Inspiration and Bad Press

12 11 2006

Actually, I’m completely uninspired to write anything. I have no real claim to any artistic talent but I do find that some days I can get down and write and others… Well, I struggle.

It has been a hot day, in the low 30’s which is not oppressive, but hot enough to get the sweat going with any sort of exertion. This afternoon I took Jenni over to the microlight club on the Mazoe road where we winch paragliders up behind a pickup. It is quite a social place; there are a surprising number of microlights of all types and sizes (including a microlight helicopter), a small strip for the model aircraft and when the thermals are a bit much for the others we use the microlight runway.

Today was not great for winching as the wind was too strong which tends to fragment the thermals but later in the evening we moved to a road in a maize field and winched there to stay out of the way of the now active powered aircraft. A number of ex-pats had showed up and Barry, our only instructor took them for flights on his tandem paraglider. By now conditions were very smooth so it was a great introduction and by nightfall we had two new students.

One of them is Anna, an attractive German girl who is here with Care International. It took me a while of puzzling to work out her accent as she speaks faultless English which is almost too precise. She has only been here a few weeks and has already decided that she wants to stay longer than her allotted contract which ends at the end of March next year. She thinks that Zim is such a great place especially when compared to the other African countries she has experienced. “I have never been so misled by the press” she commented to me. My brother and his family from the UK were out here in August and he said much the same to a mutual acquaintance. I told Anna that yes, Zim IS a great country to visit and work in if you are earning real money (the black market money makes for cheap living) but it is a struggle to make a living as a local.

Yes, things ARE bad here but personally one does not feel threatened and we are FAR better off than a lot of countries to the north. So why do we get such a bad press? The media does love a dramatic story and the Zimbabwe government can be very belligerent and its policies are not well thought out, if at all but that should not affect the visitor. We are a lot safer than South Africa and we have a relatively good infrastructure by African standards. I went with my brother to Victoria Falls for a night and they did all the tourist things. A jet boat ride on the river for my nephews went down well but they were the only tourists in the only Zim boat. The Zambian side was rocking! Would we have such a negative press if we weren’t an ex-colony with a minority white population who has taken a hammering in the land issue? I really don’t know.

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