The article Christine Chumber sent today
(Non-Malawi News) about the status the stone sculpters rekindled all the great
memories I have of Zimbabwe as they relate to our group (94-96) and R&R.
Our house in Limbe was frequently the overnight
stop for those coming to Blantyre to catch the bus to Haare. Now we did not make
our initial trip to Zimbabwe until after our 1st year of service so had to
experience it vicariously through those who returned to our house with their
purchases and stories. We still have pictures of Matt McNulty in his greenish
tie dye suit with matching hat. (Maybe he bought it in Mozambique
because we also had his shrimp for dinner upon his
return). But I do remember seeing lots of other stuff
bought there and heard countless stories about a country which we
understood was the antithesis of Malawi in amenities. I couldn't wait until we
too could indulge.
We finally went. Talk about meeting expectations.
Actually it was beyond them. We had pizza, saw the movie "Muriel's
Wedding", ate some proper meals in big hotels, took the overnight train to
Victoria Falls via Bulawayo where we bought batiks and then took a leisurely
guided canoe ride on the Zambeze (Zambeze beer and snacks included) after trying
to appreciate the grandeur of the Falls. We were too wimpy to go whitewater
rafting. Everyone who returned from Victoria Falls told us we had to do it. They
then proceeded to tell us they were never so scared in their life or never felt
so close to death or both at some point during the trip down the river. Watching
the bungie jumpers leap from the middle of the bridge joining Zimbabwe and
Zambia was more of a reinforcement that as old geezers we really shouldn't be
compromising our fragile bodies.
We made two more trips to Zimbabwe, one when our
daughter visited us and I ended up paddling a canoe amongst the hippos and crocs
because my wife & daughter thought it would be fun. It was until
Cathy's canoe got hung up on a sand bar and I noticed the nearby crocs
grinning. On our way back to the USA we went via Haare so Cathy could
attend a conference for Physical Therapists. I bought a stone carving on that
trip and it sits on the mantle of our fireplace.
It always frustrates the hell out of me when I read
Christine's accounts of how Mugabe and his henchmen have so thoroughly screwed
up the country which played such an important role in making our PC experience a
Obviously my frustration is inconsequential to
those whose lives and livelihoods have been so needlessly damaged because of the
political whimsies of those in power. (While writing this last sentence it hit
me that one might construe that there is a correlation elsewhere in the world at
Don of Don & Cathy