This is the seventeenth 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.
7/20/97, Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe
Just got back from a soccer match, Dynamos vs. The Black Aces at the national stadium. Dyanmos won 3-0, which is good because that is my household’s favorite team. Soccer here is like baseball in the US, it’s a national sport. Mostly men attended the game and mostly they were black, with only a few ‘coloreds’ or whites. It was interesting, but not something I want to do every weekend. My butt hurts from sitting on cement bleachers. And my knees hurt from kneeling on unpadded wood in church this morning! I actually made it to church today, despite getting in late last night. The service was in Shona but it was Catholic so I got the basic idea. The priest was white and the pictures of Jesus were white, but the congregation was all black, with the exception of myself and a few albinos which it seems are more common than the coloreds here in Chitungwiza. there was lots of singing, one woman would sing and then everyone else would sing but it wasn’t so simple for me to follow. There were different parts and different notes that everyone seemed to know except me. I figured out that ‘Mambo’ means god. If you are in a specific church group, mostly women, you wear a uniform. Anna and Florence both wear different ones. After church some of Florence’s group came over to the house to pray for her late father-in-law he died recently, we are going to the village this coming weekend to settle family affairs. I could hear them singing in the living room.
I was out last night with some motorcycle boys I met last weekend. Tendai, a guy from CHIYSAP is related to this guy named John who is a motorcycle mechanic. We went out last Sunday before I went to Bulawayo. I got really drunk on Castle beer but managed to make it home before dinner. John has found me a Suzuki GSX250 for $7000z which is a good deal, it needs a little work but if we fix it up I’ll be able to sell it for a lot more when I leave. I’m told by Francis that I can get a loan from CHIYSAP. So soon I’ll have my own transport! We went to look at it last night and I have to ride it before I buy it but I think it’s going to work out. After looking at the bike we went out to a bar in Sunningdale and hung out there until a group of guys burst in with a gun and dragged another guy out into the street right in front of me. I have never seen anything like that in the U.S. Most people I’ve talked to say they are afraid to go to America because everyone has a gun. Maybe what I saw was just an isolated incident because it seems guns are rare here. It may not have even been loaded but we didn’t stick around to find out.