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April 04, 2007


Hi all -- I don't know how much people know or hear about the current situation in Zimbabwe. It could be one of those places that (as an American) you vaguely hear that something is happening there... but it feels like a far off distanced place somewhere in Africa.

But for me, it is here and now. And this is one of the reasons why I went traveling: to see and feel other countries, especially countries in "interesting" circumstances.

Zimbabwe is in a political and economic crisis. They are under a dictatorship that is following all of the "usual" patterns of a government fearfully trying to remain in control of a population... a population who is oppressed and hungry. No public protests or meeting are allowed. Cooking oil is hard to come by. Electricity, phone connections and water come and go, and come and go, and come and go.

And fuel... I NEVER saw a petrol station with any fuel in it. It is very, very difficult to get fuel. I spent many hours driving around with people trying to find it. This photo is of a fuel line at a place called "Caltex" where you have to first go to some office to get a coupon for fuel, which you can only get if you buy us$2000 worth of it and pay in foreign currency to a bank in South Africa, and then with your coupon you can wait in line all morning to get 25 liters. Madness.

Logistics honestly takes all day. With power outages all the time, cell phone networks in and out and insane inflation on currency, it is very very difficult to try to do anything.

I am having a very difficult time knowing what I can or should or should't say in this blog. I don't know how much my innocent observations of life are actually political statements. Therefore, I think I'm going to have a few people review my blog entries before I post them.... because I want to tell you what I am learning and seeing!

But, here is a photo of an average corner in downtown Harare. I took the photo from a restaurant on the second floor of a building because I was scared to have the police confiscate my camera on the street for taking the "wrong" photo of something...

Here's a little video clip of a Harare street, taking from a moving truck so that no one would be bothered...

On the complete other hand, there is something that feels just special, magical, attractive about Zimbabwe. I just loved being there (political stuff aside). People were the most friendly and wise and mellow that I had met in any country. I made great friends, heard sweet music (from hip hop to mbria to more traditional Zimbabwean... and all mixed together), and visited a few really great organizations.

I can't wait to go back!
(maybe later in this trip)

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