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The news from Zimbabwe

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  • The news from Zimbabwe

    Yo, Sam, over here

    This is the Salon forum, where its just friendly chatter.

    So, what's it like there? You have cable? Indoor plumbing? All the modern conveniences?
    Learn by teaching
    Take responsibility for learning

  • #2
    No, we live in mud huts and wash in the nearby river ... but funnily enough I came across this Pentium pc in the local dump, wired it up and - hey presto!

    Joking apart, the general standard of living here is deteriorating so fast, that in a few years' time, we'll be back in the middle ages. I mean - we use OXEN on the farm (because there's no fuel for tractors) - can you believe it? But that's a minor point.

    I spent this morning helping someone get her digital camera working. She's in her mid-60's, lives alone on an isolated farm and every day has to put up with "war vets" (aka unemployed youths) threatening her with GBH unless she vacates her house, simply because "they" want it. To say that this woman is brave is an understatement - she deserves a medal.

    Gosh, it's impossible to know where to start and I really don't want to bore anyone, but this gorgeous country is being torn to bits - it is totally heartbreaking. People disappearing in the night, never to be seen again, thugs smashing and burning houses, looting all the possessions they can lay their grubby little paws on and all the while the police STAND AND WATCH. When the police don't help, where do you turn?

    At least I have a choice - I can leave. But for those millions of black Zimbabweans who live on the breadline anyway, there is no choice. Vote him out? And get stoned to death for it.

    BUT - the sun shines here, in fact it's the most gorgeous day imaginable. I'm just about to take my kids swimming. We have lots of horses and nothing, but NOTHING, beats saddling up and taking off into the bush for a few hours!

    So, you see, it's not ALL bad ....


    • #3

      You paint a pretty dreary picture. But I'm glad you can find *something* good in this world of ours. Much of the time, that's about the only thing that can keep people going.



      • #4
        I saw a bit on the war vets on tv. Weren't they promised land as some sort of reward (but then someone else already owned the land)?
        Learn by teaching
        Take responsibility for learning


        • #5
          Loved that little story about finding your pc in the dump. Gave me a good laugh.
          Sounds kind of scary but you seem to be calm enough in your own setting so I gather you are not directly affected by the trouble around you. Meaning that the threat to your home is not high.
          I can't even imagine what it looks like there but I do love the sound of riding your horses out in the bush. Maybe sometime you could upload some pics of your homestead and surroundings. I would be treat to see what it's like there.


          • #6

            You could never bore me with stories about Zimbabwe (or any other country you've lived in for that matter.) What brought you to Zimbabwe (and where are you originally from? I'm guessing you're not a native as you said you could leave if you wanted.)

            I must admit I don't know much about that part of the world. My focus has mostly been on SE Asia. (I lived in Viet Nam for 6 months.) I love learning about other places. Can you point me to a place where I might learn more about the political situation there? I admit, I'm ignorant. Do you have a constant source of electricity? How hot is it there? Humid or dry? I agree with DJ, if you have any photos to share, I'd love to see them.



            • #7
              Hi all - sorry not to get back earlier.

              Ed - yes, on re-reading it did sound rather awful - which it is in bits, of course - and as I say, it's not all bad - in fact there is so much about this country that is really wonderful, which is why I don't want to go.

              Doug - the story is a very long and complex one, but basically this whole land thing is political. Robert Mugabe is terrified he's going to lose the next election (due April), so he's doing everything he can to win - beating up the opposition, vote rigging, blaming everyone but himself for the appalling state of the country etc. etc. etc. The land thing is just part of the overall strategy, but it's caused untold suffering and loss, not to mention a major food shortage. What's happened is that Mugabe has basically said to the 'war vets' - take whatever land you want from anyone with a white skin - they don't belong here. The truth is that, rightly on wrongly, white commercial farmers provide a large percentage of the country's food, foreign currency and employment, so suddenly booting them off their farms has produced economic collapse. And tens of thousands of black farmworkers are now homeless, in the name of appeasing a few thousand war vets.

              DJ - Yes, I'll get round to finding some pics to put up. So far (fingers crossed) we haven't had the sort of hassles that some have - we had some war vets camped on the farm, but they pushed off, thankfully. We've been very, very lucky.

              Jeaniesa - I came from Scotland originally, came to Zim on holiday, fell in love and got married! So here to stay, hopefully!

              The most up-to-the-minute website on Zim news and stuff is - you'll find it all there in glorious gory technicolour!

