- On 27 February 2012
- In Blog
I Do Africa - Keeping my Zest in Zimbabwe
In Livingstone we decided, just like previously, that we are so close to Zimbabwe we can’t not cross and take a look. We have been warned by various people about the bribery and corrupt policing and although we usually would take the chance we decided to take it easy here as we still have a far way to go and would rather not lose any cash now.
Going to Zimbabwe was a very difficult and personal journey for me. A big part of our decision to take this expedition was fuelled by a house robbery we survived just over a year ago. Sadly, in our case, our attackers were Zimbabwean and I still carry the emotional scars from that incident.
Getting into the country took a while but we weren’t hassled too much but the drive between the two border crossings was hard; these people are suffering and making no attempt to hide it. They sell their worthless Billion Dollar notes as souvenirs to those crossing the bridge to see the falls in order to survive.
Sadly we couldn’t get further than Victoria Falls before we saw the first policemen searching for reasons to take your money.
Sorrow and compasssion
Being in Zimbabwe caved open two completely opposite emotions in my heart. I was filled with sorrow and compassion for these people who by the hands of those who are supposed to take care of them and their country are suffering so much. But at the same time I was filled with all the anger I felt after having a gun put in my face in my own home. Anger at those who have to resort to this behavior and furious at those who are abusing their power, attempting (or so it felt to me) to put me through further unnecessary threat.
The country finds itself in situation more complex than what I will ever understand and possibly the same contradictions as the emotions I carried around whilst I was there. The people are friendly to the extreme but at the same time you hear stories of the almost violent behavior travelers have experienced.
Hello and goodbye
We didn’t spend a lot of time in Zimbabwe and avoided running into any officials. It was a flash visit, in and out before anyone would really notice and just long enough for me to remember and again forget about my own personal struggle with safety.
In the end I can only wish that this country will eventually rise again and as a traveler that I will be able to return and explore all the beauty which you read about and which I saw in the friendliness of some of its citizens.
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