Saturday, July 28, 2007

Cathy Buckle's Weekly Letter From Zimbabwe !

Clear as mud
Saturday 28th July 2007.

Dear Family and Friends,

There is a different feeling in the air this week - the stirring of dusty leaves on thirsty trees, a clearer colour to the sky and the calls of birds not heard for the last few months. The changing season at least brings a feeling of hope and a tantalizing promise of sanity to a time of utter madness which many people are saying may well be the final straw for them. In the fourth week of government ordered price-cuts, it would be absurd to list the things we cannot get because they are now too numerous and include most foodstuffs and basic toiletries.

Almost everyone is living entirely off their pantries and gardens, on food parcels sent from people outside the country or simply going without the bare essentials required for every day nutrition and existence.

It has become almost impossible to keep up with the changing statements coming from the government and things are as a clear as mud. It makes you dizzy trying to follow the announcements: close, open, banned, unbanned, allowed, forbidden, can import, can't import. The rules, lists and regulations have reached ludicrous proportions and, as it was with the farms, there does not seem to be a master plan at all except perhaps the desire of the government to control, absolutely and completely, every facet of life in Zimbabwe.

Shops, supermarkets and businesses that we all thought would close down have not done so because of the government threat to take over companies that folded. Shop workers know their jobs are hanging by a thread and they have the look of fear and resignation in their eyes. It is the same look that invaded farmers, evicted farm workers and then independent journalists had in their eyes as their lives and livelihoods collapsed. It is the same look that we saw on the faces of people whose homes were bulldozed by government two winters ago.

As each of the last seven winters have come to an end and the promise of warmth and renewal has returned, it has been hard to believe that season after season has been squandered and food supplies have got less and less. Politics, farming and food supplies is where this all began and must surely be where it will all end too.

Until next week, thanks for reading,
love cathy.

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