Norest's mother finds rest at last

HARARE - It was by no means a coincidence that Christina Mashongera named her son Norest — it had all to do with his birth and his poor health, a tiny little baby who often got sick much to the anguish of his parents as they never thought anything good would come out from such a weakling.

Part of his condition led to his father abandoning the family eight years ago leaving Christina to fend for the seven kids single-handedly and indeed her son’s name lived as further testimony that her problems would but only stay on.

This is the story of a 16-year-old boy from the remote Murewa North currently doing his Form 3 at Zaranyika Secondary School who in the midst of his struggles exhibited prowess on the marathon track and in the process caught the eye of seed giant SeedCo.

Zaranyika school has an enrolment of just 200 students.

He has known no other number besides number one since taking his craft to the road from the zonal going into the district then provincials and finally the national championships held in Bulawayo claiming gold in all these outings.

A life-changing opportunity would come as SeedCo came to the boy’s rescue. The seed giant availed a kit sponsorship comprising several running sport shoes, 10 skin tights, 10 training vests, two kit bags, tracksuits as well as school uniforms -four pairs of trousers, four pairs of school shirts, four pairs of school shoes and two sets of jerseys.

“I’m very happy that my son has got to this stage of being invited here and be surrounded by officials from a big company such as SeedCo and the media. I’m very happy I have never seen such a privilege and honour being bestowed on a school pupil by SeedCo, I’m so grateful to the school for such an honour.

“This has never happened to anyone close to me not even my peers and I thank the school and SeedCo for this special day and I urge them to continue doing more so to every deserving kids and I pray that the Good Lord will replace triple fold what they have taken off their budget to assist my son, I’m so happy,” Christina told the Daily News on Sunday.

“I never anticipated such a thing would happen in my life time. I never anticipated Norest would rise to this big stage because growing up he would fall down more often and would lose his feet nails such that I would rhetorically ask myself what will become of my son when he grows older.

“He grew up a weakling he would fall sick quite often and I told myself that my son would never grow into a strong boy but I’m more surprised that God has given him the gift of running. I feel so happy that God has sanctified his body and made his bones strong and has raised him to a higher bar that no man can pull him down neither can they take this gift from him.

“What has happened here is a lesson that he will take to his colleagues at school that sport plays an important role in our lives, they certainly help and if one maintains the passion and direction will certainly be someone who can be recognised in the society and I’m confident that wherever he will go the Lord will always be with him.”

She said the name Norest was derived from the struggles she went through with his son right from birth up to his early childhood years which in her own words never thought he would be able to do anything fruitful.

“It was all about looking into the life that I lived with him and my family it was a very difficult phase that one would never want to talk about or let anyone experience it but now Norest “andizorodza”, from shoes, tracksuits, uniforms and school fees I’m grateful to the Lord,” she said.

“His father threw in the towel, he abandoned his family and within a family setup challenges always happen but people usually disagree to agree but he could not stomach the burden of living with a big family without the capacity to look after them so he just left and I remained behind to toil for the family and as you can see the Lord has answered the cries of a heartbroken single mother and now I’m very happy with my son and his siblings ...,” she said with some deep introspection.

“Norest is 16 years old now, he’s the sixth born and the last child in my family is a girl she’s doing Form 2 now. School fees was a nightmare for me I would have sleepless nights thinking of ways how I can raise the fees. I would mould bricks for survival so that my children would get school fees and now that they have grown up I would ask them to help me in this trend so that I’m able to get a life for them out of all this and would stress it to them that ‘I failed to get education because of my parents but my desire is for you my kids to be able to get good education so let’s help each other’ but now I have been given a divine rest even the school has said that I will no longer pay fees for him so I’m very happy.”

Norest was ecstatic to receive the sponsorship.

“I didn’t think I would be in Harare for such a great function, we are a very small school and thought would only make headlines in our small community but the school and SeedCo has got us to this stage. I’m very confident that I will continue to do my best in athletics and continue to do my school, the community, SeedCo and the nation proud,” Norest said.

Zaranyika Secondary School headmistress Nyasha Marambanyika said they are proud of an asset they have in Norest.

“. . .  It was heart-rendering because you can imagine coming from a school that not everyone knows about . . .,” Marambanyika told the Daily News on Sunday.

SeedCo head of PR and communications Marjorie Mutemererwa said their rallying call is to seed Zimbabwe, Africa and beyond and people like Norest are the future company leaders of tomorrow hence they need to be rewarded for their talents.

“...It is about encouraging each other it is about ensuring that the next generation is fully restored as we restore the legacy... because something must have also gotten lost somewhere along the line so it’s for us to realise that as the legacy is being restored the young people are also being restored and that’s where exactly we are coming from as SeedCo,” Mutemererwa said.

“So it’s not just Norest by the way we look at every province and every discipline and we have made great efforts to ensure that we facilitate education, sports and culture in Zimbabwe. We partnered recently with Zimbabwe U20 rugby team we also sent off a team from Hartmann House to Durban we believe that we do it for everyone and our focus is to ensure that we hope to raise quality citizens because our rallying call is to seed and seed Zimbabwe, Africa and beyond...sports really has benefits in a child’s life.”

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