The Sunday News
EXHAUSTED from her gruelling journey to Harare in an ambulance donated by the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH), Ms Cherish Muchegwa rests in her husband’s arms at a relative’s house in the city renowned for sunshine.
The heart-melting scene shows a very special bond between Ms Muchegwa and Mr Joseph Masaiti her husband, who has been with her through the worst part of their marriage from the day she was mauled by her landlady’s five vicious dogs.
“We are almost there now, I never thought this day could come. I had lost hope but thanks to Mr Raj Modi, his team and friends, Minister Judith Ncube, the people of Bulawayo, UBH and its doctors, the rest of Zimbabwe and our family and church, Abundant Life Ministries, we are on our way to India,” said Mr Masaiti.
Cde Modi said after he saw the horrifying injuries suffered by Ms Muchegwa he was compelled to help.
“The incident happened when I was in Australia on holiday with my family, I saw the pictures in the few WhatsApp groups I am in. The extent of the injuries pushed me to step forward and help. I started a social media campaign for her and I have not stopped ever since. When I came home I visited her in hospital and it was amazing to see her smile despite everything she was going through.
“After talking to her, I told myself I was going to do everything in my power to help her get the relevant treatment needed to heal her. I also made a silent promise that I was going to visit her in hospital again. The next time we will meet is when she is whole again, not a minute or second before she undergoes reconstructive surgery,” said the renowned businessman and philanthropist.
Cde Modi has been at the forefront leading a fundraising campaign to raise funds needed for Ms Muchegwa to fly to India for reconstructive surgery. He has committed his own resources and time to the cause. He initiated a carwash fundraiser and even washed a number of cars, a scene that moved a few car owners resulting in them donating huge amounts of money. One motorist had his car washed for US$200, another for $1 000 and another for US$150.
He said: “Running my business or winning an election doesn’t come anywhere near the feeling I get from helping people such as Cherish. I feel tremendously privileged to be part of efforts to save her life and she gives me far more than I give her — she is an incredibly brave woman who has taught me not to throw in the towel no matter how bad the situation is.”
The Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce did not stop at washing cars, he went on to find doctors who agreed to perform reconstructive surgery on Ms Muchegwa for a cheaper fee of US$10 000 at Kiran Hospital instead of US$25 000 they had been quoted by other hospitals.
The Bulawayo South legislator negotiated with Kiran Hospital for a further 30 percent discount leaving the bill at US$7 000. He also pleaded with the Embassy of India to waiver Visa fees. A Visa to India costs US$120.
A grateful Ms Muchegwa said: “Without the world supporting me, I would not have been able to get the treatment I am going to receive in India, and chances are I would not be here. There are no words to say how grateful I am for the kindness that the people have shown us. For now I cannot say much but I will write a letter to thank everyone who has helped me.
“Special thanks also goes to the nurse (Sister Sinanzeni Moyo) who volunteered to look after me as we journey to India. She volunteered her time and energy and will not get paid for her efforts. That type of sacrifice is rare in our health sector. And I also want to thank her employers, Mpilo Central Hospital for releasing her to my service.”
Ms Muchegwa, Mr Masaiti and Sister Moyo flew to India aboard a Kenyan Airways airplane last week.