The Grants' African adventure

Mukiwa!

After yesterday’s car dramas and subsequent rescue by our mysterious angel, we awoke this morning knowing there was a much-relied-upon car in need of major repairs and only two days and no cash to do it. Enter diesel mechanic extraordinaire, Lance and his two side-kicks, Andrew and Joseph and ……Hey Presto!! After several messy hours of cleaning engine grease the car is pretty much going (which, in Zimbabwe, means it’s fixed!). Most cars here seem to run on not much more than love!

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This evening we had planned to drive into one of the surrounding townships with the hope of finding Andrew’s family’s beloved maid, Grace, whom they had left behind when they immigrated to Australia in 1985. Andrew’s sister, Morag, had managed to find her in previous visits here but Andrew really wanted to see her too as her son, Weatherly, had been his best friend. Unfortunately Weatherly passed away a few years ago.

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As we drove into this township, I was grateful to have our guide with us, Porsha, a local African woman. The townships are full of very high-density basic housing and it was obvious to us that it was not a place tourists frequent. The streets (dirt roads) were brimming with people – mothers with babies tied to their backs chatting to one another over their vegetable gardens, little children rolling car tyres down the street, boys playing soccer, people laughing. It was just a place of great community spirit.

These are your typical $1 a day people and yet they have everything! As we drove slowly down the road looking for tell-tale signs of Grace’s house (no street names or house numbers here) the people would stop and look at us, the children ran alongside the car shouting “mukiwa!!” (white man!!) and laughing and waving.

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We leaned out the window and asked if we could take a photo and they immediately struck a pose. Afterwards we turned the camera around and called them over to see the photo and they couldn’t believe it! I was kind of surprised that digital technology has not infiltrated here as they are pretty close to Bulawayo, but they were so surprised and delighted to see themselves in a photo! After this we had different kids waiting to have their picture taken on every corner.

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Well, after an hour of fruitless searching we gave up and came home, a little sad that we hadn’t been able to fulfill our mission.

Tomorrow is our last day in this beautiful country that I’ve already come to love. On Saturday we’re off to South Africa for the final leg of our journey.

Love from Anne

The greatest tragedy of the consumer life is that its practitioners do not see that the local community is abundant with the relationships that are the principle resource for rescuing themselves and their families from the failure, dependency and isolation that are the results of life as a consumer and client. The way to the good life is not through consumption. It is, instead, a path that we make by walking it with those who surround us. It is the way of a competent community recognising its abundance. Peter Block

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2 responses

  1. Sheila Grant

    DON’T YOU LOVE THEM? HAVE NOTHING, BUT SUCH HAPPY PEOPLE. I WONDER IF YOU WOULD HAVE CONTACTED THE COUNCIL YOU MIGHT HAVE HAD MORE INFORMATION? SHE WOULD HAVE TO HAVE HER NAME THERE…. GRACE GUMEDE…. FOR WHEN SHE PAYS RENT? I AM SO SAD TO HEAR YOU COULD NOT GET IN TOUCH….SHE MIGHT OF COURSE HAVE GONE TO STAY WITH SINDISO OR KEVLINA IN SOUTH AFRICA, BOTH MARRIED WITH CHILDREN. SHE MUST BE ABOUT 60 NOW…. WE HAD NO PROBLEMS FINDING HER. I STILL PRAY FOR HER, MY FAITHFUL, HARD WORKING GRACIE!

    June 29, 2012 at 7:46 am

  2. Sean Redding

    I agree left Bulawayo one year ago…. Simple place simple people. Sadly no future for my children.

    July 7, 2012 at 12:14 am

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