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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Form Buying Groups to Import Basics - CCZ

This is what we have to do. I have not been into a Zimbabwe Supermarket - except to view the chaos for months!
The Herald
Published by the government of Zimbabwe
30 December 2008
Harare - THE Consumer Council of Zimbabwe has advised consumers to form groups and send members to South Africa to buy basic commodities there to counter exorbitant pricing by retailers in the country.CCZ executive director Ms Rosemary Siyachitema said people could buy more and save by going to South Africa where the products are cheaper."We keep on encouraging people to buy in groups," she said. "People need to stretch their money to the utmost. They should go where they can stretch it," she added.Most retail shops in towns as well as small grocery shops in high density suburbs and rural areas are selling goods in foreign currency and are refusing to accept the Zimbabwe dollar.Although the Government issued licenses to selected shops to sell in foreign currency, the rest are doing it without the licences.Small traders, including vegetable vendors, have also joined the bandwagon, making life difficult for the ordinary person who does not have access to foreign currency.Ms Siyachitema said the CCZ continued to appeal to retailers to reduce prices and put reasonable marks-up on imported goods.Last month the CCZ compiled a foreign currency basket which showed shocking differences between prices of goods in South Africa and Zimbabwe.According to the CCZ basket, a family of six required 80 rands per month to purchase goods in South Africa compared to 290 rands in Zimbabwe.Ms Siyachitema noted that by forming groups and sending one member, people would reduce costs of travelling to South Africa.
She noted that studies had shown that it was cheaper to buy as a group than buying repackaged goods."It works out to be cheaper. People should not buy from third parties," said Siyachitema.Before dollarisation of the economy, the concept of consumer clubs had spread in the cities with the CCZ assisting the groups to buy in bulk from producers.--New Ziana.

Friday, December 19, 2008



5th December 2008

2008 is now drawing to a close and one cannot help but bitterly remember the tragic shooting of Tusker, aka Dustbin after the last New Year's Party in Charara, Kariba. Thousands of people around the world mourned the death of this very special elephant.

For those who do not know, he was teased and tormented mercilessly by drunken youths and when he retaliated by turning a couple of cars over, he signed his own death warrant. We found out later that fruit had been thrown under the cars "to see what the elephant would do". The authorities decided that even though he had never killed anyone during his 30 years in Charara, it was only a matter of time before someone was hurt and he was shot on the 6th January 2008.

In an effort to stop any further New Year parties from taking place in Charara, which is a National Park area designated for wildlife, we presented the Chairman of Charara with a petition signed by over 1600 people.

We now believe our petition has been ignored by the National Anglers' Union, who are the organizers and the party is going to take place this year as usual. We would like to issue a warning to parents that this party is not a legal gathering and judging by reports from previous parties, drugs and alcohol will be readily available. We would also remind parents that 2 girls were raped last year after drugs were slipped into their drinks. One of these girls had a bad reaction to the drug and narrowly escaped death. The nearest medical facilities are 40 km away.

There are still some elephants in the Charara area and it is very likely that they will walk into the camp during the party, looking for food, as in past years, the organizers have made no attempt to prevent this. These elephants are not as good-natured as Tusker was. Several elephants have been shot in the area this year and those remaining are skittish. We can guarantee that if they are subjected to hairs being pulled out of their tails, fireworks and beer cans being thrown at them, cigarettes being stubbed out on them, headlights being flashed in their eyes and cars being rammed into their legs as Tusker was, they will do more than just turn over a few cars. The youngsters will be lucky to escape with their lives.

We strongly urge all parents to think very carefully before allowing your children to attend this party, which is just a tragedy waiting to happen.

Johnny RodriguesChairman for Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force
Landline: 263 4 336710
Landline/Fax: 263 4 339065Mobile: 263 11 603 213

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The previous article is very true - we have power at the moment but often there is nothing...... we have to pay to get our power back..... we have to provide transport, ladders and tools for the ZESA people to cut down tree branches that are causing faults....... yesterday we had a storm - no power for 3 hours!

Zimbabwe's Stubborn Middle Class Stays Through Cholera And Political Crisis

By GlobalPost's correspondent in Harare (who cannot be named because of Zimbabwe's press restrictions)
There is plenty of gallows humor circulating in Zimbabwe these days. One joke goes: "Q: What's the definition of an optimist? A: A Zimbabwean who thinks the country has hit rock bottom."As the cholera outbreak kills hundreds and still rages through the country, it is obvious that Zimbabwe's already dire political and economic crisis has drastically worsened and plunged the country into a humanitarian crisis.The plight of the most vulnerable has received understandable international attention. The poor have grown steadily poorer and died while President Robert Mugabe's ruling clique has prospered.But less attention has been paid to the fate of Zimbabwe's middle class, once the country's backbone, which has been decimated in recent years. The skilled have left en masse. Architects, artisans, electricians, mechanics, doctors, nurses, teachers - all gone to the burgeoning diaspora, now estimated at 5 million out of a total population of 13 million.This mass migration at least provides a flow of funds from those working outside Zimbabwe to those who remain. Zimbabwe is one of the world's newest remittance economies.Yet some of the country's middle class remain, determined to see the current crisis through."Every day I am sad and infuriated by the misery of so many people, but I still love this country," says Joy, 61. "I have a wonderful feeling about the people I work with. We are all struggling to get by, but we are doing it together. This government cannot last forever and I believe Zimbabwe will once again become a magical place to live. I don't want to give up."Joy conducts workshops with township children, promoting self-confidence and artistic expression, even though many badly need a good meal. Her husband James, 51, came to Zimbabwe in the 1980s to escape military service in apartheid South Africa. He is an artist and sells his paintings to diplomats and others with access to foreign currency.Like most people who are "staying on", James and Joy doubt that they would ever find a country to match Zimbabwe's almost perfect weather conditions. But life can be frustrating. For example, electricians from the power utility demand fuel or transport to repair faulty lines."The power shortages are infuriating," James says. "But just as we swear we can't stand it another day, the lights come back on!"The middle class is both white and black. "A few months ago our water stopped and my daughter didn't know what to do," says Mildred (not her real name), a black Harare accountant. "I told her to wash from a bucket of water we had saved. She didn't know how! In the rural areas everyone knows how to wash from a bucket of water. She didn't know how to be an African."Fred, 31 and black, lives in a township on the eastern outskirts of Harare. He has his own small home, a telephone line and occasionally running water. He has a small garden where he grows vegetables. He is well-off compared to the majority of his countrymen. The only way he can afford to stay in Zimbabwe is by traveling to South Africa to buy goods in short supply at home such as flour and rice and then selling them in his township."I don't want to leave when I have a home and a family dependent on me," he says. "But I can only survive by cross-border trading. It's now a way of life for me."Zimbabweans across the old racial divide have been brought together in coping with the intensifying crisis. At a bowling club in the city center where the greens are still immaculate, whites of the old school share tales of adversity with their black compatriots."It will all get better once he goes," one member suggests to wide approval. Everybody knows who "he" is but no one utters Robert Mugabe's name for fear of being arrested by one of the secret police - to publicly denigrate the president is a crime.No one knows when Mugabe will go, but the stubborn rump of Zimbabwe's middle class seems determined to hang on. launches January 12, 2009.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


This is how we live - something has to happen to stop this nightmare
[9th December 2008]
Please note that the police have turned down ZimRights' notification of "Return Jestina Mukoko Now March" which was supposed to take place on Friday the 12th of December 2008

Please distribute this appeal widely
Would anyone who has any information on the whereabouts of Jestina Mukoko, Director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project, who was abducted from her home on Wednesday 3rd December, phone hotline number 0912 471 671 or text a message to 0912 452 201
Her children, her mother, her brothers and sisters, her friends and work colleagues are desperate to find her

