Our first stop was at 42 year old Tambudzai “Tambu” Ziko’s homestead. I had heard about this woman before from Aleck who works with our distribution partner Life Ministry Zimbabwe. This PET cart had been shipped to Zimbabwe a couple of years ago through our US partner Global Aid Network.
When we got there we were warmly received and found her busy at work picking and harvesting groundnuts (peanuts) and round nuts from her fields. She is quite a remarkable lady. Despite her physical handicap and limitations, Tambu is a gifted farmer; she out produces some of her “able-bodied” neighbors even though she does not own any draught animals or a plough to help her till the land.
Here is how she does it. She simply drags herself by scooting backwards in a row as she digs holes to plant seeds whether its corn, round-nuts or peanuts. Neighbors told us she has “perfected” her own unique “no-till” method of farming.
For 17 years, Tambu crawled on the ground, and then used crutches for the longest time, until she received her PET cart. A brief stint with a regular wheelchair did not serve her well as it was not ideal for the terrain in her area. Now with the PET cart, bringing in her harvest from the fields is that much easier on her body. She can throw her harvest at the back of her cart and bring it home.
Fetching water was always a challenge for someone who literally would drag herself on the ground balancing a water container on her head, but again thanks to the PET- that water-fetching chore is no longer something she “dreads”, to use her own word.
She is a mother of 3 children who were all at school when we visited. Her wish is that they all do well in school. Her husband was away doing odd jobs in the area, to support family. When we evaluated her cart, we found worn-out bearings on one of the back wheels. Fortunately for her, she got a “spare-tool’ kit when she was given her cart a year ago. Aleck found another bearing in the spare kit and he replaced the old one. One of the springs on the cart also showed obvious wear and tear on it.
From Mashonaland East Province of Zimbabwe, Morgan Matsiga