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Page: 12
Location: Harare, Zimbabwe
Member Since: 19th Nov 2002
Total posts: 200
Posted:If you're in a good, happy mood, read another post. This is nothing but one long whinge. If you live in dump, read on, this will make you realize its not that bad...I'm not normally a whiner, but sometimes it helps to get it out of your system.Here goes...

Whats happened to my country? It used to be a great place, with shiny
happy people everywhere who were pleased to be alive. Now, everybody runs
around moping and whining, and with good reason.

A while ago, there was a thread about Zimbabwe somewhere here, and I did my
best to correct some of the rumours. Sadly, I must now report that they are all
true, even the ones I haven't heard. There is no fuel, even though the govt has just
tripled the price to $10 000. ( Thats about 25p, the black market rate being 40 000
dollars to one pound). No fuel means very few cars on the road, so nobody can
get to work except by walking. For some people, this means getting up at three
in the morning and walking for five or six hours before getting to work late. The reverse
happens at five, with the poor bugger getting home at about ten, absolutely
knackered. A quick rest, then Tuesday rolls around and the process begins again.

Eight years ago, or thereabouts, I purchased
my first car( a small, cheap Datsun ) for $17 000 Zimbabwe dollars. Today,
that same car will cost me roughly $20 000 000. A box of matches costs
$1 000 ( The same value as our biggest note, incidentally. ) Minimum wage,
which, by the way, is completely unlivable on, is somewhere around $800 000.
This is just enough money to do sweet [censored]-all with. $800 000 is roughly 20
quid. I've just finished eating a toasted chicken and mayo sandwich, which set
me back 30 grand. Do the maths - A guy on minimum wage can get nearly 27
sandwiches in a month. Fine for February, only one day with nothing to eat,
but what about months with 31 days, or leap years. I don't know what the
official inflation figures are, nor does it matter, because they are invariably wrong,
but it is fairly unusual to buy something twice for the same price. It is better to buy
absolutely anything and hold onto it for resale, than to sit with cash that devalues
by the day.

Because prices are so high, and the biggest note is only $1 000, the govt, in its
boundless wisdom, introduced bearer cheques, the highest value of which is $ 20 000.
This helped the situation a little, but now they are trying to phase the BC out of
use, which means we will go back to using the $ 1000 note. An average grocery bill
for a weeks food is about $1 000 000. In $1000 notes, this is a 1000 notes, and if
you get them brand-new, so they aren't all wrinkled, thereby taking up more room,
it is about the size of two housebricks. It takes about 15 minutes to count, longer than
it takes to do the actual shopping. I have been shopping ( several times ) with an 80 litre
backpack (for those who don't hike, thats the big one that goes above your head and
below your bum) full of cash. It's a strange feeling, wandering through town with a
backpack full of cash, knowing that if someone robs you, its for the pack, not the
cash. My safe is full of cash, and the safe is worth more than the contents.

The shelves in the shops are getting emptier and emptier, due to the shortage of
foreign currency. It's a truly depressing experience to go into the Tesco's
equivalent and just see empty shelves. A while ago, the country ran out of beer, which
was nearly the last straw for me. For weeks we were dry, something I hope never
to experience again. Coke has just come back on the shelves, production stopped
because the country ran out of sugar. No big deal, unless you like sugar in your tea,
porridge, cakes, soft drinks, etc

Then, when things were grim and the people were depressed, the govt pulled another
gem out of its seemingly bottomless hat. Operation Clean-up, as it was called, was a
nationwide attack on all unregistered dwellings and businesses. It involved destroying
all such buildings, and fining those involved. All very good on paper. The problems come into
it when you consider that roughly a fifth of Harare's population resided or traded out of
these buildings. Bang, and they were homeless, without a form of income, and just
generally screwed. No warning was given, the police and army moved in with bulldozers
and matches, tore down the buildings and burnt what was left. For about a week, the
air above the city was black with the smoke of people's houses and hopes. Where I sit
now I can see what is left of Mbare. This used to be a thriving informal market, where
you get anything from kiwi fruit to your car radio that was stolen the week before. It covered
an area about the size of ten football fields, and was home to tons of people. Now, it
looks like a war-torn plain.

