The next day – after dropping annie off at the airport for her 30 hour flight home to brisbane! We took Dean’s gardener Robson out to his village with a huge pile of building scraps. Dean’s family had given these to Robson after renovating their front deck. The drive out took about an hour and a half arrving – unfortunatley for us – at the hottest part of the day… As we arrived we were greeted by the whole family led by the running smiling kids and followed by a very happy (clapping) ‘gogo’ Robson’s Mum. GoGo is shona for Grandmother – this gogo is in her late 80’s with only two teeth and not a word of english. In shona when you are greeted or thanked they take their two hands and clap in front of thier chest once or twice, in our case I think she was very grateful as she was clapping, dancing on the spot and nodding vigerosly everytime she saw us! The kids in Robsons village we’re a delight, they love to have their photograph taken and then view it on the screen. At one stage I showed them how to take a photo and gave it to them to take thier own photos, they came up with some georgous picutres which I later printed out for them.

After unloading the truck we were thanked with freshly picked corn (mealies), tomatoes, mangoes and the real treat of prickly pear (so yummy!) and some native berries that suck all of the juice from your mouth! The plot of land that Robon has is small but as the family has grown the communal land that they own is now considerably large and plesantly shady. Covered by Mango trees, mulberry trees, and the native berry fruit tree (I can’t remeber what it is called…). There are fields full of maize and tomatoes, an area for cattle and even a family cementry. All of Robson’s siblings, bar one, have died in the last few years from different illnesses that are sadly far too common in africa; aids and aids related illness, malaria, and poor health.

One of the things that strikes me the most about the people in zimbabwe is the zimbabwean nature… they are unlike any other afican I have met. They are humble, kind and generous and they always have a smile and a wave for you. Considering the poverty that they have suffered, especially in the last 10 years or so, the crime rate is no where near as bad as you would expect, they seem to have a deep understanding of what is happening around them and despite their suffering they have a hope and grace about them that brings a stillness to the mind. In the rural areas they are a very neat and organised people. This you first notice as you drive along the roads and peer out at the people selling their wares. The maize is always stacked into a pattern or sculpture, the tomates are piled neatly into little piramid shapes and the bowls of fruit are always neatly and artistically arranged. But it is only until you visit their villages that you really start to notice how much pride and care they take of their few belongings. The sand on which you walk on around their cicular huts is swept into patterns, the kitchen hut (generally placed in the middle of the village) has polished concrete, cleanly swept and wiped, and both hand made and new pots, positively shining, are neatly stacked against the wall. The fire place in the middle of the kitchen you can hardly tell ever held fire except for the tell tale smoke discolouration that lines the underneath of the thatch roof.

I wish that all the bad people could be sifted out they way that they sift the husks off of the wheat, those with no dignity or respect, being whisked away by the breeze. I wonder then what zimbabwe could become. Both whites and blacks in zimbabwe are amoung some of the nicest people I have ever met. I honestly hope that one day it becomes what it is meant to be…

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