LIFE will never be the same again for a Zimbabwean elderly woman who trekked more than 17 kilometres from her Mbare in Harare to the Highlands to donate aid to victims of Cyclone Idai.
The natural disaster destroyed parts of Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, destroying homes and farmlands and leaving some 750 persons dead.
The woman, simply known as Mama Gogo, took her cooking pots and other utensils to survivors who were staying in makeshift shelters in Chimanimani and Chipinge. She had to trek all the way because she did not have bus fare, reports say.
Moved by such act of charity, billionaire Strive Masiyiwa promised to build Mama Gogo a house, as well as place her on a lifetime allowance of $1000 every month.
Masiyiwa made the pledge while interacting with his Facebook followers on the disaster that befell the country, describing the woman’s action as the perfect interpretation of the biblical widow’s mite.
“Gogo came to give. This is the biblical “widow’s mite”! She gave more than us all. What she did is one of the most remarkable acts of compassion I have ever seen,” Masiyiwa said.
“When this is over, I’m going to find her, and invite her to come and see me, if possible then I will spend time in prayer with her. Then I will build her a house, anywhere she wants in Zimbabwe. It will have solar power and running water.
“Then I will give her a monthly allowance of $1 000 for life because I admire people who are moved to act in a crisis. God bless you if you are moved to act as she did. It is not about how much you have.”
Masiyiwa added that the actual level of devastation caused by the disaster is yet to be ascertained and that it would affect the fortunes of the affected countries, especially Mozambique which is said to be the worst hit.
“March is harvest season and whole crops were wiped out with countless livestock drowned. Floods and winds destroyed businesses, schools, clinics, churches, roads and communications infrastructure. It is a shocking disaster with whole parts of towns in Mozambique under water. National GDP growth will obviously be affected in these countries,” he said.
Masiyiwa is the founder and executive chairman of Econet Zimbabwe, among many other countries. The telecommunication company has been commended for its contributions towards alleviating the plight of the people affected by Cyclone Idai.
Asides sending out drones to assist in searching for survivors and bodies of the dead in the affected areas, Econet has also transported two trucks of goods to victims of the flood.
The company also donated RTGS$5million worth of relief materials to the victims and set up a crowd-fund scheme that has so far raised close to RTGS$200,000 as of Monday, March 25.
RTGS dollar is the new currency in use in Zimbabwe. It was introduced in February this year. The acronym RTGS is derived from Zimbabwe’s interbank online payment platform, Real Time Gross Settlement.