BY GILBERT MUNETSI
EIGHTEEN-year-old Vhella Misodzi, donning a white T-shirt inscribed “Princess” in front, propels a squeaky, worn-out wheelchair to the gate of her Juru, Chikwaka, homestead to welcome a group of surprise visitors.
She is in the company of her mother, Monica Kanunga, and siblings Tarisai and Trish.
Part of the visiting delegation comprises Senator Winston Khupe, members of newly-formed organisation — Business Connect and Blessed Women Charity — as well as a couple of members from the Fourth Estate.
Leading the visitors is a young lady from Gweru, Veronica Gore, who herself is also meeting the host for the first time.
It is later to be revealed that the two linked on social media at the beginning of the year, after Vhella posted a message wishing members of a social media group a happy new year.
And Gore, quick to note there was something physically amiss about the originator of the message, went to her inbox and the two began a long-distance chat relationship that has culminated in this day’s visit by the entourage presided over by a member of the Senate (Khupe), who himself is also disabled.
It is the kind of surprise visit they beam on television programmes hosted by the likes of Oprah Winfrey.
Also in tow is one Faith Musevenzi, who through her employment in the telecommunications sector is alive to the values of social corporate responsibility, Taurai Kadzviti (Federation of Organisations of Disabled People in Zimbabwe) and Mercy Maunganidze from the National Disability Board.
Vhella’s story is one of anguish, stigmatisation and lack of knowledge pertaining legal matters.
And it is evident the perpetrator of her woes has capitalised on this to evade responsibility that may have seen them compensate a poor victim handsomely, leading to a better life for her after losing an arm and a leg.
While $10 640 is required to buy Vhella an artificial leg, Zesa has not been forthcoming in engaging her over the matter, let alone accepted responsibility as the custodian of electric power in the country.
The power utility company even adegedly failed to attend to a faulty electric cable on time, dereliction of duty that almost cost poor Vhella her life.
So touched are the visitors by Vhella’s story. One day back in 2016, they are told, she and her friend were walking home from school when the latter tripped on a live electric cable that was to change her life and confine her to a wheelchair for life.
She was hospitalised for three months and efforts to seek medical and other forms of recourse from Zesa have not borne any fruit, despite efforts by some volunteer legal minds to pursue the matter for purposes of compensation.
Though physio and psycho therapy were needed soon after the accident, none has been forthcoming compelling her to self-teach herself to perform household chores such as house cleaning, laundry and cooking.
She is distraught, but determined to pursue an educational journey cut short by the unfortunate accident and the subsequent disability.
“My wish is to go back to school and pick up from where I left,” Vhella told the delegate visitors.
So determined, was she that just three days after having limb and arm amputated, she sat for her Grade 7 public exam and managed to score 19 units.
Her stepfather, from the time of her mother’s pregnancy of her, has dumped the family. Vhella’s woes have not been made lighter by the fact that her breadwinner and mother has a critical kidney problem and her younger sister was recently diagnosed of tuberculosis.
Perchance, the visit will somewhat change Vhella’s life as the senator has pledged to link her to a couple of organisations that look into the welfare of people of her physical state such as Jairos Jiri, Ruwa Rehabilitation Centre and Danhiko.
They also brought her a new wheelchair, groceries and clothing items donated by members of Business Connect.