|Manjeese and her triplet bundle of joy|
MASVINGO – Children are generally regarded as a blessing from God, but for Netsai Manjeese and her husband Fanuel Chinyowa it is a different case.
Having growing up in the remote areas of Zaka District in Bvukururu area, Majeese only managed to go to school up-to Form Two at Muroyi Secondary School and got married in 2002.
The couple was blessed with a baby girl in 2003 and when Zimbabwe’s economy was on its knees in 2008, she was blessed with another baby girl.
The new baby, though being a blessing, put a big strain on the family which was under huge financial problems as was the majority of Zimbabweans during the 2008 hyperinflation period.
Put into a corner, Manjeese sacrificed to leave her husband and five-year-old daughter behind and migrated to South Africa in search for greener pastures, taking her new born baby with her.
Just like many Zimbabweans who later find out the hard way that home is always best, Majeese faced a number of challenges while in South Africa and her world came crushing down when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
|Manjeese at her home in an old section Mucheke high density suburb|
“It started itching and aching while I was breastfeeding, at first I thought maybe my baby had belched on my breast, I told my sister but she urged me to continue breastfeeding saying my kid will be affected if I didn’t give her breast milk,” said Manjeese who did not suspect that the itching was the beginning of a lifelong cancer ordeal.
“It started swelling and grew bigger to the size of a 5 litre container; I could hardly wear a blouse and would spend most of my time shirtless. When travelling to hospital my brother would hold it and walk in front while I follow or put it over my shoulder and support it from the behind.
“Seeking medical attention from local clinics was a problem because I could not speak English or any other South African language,” said Manjeese.
With the help of her little sister who broke the language barrier, Manjeese managed to seek medical attention and was diagnosed with what she described as her worst nightmare, breast cancer.
She was later referred to a private doctor in Pretoria where she was successfully operated on with the bill being settled by well-wishers.
Having kept on breast-feeding her baby in her condition, the results were catastrophic for the child who got ill and she had to return to Zimbabwe where her child later passed on at Masvingo Provincial Hospital.
“Though I was operated on, my child got ill. I then came back to Zimbabwe where I had left my family including my husband and after a few days, my child passed on. I blamed myself and it was difficult to accept,” said Manjeese.
In 2010, the couple was blessed with twins, a boy and a girl. Manjeese did not breast feed her twins because of her condition and she raised them on baby formula which was a huge challenge on a family which did not have a source of income.
“The twins came as a blessing to us having lost our second child but my in my condition and our financial challenges, it was the beginning of a long and difficult road.
“My husband does not have a formal job and could not provide enough for the family. We raised the twins under the difficult conditions and I am happy to see them grow with our first born child having completed her ‘O’ Level,” said Manjeese.
In 2019, Manjeese fell pregnant again, and this time she was blessed with triplets, two girls and one boy.
It was a complicated pregnancy which saw her deliver through an operation.
“The doctors told me I had twins but it was discovered in the last minute that they were triplets. We had done preparation for twins and we had to struggle to cater for the last minute addition.
“It is really difficult now. We have nothing to give to the children and we are relying heavily on well-wishers.
“The economy is really bad and for people in our situation it’s really a nightmare. We have received donations and we plead with anyone who can help to come assist us.
“Milk for the babies is the biggest challenge and with prices skyrocketing daily, we are really out of options,” said Manjeese.
As a mother, Manjeese believes that the formula is the most important thing she wants, but for the father it is a different case.
Chinyowa believes that their living space was not conducive to raise the children and wished that they be helped to find a better place to live in.
The family of eight is sharing a single room at a four roomed house which they share with two other families.
The room is divided by a wardrobe and Manjeese and three other kids sleep on the bed while the husband Chinyowa sleeps on the floor with one of the triplets and one of the twins.
“I had to move to sleep on the floor, there is no space in here and even if they start crying at night, there is no room for one to pace around to quieten the babies.
“My greatest wish is that we get a proper place where we can get privacy so that we can raise these kids. We have since send our eldest child to stay somewhere because the room is too small for us,” said Chinyowa.
family is in dire need of blankets and winter clothes for the children and food
in general as Manjeese said what they have now cannot serve them up to the end
The devastating effects of Covid-19 and the lockdown has added to their woes as they can no longer do menial work to fend for the family.
“Were it not for the lockdown, we could be looking for piece jobs to earn some money but we are stuck home with this big family. I wish I could find someone who can give me a manual job even in council, I can do cleaning and other things.
“If I could also find capital to start a project like selling even vegetables I think I could serve my family other than relying on hand outs,” said Manjeese.
The family paid tribute to a number of organisations and individuals who stretched their hands to help them.
Manjeese can be contacted on her mobile number 0783795285 or EcoCash number 0774645316.