Tak­ing Doma peo­ple the other side

• Ma­gaya hosts 350 in plush ho­tel • Ben­e­fi­cia­ries share city ex­pe­ri­ences • Self-help projects lined up

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Feature - Rose­lyne Sa­chiti Fea­tures Editor

“We just did not know how to use the toi­lets so we did what we are used to. To­day, the peo­ple here were teach­ing us how to flush toi­lets and also telling small kids not to fetch drink­ing wa­ter from the toi­let pot.”

WHEN 20 kom­bis ar­rived in the Doma area, Mbire District, in Mashona­land Cen­tral Prov­ince, at 1am on Fri­day Septem­ber 8, 350 peo­ple who had been ea­gerly wait­ing since the pre­vi­ous day ul­u­lated. No one fath­omed be­ing left be­hind. The group slept by the road­side in an­tic­i­pa­tion of a jour­ney into a world they never knew ex­isted.

It was the first time for most of them to travel in a ve­hi­cle which would take them hun­dreds of kilo­me­tres away from home.

As the Doma peo­ple boarded the kom­bis sent by Prophetic Heal­ing and De­liv­er­ance (PHD) Min­istries leader Prophet Wal­ter Ma­gaya and his wife Prophet­ess Tendai Ma­gaya to bring them to Harare, it be­came a jour­ney of a life­time.

They passed through Kanyemba, Angwa, Mushumbi Pools, Mahuhwe, Bakasa, Gu­ruve, Ruya­muro, Mvurwi, Con­ces­sion, Ma­zoe on their way to their fi­nal des­ti­na­tion, Harare.

For Miga Arichibuwa (68), her maiden trip to Harare by car was like be­ing char­tered to heaven she be­lieved ex­isted on the other side of the coun­try.

Com­ing from a con­ser­va­tive com­mu­nity like Doma, which for years shut out all forms of civil­i­sa­tion, she broke out of her shell to ex­pe­ri­ence life on the other side.

Leav­ing be­hind her hus­band, seven chil­dren and grand­chil­dren to jump onto one of the kom­bis was a painful, but nec­es­sary de­ci­sion she had to make.

Her hus­band had to stay be­hind pro­tect­ing their prop­erty from wild an­i­mals.

“When the kom­bis came, I jumped up and down. The lit­tle girl in me came out as I found a nice spot near the win­dow where I could see ev­ery­thing as the cars moved. I only had clothes I wore that day, all the oth­ers are torn,” she told

The Her­ald with ex­cite­ment. On the kombi, the in­quis­i­tive Arichibuwa says she saw enough to write her own book.

“I heard gospel mu­sic com­ing from some­where in the car. The driver said it was the car ra­dio. I had never heard mu­sic play on a ra­dio, I was ex­cited.”

As they neared Mahuhwe, they saw a huge bridge and ev­ery­one had their own the­ory of what the struc­ture was.

On fur­ther trav­el­ling into Mahuhwe, they sud­denly saw a long strip of black which made their pre­vi­ously bumpy ride smoother.

“The driver said it is just a road that has been tarred. I was ex­cited, I had one more thing to tell my hus­band back home.”

As they left Mahuhwe, the con­voy of kom­bis went past the sharp-curved Mudz­imundiringe Moun­tain.

Arichibuwa was scared and feared her jour­ney would end there. She would rather walk back home. “I tightly held onto the sides of the kombi for bal­ance. The turns were sharp. It was like the kombi would miss the road and go on a freefall. I wished I never sat near the win­dow and told the driver to stop so that I get off. I asked my­self what I had got­ten my­self into,” adds Arichubuwa amid gig­gles.

At night, the driver switched on a light in the kombi and Arichibuwa thought the car had caught fire.

“I told him to stop and let us get off. He seemed not con­cerned that the kombi was on fire. He as­sured me that this was just a harm­less light,” she adds.

They even­tu­ally ar­rived in Harare at night and Arichibuwa says she thought the cap­i­tal city was on fire and was en­ter­ing the bi­b­li­cal end of the world.

“There was fire ev­ery­where. I asked why there was so much fire on houses. I asked if this was not the end of the world. He said it was elec­tric­ity not fire. I was ex­tremely ex­cited,” she added.

On ar­rival at the PHD Min­istries com­plex in Wa­ter­falls, Harare, they were treated to bread and soft drinks.

It was her first time to eat bread and soft drinks.

Af­ter the church ser­vice, the 350 were whisked away to the PHD ho­tel in Wa­ter­falls.

“There was a big gate. I have never seen any­thing like that. I saw more lights, nice build­ings and won­dered if I was in the right place. I said to my­self, if heaven re­ally ex­ists, I have ar­rived,” she adds.

At the ho­tel, they were led to dor­mi­to­ries, their home for the week.

Upon see­ing bunk beds, Arichibuwa was again puz­zled.

“They told me it’s a bunk bed and one per­son would sleep on the top bed an­other on the one at the bot­tom. De­cid­ing who would sleep on top was hard as no one wanted to climb the small stairs up to the bed. We were also afraid of fall­ing off.

