THE SAD SERIES          - 19/2/2007      <--Prev : Next-->

It was quite exciting, quite an adventure, after all I had not been into a service station for over four years !!

The attendant was sweet and willing although he did not wash my windscreen like they do so eagerly in South Africa !!

We both watched the petrol pump in awe as it spewed away its figures, ten thousand twenty thousand thirty thousand, finally three hundred and thirty thousand Zimbabwe dollars to fill my tank !!

What sort of gratuity does one give to a petrol attendant when fuel costs this much I wondered.

Of course there was no offer to do "oil and water" no offer of checking on the tyre pressure, these little luxuries are still things of the past.

My forays to petrol stations ended when fuel queues began to become commonplace in our lives. At first the fuel queues were a novelty, a challenge, a talking point to see whose "fuel queue" tale was the more exciting.

But they wear this after a while and HeeHoo found a way of procuring my special "unleaded fuel" in 44 gallon drums which were carefully stored as faraway as possible from the pool chemicals in the storeroom... ..

Filling up with fuel became a pleasure, a sweet smile at Sebastian our Horticulturist, would result in 60 litres of the liquid gold being carefully if laboriously, cajoled into the tank, and off I would sally.

Water, oil and tyre pressure were also conducted "El Gardener" style and as long as the Government of the Day had no part in our simple plan, we were fine.

Isn't it amazing how we are reverting to the happy olden days once again ?

As each service normally provided by ones rulers, disintegrates, we who are fortunate enough to be able to "make a plan" to do just that.

When the in-fighting started over fuel, we procured our own, when the dams started running dry because of gross ineptitude on the part of our City Fathers, we made a plan and sink a borehole and buy giant water storage tanks.

When the electricity became erratic we bought a generator or an inverter and the telly went on as usual.

But what of those folk without the means to "make a plan" those folk whose daily cares have become so great that they are unable to even feel a glimmer of rage against their oppressors ?

As I sit here in my Ivory Tower so carefully protected by HeeHoo, I shall bring you a weekly tale of the miseries that our beloved Zimbabweans are going through each day in this country that was once flowing with milk and honey.

My first tale is of the old lady with the baby on her back who was labouring over a smoky fire outside a factory yesterday. She was a grandmother, she tended the baby because her daughter had died recently of HIV.

She carted the wood, purchased the meal and meat, struggled walking with it to the factory which was quite a way out of town, and cooked a midday meal for over forty workers Monday to Friday.

She then went home, walking some twenty kilometres, to where the rest of the family, awaited their supper, a little family of six, Granny alone caring for them as every wage earning family member had died.......

I wonder what pittance she earned for that labour ?

At what cost to her lungs and the baby's lungs and eyes all that smoke all day every day ?

What had she done to deserve that in life ?