Ubuntu in practice: Checheche community rescues a homeless mother of five living with Albinism.

Maurice Dundu

Mired in social quagmire and ravaged by poverty, Chipo Naini had been reduced to a destitute together with her five children. She used to live well with her husband and kids but things went wrong when her husband lost his sanity and Naini who was fingered by the relatives as the cause was pushed out of her matrimonial home and forced into the streets.

Naini (32) started living deplorably as a street wanderer and could not tell where her next meal could hail from. She is a woman and living with albinism. People of her condition are advised to try hard to avoid exposing themselves to ultra violet rays of the sun since their skin is vulnerable to sun burns and ‘actinic’ changes.

Avoiding direct exposure to sun rays is the best way to deal with the challenge of skin damages among people living with albinism but oftenly poverty often trap them in a vicious cycle and they have to choose between starving and exposing themselves to the sun.

Albinism is a genetic condition where one lack melanin that give color and protect the skin from ultra violet rays of the sun no wonder why the sun is considered number one enemy of people living with albinism. It is reported that lack of adequate care against the sun grossly reduces life expectancy of people living with albinism in Africa.

Going outdoors, for people living with albunism is recommended in the morning and in the evening to avoid strong strong heat of midday but as aforementioned some have to ignore that due to poverty. Chipo Naini’s case was even more exceptional. She could not even think of being under the roof since she was homeless let alone that she had to fend for five kids.

Knowing well that she was damaging herself Naini had to defy all odds to gather heaps of sand in the banks of nearby Sabi river for sell to aggregate suppliers.

Unfortunately, in full exposure to ultra violet rays of the sun, she could not resist the scotching heat of region 5 which struck her as she swung the shovel.

Consequently, her health started deteriorating and she became physically incapacitated to continue, forcing her 14 years old girl child to become the breadwinner.

The heart rending situation of Naini attracted attention of ‘good Samaritans’ from her neighbourhood who started helping her with food, clothes and other basic necessities. Others could even give her money, for example, one community member identified as Mr Butau reportedly gave Naini 1700 rands to spend.

Handouts from her neighbours eased her predicament but the challenge which she still faced was that well wishers sometimes failed to locate her since she was of no fixed abode. Besides, staying in the open was not good for Naini’s health.

Her good neighbors later realized that it was not enough to give food and clothes to Naini and her children in the streets but more importantly, the family needed a home. They approached their village head, Lovemore Mahachi to ask for a place where they could erect a structure for Naini, popularly known as Mai 2 (mother of two) since she has a pair of twins.

Mahachi, who was also touched by Naini’s situation urgently responded and gave her a piece of land where the well wishers could build her a home.

“After it came to my attention that there is a woman who is suffering and in need of a home to stay, it touched me and I found it necessary to find a piece of land for her since well wishers had pledged to build her a home”, Mahachi said.

One of Naini’s neighbors and well wishers, Robert Nyemudzo, popularly known as Chatogo testified that after they made a plea, they got land from the village head to build a home for Naini so that all those willing to help will know where to find her.

“Our village head gave us a piece of land, right here where we are standing  and this one is a truckload of sand brought to start building a home for Mai 2 (mother of 2) so that she cease to be homeless and her children are able to go to school. All those who want to help will know where to find her”, Nyemudzo said.

Nyemudzo who offered to build a home for Naini, went on to say the home building process was already underway and after a month Naini and her kids will have a home.

“I am already starting to build a house for Mai 2 (mother of two) to have a home to stay. I think after a month Mai 2 (mother of 2) will be residing at her home”, Nyemudzo said with nonchalance and gaiety.

As if that was not enough, Nyemudzo also pledged to give Naini capital to start a business so that she would not rely fully on handouts.

One of the community members Mr Win Bhila expressed gratitude to the spirit of love demonstrated by Checheche community members and took the opportunity to appeal to the local council  to complement the positive gesture by giving Naini a vending site in the market place.

Thrilled with gratitude, Mr lovemore Muhehi, another local community member described Checheche as a unique place where the poor are buried as kings courtesy of unity and warm heartedness of its members. Muhehi went on to urge community members to keep the fire of love burning.

Naini herself was amazed by such an exceptional gesture of love and greatly appreciated her neighbors. Overwhelmed with joy, Naini thanked the village head and Mr Chatogo for remembering her and said the love they had expressed was great great.

“I want to express my gratitude to both the village head and Mr Chatogo. The love that these people have is really great”, Naini said with a wide smile on her face.

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