“I rolled and felt the soft mat­tress do things to my body. I put my head on the pil­low and slept like a baby. I only got up at 8am the next morn­ing and my body was so re­freshed. Back home I sleep on the hard floor and don’t have blan­kets. I feel itchy and wake up be­fore sun­rise to look for food which is hard to come by,” she adds. They had break­fast and other meals in two huge din­ing halls at the ho­tel.

“I just stood there speech­less. I thought some­one would even­tu­ally wake me up from my dream. The din­ing hall had beau­ti­ful red vel­vet chairs, nice ta­bles with match­ing ta­ble ac­ces­sories.

“The other din­ing hall had cream chairs. I chose the red one, it was more beau­ti­ful. I was afraid to sit on the chairs as I thought they were meant for other peo­ple, not us. We were told we could eat from here, I pinched my­self,” she adds.

She queued for food and ev­ery­thing that was put on the plate was bizarre.

“They gave us what they said is baked beans, eggs, ba­con and sausage. I have never eaten any­thing like this. In the af­ter­noon, they gave us rice and chicken and beef, and raw cab­bage. At home we eat foods that in­clude manyanya fruit, punde, sisito, pump­kin leaves, dudwa and tsapane which grows on river banks, mu­pama, gara­tongo (a tu­ber cooked the whole day so that it does not become poi­sonous), bepe and masau. Some­times we don’t eat at all. They gave us what they said is a fork and knife. I could not use any of the uten­sils,” she adds.

She brags that in the week she has been in Harare, her skin has changed.

“My skin is soft and smooth like a baby’s. My hair is all made up. I had never worn new clothes and shoes my en­tire life,” she says show­ing off her new look.

Had she not left her hus­band back home, she says she would stay in Harare for­ever.

“I would have asked Prophet Ma­gaya to give me a job here and work. I thank him for bring­ing me to Harare. Maybe I will just ask for the bed, it’s so com­fort­able.”

Chandafira Nyakutepa (48) of Nyakutepa Vil­lage has his sto­ries to tell. It is his first time in the cap­i­tal too. He is happy that he is now in the cap­i­tal city and has seen what he dreamt of his en­tire life.

All he wanted to see was how traf­fic lights work.

“Back home I heard a driver from a non- gov­ern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tion say there is some­thing called a traf­fic light or ro­bot. He said the colours change from green, then red and or­ange/ amber.

“He said no one con­trols the traf­fic lights it op­er­ates by it­self. I did not be­lieve him and wanted to wit­ness this my­self. I am happy that I now did,” he says.

Now that Nyakutepa has lived his dream, he wants to become a pastor and up­lift the lives of his peo­ple back home.

Siyaso Rang­wani (33) said he has been no­madic all his life. It is also his first time to be in Harare.

“Our vil­lage head shared his ex­pe­ri­ence when he first came here and I was eager to come. So when the op­por­tu­nity came, I did not sleep that night. I tossed and turned won­der­ing what it would be like to travel on a car,” he says.

When they ar­rived at PHD Min­istries, he saw huge tele­vi­sion sets. On one of the tele­vi­sion sets, he saw him­self. He was puz­zled. “I could not fig­ure out how I was both on the TV and stand­ing in front of peo­ple at the same time,” he says with a chuckle.

It was his first time to wear shoes and be­cause of miss­ing toes, walk­ing in them was like tak­ing his first baby steps. He strug­gled, tried again, and over again un­til he could walk prop­erly.

When 36-year-old Try­more Magov­em­bere heard sto­ries about Harare he drafted a wish list.

Top of the list was his de­sire to see huge build­ings in Harare’s cen­tral busi­ness district, travel on a car and see bright lights of the cap­i­tal. Also in the group is Rose­mary Kate­guru (20). She is ex­pect­ing her se­cond child and has never been to school. Her first child was de­liv­ered in a hut in Kanyemba with the aid of her grand­mother. She will do the same with her se­cond child as she can­not af­ford the de­mands at the lo­cal clinic.

Rose­mary is ex­cited to be in Harare and like many oth­ers it is her first time to ex­pe­ri­ence ev­ery­thing. She is happy her three-year-old son Max­ine came to Harare ahead of his fa­ther.

Rose­mary says ad­just­ing to the toi­let sys­tem was ex­tremely hard for them.

“We just did not know how to use the toi­lets so we did what we are used to. To­day, the peo­ple here were teach­ing us how to flush toi­lets and also telling small kids not to fetch drink­ing wa­ter from the toi­let pot,” she adds.

For Mo­tion Metera (15), com­ing to Harare at such a ten­der age is a great achieve­ment. In their fam­ily he is the first. “My par­ents have never been to Harare. I have never been in school so this jour­ney has re­ally opened my eyes. If I get the op­por­tu­nity to go to school, I want to be a po­lice­man. I ad­mire their uni­forms,” he said.

Chenge­tai Chibuwa (14) says she has never been in school and only her brother Arnold who is in Grade Zero is the first child in their fam­ily to do so.

