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Sunshine city without a shine.

walking in the city centre in Harare today I was deeply disturbed, But at the end of the experience my resolve was strengthened that I’m in VOF for a purpose. A young woman was sitting on the ground, she had run out of energy to walk and her son was sitting beside her. She was definitely a street woman as she was very dirty and I felt it was her condition which had made it impossible for her to bath.

She was looking very sick and her weak frame was shaking. She was as thin as a reed and I believe shaking from hunger and cold. But in her fragile hands she held a dirty orange which she gave to her son gradually. It was obvious that the orange might have been his only food in the last 24 hours and mother having had no other food decided not to eat but save the orange for him. She was delusional and almost hallucinating but she clung to her son who hovered lovingly over his mother, cajoling her, cuddling her and circling her playfully. She only slightly turned to look at him to make sure he didn’t go far but it was obvious the effort was draining her.

Two ladies and a gentleman were talking to her and she could hardly speak. Tearfully I watched as she struggled to piece together her dignity in front of the strangers. Her figure was covered in a tattered jersey in the chilly weather. I edged closer to listen, blinking back tears, I had seen poverty and heard about it but this was too much.

Men took advantage of her and raped her and I am not talking about mad men or street men but working class and business men who rape her give her money for a meal get into their cars and leave her as they go back to their families. Orphaned by AIDS herself, her child might also face the same fate. People had gathered and the women decided to take her home and then see what they could do. I felt elated and was praying profusely that they would not change their minds. at that moment I thought of all the street children and women and the children born in the streets who would only know the comfort of a card box instead of a blanket. As the women took the woman to their clean car, the mother struggled to walk but her face looked even younger, ppure relief was written on her face and happiness, she was just whipering her thanks and though difficult to see she had regained some energy: the other carried the dirty little child closely with warmth and love, I then briefly introduced myself and my work with WP and wanted to know where to find them to talk more and hear about the woman and her child’s story and situation. I thanked them for their hearts and what they had done never before had I seen such an act as people usually look at street people with disdain and dislike they are dirty etc. but here were people who had opened their hearts and door to a woman who might not have made it through the night on the pavement.

Tomorrow I am going to see the woman and her child but today I pray before you sleep, take a moment to think about the situation Zimbabweans are facing. With high unemployment, poverty, threats, corruption, HIV and AIDS people are suffering. What more of vulnerable groups like the women living in the streets, orphans and the disabled. With elections approaching all we can pray for is peace and that conditions change. Today remember the woman and her child and pray for her health so that she may continue to lovingly care for her child that she finds a means to get out of this situation and shelter love and protection. Pray for love, shelter and the great sisterhood that I saw today and an end to injustice and inhumanity.

I have seen the need for women’s economic empowerment and its importance in the future of their children. There is also need for education of everyone to respect each other and mothers teach should children especially sons to respect people no matter how vulnerable and to love. As I sleep my mind is in overdrive I may be powerless to stop the gross injustices in Zimbabwe but I will protest for the woman and her child and for the violation of all women worldwide.

Comments

Potter's picture

Pela, You've Done It Again

Pela, you continue to strike a chord. Let us all know what you find when you go to visit this woman and her child. Let us know what you find out about the women who helped. And keep your eyes wide open. Imagine what you can see and what kindness you might find. Beautiful article from a compassionate soul!

pelamutunzi's picture

hello

the situation is sad here indeed. i have written a journal about the woman and her life. the woman who helped is a pastor and the other woman was a complete stranger to her who had been touched by the woman's situation.
thank you for reading. zimbabweans need your support

we may be powerless to stop an injustice but let there never be a time we fail to protest.
regards
pela

Potter's picture

I've been reading...

I've been reading about Zimbabwe trying to have a clearer idea of your context and the issues you face. I love Africa and have traveled widely there and lived and worked in Sierra Leone, Uganda and Ghana. Sierra Leone's problems resulted in a horrific civil war. Uganda and Ghana were more hopeful. Zimbabwe's history is unique. The more I read the more confounded I am. I'm a bit shy to be more specific. I don't know to what degree your posts might be monitored. But you are so right. Let us never fail to protest!

pelamutunzi's picture

truly unique

zimbabwe is indeed unique because of the peaceful nature of the people. the people are hopeful that the future will carry better days. i am not sure myself but one can never be sure about monitoring but please do email me why you are a bit shy to be more specific. i am dying to know.
otherwise how are you today
warmly

we may be powerless to stop an injustice but let there never be a time we fail to protest.
regards
pela

Y's picture

Yes, this is very

Yes, this is very compassionate. I hope that you find that the woman and child are well cared for. I will look forward to hearing the follow-up story.
Thank you for posting this.
Blessings to you.
Yvette

Y

pelamutunzi's picture

unfortunately

hello i have posted the second part and it is heartbreaking. the story is one filled with poverty, i am just sad for the woman and her child

we may be powerless to stop an injustice but let there never be a time we fail to protest.
regards
pela

Sarah Whitten-Grigsby's picture

So Terribly Sad . . .