Because Jestina is well known, both in her previous role in the media and later for her work in organisations working on peace and conflict resolution, and is an active member of civil society networks, her disappearance has attracted wide-spread attention – and anger that someone who is a member of an organisation working for peace in Zimbabwe should be among the “disappeared”.
But she is not the first – there have been others who have also been forcibly abducted and whose whereabouts are still unknown. Our concern and outrage is for all who have suffered this fate. The “forced disappearance” of every single man, woman or child – and more names are listed below – is an atrocity and a violation of all that makes us human, and is a blot against our country Zimbabwe.
The number of the “disappeared” is on the increase and is an alarming development. We are all aware of the sufferings the people of this country are going through – the terrible toll that poverty, starvation, HIV/AIDS, other diseases and now cholera are exacting. And we are aware of the many victims of political violence, those who have been killed, tortured, maimed or had their livelihoods destroyed. For families, friends and colleagues of the disappeared there is an additional agony. The waiting, the uncertainly, the not knowing, the swinging from hope to fearing the worst.
Forced Disappearance
A forced disappearance consists of a kidnapping, carried out by agents of the State or organized groups of private individuals who act with State support or tolerance, in which the victim "disappears". Authorities neither accept responsibility for the deed, nor account for the whereabouts of the victim. Petitions of habeas corpus [produce the person and justify the detention] or other legal mechanisms designated to safeguard the liberty and integrity of citizens are ineffective, and the kidnappers remain anonymous. The objective of forced disappearance is not simply the victim's capture and subsequent maltreatment, which often occurs in the absence of legal guarantees. Because of the anonymity of the captors, and subsequent impunity, it also creates a state of uncertainty and terror both in the family of the victim and in society as a whole. Uncertainty exists because people do not know what to do or where to turn. From the first moment, relatives have doubts about the victim's actual fate and the outcome of the search for their loved one. The fear caused by the unknown fate of the victim, and the realization that anyone can be subjected to a forced disappearance, and any motive may be used to justify the disappearance, means that forced disappearance often tends to paralyze not only the family but also opposition and human rights activities.
A forced disappearance violates a series of fundamental human rights, including: the right to liberty and security of the person, the right to recognition as a person before the law, the right to legal defence, and the right not to be subjected to torture. In addition, forced disappearance constitutes a grave threat to the right to life.
Forced disappearance is not simply a problem of the victims and their relatives, but rather a problem for all humanity. All human rights organizations, solidarity groups, unions, political parties and churches are urged to publicize this problem and this struggle, and to join forces to eradicate this crime.
Civil society must support the families and lawyers in their demand for thorough investigations, to rescue alive those who are disappeared, and to bring the perpetrators to justice – not for revenge, but in the name of justice itself and for the dignity of a civilized society. Societies cannot be constructed on a foundation of false reconciliation, inadequate justice, presidential pardons, and forgetting injustices done. Ignoring justice is the surest way to encourage injustice.
[Based on FEDEFAM definitions]

Forced Disappearance as a Tool of Political Repression
Forced disappearance has been a tool of other regimes. It was first used as a tool of political oppression by dictatorships in Latin America in the 1960s. [Although during World War II the Nazis used abductions as a form of repression, the detention of the victim was admitted]. The practice of forced disappearance was systemised and used extensively in Latin America in the 1970s, particularly in Argentina. The technique was later refined and applied in other parts of the world, including Africa and Asia and the Middle East.

UN Declaration on the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance
Article 1
Any act of enforced disappearance is an offence to human dignity. It is condemned as a denial of the purposes of the Charter of the United Nations and as a grave and flagrant violation of the human rights and fundamental freedoms proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and reaffirmed and developed in international instruments in this field.
Any act of enforced disappearance places the persons subjected thereto outside the protection of the law and inflicts severe suffering on them and their families. It constitutes a violation of the rules of international law guaranteeing, inter alia, the right to recognition as a person before the law, the right to liberty and security of the person and the right not to be subjected to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. It also violates or constitutes a grave threat to the right to life.
Article 2
No State shall practise, permit or tolerate enforced disappearances.
States shall act at the national and regional levels and in cooperation with the United Nations to contribute by all means to the prevention and eradication of enforced disappearance.
Article 3
Each State shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent and terminate acts of enforced disappearance in any territory under its jurisdiction.
Article 9
The right to a prompt and effective judicial remedy as a means of determining the whereabouts or state of health of persons deprived of their liberty, and/or identifying the authority ordering or carrying out the deprivation of liberty, is required to prevent enforced disappearances under all circumstances…
In such proceedings, competent national authorities shall have access to all places where persons deprived of their liberty are being held and to each part of those places, as well as to any place in which there are grounds to believe that such persons may be found.

UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances
The UN Human Rights Commissioner’s Office has an active working group on enforced disappearances. Zimbabwean cases have been reported to it, but it takes some time to investigate the cases and report on them.
Details of Jestina’s Abduction
At 5 am in the morning a group, estimated at between 15 and 20 men and one woman, arrived outside Jestina’s Norton home. Two of the vehicles, one reported as looking like a silver-grey Mazda 626 sedan, drove into the driveway and about five men, some of whom were armed, went into the house and dragged Jestina out [in front of her young son] and forced her into a car. She was still in her night clothes and her abductors refused to let her get dressed, or even get her shoes and spectacles. Nor did they allow anyone to fetch her medication which she needs to take three times a day. As this was happening her son managed to make a whispered call to her brother who lives nearby. Some of the family and neighbours gathered, but were unable to do anything but bear witness to the approximate number of abductors and that none of the vehicles seemed to have number plates. Her brother immediately reported what had happened to the police. The family’s lawyers have been unable to locate Jestina and the court took 6 days to hear an urgent application for the police to produce or locate her. Jestina is the breadwinner in her family, as her husband died some years back. She is mother and father to a teenage son and her six year old nephew. After a career as a radio and TV broadcaster, she started working for peace, first as a programme officer setting up community peace committees all round the country, and then as Director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project, an organisation set up by churches and the Liberators Platform [war veterans working for peace].

Two Other ZPP Officers Abducted
Yesterday two more officers from Zimbabwe Peace Project were abducted from the ZPP headquarters in Harare – Broderick Takawira, Provincial Coordinator of ZPP for Harare Province, and Pascal Gonzo, a ZPP Field Officer. The office guard heard a hoot and as he was investigating who was arriving, 5 men forced an entry and took Broderick and Pascal. The guard reported he saw two cars – one of which he thought might be a Mazda, again no number plate. Their families and lawyers have not been able to find out anything about the two men’s whereabouts. This latest abduction makes it look like a deliberate targeting of an organisation working for peace.

Other Recent “Disappearances”
The first 15 people listed below have been missing for over six weeks. The last two were more recent. All were either candidates in the March Parliamentary or Local Government Elections, or members of a political party carrying out routine party business. There is no known reason for their disappearances other than political party allegiance.
Concillia Chinanzvavana, a parliamentary candidate in the March 29 elections
Her husband, Emmanuel Chinanzvana, who is a local authority councillor
Fidelis Chiramba, a senatorial candidate in the March 29 elections
Ernest Mudimu, a parliamentary candidate in the March 29 elections
Fanwell Tembo, party youth organiser
Terry Musona, party deputy provincial secretary
Collen Mutemagawo, party youth chairperson, his wife Violet Mupfuranhehwe and their two year old child
Lloyd Tarumbwa, party member
Pieat Kaseke, party member
Gwenzi Kahiya, party member
Tawanda Bvumo, party member
Agrippa Kakonda, party member
Larry Gaka, party member
Chris Dlamini party employee
A person known as Baba vaSarudzayi, party member
If anyone knows anything about the whereabouts of any of these persons please phone any of these numbers 011 619 749 or 011 635 755 or 011 635 448 or 011 619 746/7/8 so that their families can be informed.

Latest News
Gandhi Mudzingwa, a former personal assistant to the Prime Minster designate, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, was abducted on Monday while talking to a relative in a Harare suburb. Eyewitnesses at the scene of the incident said he was accosted by nine gunmen in six vehicles, and was shoved into one of vehicles, a Mazda 626, which drove off towards the city centre.

Document on Offer
Full text of UN Declaration on the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance

Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

One House At A Time

Very good advice!

