The road meandered around the rugged mountains. The unpaved was extremely bumpy from the protruding little rocks, and the occasional pot holes. A thick plume of dust followed us as we drove towards my rural area, Chiriseri (Chiriseri means “that which is beyond.” The mid-morning African sun was just penetrating the white and grey fluffy floating clouds. Here and there, the clouds revealed the clear, pure blue sky beyond. The trees were of various shapes and sizes. The grass was tall – creating an eye catching Savannah woodland landscape. Suddenly, I felt disappointed. I was disappointed with myself. I was disappointed because I often forget the beauty of this land. The land’s innocence, the people’s love, as well as the complex culture’s uniqueness lingers.
I began to recognize much of the mountain formations. I recognized the grass thatched homesteads. Soon we drove past the Chitauro shopping center, the local general dealer stores. To our left was the Chiriseri Clinic. A place of hope for those seeking medical help in this remote area. We drove down a curve, facing to the right. In front was a valley, the sight of which released a flood of cherished memories from days past. I used to run down this road on my way from the store. I used to take the cows grazing in the area to the west of where we were. My cousin Hazel’s family home stood there, as if welcoming us home. Sekuru and Ambuya lived on the homestead to my right. Farther down is my uncle and auntie’s home. We parked there, by their house. In front was our family fields. My uncle and I walked through the 6-foot-tall grass to get to the corn/maize field. The workers were busy harvesting the maize/corn.
We got back in the car and drove down towards the Masango homestead. The mountains towered over the homesteads to our right. To our left were the secondary school buildings. We turned into the yard. My aunt stood at the door of her little grass thatched hut, waving welcome to us. I spotted the borehole (water well) nicely erected at the corner of the field in front of the homestead.
The extended family had gathered to see the new well. Neighbors and friends came, too. My uncle had slaughtered a goat for the occasion. We had brought other ingredients for a celebration feast. A sense of fiesta filled the air. I could not help but salivate a little as my nose was greeted by the sweet aroma of the sizzling goat meat, and chicken on the open fire.
My uncle called everyone to the place where the borehole/well pump stood. First my grand aunt, the matron of the family spoke. She praised God for the donations. She mentioned how far it had been for the family, and neighbors to go fetch water. Due to her old age, she could not carry the 20-liter bucket on her head anymore. She had not resorted to carrying a small 5-liter bucket. This meant she went to fetch water countless times a day. Now, she did not have to walk far. Now, only a few steps, and she would be pumping fresh, cool water from underground… Just as God intended.
Soon, my uncle spoke, followed by Criswell, the owner of the drilling company. After him, came the Rotarian, Mr. Bhila. He attends the Harare CBD Rotary Club. He spoke positively of our partnership. “Thank you Captain Terry Masango. Thank you to our American donors. Water is life,” he said.
My uncle prayed and blessed the well. Following his prayer, a neighbor broke into a song. In a true African style, all sang, while others danced around the well. The villagers danced – their souls leaped with joy. Their very being celebrated. I could not hold back the tears. This is a great privilege for me to be such a conduit of grace. I have the honor of linking my American friends/donors with my poor Zimbabwean family. Dozens of the villagers are going to have an endless supply of fresh water. Many thanks to my American friends. I wish you were here to experience this poignant, powerful moment. Though Chiriseri is the land beyond, we did not forget this village.
The festivities awaited. Soon, we all trekked back to the homestead to enjoy the delicious Zimbabwean cuisine- Sadza nenyama yembudzi (sadza and goat meat). Yummy!