For over a decade, rains have been bringing both smiles that crops are to grow and also sadness as the rains have been restricting movement of people at Mbawe village in Machinga.
Being surrounded by hills, people from Mbawe do cross Zumuru River to connect with other people from neighboring villages for social-economic activities.
However, the villagers live in isolation when rainy season approaches and Zumuru River gets swollen with water to feed Lake Chirwa.
Movement of people is restricted until Zumuru River pours the water in Lake Chirwa.
The village had lived without a proper bridge that is to guarantee assurance of safety when people are crossing the river.
The makeshift bridge that people use during summer, made with small poles get swallowed with water when Zumuru River has filled its belly.
Children are forced not to go to a nearby school, Zumuru Primary until the water level gets low from the river and allows elder people to be helping the children to cross the village.
Attending health facilities becomes a problem during rainy season at Mbawe as crossing to the side where the health centre was built is another risk.
Business gets paralyzed as people cannot move to the other side where they can do the trade.
Group village headman Mbawe lamented challenges faced during rainy season. He faulted people in authority for sidelining his village saying a project to construct a bridge was implemented in 2014 but has stalled up to date.
“When you go to the place where usually cross the river, you are to see that there are some pillars that were constructed long ago, we built three of them and government promised to construct the remaining two so that we can have a bridge that is strong and safe to cross even during the rainy season,” said the leader for the people of Mbawe.
“I have lost my subjects when they tried to cross the river during rainy season in desperate situation and we fail to uplift our livelihood as we fail to do some businesses for us to be able to support our families,” he added.
The traditional leader disclosed efforts made to meet authorities to be accountable on the promises made on the bridge construction on Zumuru River.
Mbawe explained further to have been given assurance when he knocked on the door of the District Commissioner for Machinga district, Bester Mandele.
But Mandele expressed ignorance on the situation of people from Mbawe and denied to have had a meeting with the local leader from the village.
The district commissioner also expressed ignorance on the existence of the stalled project for construction of the bridge.
“When talking of developments in some areas, funds are being controlled by some quarters, for example the MP (Member of Parliament) and ward councillors, these are the ones that do set priority of what must be considered first,” said Mandele in an interview with Malawi24.
He further urged the villagers to make follow up with their MP and councillors on the project for bridge at Zumuru.