Zimbabwe is a country of extremes. Since Mugabe has been in power, and that's since 1980, the Africans I spoke with say things have become worse than ever.
Zimbabwe was not South Africa which means apartheid: the segregation and discrimination of blacks. Zimbabwean workers and their families were well treated by the white farmers who provided schools for the kids, health care as well as a salary. Once the whites were kicked off their land, the Africans were out of work and their families suffered. The whites tried to support Mugabe's opposition so were intimidated and there was much violence wth entire villages slaughtered. The Africans who took over the land had no idea how to farm it and today the land has gone to waste and the country is hungry. Mugabe is 93 so there is hope his successor will change things. 65% live in rural areas, 40% are under 18 and the average life expectancy is 40 years. 40! Are you kidding me? Most Zimbabweans live on $1/day and one in four has HIV while one in three children is an orphan.
Local food is sadza - white maize porridge (yuck!) and once again, they eat to live. How unfortunate!
English is the official language but it's spoken by only 2% of the population although we had no trouble communicating. Most speak Shona or Ndebele which are languages of the major tribes.
There is such an economic contrast with Victoria Falls - a mini Banff, well if you can imagine an African Banff - just restaurants, activity shops and camping areas with high prices catering to the South African rich market as well as Antelope Park which one guide referred to as Dsiney Land!
Villages are scattered and poor, food is scarce but the people are friendly and once again appear happy. Roads are good but most don't own vehicles, using public buses which unfortunately we see crashed and burned quite frequently along the side of the highway.
Africa is truly an animal lover's paradise and Zimbabwe doesn't disappoint. We've walked with lions and rhinos, seen numerous giraffes, zebras, warthogs, impalas, other antelope, and elephants. I hate to say it but you get kind of blasé about it - oh, here's another ........ Isn't that bad! Too much of anything gets that way I suppose.
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