A field worker for ZANE reports on an ex-Zimbabwe farmer’s plea for assistance:
I had a phone call from Tony* (65). He sounded confused and inarticulate on the phone, so without asking for too much information, I visited him at his current residence.
He lived and worked on his parents’ farm in Marondera, having a very important role after his father died in 1998. In 2000, the farm was brutally invaded but he managed to survive this and continued farming for a further 2 years. He finally had to leave the farm in August 2002.
I quickly established that Tony is an extremely decent, resourceful person, who does not lean on or have expectations of anyone regarding his own support. For some years he lived with and worked for a friend, Mike in Harare. He worked in Mike’s motor garage and then helped to liquidate this when it collapsed. He had to then find other accommodation and house-sat for several different people, always helping in whatever way he could, managing their finances, animals, staff etc. His latest house-sit has been at the home of another friend. He does a lot of work around the house for her and she pays him a very small salary. She is in the U.K. trying to sort out her passport so that she can return here.
However, a few weeks ago, her 18 year old grandson arrived at the house, having left the UK and being rejected by all of his family due to bad destructive behaviour. I believe he is schizophrenic, is on no medication and Tony is afraid of him and worried about the destruction of the householder’s possessions. He has moved out of the main house into a bleak ‘cottage’ on the same property, but is constantly anxious and afraid.
Tony is a very good athlete/runner, and lives frugally, not requiring much food. However, he is definitely underweight and I have arranged for Just Friends to provide him with a regular food parcel. There is much more to say about Tony, but suffice to say he is worth helping in any way we can, although we cannot finance him.
* Names and places have been changed to protect the identity of the individual.