Corona Near Death Experience: Zimbabwean In UK
12 May 2020
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By Dr Masimba Mavaza | In the midlands town of Corby in the United Kingdom stays a very happy family whose roots are from Zimbabwe. They are a family of 4 boys and their parents. This is the Chiwuta family. This happy family which has meant to live for each other and survive for God is one with their culture deeply rooted in Christian values.

The mother is Mrs Ruth Chiwuta commonly known as sister Ruth by her church family. Sister Ruth has always taken pride of being a member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church family. She is a very active member of the church and exhibits much faith in God. It is that God who has kept sister Ruth going.

Nothing on earth has prepared sister Ruth and her family of what is to come. Fate wraps surprises and the mystery covering the fate is indeed a mystery.

Life presents challenges and one wonders how do we move on to another day without faith. Faith is always tested not by food things happening to you but how you sail through the waves of the turmoil of life. Siter sister Ruth or VaChihera as she her brother calls her was jovial and hard working nurse. She had taken this virus seriously and took all precautions that were there to make sure she keeps this virus out of her family. Sister Ruth is naturally a smart person she has kept her home so neat that you would think she is always expecting a smartness inspection. One would think that CORONA will be ashamed to enter in such a home.

Mr Chiwuta the father is in the frontline so as sister Ruth they have all taken precautions to make sure that they stay safe. But challenges are known to overlook all precautions you might be putting in place.

On the 27 the March 2020 the Chiwuta family was struck with very mild symptoms of the Corona Virus. So as an alert family already in the health sector and in the front line they quickly made haste to self quarantine. One of the boys Ra displayed symptoms without questioning the source a self quarantine was agreed. The Chiwuta family has always been a highly organised and disciplined family. So quarantine was reached on a family consensus. So Ra had reported feeling tightness of chest and temperature surges. Everyone was fit and getting on at this point. As they got through the weekend, things gradually started to change. Each family member exhibited some flu like symptoms.

Before the sail through to Monday sister Rue who is affectionately called by the husband as Mai Fari had started coughing. The cough became dry and painful. Mai Fari even though she is a nurse she does not like hospitals. But in this case she has to be referred to the local general hospital. Everybody puts his trust in the hands of the doctors. On arrival at the hospital She was examined by a certain doctor.

The family had turned on a prayer mode. After some few examinations from a certain doctor she was sent back home. The doctor was being cautious and indeed he was alive to the fact that NHS must not be overburdened. A very heavy burden lay heavily on the Chiwuta family’s chests. Sister Ruth has not only been a carer of others but she was not a sickling. When she said she is sick she is indeed sick. So the doctor sent her home on the diligent assessment that if she remained in hospital she would contract the virus.

The family felt restless as the cough intensified through Thursday and Friday and by then she was running a feverish temperature. She also started losing oxygen saturation levels. On Sunday a terrifying thing happened her oxygen oxygen levels had dropped to the 60s. This prompted Mr Chiwuta to call 999. This time the family was gripped in fear and a sense of hopelessness took over. Mr Chiwuta dropped in a lump of a dejected father. Ruth has been his patner for a long time. They have been together through thick and thin. The possibility that Ruth might die drained all the power from the veins of Mr Chiuta. He saw no help at all he was hoping she would not meet the first doctor they met the last time she was kicked out of hospital. He remembered one man who could help him.

This man was Jesus Christ. Mr Chiwuta started praying. He knew that the boys were worried but as a father he did not want to break down He wanted to cry the situation was trrrifying. But Mr Chiwuta has never cried in front of his Children. He is a man who can say it will be well even if he doubts it. He mai rains the manly profile. He prayed as Mai Fari was being wheeled out of the house to the ambulance.