“I want to be a nurse. I like their white uni­forms and would like to wear it and help other Doma women de­liver babies in clin­ics,” she says.

Naka­sai Chibaya (13) was happy to be in Harare and all she wanted to see were dif­fer­ent makes of cars.

The first born in a fam­ily of five, she did not have other clothes save from what she came wear­ing. She has also never been in school, so are her other sib­lings.

If she gets an op­por­tu­nity to go to school, she would like to become a driver.

At the ho­tel, men play soc­cer against lo­cal Premier League team Yadah Stars while women play net­ball.

Many of the Doma ap­pealed for fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance to start bee-keep­ing projects, goat and chicken rear­ing and self sus­tain back home.

The 350 Doma peo­ple were hosted for a week at PHD ho­tel. Of the 350, 294 were adults (both men and women) while 56 were chil­dren be­tween the ages of 5 and 14.

Prophet Ma­gaya said bring­ing the Doma peo­ple to Harare was a way to mo­ti­vate them so that he could break­through into their so­ci­ety.

“When Mama Ma­gaya went there for birth­day, it was more like a blocked so­ci­ety. Some of them ran away from them. Bring­ing them here was also try­ing to show them a bet­ter life­style.

“Ac­cord­ing to records, it was the first time to have at least 200 of them gath­er­ing at one point even in their own vil­lage be­cause they are shy Agree­ing to cut cake with her and be with her shows they re­ceived her,” he said.

He said the Doma did not know any­thing to do with mod­ern life nei­ther did they know him .

“This made us re­alise that there was a com­mu­nity that didn’t know about us and yet they were re­ceiv­ing what we were giv­ing them and their thank you was not an ex­tor­tion, but gen­uine.” Prophet Ma­gaya said ini­tially 58 Doma peo­ple vis­ited their ho­tel two weeks ago.

“It was dif­fi­cult, we wanted 400 at that time but only 58 man­aged to come. The un­for­tu­nate part is that there were other churches and other peo­ple who went there to preach and say if you go there Ma­gaya wants to take your lives away, such things like that.

“So when the 58 agreed, we kept them for about three days only and sent them back to in­vite rel­a­tives and friends. We then suc­cess­fully brought the 350.”

Prophet Ma­gaya said when the first 58 came, they were shocked by the warm re­cep­tion at the ho­tel.

“They said it was the big­gest gift they have ever re­ceived from any­one. We gave them blan­kets, spoons, plates, buck­ets, clothes, money and all those things.

“We also in­tro­duced them to church and prayer. They kept on say­ing thank you for in­tro­duc­ing us to this God. They never knew about de­liv­er­ance, or other things they saw in our min­istry so that shock alone gave them the zeal to in­vite other friends,” he added.

He said he no­ticed that the Doma peo­ple were back­ward in terms of de­vel­op­ment.

“Doc­tors that are here are high­light­ing to them how they are sup­posed to sur­vive. We are well in­formed that their tribe is di­min­ish­ing be­cause of health is­sues so we are bring­ing that ed­u­ca­tion and at the same time I’m build­ing a clinic for them. We have al­ready started build­ing a school.

“We are also build­ing houses. I can just say we are us­ing a few mil­lions for that,” he said.

He said he finds joy in the gen­uine thank you from the Doma peo­ple.

“I en­joy that smile that they get. It is a gen­uine thank you com­ing from true ap­pre­ci­a­tion. That joy of tak­ing some­one who has two toes and giv­ing him shoes and see­ing him smil­ing be­cause yes­ter­day he was hid­ing his feet from the world and now he can just take them out at ease. I think it’s the def­i­ni­tion of true joy,” he said.

He said the Doma are good on the soc­cer field and from what he saw, six of them, with proper ori­en­ta­tion, can play for any club in the Pre­miere Soc­cer League.

“I’m told that they are used to play­ing plas­tic balls back home. Of course you then in­tro­duce them to bet­ter boots, set up, play­ing po­si­tions and all those things. They have a lot of en­ergy be­cause of their way of liv­ing,” he ex­plained.

He said they were pre­par­ing for life back home by set­ting up projects.

“We will fund a honey, fish, soap mak­ing, so­lar panel mak­ing, pads mak­ing and many other projects where they use their hands. We have writ­ten down all the projects they want and are send­ing a team to start set­ting up those things for them,” he pointed out.

“This will force the area to de­velop be­cause of a lot of pro­duc­tion.

“I have al­ready bought san­i­tary pad mak­ing ma­chines from China so that Doma women do not face chal­lenges when they men­stru­ate. They can make their own pads and sell them,” he re­vealed.

This pic­ture collage shows (from top left, clockwise) mem­bers of the Doma com­mu­nity ar­riv­ing at Prophet Wal­ter Ma­gaya’s PHD Min­istries, the Doma in new clothes and shoes, show­cas­ing their soc­cer-play­ing skills and en­joy­ing a meal in Water­falls, Harare,...

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