Quite a bit gets posted on our neighbours, Zimbabwe, but mostly historic. I was in Zim for three days on my long trip. I thought someone (probably only one), might be interested in some observations.
The roads are terrible. But gangs were out working on them. Massive investment needed.
In the rural areas it's hard to get a sense of how people are faring, but roadside vendors are everywhere, selling farm/garden produce. I stopped for fuel at a tiny settlement. It had five food franchises and immaculate toilets. Everything worked, staff all smart and shiny.
Harare City is like I imagine Calcutta to be. It's teeming with life. Loads of shops full to the sidewalk. Hawkers and stallholders vying for space and customers. Energy everywhere.
My lodging owned by a Zim lady was just wonderful. Immaculate gardens, great rooms, lovely staff.
My car needed fixing. I found a Toyota non-franchise garage. They found the problem that had evaded 5 other garages en route. They skimmed the brakes. They found and fixed a small oil leak. Cost USD100. Oh, paying cash sir. Make that USD70!
Overall, you get the impression that despite what's been thrown at them, they're not giving up. Such incredible friendliness and humour. Everywhere, the energy is so inspiring.
Sadly we tend to see Mugabe and Zim conflated as one. I had lengthy conversations with two Zimbabweans. A businessman and a trainee teacher. They probably reflect widely held views. "Cut the head off the beast'.
They feel several levels of Zim leadership need to be cut and replaced. And they think it can happen.
I left the country with that sadness of seeing so many good people struggling, but enervated by their determination to do something about it themselves. We can learn from them.
And finally, on the bribe index : 0 = No roadblocks. Not been asked for a cent!!