If you looked at the top table, you could see the crème de la crème of the local leadership.
There was Solomon Muzenda, the reigning headman Vanyoro who led a team of grey-haired traditional leaders. Festus Dumbu, the Zaka West Member of Parliament was present and so was Misheck Marava, the Senator for Zaka district.
For a largely forgotten communal area, such high-powered representation showed the seriousness attached to the occasion.
It was mid-afternoon on January 5 and the reason for the morale here was a drill rig, mounted on a heavy truck, which was on its way to the rural enclave to sink seven boreholes.
The rig, designed to drill into the underground and tap into reservoirs where clean and safe water is located, carried the hopes of an entire community in the drought ravaged Zaka West.
The boreholes were financed under the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), a facility designed to meet the development needs of constituencies reeling under lack of funding.
While donors have in the past been active in rural areas providing water and sanitation facilities, a decade-long political crisis scared them away leaving many development projects in limbo.
In Zaka West, where communal leaders were gathered under a tree at a primary school, the need for clean water had always been a major cause for headaches considering that villagers were sharing water with wild animals in Mutirikwi river.
And nobody here cherished carrying a bucket to the river, especially during this season when the water is uninvitingly dark, as a result of the dirt deposited by streams and tributaries connected to Mutirikwi.
“Once the rig arrives, we will witness the drilling of boreholes,” said a proud MP Dumbu, much to the appreciation of the villagers.
Dumbu said the lack of clean water was a major problem for people living in this part of Zaka and the arrival of the rig was a cause for celebration.
Though villagers had clamoured for boreholes for years under successive Zanu PF MPs, their pleas fell on deaf ears.
But the disbursement of US$50 000 to constituencies under the CDF is set to change their lives for good if the boreholes are properly maintained.
Dumbu announced that the community had decided the best way to utilise the funds was to sink boreholes in those villages worst-hit by water shortages. He admitted the boreholes were a “drop in the ocean” and more were needed in the constituency. The need for more water sources was evident as villagers openly argued over the location of the boreholes and others that could be sunk in future.
“We cannot continue to have a situation where people share water from Mutirikwi with animals. It’s unacceptable,” the MP said to loud cheers.
Because Zaka is a dry area, Dumbu said they had agreed that the boreholes had to be drilled up to 50 metres deep.
“Nothing short of that is acceptable. We want to see an end to the perennial problem of water shortages,” he said.
Lack of safe water has spawned many problems in Zaka.