WHILE their age mates are either at school or enrolled at some early child development centre, some minor children whose parents survive on scavenging at the Chinhoyi dumpsite only know one form of entertainment and survival — that of manoeuvring their way into a heap of garbage disposed at a dumpsite.
BY NUNURAI JENA
The dumpsite has become some form of a treasure trove in which they search for food and toys.
They wake up early in the morning to scavenge either before a swarm of flies has invaded the area or in anticipation that some waste might have been disposed late at night or in the early hours of the morning and can churn out some food — mainly bread, buns and scones — or anything of interest that they might use as toys.
Some have even avoided death by a whisker after consuming poisoned food at the dumpsite.
One of the vagrants Kizito Jimu of St Ives in Chinhoyi said he and his family of four are lucky to be alive after eating meat collected at the dumpsite, and ended up in hospital.
“My family survives on scavenging for food dumped by supermarkets like TM and OK who normally dispose rotten bread and meat which we take and eat. But we nearly died when the meat I found was mixed with a suspected pesticide and we ended up treated at Chinhoyi Hospital… most of the times we don’t think much about our health because what is important is that we find food,” he said.
Getrude Zimuchiya is happy to have children who help her to find food at the congested dumpsite as people rush in in search of food once a truck loaded with waste comes along.
“Thanks to my children, we are able to find enough food to eat. I cannot manage to gather food to cater for the whole family alone hence the help I got from my children. We all come here and these little ones will be playing while we scavenge for food. That is the life my children know,” she said.
Chinhoyi Town Council, Chinhoyi University of Technology, Lomagundi College, TM, OK and Chinhoyi Hospital are some of the institutions disposing waste at the dumpsite that is across the road from Rujeko high-density suburb.
Local councillor, Simbarashe Kanzou, is not happy with some of the disposed waste from the hospital and has urged authorities to consider incinerating its waste
“I hear that some biomedical waste from the hospital is being found at the dumpsite that is dangerous and I urge the hospital authorities to look into the matter as a matter of urgency. They should dispose that waste by incinerating,” said Kanzou.
Kanzou said the dumpsite should be protected as children run the risk of contracting diseases.
But council health director, William Mayavo, however, said they were in the process of relocating the dumpsite to the Chinhoyi Caves area since the current one is too close to residential areas.
Chinhoyi Hospital superintendent Collet Mawire refused to comment on the matter insisting that he wanted to investigate before issuing a statement.