The Nyadombo family is headed by an 82year old widow, Mrs Nyadombo who has four daughters, of which three of them are married and stay away from their home except for Dorica. Aged 55, Dorica stays with her mother due to disability from birth. She cannot walk or eat alone. Since she was born, her mother has had to stay close to her. This has made it difficult for Mrs Nyadombo to participate in any village activities, work in the fields or even visit relatives. Furthermore, there has been noted neglect from the community as well her family members. The family is in great need as they are not able to grow their own crops for subsistence use, forcing them to rely on donations, care givers, heartfelt community members and the Rural Women Assemblies.

The 2013-2014 rainy season was characterised by heavy showers, flooded rivers, overflown dams and a lot of soil erosion. Mrs Nyadombo’s house was one of the affected households due to windy conditions that prevailed, as well as heavy rains which took away her kitchen roof in February 2014. Since then, she has had to cook in the open and with the rainy season fast approaching, desperately needs a new roof. 

Though sympathetic, the community has lacked the capacity to repair or fund the fallen roof (costing about $200 USD when the average wage for employed Zimbabweans is around $100 USD). Some of the community members and care groups support her with basic commodities e.g. maize and beans (which are the most common crops grown in the area).

The 2014 Progressio July- September cycle conducted a needs assessment and a budget was formulated with the help of Aunty Nyasha, the DOMCCP Care Facilitator for one of the wards. The international and national volunteers quickly gathered momentum as the funds were raised in record time. 

The community was then mobilised through village leadership to volunteer for the roof repair and once word got out, we weren’t short of volunteers for all sorts of jobs: from  collecting  poles, ropes (i.e. tree bark), river-sand and stones for the kitchen.

The roof repair day started with a word of prayer and a song that still rings in our minds whenever we view the pictures of the work done (“How excellent is your name O’ Lord”). Everyone came to Mrs Nyadombo’s place geared for work. The total number of people who came for work was 61 (21 men, 30 women and 10 children). The number was so resounding and this made work very easy. Men were cutting and measuring poles, women picking stones for the floor at a nearby river and others cooking food for some refreshments and the children helping with carrying water for cooking and serving food. 

It was all smiles, women ululating, kids dancing, old men dangling under the trees, chickens running everywhere. The atmosphere surrounding the house could not contain a bad mood as everyone was triggered to dance. The impact was so instant, evident, proven, tested and the good work made everyone praise all the effort from various people. Now Mrs Nyadombo can cook under a roof, no more cooking outside with the rains pouring on her fire place and the scorching sun heating her back. The room can also be used to keep her belongings as well for sleeping.

Written by ICV volunteer Tinashe Mhlanga