Woman provides for less privileged and the aged

venencia_muzambiThe Brownies motto, Think of others before yourself - Give others something to eat before yourself, has spurred Venencia Muzambi to .....
(Pictured: Venencia Muzambi Founder of Help Age Care Marondera)

share her scarce resources and feed less fortunate, aged members of the community.

It was a scorching Sunday afternoon at the end of 2006, when a stranger waved me to stop at her homestead in Dombotombo. From the tired look in her eyes, she must have gone for days without a meal. She was nothing but a moving human skeleton.

My daughter, may you kindly save me from imminent death? Please my lord, give me life, said the desperate woman, gasping for breath.

The country was reeling under a severe food shortage. So I told her I could not offer assistance instantly. She persisted pleading for something to eat and asked for my house number. I had a bun in my handbag, which I offered her, and gave her my contact details. My two km journey from Dombotombo to Nyameni seemed a thousand miles. Though I was also struggling to put a meal on my family table, I was moved by the old womans situation and spared some mealie meal, sugar, salt, cooking oil, soap and dried vegetables for her. My husband, Felix, kindly approved my intentions.

Before we had our meal, I rushed back to the woman with the food. I found her on the same spot sleeping under a tree. She was full of joy and so thankful. She clutched my hand and whispered what sounded like a short prayer. Before leaving, I assured her of regular food supplies, whenever resources permitted.

The following morning, I was surprised to receive six elderly strangers at my home. They said the old woman had told them about my help. I did not have enough surplus food for the surprise visitors, let alone my own family. Something clicked in my mind and I realized God had a purpose for my life. I went into my house, said a prayer, retrieved some cash from my purse and bought some groceries for the visitors. It soon became routine for the old and poor to come and collect food at my place at the end of every month. Their numbers swelled to over 30 and I included them in my family budget. During the 2007-2008 famine, the number of people seeking food assistance at my place shot up to 70. As many are over 80, I decided to organize transport to deliver the food to them.

I made money by baking buns and scones and selling them on the street. I also made leather products such as handbags and cell phone pouches for sale. I now produce large quantities of leather ware, which I sell in bulk to cross-border traders who ply their trade in neighbouring countries, especially South Africa. On average, I sell goods worth $500 every month and spend $250 to feed the poor. My husband is also in the leather products manufacturing industry and makes regular generous donations in cash and kind towards my cause.

Beneficiaries of my goodwill come from across town, irrespective of political affiliation. My daughter, Precious, regularly assists with transport and food. Another kind woman known as only as Zinyemba, appreciates my generosity and sometimes supports my endeavours with cash. After 18 months I registered as a local non governmental organization called Help Age Care Marondera.

I have tightened my family budget and saved profits from my projects to construct a shop in the industrial sites for a bakery and leather produce enterprise. My ambition now is to accommodate poor people in decent houses at a village for the poor I am planning to build. Among the most needy beneficiaries of my social welfare project, is Kachire Perera (88) of 22 Cherutombo road. Perera escaped death from hunger with a whisker in 2008. He had gone for days without food.

The number of old people needing assistance from Muzambi will continue to rise, as young people who are normally expected to look after the old, are dying earlier due to HIV/AID-related illnesses. The younger generation is dying before their parents, leaving them vulnerable to poverty.

I was born a Latter Day Saints Christian and am expected to assist the underprivileged. God wants to extend his love and generosity to the poor through me. Since childhood, I have had a feeling that God created me to help others. When I was a child, my role when playing house was that of a Good Samaritan who provided for the poor.

From 1990 to 1996 I belonged to the Irish Hospice and later the Samaritans in Gweru. I voluntarily provided counseling to depressed and suicidal members of society. I gave them hope and a purpose to live for. As part of my duties, under the Irish Hospice, I provided medical and home-based care for the aged members of community. On relocating to Marondera in 1996, the soft spot in my heart continued to accommodate welfare of the needy.

If the local municipality considers my application for a piece of residential and commercial land, I wish to establish a home for the aged. I will build a block of residential flats made up of single-roomed quarters for the poor. My current projects are lucrative enough to fund bigger ventures in this regard. My heart bleeds for the homeless people, facing evacuation from council flats, due to inability to pay monthly rentals. For as long as I live, they will not go without food.

Post published in: World News

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