Saturday, December 13, 2008

Zimbabwe : Then and Now

Great Zimbabwe Ruins : Part 1. "Wat we built without the whiteman"

Well, according to the Zimbabwean ‘Government’,

The Minister of Information and Publicity,
Cde Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, yesterday, described the epidemic as a calculated
attack on Zimbabwe.
"The cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe is a serious biological chemical war
force, a genocidal onslaught on the people of Zimbabwe by the British," he
"Cholera is a calculated racist terrorist attack on Zimbabwe by the
unrepentant former colonial power which has enlisted support from its
American and Western allies so that they invade the country."

I lifted that via todays Zimsituation. Yawn, these people are getting tediously boring. What next, I ask you?

Cde Sikhanyiso Ndlovu went on to say

“The racialistic, imperialistic white pig Livingstone will be removed from Victoria Falls. Well, his statue. And the place is to be renamed ‘Mugabe Falls’ from this day, henceforth.”

After listening to a few complaints the Minister went on

“O.K., I made a small mistake, it will be called ‘Mugabe Rise’ falls.”

Meanwhile, back in the land of the living dead, the last whites struggle to stay alive. Times are hard. They have light switches that don’t run, taps that are running dry, cars running on empty and the neighbours worry if they get the runnies.

Mana Pools Nat Park. Somewhere in the middle of it.

Here is an interesting email that was forwarded on. Dunno who the person is, but is an interesting look at life in Harare. Just to twist the knife a bit, I have added some photos from ’84-94, before the place went tits-up.

GOOD MORNING ZIMBABWE , a lighter look on an average day in Zim!

I wake up, the sun is shining, the sky blue and cloudless and the Heuglin robin outside in the garden is singing madly . I lean out of bed and switch on the bedside light. No light! Oh no, that means the power is off again!. Go to the bathroom to wash my teeth, turn on the tap and it gurgles and hisses at me. Ooops no water either! Use the remaining water in the hot tap and burn my mouth and face. Great! Oh well maybe it will help not to get Cholera!!

Right, better phone the Zesa and water authorities. What a joke!! Phone rings and rings, no answer to either, although I have tried every number in book. Let's try the cell phone! Hmm should have known better, Network busy! and "the number you have called is not available, try later!" Impossible to phone anyone, even my neighbours. Give up and shout across fence. Yes they too have no water and lights. Oh well, I suppose they will come on again sometime!

A quick breakfast and off to the shops. Oh, forgot no electricity and the gas has run out for the camp stove. The milk is sour anyway and eggs. Oh well it's good for the figure!

Mana Pools, what a life, Ek-Se!

I drive to the gate, but have to get out and manually push it open, as the motor was stolen some time ago and we have not got round to get another. Damn the rubbish bag is STILL there, put it out days ago. Beggars been scrabbling in it too so paper all over the place. .Must remember to do something about it when I come back.

Turn on to the main rd, but have to edge half way into the road as all the sisal plants and bush on the side walk just left to go wild hide the road .

Off down the main rd I go.

OH my goodness!!! There is a huge yellow Hummer (huge tank like American car, been brought in to country, latest trend!) heading straight for me!! Is he mad!!! Phew, no he is just dodging pot holes and manages to miss me.
Wankie Nat Park
Now I have to do the "slalom" skiing thing as well, and dodge round the many potholes, but OW!!! Did not see that huge one, and hit it with a thump! Hope it did not break a spring or something.

Looking at the beautiful blue sky and the brilliant red blossom of the Flamboyant trees, wow, aren't they great, but my eye goes down the trunks to see the over grown broken side walks and piles of rubbish lying in the grass. Sigh! The odd rusted street light lies broken in half too. No wonder it's so dark at night.

Need to get some Zim cash now too. Oh no! What is that crowd of milling people???? Is it a riot? No, just the daily crowd queuing outside banks to get their daily 500,000m $ cash each. Some are asleep on ground next to the wall, looks promising!

Fight my way through into the bank. No the queue is just too long, it will take me all day. Will just get my account balance instead, that is a shorter queue so I wait. You get to hear all sorts of things in these 'Q's and make "new friends". No one very cheerful today tho. Lots of muttering about the general situation, no water etc.

Kariba sunset from a houseboat.

O.K get to the counter. Lethargic attendant, tosses her brassy coloured dreadlock styled hair out of her eyes and says "the lines are down." Well what do I do?? Know I have at least 50 billion dollars in my account, but could be weeks each queuing to get it out, and no one accepts cheques these days. What a good way to save money! Pity it devalues daily as well.

So muttering off I go, scrabble in my purse and find a few 2 million Zim $ and a 50 US$ note, so that should be fine.

