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Church brings relief to Gokwe community

The mission centre now has abundant safe drinking water.

Nyamacheni mission received 90 desks this year from Harare Central District.









By Eveline Chikwanah

GOKWE, ZIMBABWE – In a parched land perennially vulnerable to drought, where villagers battle to grow the hardy cotton crop in order to survive, the United Methodist Church has established an oasis which has quenched the Gokwe people’s thirst for water and education.

Pastor Lloyd Gomba, the station chairperson of Nyamacheni UMC mission, about 400km west of Harare, said prior to the entrance of the church in the area, the community competed for the little available water in an open dam where their cattle were also watered.

“The church, through funding from the Zimbabwe West Annual Conference and Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference, drilled a borehole to supply water to Nyamacheni UMC Secondary School and the neighbouring government-run Nyamacheni Primary School,” said Gomba.
“Prior to the construction of the borehole, we experienced many cases of diarrheal diseases because we had no safe water for drinking. Availability of water from the dam was also seasonal, so pupils would miss lessons while searching for water and school staff travelled up to 5km to get safe water for household consumption,” he said.

Nyamacheni Mission board chairperson, the Rev. Oswell Kaseke, said the borehole started operating in March 2015 and its 7 500-litre tank supplies water through three points at the mission.

Joyce Sikochi, the school development committee chairperson, is grateful to the UMC for supplying safe water and establishing a secondary school in her area.

“I have two children attending school here. Before the UMC built this institution, our children would drop out after primary school as the nearest secondary school is about 15km away and we could not afford to enroll them at that school due to high transport costs,” she said.

The community molded bricks and supplied locally available building material such as stones to assist the church in efforts to provide adequate learning facilities at the school. There are currently four classrooms in use and a block with two classrooms is almost complete.

Gomba said the classroom block under construction requires flooring, windows and paint. Western Pennsylvania contributed $8 000 towards the construction of the new classrooms and UMC Zimbabwe assisted with some of the material worth $4000.
Through the assistance from the General Board of Global Ministries’ programme called Hope for the Children of Africa Campaign, the school recently built and completed an administration block at a cost of $43 000. “The School Head and his deputy used to share a small room in one of the classes but from May they each have a spacious office which require furniture,” said Gomba.

Harare Central District of the Zimbabwe West Annual Conference has played a major role in the development of the school, said Kaseke. Through congregations’ offerings on Nyamacheni Sunday, a day set to raise funds for the mission school, the district has provided all the school furniture.

“This year the district bought 60 desks valued at $2 000 because some of the pupils were learning while sitting on the floor,” Kaseke said.

Nyamacheni Secondary School has no electricity. The estimated cost of installing electricity at the institution is about $43 000.
“The remarkable developments at the school may probably attract government attention and we would then benefit from the Rural Electrification Programme,” said Kaseke. “Otherwise installation of a solar system for power is essential in order to retain our trained personnel,” he said.

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