Monday, 14 May 2012

My heart longs for Zimbabwe

I know the average internet attention span is about 20 seconds, but take the time to look at this whole post.. at least the pictures are good!

It's not easy to leave behind everything and everyone you ever loved, and move to a new country.  Just this morning Jessica said to me "I miss the Africa days, and who we were, we don't belong here in America" and then 5 minutes later she said to me "mum, I do also love America, but you know how sometimes you just want to be sad".  Out of the mouth of babes.  How wise she is.

Well, I decided to share with you a little about where we come from.  Although, how is it even possible to capture a country and a lifetime on a few blog pages? Especially one so rich in beauty and yet saturated in awful history.

Some people here have expressed surprise that we are white.. we laugh and say that we are now African Americans, but that might not be politically correct!  I suppose all the rest of the world sees of Africa is the wildlife and the local people on documentary's. 

Here are a few photo's of Zimbabwe, our home.

 The mighty Victoria Falls,  "Mosi oa-Tunya" ("the smoke that thunders")
The biggest curtain of falling water in the world and also one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
Zimbabwe Flag
Rhodesia Flag
 The Zim flag.  Not so fond of this one, I prefer the Rhodesian flag, sans the communist star. I love the Sable antelope, they were common on our farm in Karoi.

The Zimbabwe dollar, hyper-inflation.  They even printed a Trillion dollar note after this photo was taken!
On the bright side, your math skills get pretty good when you are counting money with 12 or more digits.
The Zimbabwean people adapt to their hardships with humour.
The Zimbabwe Ruins.. although it is a "no no" to call it by that name, in the new regime it must be called "Great Zimbabwe" as if somehow the word "ruins" might undermine the  ruined country.
Superior logic, no?
 There is a great deal of speculation about the history of the ruins, some think they were built by Arab slave traders or  the local tribes. Some think it may even have links to  
The Queen of Sheba and King Solomon's Mines.

Texan's think that Texas has a beautiful shape..
we think Zimbabwe has a beautiful shape.

Kariba, our home for a while.   
Stuart flew float planes here, transporting tourists to the Safari lodges  around the lake.  We had exceptional close encounters with game of all kind.  My favorite is the elephant.  It's like loving the sea, you love it but respect it too!  
Canoe Safari's on the Zambezi River.  The Zambezi River originates in Zambia (like me), flows over the Victoria Falls, into Kariba dam and finally through Mozambique and  into the Indian Ocean (in a nutshell).  It is the fourth longest river in Africa.

Kariba dam wall is one of the largest dams in the world, standing 128 m (420 ft) tall and 579 m (1,900 ft) long.  Built by Italians.  Large numbers of animals were stranded on Islands, and rescued by boat.. called "Operation Noah". 
Houseboat on Kariba, the best accommodation in the world!
The best Emeralds in the world !!!

You’ve heard of Plato, the ancient Greek philosopher who taught that everything in the material world is a more or less imperfect copy of its original, ideal form stowed in eternity? Well, let’s suppose he had sold gems on the side. And let’s suppose he’d received a parcel of top-grade emeralds from the Sandawana mine in Zimbabwe. How close to the ideal, or archetype, would he have thought these stones?
As close to perfection as emerald gets. That’s why Sandawana emerald, discovered in 1956, quickly reached cult status among dealers and has never wanted since for fervent admirers.
Those fortunate enough to have sold these southern African emeralds talk about the finest of them with the rapture and reverence reserved fro Kashmir sapphires and Burmese rubies. Just listen to this emerald specialist: “The finest emerald I’ve ever seen was a 3-carat Sandawana stone shown me in 1980. It’s owner, an Indian dealer, wanted a mind-boggling $60,000 per carat. But eventually he got it.” source$546
Not the best Ice-cream in the world... 
but a very Zimbabwean experience !
This is what makes Zimbabwe exceptional... you may get very close to animals... you may even get squashed or eaten... but you are free to have those experiences without having the rule book thrown at you!  I have slept in the open, on a little stretcher, beneath the African stars, while the lions, hyena's and elephants have walked through the camp site.