Dear Pela,

The story you tell which you've so recently witnessed first hand is heartbreaking and will, I hope, spur those of us who read it to ongoing action. Life -- however peppered with fleeting moments of peace and beauty -- is too often grotesquely unjust, cruel and unbalanced. Those of us who forget how privileged we are to have beds to sleep in at night and warm blankets when we need them need to be reminded, however painful it is, to look out for those who are have not even a vague semblance of security of any kind, not even the illusion of security which we have!
I always bleed for the children in particular.

I write none of this to be preachy (to anyone but myself!) but only to say that I weep over your description of this dear woman and her child. May they find comfort and joy, somehow, and may your experience of their hardship and your writing about it lead to a kinder, gentler life for them and for all those who are suffering.

With Sorrow but Renewed Determination,

Sarah, Vision Mentor

pelamutunzi's picture

you are right

thank you im sure just by readding at least someone has had about her plight and moved to evaluate their lives and count the blessings. imagine i have a son who is nine months old and everytime i look at him i can imagine that little innocent boy being forced to leave in the streets. what future does he have its all heartbreaking to imagine but im sure we can make differences in small ways like the way bstrangers are just moved to help.

we may be powerless to stop an injustice but let there never be a time we fail to protest.
regards
pela

Dear Pela,

We are indeed sometimes powerless, but it also only takes one Voice to start some sort of change, no matter how insignificant it may initially feel. And certainly you have been that one, first Voice just in telling the visible part of this woman's heartbreaking story.

The hardest part -- for me and probably for most of us -- is to practice detached compassion, so that we can remain effective even when we've witnessed something so enormous and possibly hopeless. The only way I know of thus far is indeed to speak up and share the story so that others will be moved to take action, too.

I send you ongoing strength and energy, and hope that while your compassion always remains fierce, your sorrow does not overtake you. Mine sometimes does.

With Love,

Sarah

Ayunnie's picture

So Touching

Hi Pela,
Thank you for being keen and ready to follow up the story, this is how change will come.
Aluta continua till we make the world a better place for all.

@ Nairobi KENYA
Women have impeccable character, if tapped society realizes quantum leap in development

pelamutunzi's picture

thank you

hope you read the second part. what is the situation on poverty like in kenya.
and yes aluta continua

we may be powerless to stop an injustice but let there never be a time we fail to protest.
regards
pela

SanPatagonia's picture

Heartbreaking

Tears in my eyes yet determination in my heart. Injustice is a push in our lives. One to go on, I think... to never give up...

Thank you for putting this situation you came across today into words that reach beyond. As Sara says, it's a reminder.
I embrace it as one, and pray for this woman and her little child. And pray for us all.

Love,
San

@SanPatagonia
Be a voice, tell a story, start the fire. | Sé una voz, cuenta una historia, enciende el fuego.

pelamutunzi's picture

true must fight on

thank you for reading. i went to see the woman and im sad that it is not a happy ending but i feel one day as our country changes we see less people in such desperate situations

we may be powerless to stop an injustice but let there never be a time we fail to protest.
regards
pela

Deqa's picture

Awesome

The story of this woman is surely sad and I know for sure in my country we have a similar problem. I pray we find a solution for these women and their children. I get overwhelmed when I see too many misfortunes and I start thinking about all the possible solutions and my mind goes crazy to the point where I lose sleep, then I decide to focus on one aspect.
I really admire you for what you are doing, definitely you picked an extremely critical topic and you are an inspiration to many for doing so. Speaking up about these cultural aspects that are considered normal in our communities.
Thank you my dear for doing a story on this woman, and I will be anxiously waiting for the whole story.
I love your story telling, you certainly have an awesome style. Thank you for sharing.
Love
Deqa

pelamutunzi's picture

thank you deqa. im humbled by

thank you deqa. im humbled by your comments. i go through similar emotions and lots of sleepless nights. its reall tough to imagine the hardships some people are facing when you are in your house. the whole story is now available truly a sad reality

we may be powerless to stop an injustice but let there never be a time we fail to protest.
regards
pela

Deqa's picture

Awesome

The story of this woman is surely sad and I know for sure in my country we have a similar problem. I pray we find a solution for these women and their children. I get overwhelmed when I see too many misfortunes and I start thinking about all the possible solutions and my mind goes crazy to the point where I lose sleep, then I decide to focus on one aspect.
I really admire you for what you are doing, definitely you picked an extremely critical topic and you are an inspiration to many for doing so. Speaking up about these cultural aspects that are considered normal in our communities.
Thank you my dear for doing a story on this woman, and I will be anxiously waiting for the whole story.
I love your story telling, you certainly have an awesome style. Thank you for sharing.
Love
Deqa

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