HomeMultimediaPictures: Collapsed infrastructure cuts off Mutoko villagers

Pictures: Collapsed infrastructure cuts off Mutoko villagers

-

During a recent assignment in Chisambiro, Mutoko, the NewsDay crew experienced firsthand what the villagers like many others in the countryside, face especially during the rainy season.

STPM

While farmers welcome the onset of the rainy season others dread it.

The rains have swept away bridges and damaged major roads cutting off Chisambiro area from the rest of Mutoko district.

Relatives of the deceased are seen crossing Nyamuzizi river on their way to attend the burial of Vengai Chinyama's family.
Relatives of the deceased are seen crossing Nyamuzizi river on their way to attend the burial of Vengai Chinyama’s family. Chinyama lost his wife Nyaradzo Chihowa and three children Tafadzwa (12) and twins Tanaka and Tashinga (7) in the horrific road accident that also killed 22 other people along the Harare-Nyamapanda highway last week.

The treacherous terrain was not only slippery, but was marred by huge boulders with jagged edges. The impassable road network in much of the district is not suitable for most of the imported ex-Japanese vehicles flooding the local market.

Phyllis Mbanje navigating slippery bolders by the river bank.
Phyllis Mbanje navigating slippery boulders by the river bank.

Negotiating the narrow winding roads during the night was a mammoth task requiring skills such as those of the crew’s driver Munyaradzi Gwanzura.

Crossing some of the collapsed bridges was a hair-rising experience and the hilly terrain did not help the situation either.

Negotiating the narrow hilly strip littered with sharp stones.
Negotiating the narrow hilly strip littered with sharp stones.

Just when we thought the worst was over, we were told that to get to our final destination we had to cross the imposing Nyamuzizi River on foot.

Phyllis Mbanje and Munyaradzi Gwanzura cross the menacing Nyamizizi river.
Phyllis Mbanje and Munyaradzi Gwanzura cross the menacing Nyamizizi river.

From the river, we had an hour-along walk along a very narrow strip laced with razor sharp rocks. So we took off our shoes and braced ourselves for the scary trip across.

Photographer Shepherd Tozvireva puts his socks back on after crossing Nyamizizi river.
Photographer Shepherd Tozvireva puts his socks back on after crossing Nyamizizi river.
Munyaradzi Gwanzura prevents Phyllis Mbanje from falling as they navigate the rocks.
Munyaradzi Gwanzura prevents Phyllis Mbanje from falling as they navigate the rocks.
Phyllis Mbanje and Shepherd Tozvireva continue on their path.
Phyllis Mbanje and Shepherd Tozvireva continue on their path.
Tired and hot...Munyaradzi Gwanzura and Phyllis Mbanje stop to check their cellpones for network.
Tired and hot…Munyaradzi Gwanzura (L) makes a call to the office while Phyllis Mbanje (R) stops to check her messages.

The three of us including photographer Shepherd Tozvireva, myself and Munyaradzi, heaved a sigh of relief when we arrived at our final destination –Vengai Chinyama’s homestead. Chinyama lost his wife Nyaradzo Chihowa and three children Tafadzwa (12) and twins Tanaka and Tashinga (7) in the horrific road accident that also killed 22 other people along the Harare-Nyamapanda highway last week.

Mourners gather at Chinyama's rural  home in Mutoko.
Mourners gather at Chinyama’s rural home in Mutoko.

The time was around 17:45hours.

At the back of our minds, we wondered how we would cross back after the assignment, in the dark and in unfamiliar territory with all its secrets and ‘monsters’.

As we returned back to where we had left our truck, we dreaded the idea of crossing Nyamuzizi River in the dark. The river banks were slippery and as the dark waters flowed down stream images of huge crocodiles lurking underneath conjured up in our minds.

At our wits’ end we held hands and stepped into the waters holding our breath. Slowly we trudged on willing our nervous limbs to get us across safely. Once or twice I stumbled, but sturdily built Munyaradzi maintained his grip and after what seemed like an eternity we finally made it across sweating “like pigs”.

Once out of the water, we put on our shoes and embarked on yet another hour trip in the thick foliage now made worse with poor light.

We arrived at where we had left our vehicle at Chisambiro township which appeared to be abandoned at around 2100hours. It was time to start our journey back to Harare, and we were extremely tired from walking, we decided to put up at Mutoko Centre around 23:30pm.

I could not imagine what the folks go through every time they visit the capital.

Recent Posts

Stories you will enjoy

Recommended reading