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African Tears Beyond Tears Innocent Victims Imire Can you hear the drums, by Cathy Buckle


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The soul of Zimbabwe
July 30, 2010, 8:05 am



Dear Family and Friends,
Oh to be in Zimbabwe when spring is in the air, what a gorgeous place it is. The cold of winter has almost gone and the wind is running through golden grass, preparing to lift up and shake off last year's dusty leaves. White Helmetshrikes and Glossy Starlings are back in our gardens, Cardinal Woodpeckers are tapping in the trees while Hoopoes spend their days stabbing termites in dry, dusty, scratchy lawns. In the highveld bush the Lucky Bean trees have lost all their leaves and are covered in spectacular red flowers. The pods on the Msasa trees are turning dark chocolate brown and starting to crack, preparing to spit seeds in all directions. Lining the streets of so many towns, the Bauhinia trees are bursting with pink and white flowers and the leaves on the Jacarandas have all gone yellow and are about to fall.

This year another dramatic aspect of our beautiful Zimbabwe is lining roads everywhere as hundreds of miles of trenches are being dug for a communication cable. It is breathtaking to see the magnificent patchwork of colours of soil piled in heaps along the road. Yellow, beige, orange, red, brown, grey, black: it leaves you feeling as if you've seen into the very soul of Zimbabwe.  

Sadly, however, all is not beautiful as spring arrives and our chance in a lifetime constitution making process has turned into a shambles. Every day the reports just get worse and worse. The words used by one senior official to describe the outreach programme, expose the truth of the story: tension, friction, hostile, ugly. We hear of public meetings turning into shouting matches, of people being abducted, assaulted, kidnapped and of villagers being frog marched, intimidated and commandeered. Then there are reports of COPAC (constitutional outreach) drivers and technicians threatening to stop work as they say they aren't getting the pay they were promised. Other reports tell of hotels evicting COPAC personnel or refusing to give them meals due to massive unpaid bills.

In a country where over 90% of the population is unemployed and civil servants only earn 160 US dollars a month, its hard to find perspective in this whole mess. One report tells of COPAC technicians being very disgruntled at only receiving 55 US dollars a day for their services and another 15 a day for their meals. For teachers with degrees surviving on less than 5 US dollars a day, it doesn't really make sense - does it?

Until next time, thanks for reading, love cathy.



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