By Nqobile Tshili
Life has turned upside down for an elderly woman from Bulawayo’s New Lobengula suburb after her house was gutted by fire last month.
Widowed Mrs Rosa Mareva (72) has become destitute and now depends on well-wishers for survival, as she could not salvage anything from the inferno.
She is just grateful that no one was injured in the fire that consumed her home.
The fire was caused by an electric fault and destroyed all the household property as well as the building.
A Chronicle news crew yesterday came face to face with her desperate situation as she looks after her five grandchildren.
The fire destroyed the roof, window panes, the doors leaving the family exposed to harsh weather conditions while their privacy has been seriously compromised.
There is no property in the home and whatever food they have, was sourced by neighbours.
Neighbours have taken it upon themselves to alleviate her problem but they are also handicapped in their efforts, due to the already difficult economic environment.
As the news crew introduced itself to Mrs Mareva, she thought the crew was part of the well-wishers who were there to deliver handouts.
The crew had to further explain to her that it was the media’s role to highlight challenges affecting the community and felt it was important to tell her story, as this could trigger help from well-wishers among various institutions and publics.
Mrs Mareva narrated how nightmarish life had become for her whenever she sees clouds pregnant with rains at a time when everyone is hoping for improved rains.
“It’s painful because when it rains it means we are exposed, we have nowhere to hide. We spend the whole time scooping out water. The water would be flowing into this room which was not extensively damaged by the fire. But it does not have a door so we are just exposed to all the hazards of the rains. These days the rains are coupled by thunderstorms, so as it thunders we are no different from someone who is outdoors,” said Mrs Mareva.
She said she has no hope of fixing the house, as she is widowed and stays with her unemployed daughter and her five children.
“Her husband left her three years ago and we don’t know where he is. I have never seen such poverty in my life. We have nothing even the clothes that I’m wearing today, the blankets we have, these are just a donation from well-wishers. We actually lost everything and don’t know whether I will ever recover from this. I only get $30 a month from the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) as my husband used to work for Bulawayo City Council before his death. What can I do with $30?” she quizzed.
Her appeal is for members of the public to assist her restore her house.
But even then, in her hopelessness, Mrs Mareva has not even sought quotations to determine how much it will cost to rehabilitate her home.
“Where will I get the money to rehabilitate the house? I have no income generating project. I want to plead with members of the public to help in restoring my dignity by putting a roof over my home. We are very lucky to have escaped the fire unhurt because as you can see with its intensity, it could have become fatal if we did not escape,” said Mrs Mareva.
She can be contacted on 0784369752 for those willing to lend a helping hand. The Chronicle.