Lets move onto food. There is none due the agrarian reforms that have taken place over the
last few years. Thats an old issue and I won't go into it, other than to say it is still going on.
About five farmers a month are harrassed off their land with no compensation, no choice,
and nowher to go. News coverage has stopped because its old hat, people are bored with
the whole issue now. Back to food - people are starving in the rural areas, Mugabe, with his
firm grasp of the situation, has denied this and refused aid, which will be reassuring to those
who are starving to death. STARVING TO DEATH. IN THIS DAY AND AGE???

Thats all the gloom I have the heart to relate. I am one of the lucky few here. I have a job,
(unemployment hovers somewhere around 70 % ) decent money, a house, and I've just had a

Reading over this makes me wonder why the hell any of us stay. There's one easy answer.
It's home.

Don't worry, be happy...

Location: Harare, Zimbabwe
Member Since: 19th Nov 2002
Total posts: 200

Wow, nearly 2 years have passed since this was first posted! Mugabe still remains in power, much to the amazement and disgust of those who care. Things have deteriorated an amazing amount - the sandwich mentioned in the opening post which cost $30 000 has just set me back $20 000. This isn't because the price has gone down in the intervening period, its because the govt. dropped 3 zero's off the currency, so in effect the sandwich cost $20 000 000. Dropped 3 zero's! What a thing! Basically, the sandwich has gone up nearly a thousand times over. Something that cost you 30, now costs you 20 000. It's a very tricky thing to understand properly unless you've lived through it.

Let's see, what else of interest has happened? Not much, really. People have been tortured for saying that maybe Mugabe, after 27 years in power, should consider taking a break. He's 83, for God's sake. Who still wants to be toiling away when they are 83?

Power cuts are a regular feature of life, most people now have generators, and, amazingly, there's fuel for them - if you can afford $20 000 a litre. Minimum wage hovers around the $100 000 a month. That comes to about US$5, or 2.50. Not bad for a full month's work.

There's a stayaway today, in protest. Just about everyone has refused to go to work, hoping that this will be seen as a signal that they have had enough. Our govt has proved to be quite insensitive to the subtle signals and nuances that the masses send from time to time to demonstrate their displeasure, and generally just beat the crap out of anyone they feel like, so my fingers aren't crossed that anything will come of it.

The water came back on yesterday, after being off for 2 weeks. No electricity is easy enough to cope with, but no water just plain sucks.

On a slightly brighter note, I saw paraffin in the shops for the first time in ages last week, so I'm going to dust off my poi and go set myself on fire on soon. I can't wait. I hope the water is still on...

Don't worry, be happy...


Location: la-la land
Member Since: 15th Feb 2002
Total posts: 2419
Posted:the last of my family come over in two weeks.. mum and dad were 'invited' to leave back in November last year..
just grandparents there packing.. they are leaving after spending all thier lives there - we couldn't move them over in the winter as they think 10 degress C is cold - the shock of the weather would have just been too much for them to cope with..

We'll probably never go back now.. such a stunning country, such a shame..

On a personal note, mum's home help still cant find a job, she has Aids and a 8 year old son.. she was going to become a nun, untill she was married off to a man who stayed with her for 8 months.. she has only ever been with him and he gave her HIV and left her..
To make it even more harrowing - her sister was killed in January by a car and left 2 kids for her to look after..

and I think my life sucks every now and then..I remember and I'm ashamed of myself.. what on earth are those 3 kids going to do.. frown

I honour you as an aspect of myself..

You are never to old to storm a bouncey castle..


HoP's Barman. Trapped aged 6 months
Location: Staines
Member Since: 4th Aug 2004
Total posts: 4437
Posted:My friend's father died in Zimbabwe a week ago and he has to go back to bury him, yet he's quite worried since he was in the army over there he is currently a wanted man by the govt hence why he and large amount of people left in the first place.

Mugabe must be about to snuff it? Didn't I hearthat his son is going to take over when he's done. Will he be as much of an extremist?

An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind

Give a man a fish and he'll eat 4 a day hit a man with a brick and you can have all his fish and his wife

"Will's to pretty for prison" - Simian


Member Since: 20th Sep 2003
Total posts: 6650
Posted:Behind every greedy and cruel leader, there are 20 waiting to take his place...

Sad to hear those stories... frown

Hope it'll all work out hug

the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

Page: 12

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