I pop into TM and Bon Marche first. Oh, looks like they having a closing down sale? Just rows of empty shelves!! Most of the shop sort of closed off. Obviously it's loo paper and cornflakes day, as 2 shelves have only those spread out to look like a lot.! A few tired veg and a few other odd goods spread out. Takes not even 5 mins to rush round with a trolley, and still come out empty. Edgars is the same, big empty shop with a few rails of garments in one corner. Look at the prices of a blouse and nearly freak. HOW many zero's???? Maths was never my strong subject at school, but can't even figure it out, definitely millions, could be trillions?? Lethargic assistant busy talking on cell phone so can't ask her.

So off I go to another part of the suburbs! Drive thro a "river". No wonder we have no water! See a huge hole on the side where water is just pumping out, someone put a huge branch off a tree in luckily as one could just drive into it! Come up to some traffic lights, hesitate, are they working? Is that a red light ? Yes, but also a green!! That gets confusing. All cars hesitate but whoosh, some smart fellow in a brand new latest Merc. doesn t even pause, drives past us all loud music blaring and talking on his cell phone. GRRR!

Another traffic light! Well that is just not working at all so I edge my way through it. Get to the post office and have to negotiate thro a pile of gravel and an open hole in the tar (been like that for months) and across a shallow ditch. Feels as if I am on the Dakar rally. No wonder so many people have 4 x 4 cars in town!. No one in post office and I cough loudly. Eventually a young girl comes out of the office. I have come to collect a parcel from Germany that friends sent us over a month ago.

"I think there is something that is rotten in it" she says giving it to me . It has been at the main sorting office for about a month, but they have no fuel to deliver parcels and post to the satellite post offices, she explains. (discover later, the "rotten "smell is a piece of Brie cheese that they sent with some other goodies, and has got VERY ripe after so long, and was escaping from it's packaging!)

Now I get to a SPAR supermarket. Wow! That's better, shelves stocked, Xmas decorations, music playing. Actually feels like the good old days. However EVERYTHING marked in US $. No wonder it is so stocked. Well that's just great, but my 50 us is not going to go far judging by the prices!!

A large black lady in front of me doesn't seem to worry though, her trolly is full! And she pulls out wads of notes from her purse. Meanwhile a little old pensioner is holding 1 peach wondering if she can afford it! Another ordinary older black guy looks at a packet of ration bones, shakes his head and puts it back on the shelf..Meanwhile I buy a few items take it to the till and when I hand over the 50 note, get told they have no small change, but he will give me a credit note for 1.75 cents! Great! Now how will I remember to use that on my next shop trip, even if I can find the slip of paper again!

However no fresh milk, sugar etc being sold, so on to my next stop. A friend sells milk, cheese and butter from her back door, from a farmer (amazingly there are still a few endangered species about) who brings it in twice a week. Hand over my own containers and get my milk, a cup of coffee and a chat. On to the next shopping centre. Look around, sure enough a fellow selling veggies sidles up. "you want cigarettes, toilet paper, mealie meal??" I tell him I need sugar, so off he goes, back in a few minutes, looks over his shoulder and hands me 2kgs sugar and tells me it will cost me 2 Us ( pronounced Yoosa) or 4 million Z $ but he would prefer the "yoosa". Luckily I have got small change so take it.
Me, Zambezi River, Mana Pools Nat Park

This is getting quite exhausting! Time I went home, but still need eggs. See some guy is selling trays of eggs and big packets of loo paper on the side of the road, but a bit dubious as to how long eggs have been sitting in the sun, go instead to another shopping centre where a small gift shop sell eggs as well??

Last but not least stop to get a loaf of bread but need to use Zim $ for that , however find a loaf is now 3 million, so don't have enough.

Head for home, but see I need fuel, pull in at garage, but see I have to have fuel coupons for it. Can only get those from the office in industrial sites, so give up. Hit another pothole on way home and swear madly!

Get home, gardener greets me with "please can he borrow some money to collect his relation from hospital to send to him back to the rural home, as hospital has no drugs and are not taking patients". Cook joins in and also asks s to borrow money for top up school fees for her daughter at nearby school. As there are no teachers teaching (only get paid a pittance) the kids just go to school each day and "play", so can't see why they need more school fees!!!
Me at the back in the top blue helmet, Rapids below Mugabe Rise falls.

Anyway the electricity has come on! And there is dribble of water in taps again. Hooray, life HAS improved; at least I can now have a cup of tea. BUT, now the phone is out of order, so can not down load my E mails! BIG SIGH!

I have spent all morning shopping, but have about 5 items to show for it, the car is just about out of fuel and I have driven 35 kms in all.

Just another day in Zim!! AND we are one of the lucky ones who actually are surviving. Just!

Oh, and to add to it! The cat has eaten the 2 pieces of fish we were defrosting for supper!! Now THAT'S a disaster!

Well there you are! Saves me trying to explain how we are living in Zim.from the "ordinary" person's point of view, ( NOT from the wealthy group or the
really poor group! Sure they would have another story.)

Love Chris and Dawn

Sunset, Kariba.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am one of the last Rhodesians - book about to be published "Letters from Wankie" circa 1954-1956

Would like to be in contact