Tendai Rupapa Senior Reporter
FIRST Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa’s concern for the welfare of the elderly yesterday took her to Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe where she gave them foodstuffs, sanitisers and waterguard before taking her time to teach them about Covid-19.
She also taught the elderly how they could avoid contracting the disease, which has killed thousands of people worldwide.
The elderly in Mashonaland East benefited from the First Lady’s benevolence.
The country is under a 21-day lockdown under which people are encouraged to stay at home to prevent the spread of coronavirus, but mostly the elderly and other vulnerable groups have run out of food, which prompted the First Lady, who is the Angel of Hope Foundation patron, to assist them.
The foodstuffs she donated included maize-meal, cooking oil, rice, sugar, toiletries and dried vegetables, which she personally prepared as part of her efforts to meet the nutritional requirements of the elderly and vulnerable groups.
Beneficiaries were elated that they broke into song and dance, while praising the First Lady for remembering them at a time when prices of basic commodities were sky-rocketing.
The First Lady is the country’s Health Ambassador and has a passion for promoting the health and welfare of the elderly.
The meetings she held did not have more than 50 people in observance of social distancing, which is essential in preventing the spread of coronavirus.
She interacted with the elderly at two centres, while her teams from Angel of Hope Foundation interacted with villagers and discussed the pandemic throughout Mashonaland East Province, before giving them food hampers.
Amai Mnangagwa visited the elderly gathered at Guyu Primary School in Maramba Pfungwe and at Nhakiwa Training Centre in Uzumba.
All in all, the areas visited by Angel of Hope Foundation in the province include UMP, Mahusekwa, Murehwa, Seke, Hwedza, Goromonzi, Mutoko, Chikomba and Mudzi.
It emerged during the First Lady’s interactions with the rural folk that some did not understand the impact of Covid-19, as they were still gathering for funerals and preparing the bodies of close relatives for burial.
The First Lady and her team’s visit around the province proved that people did not fully understand Covid-19, judging by the questions they asked, which showed zeal to know more about the disease.
The visit to areas without toll free numbers also enabled villagers to access valuable information on the pandemic from Amai Mnangagwa and her team.
Mbuya Janet Mutyandayedza told the First Lady that it was difficult not to attend funerals because they feared being labelled anti-social, but she left with a changed mindset after learning more about the virus.
Amai Mnangagwa said: “When someone dies, call the health workers with personal protective clothing to do the washing of bodies for you. Let them do everything, including clothing the deceased so that the disease does not spread.
“Even when going to the cemetery, the doctors must carry the coffin and bury the person. We shall not open the body for viewing because of the disease.”
The First Lady taught the villagers how to use sanitisers and waterguard and explained that the lockdown was not a punishment, but a way of preventing the spread of Covid-19.
She advised villagers to notify the local authorities whenever they received visitors to avoid the spread of the virus.
Amai Mnangagwa told the elderly and those that interacted with her team that they were now ambassadors who would go around educating others about coronavirus.
Speaking in Shona, the First Lady interacted with her audience and allowed them to ask questions and contribute to the discussion.
“You might all be wondering why only a few of you were selected to gather here, this disease does not allow us to gather in large numbers,” she said.
“We follow the rules so that we do not contract or spread the disease.”
The First Lady sang religious hymns with those in attendance at both events and urged them to seek divine intervention for the benefit of the nation.
“I know you have heard about Covid-19, but today I want you to teach me about it and also I want you to learn more,” she said. “When you go home, I encourage you to teach your families about this disease.
“The way we are seated here with gaps between us is one way of preventing the spread of this disease or ensuring that it does not affect us all at the same time. God has a purpose for everything and he has the cure.”
The First Lady gave an account of the Ruwa family that has some members who survived Covid-19 and implored journalists to interview the family to get an insight into how they fought the battle.
She said the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services had established a call centre to furnish people with vital information on the disease.
The First Lady had health experts in tow to ensure people washed hands and maintained the recommended social distance.
Mbuya Sositina Zinyoka was at a loss for words for what the First Lady did for her community.
“She is God-sent,” she said. “She has remembered us in this very difficult time and taught us some of the things we did not know about this pandemic.
“We want God to bless her abundantly for her thoughtfulness. Very few people at her level would want to associate with the poor, but she has a heart of gold.”
Maramba Pfungwe legislator Cde Tichaona Karumazondo and his Uzumba counterpart Cde Simbaneuta Mudarikwa could not hide their joy and were full of praises for the First Lady.
Mashonaland East Provincial Affairs Minister Aplonia Munzverengwi was also in attendance and thanked the First Lady for remembering the Mashonaland East family.