Join this campaign and let's resuscitate our neighborhoods ~ one house at a time.Pick it up, even if you didn't drop itIf everyone picked up the litter from outside their own house our streets would be cleaner. Make an effort twice a week to do this and you'll be playing a positive part in cleaning up the whole city. Make and print a few leaflets and put them in your neighbors post box inviting them to participate.Change needs a sparkSo you've picked up the litter from in front of your house, now what? Take it to a safe space, somewhere where the smoke won't stink up your neighbors washing or house, and burn it. Do the same with your household rubbish AFTER you've recycled what you can. Sure burning is not the best option but dumping your waste in a public space is even worse. Until service delivery in our communities resumes, it's up to us to work out respectful ways to deal with waste management. After all, it's our rubbish, no-one else's.Walking on broken glassHave you noticed all the broken glass on our verges, roads and pathways? Two Kubatana bloggers, Natasha and Susan, have written about this issue lately. How about making our streets safe for our cyclists, pedestrians and our kids. Don't throw glass bottles on the road - it's just Really Ugly Behavior. Take them home and use them in some way.Fill it inAdopt a pothole. Not very exciting I know but hey, have you seen any municipal workers fixing them lately? If we want to stop the damage to cars and combies, and avoid accidents then we are going to have to do something about the holes in our roads. They're only going to get worse. So work out a plan with your neighbors and take turns in fixing what's in front of you.Unclog itIt's the rainy season and a lot of storm water drains are clogged making the roads flooded at times and making it difficult for pedestrians. Look out for clogged street gutters especially on street corners and arrange with neighbors to remove the soil, rubble and rubbish from them. Get your hands dirty!Switch it off!Help save electricity – that little you do get. Don't leave lights or other electrical appliances that are not in use on throughout the night. Cell phone chargers still consume electricity even when it is left in the socket with the phone disconnected. Although basic cell phone chargers don't consume enormous amounts of energy, when you add up all the cell phone chargers in the country the total energy used still amounts to significant numbers. Turn off other appliances like radios and TVs.We realise that people occupy a variety of dwellings from shacks, to flats and that our shopping centres, which are getting grubbier by the day, represent more challenging circumstances. But in each and every case, if we don't get involved and Do Something, then things will only get worse.Change starts with you!
It has become a common feeling, I believe, as we have watched our heroes falling over the years, that our own small stone of activism, which might not seem to measure up to the rugged boulders of heroism we have so admired, is a paltry offering toward the building of an edifice of hope. Many who believe this choose to withhold their offerings out of shame. This is the tragedy of the world. For we can do nothing substantial toward changing our course on the planet, a destructive one, without rousing ourselves, individual by individual, and bringing our small, imperfect stones to the pile.- Alice WalkerPlease either SMS (+263 912 452201) or email us any suggestions that you have, or campaigns that you're involved in, so that we can learn from each other. You add, we multiply!~ Kubatana

Monday, December 1, 2008

No water anywhere!

Water was turned off in Harare yesterday.

We have had no water in our suburb for 5 months and have relied on a borehole for our supplies, but now the situation has meant that our neighbours who were relying on their relatives for water are now coming to us. With cholera raging this is the only solution we have - to help others - and we do. If this situation is allowed to go on the health of the people in the city will be even more at stake.

Businesses were closed down in town by lunchtime as office toilets were blocked and there was a serious health threat.

Above is a typical scene - neighbour helping out neighbour by filling water containers.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

This is what we all have to do to help!

Subject: Westreign Senior Citizen's Home Get Together 28/02/09

May I seek your assistance to provide the residents at Westreign Senior Citizen's Home with 'care packages'? A similar undertaking in 2007 proved to be highly beneficial to the old folk, where they all received individually labelled boxes of goods.
There are 24 residents in the Home, the eldest 97, the majority being aged over 70. The majority of the residents have no income, and it is apparent that they have no family either in or out of Zimbabwe that assist them. Seven of the residents reside in double accommodations which have basic cooking and refrigeration facilities, the remainder residing in single accommodation with meals provided by the Home. In the extremely trying times that we are all facing at the moment, catering for these residents is a continual nightmare and the 'fare' appears to be basic. Those individuals in self-catering double accommodation are facing a situation where it is impossible to purchase anything meaningful without access to foreign currency, which they do not have.
Would you be in a position to donate :
a sum of cash (to be converted to groceries);
or kind, either in the form of a product that you manufacture if you own a company, or fuel coupons, that can be raffled to create income to purchase goods for the packages;
or donations of product to put into the packages?
Product to be put into the packages, by necessity, is required to be non-perishable. I am looking at including the following as a guideline :
personal toiletries - soap / shampoo / hair conditioner / spray or roll-on deodorant / baby powder / body lotion / shaving lotion / toothpaste / cotton wool / cotton ear buds / boxed tissues / bath soap
food stuffs - tinned : meat, fish, fruit, vegetables / tea bags or leaves / coffee / milk powder / sugar / rice / pasta / fruit juice or cordials / two minute noodles / cup-of-soups
non-food items - toilet rolls / dishwashing liquid / kitchen soap / washing powder / fabric softener / hard surface cleaner
non-essential 'essentials' - biscuits / dried fruit / nuts / sweets that do not require refrigeration
My and my co-organizer's connection to Westreign is one of being interested parties, the Home in Wessex Drive in Mabelreign being situated in our areas of residence. Being less high profile than some of the other senior citizen's homes, they do not appear to have meaningful support.
We are putting the care packages together during the last week of February, to be disbursed during a function to be held at Mabelreign Country Club on Saturday 28th February 2009. Steve Theron has kindly offered his services to entertain the old folks, and they will also be treated to a line dancing display by the Mabelreign Bootscooters and a gymnastics display by the Zimbabwe National Gymnastics Team. Funds are currently being raised to provide the residents with a lunch of cold meat and salad rolls, and drinks will be provided by Mabelreign Country Club at no charge.
Thank you in advance for any assistance, big or small, that you may be in a position to render. Although February seems a long way off, we are hoping to get started on this immediately, and ask that this is given fairly urgent attention.
With kind regards
Jenni Ferguson
Organisers - Jenni Ferguson, Dianne Meiring, Sheryl Wardley
On behalf of the Senior Citizens of Westreign Senior Citizen's Home
Address No 1 Rothesay Road, Cnr Perth Road, Avondale West
Cellular 011 215 897
Residence 335608

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Just to let everyone know that yesterday was a day of complete frustration. We tried to pay bills. No one would take a cheque - we are now paying our electricity bill by forcing the teller at Borrowdale post office to take our cheque. They want only cash - and one can only take out 500,000 dollars a day - our electricity bill is 20 million!!! So we have all got together in our area and decided that we will force them to take a cheque - no receipt but a cheque is a receipt anyway!
Paying the telephone bill was a saga. First you queue up to find out how much you owe. Then you have to queue up to find out how much you have to pay in cash and how much you are allowed to pay by cheque. Then you have to queue to get permission to pay some of the bill by cheque. Then you have to queue to pay your bill! No change so you have to overpay!
While waiting to pay the computer system went slow! I casually remarked that there was probably a TelOne (the telephone company) fault. the whole queue and the teller burst into laughter - that was really the best part of the day!

Reps Newsletter – December 2008

Greetings all, and here’s hoping that, despite the continuing strange state of everything around us, you are all starting to get into the festive spirit and that this year’s festive season will be as pleasant and meaningful as possible for each and every one of you. I hope to see many of you down at Reps during the coming month and look forward to having a chat when you are there.

It’s panto time again!
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a panto and Graham Crutchley is presenting to us a sparkling production of Mother Goose, a show not seen at Reps for quite some time. With a full and fun cast and a lively and entertaining story and music, this will be a super treat for the whole family. It opens Thursday December 4 (preview night with special prices, Weds Dec 3) and runs until Saturday December 20 (remember that curtain up in 6.30pm each night). The matinee performance is 2.30pm on Sat Dec 13, for those people who don’t like travelling at night. Booking is open at The Spotlight now.

