RESIDENTS of Unit O, Seke, Chitungwiza yesterday kissed goodbye to acute water challenges that had become synonymous with their suburb, thanks to the intervention by First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa, who provided a solar-powered borehole.
So dire was the situation that it resulted in women and children sleeping in queues while some engaged in fistfights at crowded boreholes due to high demand.
Describing the First Lady as a mother who knows and listens to the problems affecting her children especially women and young girls, residents said her intervention could not have come at any better time as she had resolved a challenge that was uppermost in their minds.
Ms Last Mapeta, a resident, could not hide her joy and thanked the mother of the nation for her love and care.
“We are grateful with what the First Lady has done to bring us water here. It was a huge challenge for women to get water and people would fight now and again for water,” she said with happiness written all over her face.
Equally elated was Ms Peloncia Dhanana who said the new borehole would help save money as they used to pay suppliers for the little quantities they needed to perform various chores around the home.
“I feel very happy and I am thankful for what our mother has done. Water was a challenge. To do the dishes we would buy water, the same for cooking and laundry. People were sleeping at boreholes and even fighting. Even to use the toilet we would buy water and the cost was prohibitive,” she said.
Mr Pinishto Mugombe a resident of Unit O said what the First Lady had done was going to save marriages.
“Our wives used to wake up as early as 2am going to far away boreholes looking for clean water leaving us in bed. Other women were now spending more time away from home hiding under the guise they were looking for water yet they were engaging in dishonest activities.
“This always brought quarrels in families. However, because of this borehole sunk by our First Lady, our wives no longer have to walk the long distances to look for drinking water and no one has to drink unsafe water. The borehole came at the right time and as the community, we are so grateful, Our children too are now able to fetch water within a few minutes walking distance and then go to school,” he said.
Gogo Sarudzai Dzimawo expressed gratitude to the First Lady for the borehole which she said would help solve a number of challenges they were facing as a community.
“Because of old age i was finding it difficult to walk for a long distance looking for water. I am so happy because Amai has brought clean water to our doorstep meaning the time I used to spend in long queues, I can now use it for other tangible things at home. My grandchildren sometimes missed school because they would be fetching water. The water situation was so bad that it affected the performance of our children in school.”
Through her Angel of Hope Foundation and its patners, the First Lady drilled the borehole after a careful assessment of the community’s needs.
After handing over the borehole, she took the opportunity to educate the community on Covid-19 and vaccination, among many other issues.
“I am happy to be here in chitungwiza. Water is important in our lives. Clean water is needed by veryone. It is my wish that we share knowledge about diseases which can be contracted as a result of lack of clean water,” she said.
Cholera, typhoid and diarrhoea were among diseases that affected people as a result of lack of clean water.
“As people, there are ways that we must follow to avoid contracting these diseases. One of the ways is through using water from protected sources like this borehole I have brought here. Clean water must be found in all places and must not be contaminated. I now urge you to jealously guard this borehole. Water to us women and the whole family is a pillar of homes.”
The mother of the nation said she decided to assist the community after hearing cases of rape and fights.
It emerged that young girls and women were being raped while on their way to or from the far away boreholes in the wee hours.
“Our children were no longer going to school because they were on duty to look for water. People had lost morals and were hiding behind boreholes to commit crimes. In my works, I urge people to respect each other live in peace, love and harmony,” she said.
She urged members of the community to use the borehole collectively and not along political lines so that everyone benefits.
On Covid-19, the first Lady spoke about the need for proper mask use which involves covering the nose and mouth. She also called for proper disposal of masks to save children and spelt the need for people to be vaccinated.
“Heeding Covid-19 protocols helps us ensure the country is not kept under lockdown. We are the emancipators of our country by following the rules. This will help ensure that our markets and all other work places where we operate from are opened,” she said.
Chitungwiza Mayor Lovemore Maiko said clean water had become a scarce commodity in the area and applauded the First Lady for initiating the project for the benefit of the community.
“I am grateful for what our mother has done. She has helped solve a challenge that has been affecting us for a long time. Our people will nolonger be affected by diseases and will spend time on other productive things other than water where they were spending much of their time,” he said.
Councillor for ward 20 Innocent Jenje and Ward 22 Gift Tsverere thanked the First Lady for the borehole, describing her as “vachirera nherera” (someone who takes it as their burden to care for others).
After listening to the First Lady’s teachings on love and unity, the two councilors from different political parties shook hands and vowed to work together going forward for the development of their communities and the nation at large.
They thanked Amai Mnangagwa for her non-political approach in her philanthropic work saying she is a mother to everyone.
The First Lady’s programmes and projects are non-partisan and the list of her initiatives is endless.