Sunday, May 10, 2009

CATHY BUCKLE'S WEEKLY LETTER FROM ZIMBABWE

Rooftop Food !

Dear Family and Friends,

Winter is moving into Zimbabwe and even though the days are shorter, the wind cooler and the temperatures dropping, it is a beautiful time of year. The grass is tall and gold, the cassia and mimosa trees arecovered in yellow flowers and the aloes are promising a spectacular display in the weeks to come: their spikes a mass of blooms waiting to open. On the roadsides the white poinsettias are covered in flowers, the Munondo trees are crowned with chocolate pods and in the vleis and wetlands the red hot pokers are a sight to behold.

As our growing season comes to an end and after the good rainy season we've had this year, I'd like to be able to tell you that out here in the country areas there is a great bustle of harvesting underway. Sadly that is not the case this May 2009. Roads out of once busy commercial farming areas are stagnantly quiet. All season many of our farms have lain fallow because of no seed, no fertilizer or quite simply no interest from the people who took them over. Zimbabweans travelling east, west, north and south can testify to seeing this same picture of empty fields in all directions.

Thankfully in urban areas the small roadside, suburban plantings(similar to allotments) of maize, beans and sunflowers have done quite well. Maize cobs are lying out to dry on verandahs and roofs in urban areas and this has become a common sight; it is a graphic demonstration of how hunger has infiltrated right into our cities, towns and urban neighbourhoods. This rooftop food is how Zimbabwe's teachers, nurses and civil servants are going to survive the months ahead - on what they've grown on the side of the road. We are reminded this week that the MDC have been participating in Zimbabwe's power sharing unity government for a hundred days. Most days its been very hard for ordinary people to see the power sharing as it has had so little effect on our daily lives. Criminals still walk free on our streets; political prisoners are still juggled in and out of detention; chaos continues on farms; water and electricity supplies are pathetic and an undoubtedly fierce battle for real power rages just out of view. Most people are saying that 100 days is long enough, the honeymoon is over and its time to get down to business. No more delays, stalling,empty ultimatums and promises. We want to see action from this enormous government that we have, real action that will improve ourlives and lift us out of the filth and despair that we've tolerated for the last decade.

Until next week, thanks for reading, love cathy

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