Thursday, June 1, 2023

Zaka hyena attack survivor narrates ordeal

…‘If only I could get my hands back…’

Emmanuel Chitsika

After the horrific hyena attack that left her with both palms amputated in Zaka district of Masvingo, Muchanyara Munodya has spoken of her wish that, if by any chance of fate she could get back her hands she could work for her young family as usual without bothering anyone.
Her words are not only heartbreaking, but reflect how much the bizarre attack has altered her life and that of her family-an incident that speaks so much about how grave human-wildlife conflict has become.
Speaking from her hospital bed at Masvingo Provincial Hospital on August 3 where she got a US$ 2 000 donation from government, an emotional Munodya narrated how the attack has changed her life negatively as she had no other alternative source of livelihood than working using her hands.
“Kutaura kudai ndinonzwa kunyara kupakiswa chikafu nemumwe munhu sezvo ndanga ndajairira kuzviitira zvinhu namaoko angu. Pamwe pacho ndinotoona sekuti ndava mwana mucheche asingagone kuzviitira zvinhu zvake anotoda kubatsirwa (Right now as I speak from this hospital bed, I am being spoon-fed each time I get a meal. At times I feel like am reduced to a kid who needs assistance from elderly to do some activities. The situation is a bit embarrassing for me as I am not used to that kind of a life. I feel like it is shameful for someone of my age to be spoon-fed.)
“I am yet to accept my situation and believe it is normal. I am someone who is used to using my hands for my livelihood and that is why one of my wishes as I recover from this attack that if ever I am going to have my hands so that I work for my young family,” she said.
She went on to explain how she used to go about her household chores as well as gardening as a source of livelihood which now might turn to be a thing of the past after the dreadful incident in which the marauding hyena attacked her.
“My main worry right now as I lay in this hospital bed is how I am going to go about my life after losing my hands which I have always depended on to earn a living. My heart is painful that someone like myself who has been using hands to work on my own, how I would go about my farming activities.
“I am forever grateful to all those who have chosen to stand and offered me and family the much needed help. I appreciate the helping hand shown by government by donating cash, Minister of Provincial Affairs and Devolution (Ezra Chadzamira) for pledging to pay hospital bills as well as Clemence Chiduwa (deputy minister of Finance and Zaka MP) for his timely intervention soon after the attack. He (Chiduwa) also made sure my youngest child (who was less than three weeks during the time of attack) got something to eat and milk for her upkeep.
“Even if you check my records, I have never suffered from a high Blood Pressure after this attack because of the help me and my family are getting from people from all walks of life. I feel loved by the nation and am grateful. The church stood with me during this time of need. I am positive, I would make it after this horrific event but only if I could get an alternative pair to use as hands,” she added.
It was during the night when Munodya heard his husband Robert Murove screaming after going out to investigate what was taking place at their kraal and got attacked by the spotted hyena. In a bid to save her loved one, she was attacked by the hyena which also went on to attack her father-in-law.
Murove said her brave ten year-old son rescued her parents by throwing a metal iron sheet which scared the animal and it sped off.

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