Farai narrates his Cyclone Idai experience

Thursday 4 April 2019

Chimanimani, Zimbabwe- Farai (13) counts himself lucky to have survived Cyclone Idai in Ngangu township. Recalling the events on that fateful night and the memories of his friends who perished, he concludes that God saved him for a purpose.

 “My mother had travelled out of town, leaving me and my two sisters under the care of the landlord,” says Farai who is in grade 6. 

“We had retired to bed. only to be awoken by a neighbour who was calling out to us to come out of the house quickly.”

Little did he know that mud from the mountains had slipped into their house while they were asleep and covered all their property, clothes and books.

“When I woke up, I was shocked to find that my bed was almost submerged in water. As I got out of bed, I realised that the water and mud in our room was coming up to my knees and I was scared,” he says.

The neighbour who had woken the three children then rushed into their room and helped them to get out, as the landlord had already escaped from the house much earlier. Together they ran to another house in a different street which was not in the path of the mudslides and spent the night there.  The next morning Farai learnt that his best friend and classmate had perished during the Cyclone and his body was missing. 

“My best friend whom I played with and was also my classmate perished.  Their house gave in to the cyclone water and he was washed away and covered by mud down the street. He used to help me with my studies. I am hurt,” he says with tears in his eyes.

“His body was later discovered buried underneath the mud and rocks. I only saw him when his body was being exhumed, but I did not attend the burial.”

“Three people from his family perished that night. My friend, his elder brother and his young brother. His parents and two other siblings survived.” 

“All our food, clothes and books were destroyed and we have nowhere to start. So far we are staying at my uncle’s house, but mom has said she wants to take us away to her rural home in Mberengwa,” says Farai.

Asked what his wishes for the future were, Farai said, “My wish is to get a beautiful wife with a good heart. I also want to get a job at the Department of National Park.”

Save the Children staff and the Manicaland Provincial Social Welfare Officer found Farai almost five days after the disaster. He was seated alone in the midst of the rubble that remained after houses had been washed away and appeared to be in deep thought. The team then spoke to him, and immediately started a counselling session with him, during which he offered to pray. Farai is now receiving psychosocial support and undergoing further counselling from Save the Children and its partners in Chimanimani.