Friday, March 31, 2006

Bad Day

There are times when you think you are having a very, very bad day. Then there are times when bad days are in season. Of course bad days can be a result of a number of various causes. For example schools are closing in a few days time. That's an obvious bad day coming your way right there, because it means in a month's time you need school fees. So though Easter is somewhere in-between schools' closing and opening, it simply does not exist. The best use for the Easter holiday is to go kumusha and basically terrorise the rural folks so that they give you a bucket full of maize, some manhanga and nyimo and a bit of peanuts. (Umm..., peanuts as in peanuts, not the peanuts you get at the end of every month.)

That in itself is a cause of serious bad days for them rural folks. You see, we, or rather they had plenty rains this season. The weatherman sort of hinted that to be an effect of the cyclone activity off the coast of Mozambique. Which in itself is a candidate cause for a farmer's bad day. Really, should we then wish for this cyclone stuff to happen again next season and risk floods for our neighbours or, I don't know,do we go back to the dry spells that haunted our previous rain seasons?

Anyway, everyone knows that it takes more than rain for one to end up with a decent harvest at the end of it all. You need inputs. Any kind of farmer knows, no matter they are new farmers, white commercial farmers or our own breed of cell-phone farmers, they know. Not being a farmer myself I cannot sound informed about the inputs these farmers require, but of course I have my own grandma who called me in December last, asking me to get her fertilizer ye top. (It's called top dressing fertilizer, I think, and it's usually Ammonium Nitrate). Having done this a number of times in previous years, buying fertilizer is a no-brainer really. Just get in the shop with a bunch of bearer's cheques and come out with 2 or 3 bags which you know will be enough for your granny's small piece of land.

Bad day. You get to learn once more that money can't buy you everything. As you come out of the shop without the 2 or 3 bags, you are once again reminded of the word that you have come to use and accept as normal – shortage. Remember you already have shortage of basic commodities, shortage of fuel, shortage of transport, shortage of X. (where X can be anything, bread, water, electricity,...). So you hit yourself in the head for taking it for granted that you could just get into the shop and buy fertilizer. Haven't you thought that it could be in short supply?

So you see why terrorising the rurals is not such a good idea. You'll not get anything, even peanuts, out of it. Some places did well this season, I'm told, but others will have to rely on food aid to survive. Those are not bad days, its a bad season. So Easter is still coming and you are not going anywhere to get 'freebies'. You are stuck in the bright lights with serious bad days ahead. Its getting colder and colder and the bright lights are getting dimmer and dimmer. ZESA promises you that they are working flat out to put a system in place to make sure that load shedding happens smoothly. You shall have darkness every second day, and this will happen at the time you need power most. I guess since you wont be having much to cook, you cannot complain that much can you?

That's the life. As you walk down the street, calculating and thinking of how else you can make money, so that you can go into some shop and come out disappointed that you didn't find it, whatever it is, you meet your pal and you greet them the way we do it these days “Urikuzvigona sei?”

Forgive me for blogging nonsense, I'm having a bad day, I haven't had sadza in two weeks, do you know anyone selling mealie-meal?


zimpundit said...

Good to have you back. We need more people telling the story. None of what you write is blog nonsense. These are the days of our lives.

Uzondiudzawo kana wawana upfu.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing this blog. I live in Orlando Florida in the U.S. (aka Disneyworld, etc.)and am pretty ignorant about your part of the world. Man, how do you put up with all that crap concerning shortages, etc??? I get pissed when I have to wait five minutes... I was feeling pretty good till I read your post; now I feel like a spoiled bastard. Anyway, thanks for sharing, and I hope things work out much better for you this year. -- Shawn

p.s. thanks so much for the camera phone pics. Believe it or not, I've always wanted to see what Harare looked like and now I have a glimpse.

Manulite said...

how do we put up with it? i dunno man, i really dont know, we need plenty of hope that this is only for a while. that maybe tomorrow things will get back to normal. if they don't, well...

Gabriel said...

I am a former Zimbabwean living in Canada. It pains me to see the state of things in Zimbabwe. The government of Canada is deporting many Zimbabweans (i guess thats the meal the first world feeds the third). But i can say with total confidence that Stephen Harper and Robert Mugabe are not all that different.
And where does the hope lie? In a God who permits despotic government? No. It lies with the people having the courage to say "no" and stamp out the flame of hipocrisy.
Now... if i could only find my dictator-crushing boots...
(p.s. Great blog. Keep it up)

Anonymous said...

great blog - also really like the cell phone pics - keep it up. I'm coming home soon (one of those runaway types) and its good to be prepared.

laurenttroy said...


I 100% agree with zimpundit.
I am a frenchman who lived in zim for 3 years and left 6 month ago. You can't imagine how people here in Europe don't and can't understand the story.
This no blog nonsense, but zimbo daily life. take care and be carefull.

Anonymous said...

Manulite, you're back! I was concerned for you after your cottage was demolished during Operation Murambatsvina. Thank you for keeping us updated as to what life is like in Zimbabwe.
- B

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