Welcome in the New Year at Reps
Linda Hyde is staging an amusing and unusual production at New Year, entitled Tomfoolery, which consists of many great works by the satirist Tom Lehrer. It will run from December 30 to January 3 – including New Year’s Eve. This will be very entertaining and a great way to end 2008 and start 2009. Booking will open soon. On New Year’s Eve Kathy Keen will be organizing our usual entertainment in the members’ bar, including pipers, so this will be an extremely social venue in which to welcome in the new year.

Rod Broodryk
Well done to all those involved in staging the Here’s To You production as a fundraiser for Rod’s family – it was a great show and wonderful evening with a near-full house. You will be interested to know that door takings given to the family to meet considerable medical expenses were: R1 990, US$1 463, ZW$9 425 000 and ZW cheque $1 trillion. A further $80 came from the coffee bar, donated by the girl guides and boy scouts from their sales and $70 from the foyer bar run by our own social events team – plus some donations handed in at the office from people who could not make the show. As a mark of respect to Rod it was a huge success and I would like to echo Chris Charnley’s on stage comment in fond memory … here’s to you, Rod!

Water, water everywhere … except in Harare’s water reticulation system!
As you have seen in earlier mails, the area around Reps has now fallen prey to the slow but steady demise of the water system in our fair city. We do not wish to close up shop so the alternative is to … you guessed it … make a plan. We need funds to buy and erect a water storage tank, so if you have some dollars spare please let us have them as soon as possible so we can get this done without too much further delay. Thank you to those people who have already donated so generously … we are well on our way!

Are you a card carrier?
If you carry an electronic bank card you can now buy tickets for shows at Reps Theatre. A point of sale machine has been installed and will be in use in The Spotlight, but ONLY during daytime hours 9am to 4pm Tuesday to Friday and 9am to 12 noon on Saturday. It will not be in use when the box office opens for ticket sales immediately before shows. Tickets bought through this method will be for Tuesday and Wednesday performances only. If you have any queries please call the Reps office or Spotlight.

The Story of Reps Volume 2
You should have all seen the mailshot about the coming publication of a second volume of the Reps history. We are collecting orders so we can purchase the paper well in advance and make great savings … and we have been given an excellent price from our friends at Pacprint for this stock. If you have ordered but not paid please could you do so as soon as possible (even in installments – that’s fine), and if you have not yet ordered please do so to reserve a copy (leather bound limited run, hard cover or soft cover) of this book, which will be a companion piece to Robert Cary’s original book from 1975. More info from Erin in the office or from Stan Higgins at

Did you know …
… that we do not allow people to stand or sit in aisles in the theatre for one very simple reason: it is illegal as in terms of the municipal by-laws through which we are licensed, people may only be in the auditorium in a seat. This is because it is dangerous and if there were to be a need for quick evacuation this could result in a major problem and possibly a consequent disaster. It is essential that everyone understands this, please, and that no-one abuses front of house people who forbid the practice. While talking of front of house, please also remember that these people are volunteers doing their duty to the best of their ability and the rules they enforce are there for extremely good reasons – mainly the full enjoyment of whatever production is on by the whole audience. These rules include:
No glasses or bottles allowed in the auditorium
No use of cellphones in the auditorium (even on silent)
No filming or photography of any kind in the auditorium
No latecomers allowed for any reason
Patrons MUST stay in their seats throughout the performance and not run in and out to use the toilets or buy drinks

Benefits always passed on
When beverage prices rise, these costs are passed on to our customers in the bar – regrettable but essential, of course. When prices drop, as they have in the past couple of weeks, these reductions are also passed on to customers, and we hope you have been able to take some relief from this small but welcome change to our ongoing scenario of 5,5 quadrillion inflation!

Have a very merry Christmas and on behalf of all the Executive Committee and Staff of Reps, I wish you all the best for a truly changed new year!

Tim Garrard

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Zimbabwe’s Hard-Pressed City Dwellers Cultivate Urban Agriculture

This is an interesting article showing how desperate people are becoming.

There have always been green belt areas in the cities - these are now becoming non existant. We have areas where birds have always flourished - people could walk or ride without problems - these are now becoming small plots of land which produce almost nothing anyway!

By Taurai Shava Gweru, Zimbabwe25 November 2008
listen to report on urban agriculture in Zimbabwe - Download (MP3) listen to report on urban agriculture in Zimbabwe - Listen (MP3)
In Zimbabwe, a likely reduction in food assistance by the World Food Program has many consumers wondering how they have enough to eat. Reporter Taurai Shava looks at efforts to grow more food in the town of Gweru. Despite bylaws restricting urban agriculture because of its perceived side-effects, more and more Gweru residents, like others in urban areas across the country, are planting crops hoping to provide their families with food amid severe shortages and ever-rising living costs.Ignoring the mid-morning summer heat, housewife Winnie Munanzvi of Gweru's Mkoba 2 high-density suburb digs with perseverance on a small patch of land on the vast open space adjacent to the Mkoba 11 high density suburb.Munanzvi is preparing her small field to plant a crop of maize. Her frenzied effort reflects her awareness of the food crisis that the country is facing – and the limits of aid.She says urban agriculture used to be looked down upon as a practice limited to urban poor, but with staple foods like maize meal hard to find or out of reach of those on limited incomes, even those with jobs are turning to gardening."In the past," he said, "the growing of crops on the small pieces of land in urban areas is something that was looked down upon. For one to be seen going to work on those small fields was degrading. But now raising crops on these small fields has become very important because of the hunger that is stalking most people. Most working people never used to have anything to do with growing crops on these small fields; It was for housewives like myself. Nowadays, even those people in formal employment are also scrambling for the small pieces of land to farm on. Some even engage other people to work on their pieces of land for them. These small pieces of land have become something very important. Often, there are wrangles over ownership of the small pieces of land. I believe urban agriculture has become a very important activity; virtually everyone now wants a small piece of land to farm on."Another person growing food here is Partson Mabika, an officer at the Gweru branch of a state-controlled enterprise. He says he has been growing crops on his small piece of land for several years now. "I started practicing urban agriculture several years back," said Mabika. "Most people used to think that growing crops on small pieces of land in town was done by those people who did not like to go to their rural homes to farm, but this is no longer the case. There are a lot of people who are preparing their small pieces of land for planting because they have now realized that this is helpful. When you have grown your own food crops, you won't need to spend a lot on buying food. So, at the moment, most people are busy preparing their small fields for planting, and they are also looking for seed because they know this will benefit them in the end."
While acknowledging the growing importance of urban gardens, a lecturer named Masaka of Midlands State University's natural resources department says by-laws restricting gardens were intended to promote proper land use.He says that despite food shortages and soaring costs, such laws must not be flouted, as doing so could devastate common urban lands.Masaka says research is needed into ways to balance people's needs with the preservation of natural resources. However, in the face of economic crises and widespread hunger, local authorities who used to strictly enforce such bylaws are now tolerating urban crops.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Recovering from having no power!

We are just recovering from 5 days without any power - it has taken us three days to sort out the problems this left us with. We have for some time been placing plastic 2 litre bottles of water in our freezers and letting them freeze - this proved to be a wise decision as we lost nothing! Even our frozen fish was still frozen! We also covered the freezers with towels and blankets and did not open them unless we ran the generator.

Hope we will have power for some time now.

One of our neighbours had a tree fall onto her cables yesterday. this caused our lights to flicker and a number of explosions were heard. I went down the road to have a look but other than a smell of smoke could see nothing - and we still had power.
We are always heartened to receive encouraging and heartfelt messages - this has just arrived from a Lind in Canada:

To My Dear Lind Family in Africa....we are very concerned for your safety and well beeing..It is difficult for we here in Canada to understand the situtation in your country. The subject was mentioned at our church service this morning. The shock that Jimmie Cartier and Mr. Mandella were not permited into your country was quite a blow.

I mentioned to our minster that I do hear from my Lind Family so I hope you don't mind me sending your last two e-mails to him to view, as he too is concerned.

Hope that your sons will arrive home safety.....Where are your maids, and gardner now ??/ have they gotten employment elsewhere ?are they able to support and get food for their families.....? Its a cruel world out there for many people.....

There has been a slow down with employment in USA and Canada...Don"t know where it will end....

