Tears of a native
By Ivy Chibanda
My heart bleeds when i think of my nation, I don’t think any other nation has a miserable people as much as my nation does. One can only wish for the night to be longer as day brings nothing more than more problems.
The breaking of dawn comes with it reminders of the bills that have to be paid, the outstanding salaries, where the next meal will come from and whether or not to switch on your phone. Switching it on would mean the people you owe money might call, one after the other, with all of them asking “How far?”.
Well, one might decide to switch it off for the greater part of the day but then the one who owes you money might call, asking whether to bring the cash or to deposit in the bank. If your phone is unavailable, they would rather deposit it in the bank before they are tempted to pay someone else whom they owe money. That would be a nightmare as no one wants their money deposited in the bank, you might get swollen legs waiting for a very small amount of money.
The usual sight of the CBD nowadays is queues at every corner, not just queues, long queues where if you get to the bank just a few minutes after eight, you might get the number 300 if you are lucky or you don’t get a number at all and you would have to try another day. It is sad that you would have to keep trying for a very small amount of money.
It is no news that there’s a cash crisis in Zimbabwe. Probably it’s because companies are not depositing the cash because people are not buying from their stores because they do not have money, their money is in the banks and banks cannot give them money because there aren’t much deposits. I am not sure how it really works but the point is, the cash crisis has caused misery in the country.
Whoever thought that bosses of big companies would one day humble themselves in front of Ecocash agents. Some had crammed agent codes and they would just get to the agent and claim they had a cash out of a certain amount and they would get it. To some extent, it has taught people manners and reminded us that no matter one’s position, we will need each other at some point in time.
Nowadays, one has to humble themselves, greet the agent politely, ask how the weather is treating them, whether they are having problems at home or if they need a new pen. After a lengthy conversation they then ask if they have cash, and if they don’t, (which in many cases they don’t) they ask for the agent’s phone number so as to call and confirm if there’s money or not.
Some of these agents have become wealthy as in every crisis, someone benefits. If they do have the cash and you have created a good relationship with them, they can keep the money for you, with the condition that they get a percentage of that money. One has no option but to comply, you need the money.
After the struggle with getting cash, one is not really keen to go home. With the little cash that one has, they have to balance between bus fare, food for the family as well as other expenses. One goes home with a heavy heart. Thinking of how they will balance work (if they are employed) the following day, standing in the long queue as well as get more money for survival.
As if the economic problems ain’t enough, there comes the water crisis. With the wells going dry in this heat, there’s massive saving of water. No water is thrown out. After bathing, washing the dishes or mopping the floor, everyone knows, the water is for flushing. There now is a reservoir of ‘dirty’ water. Everyone is forced to control their bowls because if they don’t, with the water crisis, one is forced to knock on neighbors gates (who are fortunate enough to have boreholes) frequently. I guess everyone’s prayer these days is not to have diarrhea.
No one wants to be a nuisance to the neighbours, eventually they will get tired of your begging. The City council has let us down. I bet the city fathers don’t even know the stress we all go through just to get a bucket of water as they are living in far much better conditions than all of us.
City council has no mercy for either the residents or the workers. There is poor service delivery in the residential areas with the garbage collectors coming once a month (twice if they feel like it) and one can imagine the flies by the gates when the people take their bins out every Thursday, and the risk of diseases that those flies bring. Now that there’s an outbreak of typhoid, I wonder if they will ‘remember’ the needs of the residents.
To some extent, one cannot blame the city council workers as most of them haven’t been paid in a while. The stress they handle each and every day is sad. Thinking of the school fees, the tummies to feed, and the accumulating bills. The situation is just bad.
Up until when will we remain a crying nation? We’ve gotten used to consoling each other everyday. Telling each other it shall be well when it’s been years now with no change, just worsening conditions. Even graduation ceremonies no longer hold as much value as they used to as nowadays one thinks of what value it brings in going to a graduation ceremony, pulling out resources and leaving parents and guardians in debt when you have no job.
I hope our generation can one day enjoy the fruits of our nation. I hope one day we will be able to bath freely, without thinking of saving dirty water for flushing. I hope being a graduate will one day be something one can be really proud of and I hope life will get back to where one would never have to fear of switching on their phone in fear of the loan sharks….One can only hope.
You can visit Ivy Chibanda’s blog Ms. Resolute