ELDERLY people in Manicaland Province yesterday showered First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa with praises for teaching them about coronavirus and giving them groceries and blankets at a time when the country is under lockdown.
The First Lady and teams from her Angel of Hope Foundation were in the province yesterday as part of an ongoing programme to reach out to vulnerable groups with information on the pandemic and food relief.
Amai Mnangagwa distributed food hampers, blankets, home-made face masks, hand sanitisers and detergents in Nyanga at Village Inn, while her teams covered Chipinge, Mutare, Makoni, Buhera, Mutasa and Chimanimani.
She had an interactive session with the beneficiaries where she urged them to take the information back to their communities to ensure it cascaded to others who did not have the opportunity to attend.
Zimbabwe is under Level 2 lockdown in which people are encouraged to stay at home to prevent the spread of coronavirus, but the elderly and other vulnerable groups had run out of food, hence the intervention.
Gogo Merenia Nyamahumba (93) from Nyamahumba Village said the First Lady’s assistance could not have come at a better time.
“I am thankful to Amai for remembering us old people. Some of the information we received today is new to me and I am grateful that I have been given the chance to learn. Old as I am, I still need to know how this disease will affect me and my family. I am also grateful for the food because most of us here can no longer work for ourselves and getting food during this period has been difficult,” she said.
Mbuya Charity Mamunda from Chikanga said the food hampers they received from Amai Mnangagwa showed that the First Lady had the vulnerable at heart.
“May God bless the First Lady. We are grateful that Amai has realised that there are elderly people like us who must be taught about Covic-19 so that we live informed lives in the community during this pandemic. As soon as we get to our respective houses we are going to impart the knowledge that we received here to others so that they prevent themselves from contracting the virus.”
Gogo Auxillia Zinyuku (65) of Gwende Village, Makoni North, said the programme had helped most of them to understand Covid-19 and set right some misconceptions.
“Physical distancing was difficult to observe at funerals due to ignorance. These issues had not been adequately explained to us, and we relied on distorted information from third parties.
“We are now better equipped and we will discourage our children and other villagers from attending overcrowded funerals, public places and moving around without face masks. We also learnt that we should not touch dead bodies in the absence of health officers,” she said.
The First Lady implored village heads and chiefs to remain vigilant and keep records of all those who were coming back home through informal channels for the safety of their communities and the country as a whole.
She said although Manicaland had borne the brunt of a bad agriculture season and Cyclone Idai last year, no one would die of hunger.
She urged the Manicaland provincial taskforce to share notes with other provinces on the door-to-door roller meal programme, which is a brilliant initiative that will go a long way in bringing food to the people.
Manicaland Provincial Affairs Minister Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba said the programme was a great way of informing communities.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Minister Monica Mutsvangwa graced the Berzely Bridge ceremony and hailed Amai Mnangagwa for the kind gesture.
She said the timely intervention came at a time when most families in the district failed to harvest because of drought.
Manicaland shares a large stretch of the border with Mozambique, which makes it difficult for authorities to detect all those who come in through illegal crossing points.