a community that relies on growing and selling vegetables, but Covid-19 has severed the situation.
Responding to villagers’ plight, Grace Foundation, a humanitarian organisation targeting the girl-child and vulnerable society members, is trying to alleviate the hunger plight of Chitanda villagers, by providing with meals every Saturday.
Speaking to The Business Connect on the sidelines of the Grace Foundation feeding programme last Saturday at her homestead in Chitanda Village, in Seke, head Mrs Chitanda raised a red flag over the deteriorating situation that she said his culminated in ill – social vices never known in the area, before.
“In my custody, I have two families that sought refuge here, generally after being chased away from their families over poverty and subsequent hunger.
“There is a teenage mother from another nearby farm, who has four children and was chased away by her father together with her children, with one who has an acute health illness.
Mrs Chitanda, an elderly women who reside in Chitanda said with a painful heart she called the teenager’s father, who harshly, and grudgingly dismissed her: “Kana muchikwanisa kumuchengeta imi garai mamuchengeta.”
Forced to come to the teenager’s rescue because of the pitiful circumstances, she availed one of her unoccupied huts to the weary and hopeless mother, together with meals and other basics, so that she could continue feeding her family.
However, fears abound that the hopeless and seemingly suicidal young mother can disappear leaving her in the custody of her children, as she is hardly at home, perhaps trying to make ends meet.
She appealed to children home centres and government to come to the rescue saying the young mother is just hopeless and appears to be suicidal.
Ironically, while the ‘food kitchen’ is meant for children who are usually around 100, a number of female adults, including those pregnant and breastfeeding have become regulars.
Mrs Magutu (52), a regular at the feeding schemes said she is taking medication for a chronic condition, but struggling for food, which was neither acceptable nor ideal for her situation.
“My husband is unemployed, and so are my elder children. They will be just milling around and there is nowhere to get the food,” she said.
Mrs Chitanda called for increased aid to the people saying its only government‘s welfare schemes individually targeting the elderly, leaving out their unemployed children who at times have their own families.
She added that housebreaking cases were now becoming popular, a thing previously not heard of.
She said villagers used to rely on farming, including growing and selling vegetable as vendors, but drought and Covid-19 have turned up the tables.
Some children prefer enjoying their meals at home and not at the centre preferably to share with their elders.
Grace Foundation founder Mrs Grace Madzinga said her family upbringing from a philanthropic background combined with her pastoral mission, and teaching background moulded her to undertake such initiatives.
Despite offering basic food meals to the villagers, the foundation also empowers them with information and training to make them aware of the necessary social behaviour in the fight against Covid-19.
With two weeks into the Seke project, Mrs Madzinga thanked well-wishers that have supported her in their small way to make this a reality adding that her thrust is inspired by John 13 verse 33 that calls for love among people.

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal Number 2 targets ending hunger and improvement of nutrition by 2030, in particular the poor and people.

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