Thursday, July 07, 2005

A New day in the life of a Zimbabwean

Yesterday I caught a cold and today I woke up with a cramp; it isn't very comfortable sleeping at a friend's couch with one blanket in this cold winter. Of course you might already be asking why I'm sleeping on a couch, well, the thing is, this is not my house and it is crowded as it is. So maybe again you ask why I'm not sleeping in my own house? Good Question!

See my cottage was demolished by Operation Murambatsvina (Operation 'we don't want dirt')on Thursday last week, so I had to move in with a friend since I had nowhere else to go. At least I didn't have to do the urban-to-rural migration that most peeps who have been hit by the tsunami (which is what we now call the Operation Murambatsvina these days). Not that its a major benefit that I'm still living in the 'bright lights'. Only the day before yesterday we had no electricity at night, I don't know whether this is one of those rationing cut-offs or someone at the power company forgot to put the switch to 'ON' before knocking off from work.

Anyways, that day, the day of the powercut day, I had to buy bread (or at least I wanted to), I rushed out to the nearest tuckshop by the corner, which was.... you guessed it, tsunamised ! So there was no way in Zim I could get bread there, so I put my tail between my legs and went back home to hope that ZESA would just come back before I sleep so I can eat something warm. And so the story goes, I slept, with no power and no food in my stomach.

That's then. Today I woke up with a cramp, you see I'm still trying to master the art of sleeping on the couch in someone else's house. These days I have cancelled breakfast, because the typical breakfast that I can afford: Three slices of bread with two cups of very sweet tea and occasional fried egg; has become impossible to prepare. The last time I saw sugar it was being sold from the back of TM supermarket with a long queue winding to the front of the shop. Cooking oil is rare. I have seen some brands that look like imported stuff going at unearthly prices which are quite out of reach. The only bread that you get these days has a name like 'Super white' or 'Special Milk bread' and also going at not so humanly prices. So there goes my breakfast.

So after bathing I had to rush to the bus stop. I have, by the way, parked my Mazda 323 1999 model in a fuel queue at Wedzera Filling Station in Samora Machel. Its been 7 days now with the tank dry and no supply of fuel. I got to the bus stop at 6:30am, I needed to be at work by 8. I was lucky to get a gonyeti (a haulage truck) that was coming into town. The other day my trousers got hooked on some metal and got torn I had to go back home and change.

On the way to work we were talking about the tsunami (our Murambatsvina), how this clean-up should have been done, how some police were being beaten by zvitokoroshi (goblins of some sort) in some of the shacks they were destroying. Which, I was being told, is the reason why they no longer destroy anything but want you to demolish your own stuff.

When I got to the office I tried to call my pal, but I'm on this cellphone network that has recently 'successfully upgraded their systems to give better service', so what happens is I have to try 10 times before I get through. Of late it has been behaving strange, when I do get through, the other person could not hear me at all even though I could hear them clear.

But anyway, I called him to find out if he had had any breakthrough with getting fuel, I needed about 5 litres to move my Mazda 323 from that filling station to another one that has been pouring at night. He told me that for some ZW$ x00,000.00/per litre I could get something on the other market they usually called 'black'. I had no option so I said OK, but hopefully I will have it tomorrow.

I also tried to look for accommodation, its not safe anymore to rent a cottage at some dude's place cause you don't know when tsunami will strike. Flats in the Avenues have reviewed prices drastically so I wont be able to afford it there.

So now as I'm sitted here writing this, I'm thinking about the 3-5 combi's that will take me home. Well, small combi's are being banned so it'll be even more tricky. But I'm not complaining, this is life. This is the new way we are living it down here in our lovely Zimbabwe.



zimpundit said...

Ndakunzwa mwanawamai. I feel you. Rambawakashinga. We must hang in there.

We need more people writing though. The world needs to hear zvavarikutiita.

boinky said...

Well, I'm just a poor Pinoy but I'm trying...with a blog and letters to the editor...

Anonymous said...

Hello, bloghopping. Czar < >

Anonymous said...

I agree Zim needs more bloggers cause there is atleast one 20-something in the United States who is a dedicated reader and where you can see one, there are always many more.

Keep up the good work and be safe.

Anonymous said...

I cant believe how little there is on the net about whats happening in Zimbabwe

Anonymous said...

