Joy as Siakobvu teachers get decent houses A teachers’ house at Chibwezuru Primary School.

Walter Nyamukondiwa in SIAKOBVU

She still recalls vividly the harrowing events of December 2, 2020, which nearly claimed her life, that of her husband and that of her then two-year-old niece.

The roof of her room at Chibwezuru Primary School in Siakobvu, Kariba District, collapsed during a storm, shortly after schoolchildren left for the day.

Today, heaps of bricks lying about are the only evidence that there used to be a teachers’ house.

Just a stone throw from where the house used to be, is a modern teachers’ house which has been built following the mishap, complete with a flushing toilet, bath tub and electrical wiring ready for connection to a solar system. 

There is also running water.

This has come as a relief to Mrs Elizabeth Kubvamunedzi, who miraculously escaped when her room collapsed back then.

“I am relieved that Carbon Green took the initiative to provide housing for us teachers in one of the far flung districts of the country,” she said.

“I recall how I nearly lost my life while in a room that collapsed just as I came home to my husband and niece. It started raining and suddenly the roof was lifted with one side collapsing and as we tried to get out of the room, the wall and door crumbled.” 

At least three water tanks with a capacity of 15 000 litres, strategically positioned to supply the teachers’ houses, school and an adjacent business centre, have been set up while siting for a borehole is still underway after two futile attempts. 

So, Mrs Kubvamunedzi still walks nearly 5km to a nearby spring to get clean water.

For school head, Mr Vincent Zulu, the staff room doubled as his bedroom with only a board securing his privacy. 

The shortage of accommodation at the school and many others in the district had resulted in a shortage of teachers and high staff turnover as those who accepted placement never stayed long.

Adjacent to it, is another block being built by Nyaminyami Rural District Council through devolution funds, nearing completion.

This has raised hope that the school will soon get a full staff complement.

Currently, there are four teachers left, including the headmaster and his deputy for learners from ECD A up to Grade 7.

“With improved accommodation which is as good as a standard urban house like what we now have, we should have more teachers wanting to stay here,” said the headmaster Mr Zulu.

“In terms of electricity, everything that is needed is here including the solar panels, the holding frame and tubing is in place. 

“The piping for water has already been done and all that is needed is for those drilling boreholes to do proper siting so that we get enough water.”

The school had makeshift pole and dagga classrooms not so long ago, but classroom blocks have been built, although learning space remains inadequate.

Carbon Green Africa managing director, Mr Charles Ndondo, said two attempts to drill a borehole which will be solar-powered have been futile with the first one collapsing after 83 metres.

The other one, 43 metres deep, does not have enough water with only eight buckets being realised per day.

“We built a house for the teachers at Chibwezuru Primary School which we wanted to have solar piped water but unfortunately we only discovered later that the boreholes were not deep enough to support that,” said Mr Ndondo.

“However, we have earmarked the drilling of another borehole on a different site in the first quarter. This is all in a bid to promote education through retention of teachers in the area.” 

Mr Ndondo said the Government was moving away from hand pumped boreholes to solar powered piped water schemes and that guided Carbon Green in its intervention at Chibwezuru school and other areas in Binga, Mbire and Kariba districts.

People in the area have commended Carbon Green for building the modern house and setting up everything for a piped water scheme which they also stand to benefit from.

Mrs Marjory Kungobwe, who walks more than 5km to get water for drinking and other chores twice daily, said the borehole programme would make life easier for the community.

“I walk at least 5km to get water twice daily, in the morning and evening because the borehole which was drilled as part of a piped water scheme did not yield enough water,” she said.

“Carbon Green instead opted to fit a hand pump but we hardly get eight buckets of water and it is so rusty that we cannot drink it. We hope that a proper borehole site is found soon.” 

Another villager Mr Rutendo Matutu said he had no choice but to accompany his wife to fetch water at the nearby springs because there were wild animals roaming in the area.

The compound impact of seemingly sparse interventions has the potential to alter the learning and social landscape in Nyaminyami District and beyond as the march towards an empowered upper middle income society continues.

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