"Hey guys... the Take Away's have arrived!  
I get the driver. " 
"Aw man... you got the driver last time"
"Mom, what does a tourist taste like?"
Game Rangers like to assure tourists that lions do not distinguish between the open vehicle and the tasty tourists sitting inside.  Stuart was on a game drive with his brother Norman (a very successful Game Ranger) when they stopped beside a pride of lions.  A lioness stalked by so close that Stuart could have touched her, I should remind you that there is no door, the vehicle is completely open.  The lioness' tawny yellow eyes looked straight into Stuarts eyes.  She was probably thinking, "hmmm, I like the canned ones"!
Zimbabwean humor again? Actually no, this sign is for real. There are rules in some places, it is better to obey them.

I was born in Zambia, but that is a story for another day.  I was raised for most of my childhood in Rhodesia which became Zimbabwe.  So I suppose my heart belongs to Zimbabwe, because where you spent your childhood is where your heart is.
Stuart was born in Rhodesia, but spent most of his childhood years in Malawi and then later in Mozambique.  His heart is in Malawi first, followed by Mozambique.
Our kids were born in South Africa, Zimbabwe and the UK.  Their hearts are Zimbabwean.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback.  We have met some here, and their owners are rather suprised to discover that we come from the same place.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a dog breed developed in Southern Africa (Rhodesia). Its European forebears can be traced to the early pioneers of the Cape Colony of southern Africa, who crossed their dogs with the semi-domesticated, ridged hunting dogs of the Khoikhoi. 
In the earlier parts of its history, the Rhodesian Ridgeback has also been known as Van Rooyen's Lion Dogs, the African Lion Hound or African Lion Dog—Simba Inja in Ndebele, Shumba Imbwa in Shona —because of their ability to distract a lion while awaiting their master to make the kill.
source Wikipedia

You know you are a Zimbabwean when...


