Tendai Rupapa in Gwanda
INMATES at Gwanda Old People’s Home in Matabeleland South Province were yesterday treated to a sumptuous breakfast and an assortment of goodies, thanks to First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa and her Angel of Hope Foundation’s efforts to ease the plight of the elderly.
The breakfast initiative was born out of an arrangement between Angel of Hope Foundation and Blue Star Logistics, and yesterday’s occasion was the launch edition marking the beginning of the breakfast feeding programme in homes which will cascade to all provinces.
Inspired by the philanthropic works of the First Lady, Blue Star Logistics came on board recently to give a helping hand to the mother of the nation for the benefit of vulnerable groups.
Death, childlessness, family feuds and the collapse of the extended family unit often result in the elderly wallowing in poverty and loneliness.
The First Lady is the country’s health ambassador and she works hard to ensure the welfare, health and nutritional needs of all citizens are met.
It was a princely occasion where the elderly were served hot breakfast personally prepared by the First Lady who also served the guests.
The breakfast comprised toasted bread, boiled eggs, fried eggs, baked beans, jam and margarine.
Tables and chairs were well decorated to give the event a touch of royalty.
One of the residents, Gogo Violet Sibanda (78) shed tears of joy as she recounted her experience of meeting and breaking bread with the mother of the nation.
“I came here because I had no one to stay with at my rural homestead. I lived alone in Sibona Village in Gwanda. I came last year after all my children passed on because of HIV and Aids. I had two daughters and a son.
“One of my daughters left behind two children and they were taken by their father to his rural home and up to now, they have never followed up on me. I had no one to give me food or fetch water for me. Today, I am very happy, our First Lady has shown us love by preparing a delicious breakfast for us. She has also given us food which will go a long way in meeting our nutritious needs,” she said amid sobs.
The secretary of Gwanda Old People’s Home Mr Gilbert Mabuza expressed gratitude to the First Lady for her gesture and said her coming on board serving breakfast to homes was historical.
“We are happy, this is a historical moment for us at the old people’s home and the country at large.
“It is the first time for us to find a mother who comes to see for herself people at the old people’s home let alone share a meal with them.
This is the only old people’s home in Matabeleland South Province and Amai has remembered us,” he said.
So elated were the elderly at the home that they counted themselves so lucky to have been visited by the first Lady.
Sekuru Johane Paul (81) from Malawi said he started staying at the home in 2005.
“I came here during the days of Operation Murambatsvina. I had a family, including a wife whom I married while in Harare, but we separated. We are thankful for this programme because we never thought she had the vision of realising that she has many children including us here at the old people’s home.
“We thought we were alone but Amai has shown us love and that there are people who still care for us. We appreciate her good works and kindness,” he said.
Sekuru Miton Moyo (88) said he started living at the home in June 2019 after his children abandoned him.
“I was abandoned by my children. One went to South Africa 24 years ago and never came back, the other one is still in this country but I don’t know where he stays while some of my children have died. We thank the First Lady very much because her works please me a lot. I hear a lot about what she is doing for people like me throughout the country. May God richly bless her,” he said.
The First Lady donated maize-meal, powdered milk, sugar, eggs, margarine, jam, bread, tea bags and cooking oil to the home for continuity of the programme.
She also donated foodstuffs to other homes in the province to cushion them against hunger and to continue with the breakfast feeding programme.
“I want to thank the partners who have come on board working with me and the Angel of Hope Foundation. This is the first of its kind to have companies coming to work with me in such a programme and this has brought us to see our elderly being served sumptuous breakfast. This is going to be done in the whole country,” she said.
“This breakfast feeding programme is going to be held in all our homes throughout the country’s provinces but we have started with you here in Mat South kunemi ana gogo nanasekuru. We have fried eggs, boiled eggs, beans, bread, mealie-meal, milk, sugar among other goodies. This is the very first breakfast that we are having which I know you will enjoy. I hope that we have started a new life that I want to see sekuru and mbuya enjoying their breakfast. Thank you to Blue Star Logistics for coming on board.”
Matabeleland South Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Abedinico Ncube showered the First Lady with praises for her interventions that have helped ease the challenges being faced by various classes of people in the country.
“The works you are carrying out are great before God. What you are doing going round the country assisting the needy, makes us proud.
We are grateful.
“It is more blessed to give than to receive. May the good Lord continue to bless you, do not tire in helping the needy. You have the underprivileged at heart,” he said.
This is not the first time the First Lady has been actively involved in providing for the needs of the elderly as she has previously toured provinces cleaning homes of the elderly and providing them with some of the things they need like food and healthcare.