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- Zimbabwe: Land of the Beautiful And Brave
Posted by : Karen Saturday, October 06, 2012
|The Zimbabwean International Airport|
built to resemble Great Zimbabwe
Irrevocably I hope.
Zimbabwe is a special land, a land whose beauty leaves you breathless....
.... as does the brutality she has experienced.
Zimbabwe leaves you speechless as you wonder how she is still holding on,
... and yet the promise of hope (surely this is hope?) on her horizon make you want to shout out loud!
|A walk on the farm Brent and I|
used to live on
|My childhood home |
(this is one of three parts of the garden!)
So much space!
|I love these yellow flowers that fall with the purple|
of the jacarandas...
|walking up Domboshawa|
|At the top of Domboshawa|
with my brother and friends of
The roads are in shocking condition - they are mostly full of potholes, and the edges are wearing away. I'd say a good 75% of the roads have no road markings - they've faded and once again, there's no money to repaint them. Robots seldom work, or have had fittings stolen from them (whilst still living there, all the metal signs indicating road names were stolen to melt down to make coffin handles - Zimbabweans sure are industrious!).
|The view to the east of Domboshawa|
It was really hard getting my head around the economy working in US$, and seeing the abject poverty in spite of it. Zimbabweans can look back and laugh (can anyone really?) at the fact that in the beginning of 2008 the limit on withdrawals from the bank was 1.2 million Zimbabwean dollars, and you needed that to buy bread and milk. But it's not really a laughing matter. My parents lost their hundreds of trillions (not a lot really after the inflation of the previous years) in their bank account when overnight the money changed to a US$ system. 2008/9 were the hardest years by far. There was NOTHING in the shops. Bare, empty shelves And when a consignment came in, say of Mazoe orange juice, shelf packers would line ALL the shelves up with orange juice. Nowadays, had our money remained in Zimbabwean dollars, it is speculated that the denomination we would be working in as a result of our inflation would be octrillions. I kid you not. (Now I can't even comprehend a number that big - 1 million is 10 to the 6th power, 1 trillion is 10 to the 12th power, 1 septrillion is 10 to the 24th power...an octillion in 10 to the 27th power....1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000!!!)
|This is a Fruit and Veg City (Sam Levy's Village), |
complete with sprinklers outside
to keep everything cool in the (glorious) heat!
I'm also saddened for another reason. The shelves in Zimbabwe are packed - all with familiar South African products. And whilst this is wonderful and it means that food is available, it is often 2 or 3 times more expensive than it is here in South Africa. A packet of Lays chips imported from SA is now cheaper than a packet of local Zimbabwean chips. It doesn't take an economist to tell you what that means. The last remaining local Zimbabwean industries that have survived the onslaught of such horrific government policies are closing down, and adding to the already chilling unemployment statistic of 95%. Is this why the South African government took on a "quiet diplomacy" stand when all the chaos took place? They stand to gain by exporting and monopolizing the Zimbabwean market?
|Aah yes, the menu at the airport is|
handwritten as everything
changes in availability...
Another aspect of this US$ economy is that there are no US coins in circulation in Zim. Prices are however, given with cents. So if you buy something and need say 60c change, you can either buy eggs, a banana or two, chewing gum, or chocolates to that amount OR you are given a "credit note" which allows you to redeem the money the shop owes you on your next visit. It's amusing....
|Ryan, and incredibly bright student with an even|
brighter future thanks to Makomborero!
Zimbabweans are beautiful and brave, and I think the real reason I so want to write about this trip is to honor those who have stayed. Who have endured. Who have persevered, and weathered the political storm day in and day out.
These black and white people make Zimbabwe great.
Together they have stood, facing the corruption and the anarchy with a desire to see Zimbabwe rise from the ashes: they believe in her potential. When I look back over the 8 years I have been gone, and I track what they have had to endure, it sobers me. It makes me realize how wealthy I am with all that I take for granted - power, running water and available affordable food for me to buy.
Zimbabwe, I am so grateful to you, for giving me a perspective shift....in so many ways.
Till the next time...