HUNTING AND GATHERING !          - 28/8/2007      <--Prev : Next-->


It is Sunday morning in Bulawayo.... . there is no power, there is no water. We have had water for two days out of the last seven days......

Its a gloomy day and I have just read the Economist which tells me that over 3 million people have left Zimbabwe over the last few years....

What are we still doing here people often ask ? We are not economic prisoners like so may folk, we are not unable to leave because of our nationality, we just seem to linger on like that poor old Frog in the Boiling Pot....

Outside the coucal is calling softly. It is the first time we have heard him since he left for goodness knows where during the winter.

The Heuglins Robin had us fascinated yesterday with a new call he had developed during his holiday. We spent a few minutes looking for this "new bird on the block" only to find him calling cockily, a beautiful new melody specially to welcome in the warm weather.

We found some rump steak yesterday... it was a glorious exciting moment, purloined during a secret meeting in an alley, it cost an arm and a leg on the black market, but ooh it was worth every delicious glorious decadent mouthful !!

Happiness comes in different guises in Zimbabwe.

Happiness is a birthday present comprising a bag of flour from my friend Flora. Happiness is the barter deal I did with Tracey, tea bags in exchange for a decent loo roll !! Happiness is the pound of butter Ceddy and Maureen brought us back from South Africa ....

Happiness is when we turn on the tap and its our turn for water !!

Life is never dull here. Every morning starts with a "Hunting and Gathering" session... hunting for basic food items, hunting for fuel, hunting for kind people who give us wonderful donations for a Frail Care Centre that we fund-raise for.

Spring is here and the scent of jasmine is overpowering. I saw moon flowers yesterday, there are a few brilliant red poppies manfully struggling through. Anything that one came keep alive with the bath water is flowering brilliantly.

We watched a fabulous rugby game yesterday at Hartsfield where our own Zim team defeated Limpopo resoundingly, and there was a festive after party in the Kudu Bar where a couple of daring players dared to emulate the Leeurloop !!

Our simple pleasures are clouded however as we make our way to the Orchid Show, as we watch hundreds of people queuing for food, queuing for transport, queuing at the ATMs which are usually empty by this time on the weekend.

There is a shift in the wealth however as those who are unemployed have time to spend endless days in queues and buy the basic foodstuffs at prices way below an economic price !!

Those who have the initiative, can queue non stop with granny and six children home from school, one can buy a bag of meal at 50 thousand and sell it at two hundred thousand. It could pass through several hands and eventually end up on some fat cats table at one point two million dollars for the same bag !!

There are pluses too ... door to door deliveries have resumed again. There is a constant stream of folk who arrive at the gate with contraband for sale. I can shop for bread, sugar, oil, eggs, meal and flour just by walking to the gate ... saves a fortune in fuel !! The price is high, but its worth it if one does not have to queue !!

Another plus is the distances we have o deal with. Heehoo leaves for the office at ten to eight and gets there by eight (if he misses the five minute school traffic jam) !

He comes home for lunch every day too.. how many first world wives have the pleasure of finding their husbands something to eat every single lunch time !!

When the sprogetts were still at home, he would be home by 4.30 to play with them. I know other families whose Dads leave at 6 a.m. and return home at 7 p.m. !!

Sadly all bread and milk supplies seem to have now dried up totally .... we need 100 loaves a week for our Frail Care Home, which caters for 78 lovely "Oldies" of all races colours and creeds... but we know that our very precious Matron will somehow "Make a plan"

She always does !