Tendai Rupapa Senior Reporter
Mbuya Esther Zinyoro’s heroics of helping over 100 stranded women deliver in just nine days at her modest home in Mbare, Harare, in the midst of a strike by health practitioners, earned her a visit by First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa.
After learning about how Mbuya Zinyoro leapt to the rescue of expecting mothers who could no longer deliver in clinics and hospitals because of the strike, Amai Mnangagwa saw it fit to pay the traditional midwife a visit.
Unlike hospitals and clinics, the midwife, popularly known as Mbuya Gwena, who is a member of St John’s Apostolic Church of the Whole World, provides her services for free.
Amai Mnangagwa went to the woman’s house with provisions to make her work easier.
When the First Lady arrived at Mbuya Gwena’s house, Ms Plaxedes Manyumwa was about to give birth and she delivered when Amai Mnangagwa had just alighted from her vehicle getting into the house.
Ms Manyumwa was thrilled when she saw the First Lady entering the house and named her baby girl after her.
It was Mbuya Gwena’s sixth baby of the day.
Amai Mnangagwa responded to the challenges being faced by Mbuya Gwena, among them the shortage of toiletries and food to feed expecting women and relatives who would have accompanied them.
She brought with her an assortment of foodstuffs that included rice, sugar, mealie-meal, cooking oil and salt.
The toiletries she donated included washing powder, laundry and bathing soap and hygiene supplies like latex gloves.
Inside her two-roomed apartment, women take turns to deliver on two tents spread on the floor in the lounge.
Mbuya Gwena did not have enough blankets to cater for her patients.
Responding to the crisis, Amai Mnangagwa gave her blankets and she shed tears while receiving the gifts.
It was a sad sight when the First Lady entered the house seeing women screaming and writhing in pain on the floor.
She applauded the work being done by Mbuya Gwena saying without her, most women would have lost their babies or even their lives.
Amai Mnangagwa asked Mbuya Gwena if officials from the Ministry of Health and Child Care had visited her, but she said she was yet to see them.
“Dai zvichibvira vanoona nezvehutano vauyawo pano vaonawo mabasa amurikubata aya nemagariro amakaita pano. It is important for them to assess your work and if possible give you a midwifery certificate,” she said.
The First Lady said it was her wish one day to meet all women who gave birth at Mbuya Gwena’s house.
Mbuya Gwena said the midwifery vision came through their church Bishop whom she identified as Baba Mabhiza.
She said many years ago, Bishop Mabhiza had a dream in which hospitals had closed and her house turned into a maternity ward.
“My Bishop’s prophecy finally came to pass, my house has been turned into a maternity ward,” she said. “Some years back we were at a church gathering when our Bishop announced my name saying he had a prophecy.
“He asked me to stand in front of the congregants and said he had dreamt of hospitals shutting down and my house turned into a maternity ward.
“In his own words he said, ‘Mai Gwena from Mbare you should have patience, love and tolerance.
“In a dream I saw hospitals being closed and women rushing to your house. Your house was turned into a maternity ward. God will guide and see you through.’
“Every time before I assist the women to deliver I ask for guidance from God who then gives me directions. I don’t charge, I do it for free and I know that God will continue to bless me.
“There is a woman who came in this morning and when I was about to assist her I noticed there were some complications and having no plan, I quickly advised her husband to rush her to Parirenyatwa Hospital.”
Mbuya Gwena is a mother of 13.