Mutemwa Leprosy Care Centre is situated in Mashonaland, in the eastern province of Zimbabwe. The Centre is supported by the John Bradburne Memorial Society (JBMS), founded in memory of the OFS brother from the United Kingdom.
The beatification cause of John Bradburne, who lived in Mutemwa for the last 10 years of his life taking care of leprosy patients and was killed in 1979 during Zimbabwe independence war, is open and under way. Since the JBMS, as a registered charity, is based on our common Franciscan charism, “Well4Africa” decided to fund the water project in the Mutemwa Leprosy Care Centre and to ensure stable supply of clean water to the community.
The Mutemwa Leprosy Care Centre is home to dozens of patients with a variety of illnesses ranging from leprosy to mental and physical disabilities. Sadly, leprosy is on the increase in Zimbabwe again, although it is a totally curable disease if detected early. Each patient has his/her own living quarters and is cared for individually at the Centre. The homes surrounding the Centre belong to the families of the patients. The settlement has a managerial group of Franciscans with trained carers and nurses on site. JBMS supports the Centre on a monthly basis by covering the costs of wages, medicines, food, etc.
The situation in Zimbabwe is dire and people are suffering greatly all over the country. Water is a high priority right now with all the droughts they have been having in that part of Africa. Zimbabwe faces hotter summers and increasing water shortages every year.
The works were implemented by Skylake Borehole Drilling and Mutoko Tile Centre from July to November 2021. The amount donated to the project was EUR 14,008. Mutemwa water project was delayed due to Covid lockdown regulations and rainy season which was not a right time to drill the borehole in order to get to a real water table. The drilling began on 22 July 2021. At 70 metres a low yield was found and a capacity testing was recommended. This test was carried out on 30 July, and afterwards it was recommended to deepen the borehole to 106 metres. The deepening was done on 3 September and water yield was much better this time. The installation of the borehole and construction of the fencing were completed in October-November.
On 13 December Eremenciana Chinyama, OFS, the newly elected CIOFS Presidency Councilor, and fr. Tawanda Chirigo, OFM, national spiritual assistant, visited Mutemwa for a final evaluation of the project.
The whole length of 106 metres of Mutemwa borehole is double-cased in order to prevent collapse. It is equipped with a pressure tank to enable pumping into the reservoir tank. A digital pump is programmed so that it pumps in the exact amount of water that has been pumped out. It ensures that the reservoir tank is always filled to capacity. The borehole is enclosed by a mesh fence and there is a guard post with a guard patrolling daily. The drilling company provided one-year service warranty and free training for those who will do the maintenance after the warranty expires.
This constant and sustainable source of fresh water is a vital lifeline to the entire community of Mutemwa. The borehole project benefits 34 patients, 17 destitute people, 4 Franciscan friars and a staff compliment of 24 employees and all their families. Against a background of perennial water shortages, the borehole will add value to the garden project which was almost obsolete due to lack of water. The patients and homeless people are guaranteed nutritious meals due to the water. Workers who had long been burdened with the task of finding water to feed and care for the patients now can focus on ensuring quality service to those in their care. Having a reliable source of water from the borehole is invaluable in a country like Zimbabwe where water can be scarce, especially in the hot weather. We can hope that the fruit of this project would please our brother John Bradburne who loved Mutemwa so dearly and our father St. Francis of Assisi who lovingly cared for lepers.
We would like to express our deep gratitude to the National JPIC Team of the OFS in Canada. Their fundraising campaign was intended for a particular Mutemwa water project at the Leprosy Care Centre in Zimbabwe and has raised CAD 20,740. In January 2021, “Well4Africa” received the donation of EUR 12,822.67 which was almost the whole amount needed for Mutemwa water project. May the Lord bless our brothers and sisters in Canada for their incredible generosity!
— by Virginija Mickute, OFS