You Know You're a Zimbo if:
- You failed your driver's licence first time.
- You still wear vellies without socks.
- You miss the smell of rain on a hot, tar road.
- You horrify people by eating raw, dried meat.
- You horrify other people by cooking boerewors 'to death'.
- You still secretly think that day scholars were pampered mommies boys.
- You still own some Springbok Hits LP's.
- You carved your name on a famous landmark in Zim.
- You did wheelies on the Enterprise Road outside Gremlin's
- You spat from a window on the top floor at Monomotapa onto the Pool deck and ducked your head in quick.
- You can still sing 'Ag pleeez Daddy'.
- You actually miss the housebrick we were assured WAS bread.
- You whinged to the waiter at Caribbea Bay at the outrageous price of their beers during the Tigerfish Competition.
- You still refer to toilet paper as 'bog roll'.
- You got a speeding ticket trying to make the border by 6 PM.
- Your forearms and the areas between you lower thighs and mid calf are irredeemably burned brown by the sun.
- You once owned an 8 track car tape player!!!
- You still own a record player and can pull out the vinyls when need be!
- You eat cuts of meat today that were ration meat in the old days.
- You have given up looking for a good meat pie.
- You had a domestic worker called Sixpence.
- You miss the smell of red stoep polish.
You miss the sound of the old clanger metal dustbin lid.
- You still butter bread by holding the slice in your hand... No Way!!
- You wish you'd had the presence of mind to keep mum's morrie minor
- You ate supper in Vila da Manhica, the Vila Perry or Guido's on occasions.
- You can remember the beer adverts on the tin trays the hotel waiters used...
- You still think of traffic lights as robots
- You know the words to more than two ABBA songs
- You HATE washing your car and mowing your lawn. Ironing is still something other people do
- You still find it hard to throw things away when they could be Fixed
- You went to a school that taught real subjects like grammar and history
- You went to a school where instead of being 'counseled', unruly students were beaten - and it worked! You wore your "cozzie" under your school khaki shorts when you thought you were going to be "dawked" (caned)
- You complained to your father that you were disciplined at school - only to find he thought it was a good idea.
- You used to call your parents' friends 'Uncle' and 'Aunty'
- You used to believe that in England and the USA they must be so much better at everything than we were - until you visited those countries and found they were inhabited by ordinary people who lived ordinary lives
- You have driven on a strip road
- You long for that soft morning glow that brightens the sky between 6am- 8am.
- Really miss a great, fantastic, bed rattling, window shaking earth tremoring, all-kids-and-animals-in-the-parents'-bed tropical storm.
- You parked your car in a car park and couldn't find it again, because it was a blue Renault 4.
- You shot every snake you saw even though you knew they were essential to the balance of nature.
- Someone stole your car and returned it the next day, because it was a Renault 4 and they felt sorry for you (hell they were too embarrassed to be seen driving it)!
- You put green stripes on your R4 so that you could find it in that car park!!! You found a hundred R4s with green stripes on them!!
- You still wonder what this thing polystyrene is, you know of kaylite.
- You still refer to Koki pens as Neo's.
- Muuush is still common in your vocabulary, as is 'lekker'.
- You still have Wrexx Tarr's 'Chilapalapa' LP's and know the words to 'Cockie Lobbin'.
- You hear crickets in July and remember the December Christmas beetles.
- You know or still write to someone from PE, Saints, Churchill, Ellis Robins,Chaplin, Plummers, Guinea Fowl or Gwebi Agricultural College, Convent, GHS, Roosevelt, QE, Eveline, Townsend and the rest.
- You drank Tanganda Tips tea or Preema Coffee (or Day Break).
- You shopped at Truworth's, Edgar's, Meikle's, Barbours, Sanders or Kingston 's.
- You had an avocado,mango, guava and pawpaw tree in your garden.
- You played in a sand pit and on a jungle gym.
- You thought bilharzia was an incurable disease but still swam in the rivers and dams anyway.
- You remember jacaranda trees in full bloom.
- You remember when a Coke or ice-lolly cost a tickey.
- You miss the taste of bream fried on the side of the dam five minutes after you caught it.
- You have at least one ivory, soapstone or wooden carving.
- You still remember the taste of gem squash and melted butter, mealies and Mazoe Orange Juice.
- You think there is no green surpassing that of the Sandawana emeralds.
- You still expect to see a chongololo after an afternoon rain and a few flying ants.
- You still believe your A-levels were harder than most first-year University courses today.
- You still refer to an expert as a 'fundi'.
- You still say 'braai' instead of 'barbecue' or 'kopje' instead of'hill' or pk instead of toilet
- You were brought up to believe toilet a coarse word and used the word lavatory or WC instead, and still cringe at the word toilet.
- You collected coke cans on your trips to South Africa 'cos they were so cool.
- You still can't get your head around the idea of throwing away a glass coke or beer bottle, instead of taking it back for the deposit.
- You remember the days when you got 1/2 c change and used it to buy sweets at the tuck shop.
- You were there when the 'chicken farmer' beat England .
- You think the 'all Blacks' are the Zimbabwe Tennis Team.
- You were a member of Hellenics / Callies / Raylton / Alex / Postals /Salisbury Sports.
- You've even been boating on Lake Mac - before the hyacinth.
- You still think the most haunting sound in the world is the cry of the fish eagle.
- You've never carried your own golf clubs, and think that golf carts are a sign of weakness.
- You've spent an hour looking for a lost golf ball at the 'police' course - on the fairway!
- You thought that an evening at Reps was the height of culture.
- You remember sitting for hours in petrol queues - and not getting any.
- You even got fifteen people into a VW Kombi - long enough to get past the gates at the 'drive-in'.
- You thought the Borrowdale Road was a motorway.
- You remember with nostalgia the days when the Zim Dollar was trading at eleven to one against the greenback.