The human experience should have told us all a long time ago that
peace and prosperity are the exception rather than the norm in life.
something comes along that does meet our higher expectations we should
surprised and hopefully have a small window of opportunity to revel in
I had a slight stroke on Christmas day last week. A blood vessel in my
was blocked for several hours. I blacked out and came around in an
ward at a local clinic almost as if suddenly the lights had been turned
again! It was quite an experience - no pain and no warning, I even
the Christmas dinner before taking myself off to bed and then departing
other realms and waking up at 6 pm.
What surprised me was the quality of medical care I got. My specialist
doctor refugee from the Sudan (Juba) and he could not have been more
professional and kind. The hospital staff was just great and the food
and well prepared. All the required equipment needed worked and was
available with trained and experienced staff - the wonders of private
enterprise! Nothing like this was available in the public sector.
I am now on medication and recovering, the doctor says my brain will
compensate for the tissue lost and I should get all my faculties back
shortly. I am grateful - and more determined than ever to ensure that
services are available to all once we get into government. Its not
difficult, we can afford it and all it needs is a decent government and
right systems and values.
I was also surprised by the first primaries in the US elections - a
of mine for some time, in fact since I first heard him speak at a major
conference in the States, Obama, has won the first primary and now
if he will win the next. It is not that I do not respect Hilary Clinton
would not like to see a woman in the White House for the first time,
Obama has such an extraordinary story and is so intelligent and
that I think he would not only make an excellent US President, but be
first African/American to enter the race and take the main seat of
The US has that capacity to surprise us, in the 60's I can remember
US, staggering after the Vietnam debacle, picked itself up and
itself. It was a prime example of a whole country remaking itself from
within and without the help of others or any major calamity at home.
of the blue comes this man, son of a Kenyan peasant farmer and an
mother, good looking, intelligent and black! He steps up to the plate,
becomes a Senator and then has a go at the Presidency - the story of
tales and its in real life.
Then the story of Kenya - a President who, faced with an electoral
falsifies the results of the election to give himself a slight
himself sworn in by Supreme Court Judges appointed just hours before
then assumes power and behaves as if all is normal. The Kenyans were
not going to take it - not any more and I heard today that with 500
and rioting on the streets for days on end, he has finally given in and
accepted that talks should take place to resolve the crisis in
He did not get away with it - no matter what people say, the fraud
exposed and although messy, the outcome is being dealt with. Africa is
Two months ago our City was dying - we were down to one supply dam
20 per cent of our full requirements for water. Last year we had less
450 mm of rain and our dams were drying up. 700 000 people had to find
by hand from local boreholes and bowsers. Now we are in January and 450
of rain has fallen in three moths - December has been one of the
months on record and our dams are filling again. The bush is
thick and luxurious and grass is growing even where we have not seen
Global warming, the threat of declining rainfall and expanding deserts
here we are - surprised and ambushed by the wet season. We are now
chemicals to treat the water - but we have water!
I am also constantly surprised by how people survive under the most
horrendous of circumstances. My personal inflation index is now sitting
56 000 percent. Our money is worthless - the highest denomination -
dollars just introduced is worth 20 US cents. In a situation where the
minimum wags is less than Z$35 million, milk is now Z$2,5 million a
meat about Z$5 million a kilo and fuel is Z$4 million a litre or more.
More critical are the physical shortages - you cannot buy the basic
for love or money. Queuing is every day for everything. Yet people
and even more - have fun doing it. Surprised! Yes - so am I! I know
who have everything that life can throw at you - money, a good job,
house, security and more. Yet they are miserable and unfulfilled.
For us life is tough and unrelenting but we are being constantly
by the achievement of the most ordinary of things. A glorious morning
a night of rain, water coming out of the taps, electricity on demand
occasionally. The pleasure of simple relationships and care for each
the unity of the suffering and oppressed. A shared moment in a queue
the achievement of the purchase of essential needs.
The right to vote and speak our minds, do we know what these simple
mean? Only if you do not have them, when you do, they are as sweet as
One day we will be able to march down the street with a banner that
and find yourself' and not be arrested or beaten. One day, perhaps
will change our world by simply exercising our rights as a people to
the leadership we want. What a day that will be - what a great
will be for all of us!
Bulawayo, 7th January 2008