Your all in our thoughts and prayers, so do not think you are alone as better days will follow......
Please keep in touch......I know your family is brave, and have courage......Lots of Love...Rosemary

Does the Red Cross or other Food agencies operate in your country at this time of terrible need ? Or doctors without help the sick and injured......Hope to hear from you soon.....

Our maid is still with us and we help to feed her and her family and provide medicines when needed. There is nothing available here for them.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

All about Cholera - now taken hold in Zimbabwe!!!

Cholera Guidelines: Oxfam GB – ZIMBABWE
With the increase in cholera please take not of the following guidelines provided by Oxfam.SUMMARY1. Cholera is extremely contagious.2. Be obsessed about washing your hands with soap and drinking clean water.3. Be aware of the symptoms - extremely watery, white diarrhoea.4. Curing cholera is very simple: REHYDRATION using Oral rehydration solution, sugar and salt
solution immediately.5. Failure to observe the rule of rehydration immediately can result in severe dehydration and
death.CAUSESCholera is caused by a bacterium. Not a virus. The bacteria is called Vibrio cholerae. The main routes of faecal-oral transmission are through: o Not washing your hands with soap after the toilet or touching an infected person, o consuming contaminated water, o and eating contaminated food that is not cooked properly.
Once infected, a person can develop the symptoms within hours (but usually 2-3 days). The symptoms are extremely watery diarrhoea that is white in colour, like the colour of water from cooking rice.However, 80% of people who are infected with the bacteria either do not show any symptoms at all or only get mild normal diarrhoea. Cholera diarrhoea is painless. There are no cramps or other pain like other types of diarrhoea. Cholera does not cause blood in the faeces. There is no fever associated with cholera. Vomiting is common. Severe cholera can cause you to lose massive volumes of fluids (severe dehydration) in hours, which means that if rehydration does not take place quick enough, severe illness and death can occur. It is possible to lose from 10 to 20 litres per day. All of that must be replaced of course. Such severe dehydration will require medical rehydration using intravenous rehydration.If you think you have the symptoms, go to your nearest health centre. Immediately. Even if it is 4 o'clock in the morning. Cholera does not cause death. Severe dehydration causes death.
There is no reason at all that anyone should die of cholera, as it is a very easy disease to cure.Simply it requires consumption of lots of ORS/Sugar and Salt Solution.Once you think you have the symptoms mentioned above you should begin to consume a lot of ORS/Sugar and Salt Solution.Sugar and Salt Solution is made as follows 6 teaspoons of sugar, and half a teaspoon of salt in a 750ml container.Go to your nearest health facility.
Be obsessed about washing your hands. After BABY (defecating), after shaking hands with people, after visits to the hospital or Cholera Treatment Centres, etc. This sounds obvious, but surprisingly we become very lazy at this.Contaminated water is a major cause of getting cholera. Treatment of water is effective with chlorine or boiling for a minimum of one minute. If you're not sure it's clean, DON'T DRINK IT.For the duration of the outbreak do not consume market food that is uncooked or not cooked properly. This includes foods that have water sprinkled on them. Fruits that can be peeled such as bananas, oranges, etc are fine but remember to wash your hands with soap before peeling them.Like most diarrhoeal bacteria, you can carry the bacteria for up to several weeks after being infected without being affected. It is important to always be careful
Aquatabs can be use to disinfect water. When using aquatabs:Put one tablet into 20-25 litres of water and cover the container. Wait for 30 minutes for the tablet to dissolve before drinking the water. Never swallow the tablet - it must dissolve in 20-25 litres of water Note: Aquatabs are not for treating diarrhoea. They only disinfect water.
I may have missed it but I think you have missed the absolutely critical point.As I remember the cure given by the then Provincial Medical Officer of Health in Masvingo thirty years ago - was:-administer the rehydration solution to the patient by tablespoon.One tablespoonful every two minutes.And that is the hard part.If the gut becomes dry the lining is destroyed and it is essential to keep it wet. You do this by delivering the solution a spoonful at a time, every two minutes, night and day till the body destroys the bacteria.Let up and the bacteria takes over.Even four minutes gives the bacteria remission.The patient can sleep so long as the carer delivers the one tablespoonful every two minutes.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Tel One runs out of diesel to power the phones

This really belongs under lifestyle - only in Zimbabwe could this happen!

November 21, 2008 - The Zimbabwe Times
By Sibangani Sibanda
SOMETIMES it is difficult to know whether to laugh or cry at the situation in Zimbabwe.
Just when we think that we have seen it all, Zimbabwe has a way of showing us something new. The government’s apparent indifference to the plight of the many who have to go for days at a time without food, or the pupils who have had no teachers for months, or even the deaths that have occurred as a result of a preventable cholera epidemic are well documented indications of a government that has lost all authority and has no interest in serving the people it claims to represent.
Yet even in this gloom, we sometimes get some unintended comic relief.
Our telephone system, chronically unreliable at the best of times, has got worse! Telephones inexplicably stop working, and just as inexplicably, start working again. In the last two weeks or so, my office has had no telephone service in the mornings at all, but has sometimes had service in the afternoons, which makes getting any work done at all, something of a miracle.
The situation, it turns out, covers the whole country and many Zimbabweans have simply assumed that as we have had “load shedding” for electric power for some time, we now have load shedding for telephones!
In desperation, I visited the offices of Tel One, the sole fixed line telephone service provider in the country. No, they told me, it is not load shedding, but it may as well be.
Telephone exchanges, they explained, work on electricity - I must admit that this had never occurred to me! As such, every time we get power outages at the exchange as a result of the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA)’s load shedding, telephones also go off. Like any good service provider would do (although I use the term “good” advisedly in the case of Tel One), Tel One bought themselves diesel-run generators to ensure that their beleaguered customers did not lose telephones every time there was a power cut.
On their part, government, through the multi-faceted, multi-talented Reserve Bank governor, Gideon Gono, undertook to supply Tel One with cheap, very cheap diesel. Anybody who has been following the fortunes (or rather misfortunes) of Zimbabwe will know that there is an innovative accounting system in government where goods are sold to the end user at less than the cost of producing or procuring those goods. These goods thus remain on the market until such time as they can no longer be replaced because money has this bad habit of running out when more of it is going out than coming in.
Come to think of it, most commodities have this bad habit.
Anyway, the cheap diesel is no longer available, or rather, as the Tel One officials put it, there have been no deliveries for nearly two months, which is as good an indication as any, that it is no longer available. So now when ZESA sheds its load, telephones go off, and when ZESA “comes back”, the telephones also “come back”! There is, of course, other diesel available on the market at market prices, but I forgot to ask the officials why Tel One does not buy this to keep their customers happy. It may have something to do with the expectation of government that Tel One sells its services using the aforementioned innovative accounting system of government!
It may be that I live in a society where humor is at something of a premium, but I found this whole episode amusing – in an irritating sort of way. Like how I found laughter in trying to withdraw money from the bank to go and bury my late aunt last week.
Our Mr. Gono has decided that we can only withdraw Z$ 500 000.00 per day, which is not enough to buy a loaf of bread. However, being a passive, law-abiding citizenry, we dutifully go to the bank and withdraw our daily (less-than-a-loaf-of) bread. Should we require money for such emergencies as funerals, we make applications to the Reserve Bank, with all necessary proofs of our bereavement attached. The Reserve Bank may take a few days (or a few weeks) to respond – which may mean a lengthy funeral wake.
When they finally respond, having been convinced that the person you say is dead is, indeed, dead, the costs of burial will have gone up substantially. This may mean a re-application. In any case, the bank may not have the physical cash to give you, and as you have 48 hours within which to withdraw the money, they may ask you to re-apply after the expiry of your withdrawal window!
Despite my bereavement, I left the bank laughing uncontrollably.

Thursday, November 20, 2008



We are urgently looking for anyone who is a ‘Registered’ A-Positive Blood Donor or a Universal Donor.

Patsy needs a Blood Transfusion urgently and unfortunately the Blood Screening machine is out of order and so REGISTRED donors are required as we cannot have any blood screened. So if you have donated with in the last couple of months and are able to donate again, please help!

