CHIPINGE — Villagers in Chipinge district in Manicaland province are still suffering from the effects of Cyclone Eline, a devastating weather phenomenon that hit the country 12 years ago.
Report by Jairos Saunyama
Some of the villagers and professionals such as teachers and agricultural extension workers walk for over 25 kilometres to the nearest bus stop as roads that used to access their areas were destroyed by the cyclone in 2000.
The roads have not been repaired since.
Rosemary Mbangara, a teacher at Rimai Primary School, said she walked 25km every month in order to collect her salary in Mutare or Chipinge.
The journey took her to the villages of Guyo, Madhuku and Chishamisa before getting to Manzvire, which is the nearest bus stop where she could get a bus.
When she started teaching at the school in 1998, the transport system in the area was reliable as the route was plied by buses such as Tenda, Matsatse, B&C and Ajay.
But the transport operators abandoned the route after Cyclone Eline damaged roads and small bridges in the area.
Mbangara’s story is typical of the hardships villagers in some parts of Chipinge have to endure.
“We have to foot either 25km to Manzvire or 35km to Checheche Growth Point when we want to get transport to various destinations,” Arnold Sithole, a teacher at Rimai Secondary School told Standardcommunity.
The villagers are forced to use scotch carts and bicycles but they have to endure more time on the road on the 25km stretch.
Several teachers have sought transfers citing the poor state of roads and other infrastructure.
“We used to qualified staff here but as you might have heard, most of the teachers have transferred to Takwirira, Checheche or Vheneka, schools which are located on the highway,” said Sithole.
Villagers also struggle to access clinics and the hospital and this has affected many patients, including those living with HIV and Aids, who need to frequently visit hospitals to access anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) and other drugs for opportunistic infections.
Villagers say scores of patients were dying at home.
Pregnant mothers were also said to be delivering at home, a trend that had resulted in high maternal and prenatal deaths.