This is the tenth 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.
7/3/97, Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe
I’ve been busy writing postcards and letters because I actually got to the Zengeza Post Office today and sent 23 postcards and three letters. Getting there was an ordeal because the hours are within my work schedule (8:30am-4:00pm). Joseph and Talita, driven by Emanuel, the designated CHIYSAP chauffeur (very few people drive here), came and picked us up early so I could go. We thought it opened at 8 but when we got there, we discovered it was 8:30 so that whole exercise was futile. I got a ride there later in the day and spent half an hour in line and another half hour liking stamps. Postcards cost $5.00 each and letters anywhere from $5-15.00. I bought some extra stamps so I won’t have to go there for a while. I’ll just have to estimate the weight.
I spent most of the day at the dressmaking training unit, a total waste of my time. They were supposed to cut out their trousers today but only one had her material. I helped three people transfer the master pattern into a copy of their own, the other two refused to do even that. After I did that I sat around for a while and then told the instructor to call me when she actually had something for me to do. I walked back to CHIYSAP where I had a productive meeting with Lovemore, then got into the back of the CHIYSAP truck (we took the station wagon in the morning but it wasn’t running very well) and came home.
I spent the weekend in the city; I went by myself so it was a test. I actually made it home in one piece (after dark) on Sunday night. Friday I stayed home after work because I had to meet with the theatre group on Saturday morning at 9:30am. Friday during the day was leadership training. It consisted of a male forum and a female forum. I was bummed because I can’t really relate to any of those girls except Judith, the welder. We spent our time writing articles for the CHIYSAP newsletter so it wasn’t as interesting as it could have been.
Saturday morning, James, the leader of the theatre group, came to get me at home. We actually walked all the way to CHIYSAP, something I was not expecting. It is a really long and sweaty trek! James is an actor in some Shona language TV dramas and as we walked down the road people not only stared at me, but stared at the TV star and called him by his character name: Tony. We started the theatre meeting with a discussion of future events, there are many planned but we have few concrete details on anything. I’m trying to put together a calendar for them. Then we did warm-ups which consisted of some dancing and singing games. I showed them “prunes and suns” (probably the only useful thing I took from my Beginning Acting I class at Santa Clara University). After warm-ups we practiced the traditional dances which I had seen on the previous Friday. I want to make some choreographic suggestions but I’m not sure how to go about it, I’ll have to discuss it with James.
Continued in Part 11