Mr Chiwuta remembers the harsh blue lights of the ambulance flashing on the road giving the edges of the street houses a blue colour. That became the lights of horror. No member of the family was allowed to escort the mother to hospital. There was to be no vista and anything was possible. To imagine that the scenario could be the last He saw my Fari made Mt Chiwuta sweat buckets. No relative is allowed to visit. The phone became the source of communication. and that’s how she ended up in hospital. Reports from hospital was coming through the phone call. Mr. Chiwuta and family has to rely on the phone calls from the hospital.

It was strange how a mobile phone became very important in the Chiwuta family. Things just changed, gone were those days when the family crumbles around a TV to watch news. Now they gathered around a mobile phone to get daily progress reports from the hospital. The mobile phone became all of a sudden a very important gadget in the Chiwuta family. The first call came. The family was scared to answer it but it has to be answered. The nurse on the other side of the phone reported that they have found that she had developed pneumonia and was to be out under sedation and on oxygen therapy. That was to be her life for the next twenty eight days. We had to be given a a lot to call for feedback. The calls became inspirations and something which brings both hope and something to cling on to. Life was just something else it was had changes in a twinkling of an hour.

The church members called and offered prayers they had a live stream called zoom where The family could join the church in prayer for sister Ruth Mai Fari Chihera and other members who needed prayers. The prayers played wonders it gave Mr Chiuta hope. Hope to look forward to meet his wife again in a healthy stoop.
While in the house the family will go for hours without food. Their thoughts were with Mai Fari.
The sickness drew a lot of energy from the family.
Emotionally, it would appear the boys and Mr Chiwuta were driven by this macho thing where you don’t want to show your emotions that easily. Those stories we always tell our children. Man don’t cry but Mr Chiwuta cried in the heart but can not afford breaking down in front of the kids
The biggest problem was the Chiwuta family are all in the health profession nurses and doctors within the family members. So they understood exactly that they can expect anything from this virus. It was a very scaring moment.
Every Chiwuta played a spy. Each one was watching the other for signs of breakdown so that they lift him. The Corby Seventh-day Adventist Church kept the family going. Elders and pastors kept the phone busy and prayers went up the heaven creating a ladder of Angels bringing the prayers up and blessings down covering both aspects covered with chains of miracles.
It then turned out that everyone of us was secretly watching out for the next person on the pretext that they would crack under pressure.

There is also a sense of groundedness that each of the Chiwuta boys was driven by way they tend to look at situations in balance and are able to rationalise on the impact of possible outcomes. This boldness acted as some form of catharsis. This is why they were able to sustain themselves emotionally through out the predicament.

However, the prequel period just before the onset of recovery, there were two disclosures of how the the illness had become overbearing and the nascent worry of the possibility of mom being taken away from them.

Twenty eight days passed Mai Fari remained in hospital. One blessed day as usual the call came in. Mai Fari had opened her eyes for the first time. She opened her mouth too and expressed worry about her grand children. Such was Mai Fari. When everybody was worried about her health she was worrying about others.

The enxiety of the situation healed the whole family which was in quarantine.

Through God’s Grace Mai Fari vaChihera has defied the odds. She was attacked by the Virus in her most vulnerable moment she surrendered her life in the hands of God. At the same time the family had nothing to offer they all knew very well that in a moment like this the best thing is to lift up one’s hands unto Jesus.

The Chiwuta experience has put the family closer to God. It has opened new lines of prayer. The Adventist’s caring and the the zoom worship way kept the faith alive.

On the 7th of May 2020 sister Ruth Chiwuta was discharged from hospital. People of all colour lined the street keeping the social distancing values as they clapped and sang in praise to God for the safe return of Sister Ruth Mai Far. VaChihera.

The Corona virus is not a Joke. Many people in Mai Fari’s ward did not make it out. Mai Fari was not clever or wise in this situation. She was saved by the Grace of God.

Mr Chiwuta said he was humbled by the amount of comfort he received. It was a hard time. You never see your loved one you do not feel like you are in the journey with her. She tugged alone surrounded by strangers in a time she needed her husband most. But in all this period God was there.