Our recent visit to Botswana did me no good at all, in fact it made me indescribably sad. I know they say 'comparisons are odious' (a saying which dates back to the fifteenth century by the way) but during our nine hour drive from Zimbabwe, via Francistown, to Gaborone, I was mentally comparing Botswana with Zimbabwe constantly.
Now I know one should always be positive but I became more and more angry and bitter with every kilometre!!
Angry because Zimbabwe had so much potential, bitter because it has turned into a morass from which there appears to be no escape...
In my humble opinion Botswana has far less attributes than Zimbabwe, it is bordering the Namibian desert, it struggles for water, average rainfall is 19 inches per year, the vegetation is arid, it has substantial mineral wealth but far less than its neighbour. Zimbabwe's average annual rainfall ranges from 20 inches to 35 inches.
So why is Botswana now leaps and bounds ahead of Zimbabwe
These are just my own observations, I stand to be corrected, I hope to be corrected.. The road trip was fascinating because it is new territory to HeeHoo and to me. The road between Francistown and Gabs is a straight as a die and as flat as a pancake!! AND SLOW!!
Slow because of the excellent roads and vigilant road controls. It was driving HeeHoo mad as he loves to drive at speed but I loved it, because I am so much more cautious and the innumerable police blocks, speed traps and slower road signs, were a real asset to safety, as far as I was concerned!!
What fascinated us most about the trip though was the very evident new pipeline! Botswana is building a massive water pipeline - the pipes are nearly a meter and a half in diameter, and it stretches almost from Francistown to Gaborone.
Mile after mile of trench digging excavators working furiously, lorries dumping millions of tons of soil and sand, forty foot long pipes already in place neatly lined up for the next step. Pumping stations galore and what's more it is a double, side- by- side pipeline in case of failure with one of the pipelines. Why oh why have we waited for forty three years for a dam and a pipeline
The city of Gaborone in incredible, we did not spot one pothole, one uneven piece of sidewalk, one broken traffic light. Every scrap of roadwork is pristine, every sign is freshly painted. The buildings are fabulous, even the government buildings looked like something straight out of New York!!
We got all excited this week because the horrific road between Bulawayo and Victoria Falls had been resurfaced!! For five whole kilometres!!!!
And yet Botswana has recently built several incredible bridges, magnificent interchanges, flyovers, power stations, oil storage facilities all costing billions, but poor old Zimbabwe
We need to hang our heads in shame....