By SR ANNA MANDEYA
The residents of Mbare, Epworth, Chitungwiza and Hopley are sinking in deep poverty. This situation is badly affecting children most of all. “We are dying of hunger; we have no water, water is now being sold here and one can not afford it,” said one woman I visited in Epworth. They also reported that for them to get water it meant having to walk a great distance a day before getting to a borehole that is serving a huge number of people. They would join the queue and come home the following day. I also observed that there was a lot of air and land pollution which was directly affecting people`s health and more so children`s health. Due to the scarcity of water the place is dirty and filthy and this is why cholera and typhoid are often reported from these areas. These places are actually a breeding ground for diseases. It is unfortunate that children are a significant per cent of the group of people affected.
The situation has gotten out of hand most families they are having one meal a day. It is sad to note that what they are calling a meal is just starch “sadza and vegetables that has turned to be called “katsaona” small amount of “sadza”. There are no meat bases proteins for children`s growth. Some women have said openly that they have been forced to go into prostitution so as to save their families from dying of from hunger. Meaning that the commodity for exchange by women is the exchange for their body because they have no land, no job and not educated and very soon the daughters realized they could imitate the mother. So the whole family is engaged in occasional prostitution in order to survive. One would not hesitate to say that though the act is condemned by both the society and the Church the truth is that “each family members is contributing to the survival of the family and is doing a good job in serving lives”. Where will they get the money if there is in no employment, no food, and water aid assistants from the state.
I would like to say that we have lost the spirit of sharing that used to be practiced in the past. Traditionally the poor used to be looked after by the society thus the idea of “ubundu” was not a theory but was lived. “I am because you are and you are because I am” Unfortunately now it is no longer happening.
Those who have are working day and night in accumulating more and more wealth at the expense of the poor and the poor are sinking in deep poverty. The gap between the poor and the rich has been widened. Of course the problem of theft is on the increase. Therefore, what are we saying? If I may answer, all people living in these four areas and many unmentioned areas in Zimbabwe are living in unbearable situation and it is the women and children who suffering most.
There is need for the government and any other stakeholders to take urgent steps in helping these people. There is need for continuous increase of knowledge on putting the interest of the children first in all spheres of life. It is high time we make the politicians aware that it is the basic responsibility of political leaders. It is not their choice, they should make. It is their fundamental role. It is my duty, your duty and our duty.