Contact: Juliet on 0912 307645 or 04 882309 or Sally on 0912 607879 or 04 870174


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Poem For Harry

A tiny scrap of orange fluff
You climbed up on my chest,
With big green eyes and roaring purr,
You plucked my heart right from my breast.

Timeless wisdom etched on your face;
Quiet councillor, mischievous gnome,
Tranquil presence, fiercest fiend,
Priceless gift to my hearth and home.

Most loyal friend, most precious gift,
The love you’ve given me!
On darkest nights you snuggled tight,
Now this dawn you will be free!

You kept me sane, you kept me strong
Your beauty and your sense of fun;
Princess, Orange Essence, Pot Of Gold,
Venus, Harry Hooligan, Goddess Of The Sun!

Harry was put to sleep this morning, she fought a good fight!

Susan McMillan
November 18 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Power Story

It is now Wednesday and we have had no power since Saturday.

Yesterday I went to the Borrowdale faults office and made another complaint.

They said they had no transport! So we offered them transport - they refused - they said they needed ladders - we offered them ladders - they said they would not be high enough - I mentioned that they had used them before - then they said (it was 3 pm) that the crew had to get the bus to take them home at 4 - we offered to take them home - They refused the offer - the crews were lounging around doing nothing!!!!

Another neighbour went to the office at about 4 and was told that they would do nothing on our fault as a women had been there earlier and was cheeky!!! (That was me). I have checked with the other people who were there at the same time and have been reassured that I was very polite and reasonable.

There was a truck with three men in the back - they told me they were tree cutters but were not working as they had not been paid! (Trees falling over lines are a major problem)

Today my husband and a neighbour are going to the ZESA office with a landrover and trailer to take a crew to the fault site tio sort it out. It is raining so the crew will probably refuse to work! Iwill keep you informed!

Ode to Harry

My friend Sue loves animals but most of all she loves her cats.

Sadly Harry died yesterday and I really do not know what to say to her. She did not cry - she did not even tell me until I asked how Harry was......... She did not want to upset me!!!!!

Harry was lovely - a beautiful ginger girl with a lovely and loving character. I will miss Harry and I am crying as I write this because we need loving people and animals more than ever now - Harry will be forever in my memory.

Lots of love to you Sue from all of us who know you and Harry.

Oh what is money!

This is what we have to deal with on a daily basis
Coping with zeros

Some punters on the stock exchange must have in recent days been wondering what to
write on their cheques when dealing with large sums of money. The following table
contains large numbers up to 1 followed by 33 zeros, which should allow everyone to
come to terms with huge figures.

Name Number of Zerosmillion 6 (1,000,000)billion 9 (1,000,000,000)trillion 12 (1,000,000,000,000)quadrillion 15 (1,000,000,000,000,000)quintillion 18 (1000,000,000,000,000,000)sextillion 21 (1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000)septillion 24 (1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000)octillion 27 (1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000)nonillion 30 (1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000)decillion 33 (1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000)

Monday, November 17, 2008

So no water for months!!!!!
We have a very social life - people come to bath and wash their hair in our pool. The pool costs a missive amount to keep up but it provides us with a bath when we have no power to generate the bore hole, a way to wash our hair, water to fill the cisterns to flush the toilets!
I have really started swimming again.
Dove soap is the best in the pool!!!!!!

Econet - our favourite cell phone provider - has now changed its rules! One can no longer pay by cheque or 'plastic' Cash only. They require 2 million for a top up which will last 30 minutes - this has to be paid in cash and if you do not 'top up' you can loose your contract line. The 'top up' will be valid for 1 month only. We understand this is because they have not upgraded their billing system - so we have to suffer!!!!!!
Yesterday no phones on the land line system - today - thank goodness they are back - but no electricity since Saturday 2:30.
I am writting this with a stiff drink in front of me - it is 7 am - never before have I done this but it is vodka or tranquelizers!
We woke up to one freezer - the one with all my vegetarian food - completely defrosted. At 5 am we were transporting half or defrosted foods from our kitchen upright freezer to big chest freezer - the kitchen is a wash with water - oh well, the freezer needed defrosting anyway!
Adrian is cleaning up as I write - one plus - I found the eggplant I had frozen and could not find - rattatoulle tonight!
Thank goodness for the invertor - was able to watch Stargate last night - and will be able to watch again tonight.
I have been unable to bake bread so it is ryvita for breakfast - probably healthier.
Will blog again later today as have to run gernerator three times a day while the power is out.

Cell phones will be a thing of the past

Econet - our favourite cell phone provider - has now changed its rules! One can no longer pay by cheque or 'plastic' Cash only. They require 2 million for a top up which will last 30 minutes - this has to be paid in cash and if you do not 'top up' you can loose your contract line. The 'top up' will be valid for 1 month only. We understand this is because they have not upgraded their billing system - so we have to suffer!!!!!!

Yesterday no phones on the land line system - today - thank goodness they are back - but no electricity since Saturday 2:30.

I am writting this with a stiff drink in front of me - it is 7 am - never before have I done this but it is vodka or tranquelizers!

We woke up to one freezer - the one with all my vegetarian food - completely defrosted. At 5 am we were transporting half or defrosted foods from our kitchen upright freezer to big chest freezer - the kitchen is a wash

Sunday, November 16, 2008

No power!

We have had no power for nearly 48 hours. This means no internet most of the time as well There has been a major fault and a large part of Harare is powerless.

It started at 2:30 Saturday - we had a rain storm and that was it - no elecrticity!

We have solar lighting - and our alarm system hitched up to the solar panels so at least we have light and are alarmed.

However - no power means no water! We have not had municipal water for months - all our water comes from our borehole - which needs power to run! To be without water at the moment is really very serious as there is cholera raging within a mile or so of us.

We supply our maid with fresh drinking water - and a number of our friends and neighbours as well.

We have an invertor for running the TV and the computer but this lasts for only a limited period - then it has to be rechaerged - by power!

We have a generator but this needs petrol - very difficult to come by as petrol coupons are being used as currency. One cannot get enough money out of the bank to pay bills and no one will accept cheques or 'plastic' anymore!

We are running the generator now - for 3 hours to keep the freezers going.

This is no longer fun and games!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Appeal from Reps

Who would believe this?

Dear members,

In response to our recent appeal for water, our most heartfelt thanks to all of you who brought us water – it helped us out enormously! We have had a very reasonable quote for a water storage tank for the theatre – 800 USD.

Unfortunately, we cannot get that sort of money together and so we are appealing to members for donations to allow us to purchase this much needed tank, which will solve most of our water woes and ensure Reps can stay open and continue to provide top class entertainment to the people of Zimbabwe in a safe and clean environment!

We’ve already had a kick start donation from a non-member of 50 USD and if you would like to make a donation to this project, you can come into the office or leave it with the barmen for our attention.

Thanks in advance for any help given!

The Reps Team

Reps Theatre - Keeping Theatre 'Live!

Belgravia Shopping Centre
(Cnr Maasdorp Avenue / East Road)
Tel : 336706 / 335850
E-mail: or
Office opening hours: 9am to 1pm; 2pm to 4.15pm

Ticket sales at The Spotlight
Reps Theatre Foyer
Tel: 308159
Opening hours:
Tuesday to Friday 9am to 4pm (open through lunch)
Saturday and Sunday 9am to 12 noon
Phone bookings for Reps Members only

The Wardrobe
Opening hours:
Monday to Friday 9am to 3.30pm

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Reps without water

I received this in my mail box this morning - where else in the world would this happen!

Reps Members and Friends of Reps,

We have a HUGE problem. We are being badly affected by the recent spate of water shortages, like most of the city and are now facing possible shut down!

As we are a public venue and are expecting hundreds of people in the theatre over the next two weeks for the National Ballet shows, not to mention our annual pantomime, not being able to flush the toilets or allow people to wash their hands is a major problem. If we don’t have water, the whole premises becomes a health hazard and has to be closed and with the recent outbreaks of cholera around the city, this situation becomes that little bit worse.

