‘Wabvuwi’: the extraordinary story of a clinic for local communities

 

Fishers Of Men

Edward Ndaima describes how a tragedy led to the building of a clinic at St Clare’s Mission, Mrewa, in the Diocese of Harare, Zimbabwe.

The story of the Anglican Wabvuwi (Fishers of Men) Guild building a clinic in Zimbabwe is not an ordinary story, but one of sacrifice and commitment. It is a story of not just sitting and complaining about government failures, but one of standing up and complementing government efforts in providing health facilities and services to the nation.

Inspired by their Mission from Mathew 28.19-20 “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world”, the Guild decided to go beyond the ordinary call of duty of evangelism by embarking on a project of constructing a clinic at St Clare’s Mission in Mrewa. The clinic is equally not ordinary, its size and architectural design is well above that of most clinics found in rural parts of Zimbabwe.

The story of the clinic began on 9 November 1997, a day that brings sad memories to the Guild when five members died in an accident at the turn-off to St Clare’s Mission. As part of evangelism through works, the Guild had contributed various items of clothes, food and cash for donation to Mutemwa Leprosy Centre in Mutoko, about 150km from the capital city Harare. Twelve members of the Guild including the leadership of Harare Diocese were selected to deliver the donated items. They spent the day with the sick, socialising with them through music and sharing the word. It was a day well spent.

On their way back and continuing in the spirit of visiting the sick, they decided to see a member of the Anglican Church who was not feeling well in Mrewa. As they turned from the main road they were hit by a big truck from behind and four members of the Guild died on the spot and a fifth one was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital. It was a sad ending to a day that had begun well.

Following this tragedy, members of the Wabvuwi Guild felt that something needed to be done in memory of these members who had died on duty. Discussions were held with the local community of Mrewa and its leadership and the Anglican church. Consensus was reached on the idea of the clinic in view of the inadequacies of health facilities within the area which were characterised by people travelling long distances to access health facilities, and failure by some community members to access health facilities including expectant mothers. Whilst it was members of the Harare Diocese who died in the accident and who had organised the visit to Mutemwa, the clinic project was adopted as a national project covering all dioceses. In addition, a National Conference of Wabvuwi Guild is held annually in August at St Claire’s Mission where the clinic is being built.

Funding for the project has come from members of the Guild and the Anglican community in general. Donations have also been received from some organisations. The superstructure has now been completed and the walls have been plastered both inside and outside. A staff house has also been fully completed and is ready for occupation. The remaining stages are flooring and ceiling, electrics, plumbing and glazing as well as equipping the whole clinic. The targeted completion date is June 2017 with the official opening scheduled for August when the Guild holds the annual national conference.

The Bishop of Harare Diocese, Chad Gandiya has played a major role in ensuring that the project gets to where it is now, saying, “Some of those who perished in this accident could have survived had they been attended to sooner but unfortunately they had to travel to Harare for medical attention and lost valuable time and in the end could not be saved.

The Wabvuwi have provided labour for the construction of the Clinic and have fund-raised locally to cover other building costs such as materials. The Diocese of Harare is proud of the commitment and sacrificial service given by this men's Guild. The Fishers of Men in Zimbabwe are doing great work through contributing towards health facilities of the country and indeed it is a story of spiritual healing to physical healing!

CONTACT: Edward Ndaima, email eddyndai@gmail.com