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Tsunami of love: A different Valentine’s Day for Binga

By Christie Brookstein

It is in times of trouble, when others are in need, that the famous Zimbabwean spirit of kindness comes to the forefront.

On February and flash-flooding occurred in the Nsungwali area of Binga, where four rivers converge, caused by a deluge of rain in the Chizarira region after months of crippling drought.

The devastating floods affected 181 homes, destroying 37 and damaging a further 144, across 13 villages, in an area already wracked by poverty and food insecurity.

The tragic death of one elderly resident, along with extensive damage to household goods, loss of livestock and precious food coffers have left people traumatised and destitute, with more rains on the way.

The Civil Protection Unit was able to gain some access to the area a few days later and word began to spread of what had occurred.

Government officials, headed by Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs minister Richard Moyo, along with various aid foundations, travelled to Binga to assess the situation.

Accompanying senator Chief Siansali was Danielle Connolly, outreach director of Jafuta Foundation, with a large clothing donation.

The government and the International Organisation for Migration distributed potable water, fuel, mealie meal, oil and soap for 100 people, with tents and blankets on the way.

As one of the first responders, Connolly was able to share feedback and a comprehensive list of needs to the donation drive that had begun on social media.

Citizens of Bulawayo and Victoria Falls responded and as a result, a truck will be driving through to Binga, loaded with goods for the stricken families.

Distribution on the ground will be done through the district administrator and volunteers today.

Members of the Victoria Falls community have overwhelmingly come forward to aid their fellow Zimbabweans, with donations ranging from a pair of shoes or bag of candles and matches, through to corporate donations.

Anald Musonza of the Hotel Association of Zimbabwe (HAZ) said: “We have had two flood emergencies in our region and as HAZ we felt duty bound to come on board with all other stakeholders to help the Binga communities who were affected.

“It’s one of the defining times for a community to come together in times of such disasters and give a hand in any way possible.

“Our businesses do not operate without these same communities and we must embrace the spirit of ubuntu through acts of generosity when one community has such a misfortune.”

Victoria Falls Primary School collected goods through their Early Act Club; the Victoria Falls Social Soccer League put together family and friend donations, saying: “We are one people, just found in different locations” and the Rasta Compassion Society volunteered goods and time, to mention but a few.

These generous Zimbabweans show that their spirit of togetherness and kindness, even in the toughest times, outweighs all other concerns.

In the words of Connolly: “There are too many donors to list here, but they will all be thanked. As the donations roll in, all I can think is that the Binga villagers won’t know what hit them.

“First a flood and next, a tsunami of love”.

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