MAKE A PLAN !!          - 22/ 1/ 2006      <--Prev : Next-->


Zimbabwe has been ranked the unhappiest country in the world according to a report released this week. The World Database of Happiness in its findings revealed that Zimbabwe was the unhappiest place on earth while Malta was the happiest place.

The survey carried out by the Dutch stated that "money is not the main reason for happiness." Zimbabwe, Moldavia and Ukraine ranked lowest on the survey, with no more than 20 per cent of their citizens happy. Professor Ruut Veenhoven, of Erasmus University in Rotterdam, who commissioned the survey also found Denmark, Switzerland, Colombia, Iceland, Ireland and the Netherlands to be the top 10 happiest places to live.

That fellow Veenhoven obviously did not interview anyone that I know, what utter rot !!

We may not be the happiest nation in the world but I doubt we are the unhappiest and we are certainly the most innovative nation in the world !!

We Zimbabweans are an intrepid bunch, "lets make a plan" has got to be our community motto !!

Our lives are indeed much more fun than the lives of ordinary mortals.

We are absolutely amazing under duress !!

For instance most Zimbabweans have not been to a garage or service station in years !!

Our own personal service station lives in the storeroom a the bottom of the garden. Its simple, when my car starts to look thirsty, I despatch Sebastian down to the storeroom with instruction to "fill 'er up please" just like the good old days of yore.

It's not the most easy and efficient method of filling a car but at least we have one of those modern pumps and we don't have to suck up the first few mouthfuls of fuel as we used to in the old days.

To fill my car these days costs $6 and a half million dollars !!

Oil and water levels are checked monthly by our own private fuel attendant and tyre air pressure is maintained with the help of a tyre pressure gauge and pump that attaches to the cigarette lighter !

Water (or lack of it ) has been probably the single most irritating thing to some folk in Zimbabwe. I know our rural people are quite used to surviving on a couple of buckets a day that they have to probably carry for quite a few kilometres every day, but when one is accustomed to opening the faucet and having water appear miraculously, one gets kind of spoilt.

So when there IS NO water, it is quite a shock to the system naturally ...However many a happy shower has been taken with a neighbour and many parties have indeed developed when one has to visit ones dear friend on a regular basis to obtain the precious H20.

We have a friend who thrives on his thrice weekly visits to a neighbour to obtain water, they probably drink more beer and wine than they fetch water on most days !!

Electricity cuts have been another challenge that one has had to endure, some are lucky enough to be able to start up their generator when the lights fail, but to others, candles must suffice and it is amazing how much fun one can have by candlelight !!

The best thing is that the telly does not work and one has to get down to a game of scrabble or candle- light monopoly !!

The potholes in the roads have been a constant source of consternation and amusement. I started a campaign a few years ago entitled "Adopt a Pothole" and it was hugely successful as everyone took on the task of fixing his or her favourite pothole.

A local joke is "How can the cops tell when someone has had too much to drink ?" Answer - "because he drives in a straight line, anyone who is sober drives in a wildly erratic fashion to avoid the potholes !!"

My car is no fun on a pot holed road. Its very low slung (like its owner) and so its not so easy to detect a pothole in enough time to avoid it. Those snooty folk in those large 4 x 4s have it easy ..... way up there so high.

But as our said our motto is "make a plan" and so I am in the process of devising an ingenious but simple plan.

It involves opening the sun roof and a erecting a periscope and if that is not possible, I shall employ a young school leaver to accompany me to the shops. I shall seek out a gangly sort of fellow, who has just past his "O" levels, I am sure he would love to earn a few bob in the school holidays.

He can stand on the chair of the car next to me, with his head out of the sun roof and warn me of any impending potholes.

This will also sort out my dilemma at the stop streets in the suburbs where the grass has grown so high that I am unable to give way to the right. I cannot for the life of me see anything at all at any intersection because of the long grass. Here again my periscope invention will be a superb asset !!

The potholes are no joke believe me, a small car could disappear for days when there is rain around.!!

And talking of rain, what bliss, what absolute bliss. It has rained and rained and rained. The earth smells dank and musty, the grass is green and verdant. The dams are filling and we are all praying the City Fathers will one day soon lift the awful water restrictions.

The people are happy in spite of their daily miseries, rain has always had that effect on people in Zimbabwe.

Of course an over abundance of rain will always bring its own problems and this afternoon we watched in fascination and millions of caterpillars marched determinedly across the road in a dogged search of something that only they knew.

Maybe they were very edible and sought after Mopane worms, maybe they were the much dreaded army worms, who knows ?

But we do know that this season has been vastly different to many of our previous rainy seasons and we await the consequences with just enough energy left to be able to .... hopefully.... "make a plan" !!