I had thought of posting Cathy Buckle's letter as my final letter for 2019 but then I decided to tell you my Christmas 2019 experiences in Bulawayo instead.
We had glorious rain last Monday and Tuesday, nothing can stop a Zimbabwean's joy during a rainstorm!! The pool traditionally went green, as it always does when it first rains, which resulted in thousands of Zimbabwe dollars worth of chemicals and much anguish on the part of my loyal gardener who feels personally responsible for the pool!!
The purchase of Christmas hampers for all of our loyal retainers was a shock with the pricing but HeeHoo tells his mathematically challenged wife, to 'divide by ten and divide by two' that makes the price a tiny bit easier, if you are one of the fortunate ones!!
The shops were buzzing, there were an abundance of goods on the shelves, but watching the desperate shopping baskets was a sad and dismal state of affairs. Most folk had a loaf of bread, a packet of milk, and maybe a small bag of sugar. Roller meal was hard to find, flour had gone from the shelves with the price freeze, and meat was an impossible price.
There was a Christmas carol playing softly on the shop music system, and that was poignant, but very little evidence of Christmas was elsewhere. I saw the City Council men erecting a nativity scene in the Centenary Park, and a few of the usual desultory Christmas lights were strung across Leopold Takawira Avenue, which of course used to be Selborne Avenue.
There was confusion earlier in the week when City Council electricians were thought to be thieves stealing the copper electricity wire, as has become the norm in our beleaguered country!!
Power outages are horrific in Zimbabwe right now, we have had ten hour power cuts daily except for Wednesday, and my little beautician who works from the MacDonald Club was in tears as the cables had been stolen in her vicinity and they had had no power for four days!!
Now this bloated plutocrat desperately needed some personal waxing and had to collect said beautician and transport her, precariously balancing a large pot of wax on her lap, to the house, where we could noisily 'wax by generator'.
On Friday night much to the horror of the SPCA, the City Council had organised a fireworks display to entertain the local community, the display to take place at the Hockey Stadium just up the road from us. We have a Neighbourhood WhatsApp group, which is riveting as the wonderful people of Suburbs struggle to keep us safe and keep criminals out of the neighbourhood.
Prior to the fireworks there was much advice on how to protect one's dog from the noise, advice like, the benefits of a doggie jacket, a few drops of 'rescue' medicine, turn the radio up loud, and close the windows. Bless our neighbours. We did not venture out the see the display, but listened closely. At 8 pm sharp we heard a few bangs, possibly ten maximum and then silence!!
I wondered if perhaps the City Council budget had justifiably been very limited
Thankfully the Rotary Club of Bulawayo organised the delightful 'Carols by Candlelight' ceremony at the Centenary Park on 7 December and there were three days of festivities at Nketa Park.
Bless Bulawayo, you are a wonderful place to live in spite of the horrendous pot holes, and all of the sorrowful hardships our precious people have to deal with.
'May all the beauty and blessing of the Christmas season fill your heart with endless love and may the coming year bring you warmth, peace, love and joy into your life, as you've brought to so many. Merry Christmas'.