Hunger bites families in Bikita

For many who did not harvest anything following little rainfall last season, hunger is tearing families apart and destroying their moral fabric.

“It is no longer the norm that when a villager dies, every adult attends the funeral. The headman used to demand that a representative from every family come to the funeral of fellow villagers helping out with either cooking or fetching water or firewood. But now only close relatives of the deceased can attend – because is no food to give people.

“Most boreholes here are dry and we rely on the borehole at Gaha, which caters for over a 50 km radius,” said village head Takaendesa Banga of Bikita.

To make matters worse, Care International, a non-governmental organization partnering USAid and Dfid in providing food aid in the arid and impoverished Bikita district has scaled down aid citing an increase in the number of needy people in other areas like Matebeleland.

“For my family of six, I used to get a 50kg bag of maize, two 5-litre gallons of cooking oil, a 10 kg bag of nutritious porridge comprising soya-beans and groundnuts every month from Care Zimbabwe. Now that Care is almost gone, the going is tough for me. The price of maize that is sold at Chikuku Growth Point is exorbitant and I can not afford it since I am not employed. A 20-litre bucket of maize costs $12, far more than it fetches in such areas like Mbare in Harare where it costs only $5.

The maize vendors are taking advantage of the drought here and we have no choice but to look for money to buy the expensive food,” said a shabbily dressed and ailing Sekuru Zuwirayi, signs of poverty evident on his wrinkled face and whitish lips.

He went on to explain that young girls spent most of the time at the growth point, waiting to descend on travellers that buy food and beer at a local restaurant, ready to give away their bodies in return for money to look after their families.

Post published in: News

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