The recent floods in Masvingo province has left several families in dire need of help. I went down to some parts of the affected places just to try and make sense of the scenarios I had seen on tv. I couldn’t believe the news and my heart was broken to see homes underwater but nothing could prepare me for what I saw and witnessed when I visited Tokwe-Mukosi with my friend, Delta. I remember crying and feeling so helpless at what she had witnessed the previous day. This post is primarily to highlight to people just how much help is needed to assist the people affected. I can never tell their story so I won’t even try.
I hate change, especially if it means uprooting myself from a place of comfort. I feel silly now at the way I freaked out when my phone went bust the other day. The reason why I’m not freaked out because my laptop`s power pack is kaplop is mainly because I have witnessed and learned that some of the most valuable things people have and own are immaterial.
Anyway, the long and the short of this is that- here is a chance for people to show ubuntu with victims of this flooding. There’s need for clothes, food, cooking pots and utensils, tents, water tablets, medication for various illness and conditions, blankets, vehicles to move people, fuel for vehicles, there’s even need for man power to assist with moving people from the homes threatened by the dam to, firstly, the centre points then to the temporary camps (one young woman referred to it as a ‘keep’- all sorts of emotions came to me at that word, but anyway, the point is this) people will still need to be moved from those temporary camps, they need to be assisted to pitch up their own tents as they await to be moved to their permanent new homes. Volunteers are needed.
People need to understand that the government is in no position to pay anyone who volunteers and to this end, they’ve been using civil servants. I’m hoping that people and companies, organisations, churches, communities will heed this call to help out. Remember kuti this is only Tokwe-Mukosi people, we also have Tsholotsho- where I don’t know what is going on. We need people and centres where donations can be dropped off. Remember, that shoe, dress, scarf, blanket, soap, bag (yes, bag- to pack what they have) yes, all that and more is needed by someone who doesn’t have.
Below are some of the images I got. They tell their own stories but it’s my prayer that they can assist you to realise and appreciate that any ‘small’ action you can do will go a long way. Prayers are not enough in this case, we need action!
Tokwe-Mukosi is a huge dam currently under construction in Masvingo Province. We met the MP of the place who gave us insight into what relocation of displaced people means and demands.
Trucks such as these are needed to move families and their belongings. A lucky family managed to move when the rains had ceased for a bit. Who knows if this property is not water damaged or not. Is this property that of an elderly couple, a young one, a single parent extended household- a grandparent lookin after the grandchildren? The inevitable move that uproots people from their own neighbours and neighborhood. Who will be their new neighbor?
Some people were lucky enough to be able to choose and pack what items they would take with them to the new place. Some were not so lucky. Some people`s homes are now fully submerged under water! And in some instances, there’s NOTHIN to show for where these homes used to be.
Part of the dam wall being constructed. This is a project of a huge magnitude! Not only in terms of the work being put in but also what it is costing to build the dam.
Those people who had the opportunity, managed to strip down their houses to save windows and grass for thatching their new homes. How many of us, when relocating, have to take the very roofs above our heads?
The swelling dam is yet to gain its colour once silt has settled. An impressive expanse of water that now drowns huge trees, kopjies, small hills, homes and grave yards, among others. Whatever animal life that was not saved is probably trapped on the new islands
All that remains of a kitchen that once was the pride and joy of a mother/wife. Will she have a kitchen that will bring her as much joy and memories where she is going to?
The dam has extended to where homesteads used to be. This is what is left of a road that used to be travelled by vehicles and ngoro, past homes and fields. The edges of the dam are now new homes to crocodiles and hippos! The dam has swallowed up banana plantations, mango orchards, guava orchards, you name it.
These are graves that were recently built up and protected but sadly, they must be left behind. How does the family move on knowing that they left the bones of their family members behind? In Shona culture, the grave is sacred and is often visited just so one can speak to the departed- perhaps one way of dealing with grief?
Small children lie on a bed as they excitedly await for trucks to come through and ferry them to safety. It is apparent that they do not fully appreciate what this ‘trip’ means. Their great grandma has raised them as well as she could. Will the new place enable and allow her and her large family to have a life similar to what they once enjoyed?
Two years ago, the dam was just a project being spoken about yet today, the dam is literally their nearest neighbor. Fields have been swallowed up and animals of those who have not yet been moved have been let loose in the fields of those families who had to leave early.
Everything else is uncertain except when you purpose within your heart to do something to help out. If everyone who reads this can donate one thing and ask just five people that you know to do likewise and it ripples out like that, I’m sure we can bring smiles to anxious faces.