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.



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