IT ALWAYS AMAZES ME AT HOW ENTERPRISING OUR PEOPLE ARE.
They say that Zimbabwe's economy is mostly run by the informal sector and this I am willing to believe.
As fast as our ailing economy and industries decline, so one sees a vibrant growth caused by our clever entrepreneurs.
Every street corner is home to a 'Buddy' vendor, eyes darting tirelessly from car to car, ready to take one's life in hand to run across a road to provide the driver with what seems to be the only viable part of our ailing economy - the telecommunications industry.
Sidewalk garden nurseries are now mushrooming everywhere, growing and selling roses, duranta, hedges and ground covers.
Along the roadside one can now buy anything from a beautifully made dog kennel to a full-on garden shed, from cane furniture to Gwayi pots, from feather dusters to life size papier mache lions, impala and hippos!!
The 'Cecil Avenue' supermarket has several different types of burglar bars on sale as well as many varieties of iron ware!
Every available nook and cranny now houses a 'bend down' bazaar with mountains of new and used clothing for sale at rock bottom prices. The shop owners even use dressmaker's mannequins to display their wares, and the city streets are festooned with gaily colored gazebos under which trading takes place.
I came across one particularly enterprising fellow the other day, who had a photo copying machine attached to an old car battery. He had pitched his spot outside the passport office and was making a small fortune photocopying birth certificates, marriage certificates and such-like documents.
Outside one of the few remaining factories in the Industrial Sites, I came across a slim woman, baby on back, cooking the midday meal for about forty workers. Over an open fire, on the side of a busy road, she sweated profusely over a giant cauldron, mixing sadza, and cooking the meat and relish. Five days a week, come rain or shine, she would walk to the supermarket, purchase the meal and meat, and then cook up a gargantuan meal. Her lots was a hard one indeed.
And then I met Jaclyn, Jaclyn is an amazing lady who arrives on one's doorstep at 8 am complete with hand written recipes for a week's worth of meals. After an intelligent discussion on one's carbohydrate intake, Jaclyn sets off in a taxi to the market, buys all ingredients and then on her return, dons an apron and a hair covering, and proceeds to make dozens of meals for the freezer. At 5 pm she cleans, washes up and tidies, all this for a meagre sum of money and then sets off home to cook for her own family.
Florence is another Bulawayo icon. Florence will arrive on your doorstep, bake cakes, pies and biscuits furiously all day, and again receives a paltry sum for the pleasure of leaving your pantry bursting to the brim with delicious goodies.
Of course we have our nefarious entrepreneurs too, like the fellow who sat religiously on the bridge on Phillips Drive, along the golf course, day after day, seemingly sunning himself happily. But in essence he had a hacksaw and was sawing the iron supporting girders off the bridge one by one!!