Zimbabwe is one of the many countries experiencing the impact of climate change in the world. In February, the President of Zimbabwe, Pres. Robert Gabriel Mugabe, declared a state of disaster in rural areas hit by a severe drought as more than a quarter of the population face food shortages in Zimbabwe. This left tens of thousands of cattle dead, reservoirs depleted, and crops destroyed. These scenarios also have some impediments on the human race, as the intensity of the heat waves affect human movement. As I travel with the education department of Simukai Child Protection Program for Sexual Reproductive Health Rights awareness to some primary schools in Rural Mutare, I witnessed the effect of the drought as it is clearly visible on the parched land with dried creeks and low level rivers, and the traveling of some herdsmen with their cattle from long distances to feed and seek water for their cattle.
The heat wave also gave me sun burns as I began to experience some sharp pains on my face whenever I took showers. The least of the problems is how hot the ground is from heat waves. Amid these climatic conditions, children have to go to school. As the Simukai Child Protection program is committed to supporting these students to understand their inalienable rights as children and to equip them with the knowledge of sexual reproductive health right issues and child abuses, I was given the opportunity to visit the Junior Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) and the Junior school Development committees of some of the primary schools in Dora, Rural Mutare on a SRHR awareness campaign.
Upon our arrival, we had the privilege of interacting with some committee members and sometimes the entire school for our SRHR campaign. To my greatest dismay, I saw some of these students attending schools or going to schools without at least a slipper on their feet, with many wearing torn up shoes and slippers.
How are they coping up with the very hot weather conditions that are creating a heat wave and hot ground? How do they manage to walk on the hot sandy ground of their communities and schools? What is their hope, if there should be a rainy season and winter? As I stood and started to gaze at these students in such heartbreaking conditions, pondering their circumstances, I was approached by my teammate from Simukai and she asked me if I have similar situations back home in Liberia where students go to schools without slippers or shoes on their feet. I could not have bragged about my country, as it is one of the African countries on the African continent. I responded that Liberia and all other African countries have a common denominator – bad governance and poverty.