A group of young men huddle under a tree near the school entrance, each intent on the mobile phone in their hands. Some are typing messages; others are speaking on the phone.
Welcome to Nyahuku. In the remote community in northeastern Zimbabwe, elephants are frequently seen, and wandering off the dusty road could be fatal because land mines from the country’s liberation war still litter the mountainous terrain. About 240 kilometers (149 miles) from the capital city of Harare, The United Methodist Church is providing quality medical care to a community so rural that the only access to the country’s mobile phone network can be found under a single tree.
“The United Methodist Church does not only preach the word of God, we want to ensure the community has access to modern health facilities,” said the Rev. Elias Mutasa, Mutoko-Mudzi district superintendent.
With assistance from The Nyadire Connection, a non-profit organization founded by a group of United Methodists in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the church is expanding and upgrading the buildings at Nyahuku Clinic. The improvements at the satellite clinic of the United Methodist Nyadire Mission will help meet the demands of the 14 villages in the area.
The connection has already upgraded the Chikwizo Clinic and plans to improve four other clinics operated by the mission hospital, for a total of six clinic rennovations.
Desmond Pawandiwa, nurse-in-charge of Nyahuku Clinic, said malaria, sore eyes due to allergies related to dust and pollen, and diarrhea were the most prevalent illnesses treated at the clinic.
“There is poor sanitation and people drink water from the river, a source which they share with domestic livestock, resulting in a high number of people suffering from diarrhea,” said Pawandiwa.