As bad as it is in Zimbabwe its not the worst place to be in the world right now.In fact its not the worst place in Africa.This is not to deminish what you are going through.I know I could not handle sleeping in a different location every night.I think its about time Mr Muggabe left office of his own accord or someby is going to make that decission for him.

Anonymous said...

I live in the U.S. but visited Zimbabwe in 2001. So is Mr. Mugabe
the one ordering these demolitions? I have never heard of this "operation" because, although we tried to keep track of the situation there, not much news is available.

LG Young said...

Hello, Manulite --

I came across your blog today, and I just wanted to extend my sympathies about your home.



Manulite said...

Thanks Laura, I really appreciate it.I have managed to settle down a bit now, so i'm trying to normalize things a bit

LG Young said...


I hope your life will be able to get back to normal as soon as possible (providing that is such a thing as "normal" in the world these days).

It's great that you know someone who was willing to take you in. Such friends can be difficult to come by...



Pooh said...

It has been a long time since you posted anything. Are you OK?

Ksenia said...

I'm sorry to hear about your troubles, but I'm glad you're sharing them with the world, the situation in Zimbabwe doesn't receive enough attention. I intend to point my friends here so they can see a personalized account of life in Zimbabwe. I have a new coworker originally from Zim, she tells us how her parents still live there, how her father owns a bakery but has not been able to get fuel to power the ovens to made the bread...

I hope it improves, hang in there!

Harini Calamur said...

i am a blogger from India. am nominating your blog as part of the BLOG DAY on the 31st of August. It is a method of getting world bloggers to gether. more details here

I just came across your blog while searching for new blogs and thought that it is an extremely interesting site that others too will appreciate and enjoy.

hope that you find the time to nominate others.
best regards

Harini Calamur said...

really sorry to read about your home. we get to hear so little about zimambwe -except for what is happening in cricket - over here.
i hope that the blogday will mean that more people from differnt cultures visit your site.

Anonymous said...

Hi, this is just the second blog I have ever read and I am so impressed. I am in the UK at the moment but I am from Zim. I read the herald the other day and the standard of writing as well as content were so poor as to be embarassing, you are so much better, you should publish but then Herald would never let you say all that stuff about marambatsvina.
To be honest your site has really opened my eyes to the ordinary Zimbabwean. As you said yourself we are still mentally colonised and Black against black/divide and rule is still in operation. I am ashamed to say that as a 'salad' I have had and probably still do have some pretty bad attitudes towards 'people like you' I have lived in many countries overseas and have gone to the best schools so my accent is quite unusual, some people think I am trying to be posh but Its just the way I talk but in other ways I AM a snob and I am now ashamed. But if I hadnt read this ... I just used to think someone from Chitungwiza, who went to nust and cant really afford much is someone below me because I have always been chauffer driven and educated overseas but Oh my God, we are just the same. We are just the same, we feel the same things, we have problems, we are people. I know it seems so shallow and I am going on and on but it is an enlightenment! Its very sad too. There is a blog I read from Armenia (my first blog) and I had the same kind of emotion that some strange country that is just a colour on the map has real normal people too but it is sad that I have to read another Zimbabweans blog online to be able to look into your eyes.

Anonymous said...

hey manu, this is pauline, i also have a blog, it's at

how are you?

Anonymous said...

now say something about the 17th constitutional amendment.but watch your steps.

Anonymous said...

oh by the way pamwechete

Simone said...

Congratuletion for your interesting blog!
Best regards from Milan, Italy
My blog:

dom said...

great Blog ! I love your site :)
You should come visit me at mine and leave a flag of your country.
I have collected 105 so far :)

Anonymous said...

I'm from Zim...the whole situation is F@#$ing ridiculous. My sympathies on everything that has happened to you.

Mark said...

Thank You for your Blog!!

Interested in your photo of the no parking sign with $1 million dollar tow fee. Says a lot about inflation in Zimbabwe.

Very Little news about Zimbabwe reaches us here in the rural U.S. We have to seek it out. But you aren't the only one sleeping on someone elses couch.

In the last month here in US midwest, more than 40 tornados have blown through, destroying homes of over 1000 people in the Illinois State Capital alone. Death count from last 17 twisters was 24. Major power outages.

Hang in there, please. I pray for Zimbabwe hoping that the Almighty hears these prayers.