So, we are appealing to EVERYONE for donations! If you can, please bring us some water in containers (which we WILL look after and return to you) either to Reps directly or to the National Ballet Centre. If you can’t help with water, we will also need containers to store water in so those would be gratefully received as well (these will also be looked after and returned!)

Thank you in advance for any help you can give!

The Reps Team
Reps Theatre - Keeping Theatre 'Live!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Cheques only accepted!

Most businesses in Zimbabwe are now only accepting cash - no cheques or credit cards!
Look at how this pans out.
One can only, as an individual, take out of your bank 500,000 a day - a business is allowed 1 million a day.
Your major bills - telephone, cell phone, electricity, water and rates - come to about 2,000,000 each - that is 10 million! One has to queue up for 20 days just to pay this amount - what about food etc???????
Then the electricity supply commission and the telephone company run out of receipts - one can only pay at one building in town - can you imagine the queues????
Most of a person's time is now spent getting money to pay bills and queuing to pay them!

This is complete lunacy - business will soon come to a standstill.

Most people were paid their salaries by transfer - now they are paid by cheque - cheques take up to five days to clear - payday is the 25th of the month. Bills are due about that date .

Chaos reigns!

Friday, November 7, 2008

A night of darkness - for all!

Last night our power went off at 10 minutes to eight. We have had no power since then until 1300 today. It was a fault and guess what, even the President was without power - not that he probably even noticed as he must have generators.

Adrian and I decided to breakfast on wholewheat bread - baked the day before with butter and anchovette paste, and Bloody Marys. By lunch time we had ingested three Bloody Marys and felt much better.

Did the usual when the power went on - loaded the dishwasher - how I could manage without that I do not know - and turned on all the appliances. I have a wooden spoon (that is true) that allows me to push or pull down all the various electrical power points and turn them on - I am only 4 foot eleven so it can be difficult for me to do this as most of the points are above my normal reach. Adrian had to go out and I stayed here in case (as it happened) the power returned. Now we wait - will we have another cut today?

Yesterday 6 women in our area complained and told the electricity supply commission that we knew there were areas that never got cuts and that the people in these areas were either 'important people' or had bribed someone!

Perhaps we hit a few nerves as my neighbour actually got a phone call from the General Manager apologising - perhaps our power woes are finished - who knows.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Typical Day

So How do we spend our days?

We normally rise at 5 or before - it is light by then. If we have been sensible we will have boiled a kettle of water the night before and stored the water in a Thermos flask - in preparation for the power cut which is inevitable. I sit and watch the sun rise - do some photography of plants in the garden - make a cup of tea or coffee and if possible watch the news - Sky, BBC, CNN.

Power can go off at any time - I try to work on the computer until we get load shedding - if I need to work urgently then I use the inverter - but not for too long as we need to keep the batteries charged in case of an emergency. Some days we get a few hours without power - normally we get long cuts - up to 17 hours in length.

So now no power - no water - and this can mean no telephone as well!

We get water from the pool to fill the toilet cisterns. We turn off all the electrical appliances - freezers etc as when the power does come back it often surges.

Our time and activities are ruled by the power supply.

We read, swim and talk - have a few drinks around lunch time and wait. I have tidy cupboards for the first time in ages - it passes the time to tidy up. I load the dishwasher and washing machine.

I have started to study the Tarot again. I play card games - anything to pass the time until we have power and can work again.

We go to the bank to try and get out some of our money - quite often the bank has no money to give out . We visit friends or they visit us!

The power comes on - it is lunch time but the priorities must come first - turn on appliances, make bread, turn on the computer and try to work - the Internet goes up and down making this very difficult.

4:30 and I stop work - Stinky - the Jack Russell - needs her ball throwing. After that we sit down outside in the garden and savour a drink before the light goes. As soon as dusk is upon us the dogs are brought into the house (our next door neighbours Labrador was poisoned last week) - we lock up and turn on the alarm system (there have been a number of armed robberies recently). Our evenings are spent reading, listening to music or watching a few selected programs on TV or a DVD or video. All this as long as we have power.

We have got used to eating a small meal at about 10:30 in the morning and a main meal at night - I have a gas stove and solar lighting so this is not too much of a problem. however, I am getting a master at one pot meals - saves gas and washing up!

And so an average day goes by.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Leopard Attack!

This mail was sent from a friend of ours who is a professional hunter. The damage has healed quite well!

Hi Odette & Adrian

Thought I'd let you know before it gets to you by other means, I inadvertently got on the wrong side of a Leopard Monday 13 October and was torn up a little.

We were hunting an Elephant Cow and tracks took us past a Leopard burrow, which we saw two cubs sitting by. We watched them for a bit and as the tracks took us past the burrow, which had two entrances / exits, we all continued past. As I was by one of the entrances, the Mother boiled out at me jumping up on me, clawing my face, my arm and my shoulder. She also got my ankle. There are all sorts of cuts and tears on me from her, but it happened in just a blink and she was off me and by the time I opened my eyes again, she was some 20 yards away. My client cased her but I recalled him in case she gave him a working over too.

As she leapt at me I put my rifle and right hand in her path, which she clawed, getting my right wrist and scratching my brand new rifle that my client bought me.
Her left Paw caught my face and raked my face, leaving me with a torn piece of flesh just 2mm below my left eye, exposing some bone and opening up a tear some 2 inches long and claws pierced three places in my left cheek and neck.
She swatted me a second time before leaving and tore up my left arm and leg, but luckily my rifle was in the way and blocked her hind leg from disembowelling me.

I was taken to Sengwa clinic, holding the piece of flesh up on my face, they had no supplies save an antiTet jab which they gave me and referred me to Gokwe clinic. I was taken to Gokwe some 110 klms away, again hoding my cheek in place. There I saw a well spoken, courteous and efficient black woman Doctor who disinfected the wounds and stitched my eye and arm. My eye has been stitched both inside the wound and externally with 9 stitches.
I was not bitten, so am not in danger of septicaemia or the like, neither am I in pain, in fact there is no pain at all, but my eye looks like a purple balloon which is uncomfortable.
I returned to Hre the following day and went to my Dr, who complimented the work of the lady Dr at Gokwe, and gave me some strong antibiotics, which have helped.
I was ready to return to the hunt in the afternoon but my client refused to let me continue, he already had one Elephant but if possible said he would take a second and as it was the last day and he had all he wanted there was no loss, so I relaxed for the rest of the day.

I was extremely lucky not to have her attack me properly, she was merely wanting to get away and climbed over me to escape. I am litterally fine and have not been hurt severely at all. The blood vessels to my eye are all still intact and I still have 100% eye use and sight. That was the luckiest part, as just 1.5 mm higher and my eye would have popped.

I don't blame the Leopard at all, in fact I fully realise we should have detoured once we discovered cubs there. She was protecting her burrow and cubs. She cannot be blamed at all for anything.

I am hunting again tomorrow in Binga for 10 days, just doing a Buffalo / plains game hunt and returning on the 27th.

I will write again on my return.

Love to you all, hope you're all well.


Monday, October 27, 2008

100 billion dollars!

So now we have a hundred billion dollar note - looks like we have more than ten zeros back on our currency as this will buy - just three eggs!!!!!!! And this would only be possible if the shops would take local currency.

A friend of mine tried to buy some vegetables yesterday - no one would take a cheque, the cash card machines in all the shops were out of order and of course she did not have enough cash to cover the amount. She tried to yet some forex - legally - and was told sorry there is none. She tried to get some petrol coupons but her supplier did not have any - they had no forex to buy them with!

We are coming to a standstill.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

We manage to socialise quite often. Usually over lunch as people don't like to drive at night. Our lunches are varied and often taken outdoors - especially now when it is hot and dry. We still manage to put together a variety of meals and drink a selection of wines - sometimes having been stored away for some time!

The bread in this picture was home made. I make our bread, yogurt, cakes, pasta and cream cheese and we try and grow all our own vegetables and fruit.

6 packs of Vodka!

