This is the nineteenth 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.
7/29/97, Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe
Back in Bulawayo again, this time as more of a tourist. Lillith, an IDEX volunteer came to visit CHIYSAP and see Zimbabwe. At first it was strange to have her around because she gets to go back in a few weeks and I have to stay here but now we are traveling together for a few says and it’s been nice. She stayed with Joseph and Talita while in Chitungwiza and at a place called The Sable Lodge in Harare where backpackers stay for cheap. We went to see Absolute Power with John and Alec the other night and have been out for beers a few times. It is great to have an American to talk to . I haven’t been home much at all lately between going out and the trip to Francis’ village last weekend. When you are going to the village you refer to it at the ‘rural areas.’
The village we went to was called Merre which means ‘noise.’ It was actually pretty nice so I guess I didn’t have the true experience but this visit was enough of a challenge! We left Friday night in a car with 2 other relatives, uncles or brothers. Family terms are used differently, depending on if the person is a relative on your father’s side or mother’s side. All three of them drank beer the whole way, about 4 hours. To get to the village we had to travel for about 45 minutes off the main road on an ill-maintained dirt track. It was kind of scary to be in the middle of nowhere. We got there late and I was really tired and in a bad mood. The main house actually had electricity and I got to sleep in a bed. I shared the room with Francis’ sister and her crying, snuffling baby. All the small babies around here sound like they have lung problems, it’s kind of scary. I slept really late in the morning after being awakened several times by the baby. Another sister, Dorothy, who actually lives in Zengeza 3, got me up and made me breakfast, boiling me some water to drink (the water was from a well, or ‘borehole’ as they call them here) and brush my teeth with. I took a sort of a sponge shower with a bucket of hot water standing naked in the toilet, it was better than a cold shower though.