              Our electricity is patchy, especially in the summer (the wet season - November to March), but reasonably okay in the winter, when it's dry. It's pretty warm all year round, gets a bit chilly in July/August (even the occasional frost). I dread the wet season, because the phone doesn't work, my modem gets zapped, the roof leaks, etc. etc. But at least everything is green then and there's lots for the cattle to eat - not like now, when everything is brown, or burnt by bush fires.

              I would go mad were it not for satellite t.v. and email - which is my precious source of connection with the outside world!!!

              Zimbabwe's a great place to bring up small children, of which I have two - it's a good, healthy outdoor life. The kids here are very independent and resourceful.

              Will go and dig out those photos!


              • #8
                Hey glad you found the salon Sam,

                I have a very close friend who is working the oil field in Nigeria...he's been telling me about the problems over there and I just keep my fingers crossed he'll stay safe.

                Very worrysome for his wife who is living here in the states.

                With all the trouble and turmoil over there I know the gratifying thing is the beautiful country...I would love to get there someday just to take is georgous.

                Glad you can chit chat and work with the group on here as they are all good people and very diversified.

                Welcome again to the group.


                • #9
                  Thanks, Chris - what a great group it is too!

                  Okay, here's a couple of photos I've just put together, especially for you guys!!

                  Clockwise from top left: the house as it was a couple of weeks ago, before we started irrigating the lawn; house & pool (taken half an hour ago), a Jacaranda in bloom in the background; my kids riding a friend's elephants a few weeks ago; one of the ox teams, carting scrap tobacco (which is very useful as a mulch on the garden); the horse paddock, looking across the valley (also taken today - that paddock is knee-high in lush green grass during summer). Background pic of sunset also taken near the house here, last month.

                  Looks a bit like a real-estate brochure ... any buyers???

                  Actually, we thought of doing horse-riding safaris for a while here, but now that the tourist industry is all but dead ...

                  Has anyone else posted pics of where they live? How about you, Jeaniesa - any ones of Vietnam? Wow - what on earth were you doing there?
                  Attached Files


                  • #10
                    Very nice Sam,

                    I want to ride and elephant...

                    You have a good idea there about posting pics of where we all live...that's an excellent idea...I'm going to gather a few of my place and post them as well...maybe we should start a new thread called "Where I live"


                    • #11
                      You may have started something. Where I live photos. Great ideas. I loved the pictures you uploaded. What a beautiful place. No wonder why you don't want to leave. I would be worried about the war vets if I had a place like that. I hope things get straightened out in April but it looks like you have a dictator disquised as a democracy. Glad you gave us an insite to your wonderful homeland. Maybe if things change you can start that safari idea. Love to be one of your customers.


                      • #12
                        You're welcome to come over any time - give our poor old tourist industry a boost! The chum with the eles would also be happy to oblige - and he does canoe trips down the Zambezi too (I'm going on one in March, hopefully - can't wait!)

                        I'd love to post some pics of war vets, but they have a habit of snatching people's cameras if you try and take photos and, as I'm in love with my camera, I'm not ready to part with it - certainly not in that fashion! Maybe a long lens would do the trick ...

                        Here's another idea - posting arty photos? Or has that been done already ...?


                        • #13
                          I've seen a few posted but I can't remember where they are. Also Jeanie has posted alot of photos of Vietnam on this forum but I couldn't find them either. She will know what title they are under. They are really worth looking at.


                          • #14
                            wow sam, this is really exciting. thanks so much for posting the pix and info. it is beautiful.

                            hey chris i wonder if the elephants could even feel your spurs

                            i read a book by p.j.o'rourke once, an american rhodes scholar/humorist/political commentator/exhippie turned political conservative. can't remember the title, but it was a comparison of different country's economies, usa, hong kong, sweden, china, and a small african country whose name i cannot remember either. His conclusion was that free markets and capitalism work best ; but the thing that your posts have reminded me of are his descriptions of that african country and a poverty on a level i cannot imagine. i specifically remember him saying there just wasn't any "stuff" there; stuff americans blithely throw away, like a gum wrapper, would be swooped upon by some child who would reuse it, play with it, wonder at it. made me ashamed at how much i take for granted.

                            where is your wife from? how often do you travel outside of zimbabwe?

                            thanks for the window on your world.

                            thanks doug for starting the thread.


                            • #15
                              i just looked it up and that country was somalia and the book was eat the rich


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