More united than ever before


Dear Family and Friends,


P class=MsoSalutation style=”MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt”>In my garden a scrappy little thorn bush appeared from nowhere a few years ago. It’s a weed really and is very common in the bush, on roadsides and river banks and often in disturbed land. Almost all year round the bush has clusters of berries, which are green, then red and at last dark purple, almost black when they are ripe. The berries are a nightmare to get at as the thorns are viscous and prolific and are on all stems and branches and even the undersides of the leaves.

It’s not really the sort of bush that proper gardeners would encourage or cultivate and is more the kind of bush school kids stop and raid on their way to and from school. At first, when the bush appeared in my garden I left it because the berries were attracting a lot of birds. Then, I noticed my son and his friends picking the berries when they were playing football in the garden and I too began picking the odd berry here and there.

Then, as prices began to rise and foodstuffs as simple as a jar of jam became something I couldn’t afford anymore, I began really tending the scrappy little thorn bush in my garden. Every day I carefully picked the berries as they ripened and put them in a container in the freezer. There were never more than three or four berries a day but they soon added up to quite a substantial amount. Making up my own recipe, adding a couple of lemons and a few chunks of chou chou I ended up with a great bounty of jam from nothing more than a scrappy little thorn bush.

I know that little stories like this are a bit silly coming from a country in such dire trouble but they show what incredibly resourceful people we are in Zimbabwe. In the last six years we have learned so many things across races, cultures and classes. Despite, or perhaps because of the political horrors, we Zimbabweans are perhaps now more united than ever before.

We are all affected by food, fuel and electricity shortages. We all have to drive on the same collapsing roads, drink the same filthy brown water and pay the same outrageous

prices for the most basic groceries. Inflation reached 782% in February; the IMF says we now have the highest inflation in the world. The ordinary people of Zimbabwe are desperate, utterly desperate for this to end, all that is needed now is the political will – from both the ruling and opposition parties. We hope and pray it is near as our summer days are shortening and winter will indeed be bleak. Until next week, Ndini shamwari yenyu

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