Spirits are in short supply but vodka is being produced locally. We were buying it in 5 litre plastic containers - now we buy it by the six pack. Cheaper than the supermarket offering of one bottle at a time!

Note the gas cylender and thermos flask. When we have no power - almost every day now - we use a gas ring for cooking - I am am now an expert on one dish meals! We boil a kettle before retiring at night - before the power goes out - and fill the flask so we can have tea or coffee in the morning!

Wonder what our money looks like?

Well it changes so quickly we have difficulty keep in up with it

Here is a photograph of how we were given the 20,000 dollars we were allowed out for one day!
All one dollar notes!
On top of it all it doesn't buy anything.
Sometime ago 10 zeros were taken off our currency - now they have almost all returned!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Never got to the Clarins Presentation!

The day before the presentation I was picking mulberries in the garden and was bitten by, what we think, was a sack spider! The bite was on on my left cheek - it left a horrible suppurating sore - there was no way l could go out! I would have frightened everyone!

I understand the event was a great success and hope I get invited to the next one!

My cheek is now almost healed but I stay away from the mulberry tree!

Friday, September 19, 2008

CLARINS - Tribute to Zimbabwe Women

Next week I have been invited to a function by Clarins. A garden party with demonstrations and make overs!
I have used their products for some years and really feel they are the best! My skin responds to them and their natural ingredients make me feel good using them. the results show!
At their last function I was lucky enough to win the hamper of products which extended my knowledge of the range. Here I am seen with Jane Coombes - the Zimbabwe General Manager for Clarins.

"With Clarins Life is More Beautiful " is their slogan - and I agree. More about this after the 25th!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Difficult times for foodies

The supply of basic food stuffs had diminished drastically over the last month. it is almost impossible to find eggs - flour - milk!!!!!! However we still manage to provide food on our tables that is more than acceptable.

some years ago i found a little book written by a commune in America. the members do not eat meat or any dairy products or eggs! so now i am happily making egg less biscuits and egg less cakes.

Good food is still be provided on our tables.

However restaurants are suffering. I went to a meeting a week or so back - a lunch with a speaker - on the menu was the choice of chicken and chips or soup and rolls. Guess what? No rolls - how can you have a meager bowl of soup and not provide a roll to accompany it! The excuse? They are too expensive to provide!!

Oh well lets hope things will look up over the next couple of weeks!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Meikles Grape Vine

I was pleased to be invited to the Meikles Grape Vine wine tasting session this week. As Rose Wines were on the menu we all had to dress in pink to compliment the wine. I managed to dress all in pink and the choice made for a colourful turn out of colourful people. We sampled seven rose wines in total - each very different. some were South African and some Portugese. It was a delightful evening and we were able to expand our knowlege of the wine.

Rose has always been labled as a summer drink - and a woman's drink. The wines on off that evening were not the normal sweet roses but mostly dry with a sophisticated flare.

La Fontaine Grillroom – a New Menu – Another Success

When the La Fontaine Grillroom opened in 1958 few people would have expected it to retain its opulence and identity for fifty years. The menu and décor have changed over the years but the standard of food and service has never been anything but the best.

Named after the fountains in Africa Unity Square, which it overlooks, it has retained elegance and quiet dignity throughout the years.

I cannot remember partaking of a meal that did not hold some special memory, whether it was for a magnificent dish or some special act of service by the staff.

I was thrilled to be invited to the Chef’s Table to sample the new menu launched this month. Not only to sample the dishes but to actually dine in the kitchen as a guest of Executive Chef Chris Gonzo.

Any restaurant willing to show off its kitchens must be proud of them and La Fontaine can certainly be proud. They are spotless and the unhurried and efficient way the staff go about their business show how well the Executive Chef runs his operation.

We were met in the Can Can Bar (what a pity it is no longer decorated in red!) and a drink or two preceded our first sampling. Meikles still manages to provide a wide selection of pre-lunch and pre-dinner drinks.

A selection of hot appetizers was presented to us arranged in napkin swans.

The selection comprised Cheese Croquettes served with compote of mixed fruits (tasty and melt in the mouth), Eastern Fish Cakes with a sweet chilli sauce and Savoury Meat Balls flavoured with mint (I found the mint flavouring very subtle).

To my mind the Fish Cakes were the best offering. They were tasty but not fishy and the combination of the fish with the sweet and sour sauce was perfect.

Hot appetisers which also appear on the menu include Sautéed Chicken Livers, and Chicken Gizzards Flambé. We were served the latter as an accompaniment to our soup course.

Having made short work of these appetizers we were escorted to our table in the spacious kitchens where we tasted the wines to be served with the meal. There was a Merlot and a Chardonnay – both from KWV. The Merlot is excellent and the Chardonnay unusual with a slight Perle quality.

Plates arrived with a selection of cold appetisers from the menu. These included Chunks of Tuna with an appealing onion marmalade and a Citrus Fish Terrene garnished with prawns (the terrene was delicate in texture and flavour). There was Smoked Chicken Salad that burst with flavour and Beef Carpaccio garnished with shavings of parmesan cheese. This was my favoured selection. La Fontaine Salad and an Assorted Hors d' oeuvres Platter are also available.

Next came the soup course. One has a choice between Butternut Soup, Mushroom Soup and a Seafood Bisque with Aioli. The soup chosen for us was a Cappuccino of Butternut Soup – rich, creamy and flavoursome. This was accompanied by the chicken gizzards on the hot appetiser menu – and the combination was excellent. I do not normally eat chicken gizzards but these had a flavour and texture that suited even my taste. Flamed in brandy and finished with cream and red wine they had a soft and tempting texture – defiantly to be recommended.

Entrees and grills have always been well prepared and presented at La Fontaine and this menu is no exception.

Crepes Balmoral (Fish Stew served in a pancake wrap), Fish of the Day, Seafood Kebabs and Kingclip Glenobloise are the seafood offerings. We sampled the Kingclip which is served with lemon segments and a caper butter sauce which I found somewhat masked the flavour of the fish which had been cooked to perfection.

A Coq au Vin, Beef Stroganoff, Asian Stir Fry are offered together with a Crusted Chicken Breast, Pork Schnitzel and Zimbabwe Prime Steak. La Fontaine has always produced a good steak and this was no exception – perfectly cooked, tender and served with either mushroom or pepper sauce (we sampled the pepper variety). This was without a doubt the best steak I have eaten for a long time. The chicken and pork were also succulent and almost melted in your mouth. All entrees are accompanied by vegetables in season and a choice of rice or potatoes in a variety of guises. We were treated to the Potato Croquette (which the restaurant does so well I could almost make a meal of them!).

The ever popular Meikles Mixed Grill, Aromatic Curry and the Chef’s Daily Special are also available.

We did not sample the Vegetarian offerings. These I nearly always find lacking in imagination when they appear on hotel menus. There is a Warm Vegetable Pasta, Eggs Florentine and a Vegetable Omelette on offer. I am certain that these are given the same care in preparation and presentation as the rest of the menu and I am sure they should meet the needs of those who do not eat meat or fish.

There are three scrumptious deserts to choose from as well as the well stocked Dessert Trolley. We tried the Omelette of Fresh Fruits with ice cream and chocolate sauce which not only looked spectacular but tasted fantastic. The other offerings are Chocolate Delight and Crepes Suzette (La Fontaine would not be La Fontaine without Crepe Suzette).

Dessert was followed by a cheese board which included both local and imported cheeses and lovely crisp biscuits.

As the ideal end to a wonderful taste experience we were served coffee. There is a choice of coffees, teas and special after dinner drinks. Complimentary petit fours are served at the end of the meal.

Another triumph for Meikles and Executive Chef Chris Gonzo!

A bit of background on Chef Gonzo – he joined Meikles as Sous Chef in the Bagatelle Restaurant in 1993. In 1999 he became Executive Sous Chef at the hotel and in 2000 he left to go to the Victoria Falls Hotel as Executive Chef. He returned to Meikles in 2005 to become Executive Chef - the post he holds today.

His experience and skill can be seen in the variety and standard of the menu offerings at La Fontaine.

The Cyberchef – Harare - Zimbabwe
August 5, 2008