Tendai Rupapa in ZVISHAVANE
THE elderly living at Jairosi Jiri Old People’s Home and surrounding communities here yesterday got an early Mothers’ Day treat from First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa who prepared and served them sumptuous breakfast as she proceeds with her efforts to spread love and ease the plight of the vulnerable.
The home has few residents, but allows vulnerable members of the community to walk in for meals.
It was a marvel to watch the grey-haired men and women using forks and knives as they partook in the feast which had all the trappings of royalty.
Guests and members from the community were awestruck to see the First Lady resplendent in an apron and matching headgear as she effortlessly prepared the meal which she personally served with assistance from members of her team.
She prepared tea, coffee, boiled and fried eggs and baked beans which she served with bread.
The elderly also had a choice of margarine and jam for their spread.
The First Lady also donated foodstuffs that included mealie meal, sugar, powdered milk, fresh milk, eggs, bread, tea bags, jam and margarine to the home.
Mrs Patricia Dube, who manages the home could not hide her joy for being afforded the rare opportunity to meet and break bread with the mother of the nation.
“As Zvishavane, we are truly grateful with what the First Lady has done. We had never seen any mother other than her who has come to visit us here. We know that she hears all our challenges and we bank on her as our mother. When our elderly see a person like her, it boosts their morale that they are not lost. It gives them a sense that they are not very old, but are children with a mother who cares for them,” she said.
Equally elated was Ms Nyembezi Mbaya, a board member at Jairos Jiri Old People’s home who described the visit as rare and reassuring.
“We feel honoured today because we have been paid a visit by our mother who has a big family that is the whole of Zimbabwe. What made us proud is that even our elderly saw it for themselves that they are remembered. They feel their days will be increased as they get good food like this. We wish her long life to continue caring for her family. Even members of the community were overjoyed for being remembered by the First Lady,” she said.
What surprised many was the First Lady’s hands-on approach and down-to-earth demeanour.
This left the chairman of the home, Mr Edward Misihairabwi, tongue-tied.
“I am at a loss of words with this kind of love. We are grateful for being remembered by the First Lady. We have seen what she has brought for us and our elderly are many and will be covered by the groceries. Let her continue with her good heart and we wish that she keeps coming here if possible,” he said with a chuckle.
A member of the community, Mrs Margrate Badza (58) could not hide her joy.
“Ever since I lived, I have never seen such deeds. She is doing a lot to uplift the vulnerable groups countrywide and knows where the elderly and orphans are. Even the children who were living in the strees, she took them and placed them in proper care. Even here in Zvishavane we have been remembered by the First Lady. I am lost for words because of what she is doing countrywide. We have never had such a mother in our country who does not select her children. We are seeing her daily assisting people and may God grant her more years of life,” said Mrs Badza.
Sekuru Rogers Maravire (88) said: “To be grey-haired like this I have seen a lot but the love that has been shown here is one of its kind, i had never seen such love. I have never been to Harare but with this hearty breakfast the First Lady has brought Harare here. We are truly happy. She has a lot of things to do, but we want to continue seeing her here. Let her get more years and may God replenish what she has given away.”
On a lighter note, one Sekuru Francis Majoni (86) said he was sure to reach 100 years because of the love he had seen.
“Today is my first time to see such things. I think I will reach 100 years of age because I am satisfied. Our mother has brought a five star hotel from Harare here in Zvishavane. We have tucked into sumptuous food. Where would we get fork and knife were it not for her?” he said ecstatically.
In her remarks, the First Lady said she did not have much but relied on the assistance she gets from well-wishers to meet some of the needs of the country’s population.
“I do not have resources, but through my works I have made many friends who are assisting me. I am not one person who assigns people to do things on my behalf because I believe things go on well in my presence. Everyone will get that which they deserve to get. That is why I do not get tire to move with this programme,” she said to wild applause.
“We also move with the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare which advises us of places to visit and we also assess. I heard the history of this place that it can also assist the elderly from sorrounding communities who would have passed through here to find what they can to eat. We want thank the Jairos Jiri Association for assisting so many souls countrywide for many years. We regret the loss of the founder of the association, but the work has to be carried forward. I want to thank the team that is looking after our Gogos and Sekurus here. I also want to thank Blue Star Logistics a company which partnered with my Angel of Hope Foundation for the success of this programme,” she said.
Amai Mnangagwa paid tribute to a team of women councillors she has been recently working with in her programmes across the length and breadth of the country.
“I am travelling with some councillors from Harare going with them to all areas. When talking about councillors, they are mostly from the opposition. When I do my duties as a mother I do not do political issues. I run with issues that have to do with the welfare of the vulnerable groups uye handisarudze pama programmes angu kuti uriwebato ripi kana kuti church ipi (when I implement my programmes, I do not consider the political party or church denomination you belong to) because I started Angel of Hope Foundation so that i could assist all those in need. I thank these women councilors because they are also mothers and ibasa redu ana mai kuona kuti mhuri dzadya here (it is our duty as mothers to ensure that the family has eaten), we are moving with the same vision,” she said.
The First Lady was accompanied by Midlands Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Larry Mavima, Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Minister Sithembiso Nyoni and Blue Star Logistics operations director Mr Gerald Zumbika.
The mother of the nation sent a truckload of groceries to the Midlands Province for vulnerable members of the community.
The groceries were given to Minister Mavima for onward distribution to the disabled, the elderly and orphans, among other vulnerable members of the society.
“May God bless you. Your love overflows and we are thankful as a nation and may God grant you more,” said Minister Mavima.