By Raymond Millagre Langa in Bulawayo
Young adults from Holy Family Parish, Nketa, in the Archdiocese of Bulawayo, recently paid a visit to Ingutsheni psychiatric hospital on 2 May 2023, in a quest to have an in-depth experience of issues that relate to drug abuse and mental health challenges affecting our society today.
The visit to Ingutsheni was graced by Archbishop Alex Thomas (SVD) and the Parish Priest of Holy Family Parish Fr. Sonny Xavier (SVD) and Permanent Deacon Rev. R. Ncube.
In his remarks the Parish Priest Fr. Sonny (SVD) outlined the importance of the visit to Ingutsheni as it was a trip that reminded him of his days as a seminarian in the heart of his native India when he worked in a drug rehabilitation center for a year showing the universality of the problem and hence the need to fight the scourge of drug and substance abuse.
The young adults were also accompanied by a representative from the Archdiocesan executive and the youth and Legionaries of Mary. This was done in line with the Synodal theme of walking together as one in harmony and unity.
The chairperson of the Holy Family Parish (Nketa) Young Adults Association, Nyasha Moyo explained that;
“As young adults we felt the need to come and learn about issues that relate to drug and substance abuse which continually affects young people. It is sad that a lot of our peers are victims of the scourge of drug abuse caused by idleness, neglect, stress and depression. We have also donated some goods to support those in the hospital as Ingutsheni has been facing challenges due to lack of adequate food stuffs to feed the patients at the institution.”
The visit by the young adults saw the donation of food stuffs such as mealie meal, rice, flour, cooking oil and clothes.
The Health Promotion Officer at Ingutsheni Central Hospital Ms. Anesu Chinguwa then addressed the Young Adults highlighting that Ingutsheni was the largest psychiatric hospital in Zimbabwe which caters for all the psychological problems. She outlined how the hospital was also now catering for drug and substance abuse related disorders which were coming in their numbers.
Ms. Chinguwa said different drugs such as marijuana, crystal meth, “njengu and tumbwa” were the most popular drugs being used and were severely affecting young people psychologically, emotionally and physically with some becoming permanent drug addicts.
Mrs. Chinguwa also conscientised young adults about homemade drugs made from products such as Cerevita, Mazoe, Geisha and sanitizers. She also outlined the health implications of drug use on mental and physical health.
Archbishop Alex said it was important to visit Ingutsheni psychiatric hospital so as to have a glimpse on the effect of drug and substance abuse.
“Our visit to Ingutsheni with the young adults and the youth from Holy Family Parish Nketa is meant to have a first-hand appreciation of the reality of drug and substance abuse. The youth need a reality check so that they learn about the effects of drugs. I appreciate the young adults’ effort to donate food items and some clothing to the inmates. As the Archdiocese of Bulawayo, we encourage Christians to be pro-active in their faith and in charity,” said Archbishop Alex.