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1997 in Zimbabwe, part 9

This is the ninth in an ongoing series of posts that capture journal entries from my incredible trip to Zimbabwe in 1997. You can read more about my motivation for the journey and why I’m revisiting it now in the original post. I was 21 at the time I wrote this.
Part 9
7/3/97, Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe

CHIYSAP Offices Sign

On my way to the CHIYSAP Offices

Today was a good day although it started with some guys harassing me on the bus this morning. They were saying something about the color of my skin, but I couldn’t understand them so I turned away. They continued talking and pointing at me and Francis even talked to them which I thought was rather rude. I’ll just assume he was defending me.
Every morning we walk across a field to a main intersection and get a ‘lift’ to the St. Mary’s Area which is closest to CHIYSAP. Then we walk across another field of dry grass to get to the office. The lift can be provided by several different types of transportation. There are large buses that look like American school buses which are owned by many different companies; there are mini buses of every sort, some are owned my companies, others by individuals; there are “emergency taxies” which are about the size of a station wagon; there are also just random people who will give you a ride. Buses cost $2.80 and private rides are $4.00 I think.
I am getting more accustomed to the layout of this place and basic ways to get around. I’ll test that this weekend when I go into town by myself. I’ll have to figure out how to get home. I wrote my address down so I can ask if I get lost, but I fear that people here generally don’t have much good will towards me, a light-skinned foreigner. It is definitely a new place for me, but somehow it reminds me of my college experience at Santa Clara University. However, I could get along on my own there an at least it was safe. Here everything is unfamiliar and uncertain, but maybe someday soon I’ll be able to feel at home.
I spent the whole day (9am-5pm) at the office today, with two breaks for snacks and food which is becoming more palatable. We usually have bread with margarine and mazoe for snacks and a plate of sadza with greens and beef for lunch. Mazoe is like Hawaiian Punch, it comes concentrated and then you add water (four parts water to one part mazoe). It only contains ten percent juice, but it is better than water. Today’s meeting was the Council of Youths. It took place outsize under the tree and was actually pretty interesting. CHIYSAP is an extremely complex organization which allows everyone their input so things take a while, but I think that is a good thing. By the time I come home I’ll be used to their mode and everyone at home will be impatient with my new ‘developing country’ attitude towards time!
Continued in Part 10

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