Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Made in Zimbabwe

I’m a little obsessed with where things are made. I realize it might be a rude, but I can’t help picking up the bottle of salad dressing in the middle of dinner to see, among other things, what’s in it and where it was made. I don’t know why…that kind of stuff just fascinates me. So, in homage to my curious curiosity, and for those who view the world similarly, here is a tour through our flat of things made or grown here in Zimbabwe. While Zim used to manufacture all sorts of things (especially during the sanctions of the 60s and 70s), industry here has nearly ground to a halt and we now just assume everything is imported from South Africa. There are however, products that remained under production all this time, as well as those whose production have been revived. So here it is:

-orange drink concentrate (this stuff is ridiculously popular here)
-hot sauce named “cheeky chili”
-Loose leaf tea and coffee
-Honey (“huchi” in Shona)
-Baking powder, white flour and “brown” flour, all made by a company named “Gloria”
-Various spices, packed under the name “New Seasons”
-Cocoa powder
-Sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar and salt
-Yogurt and milk
-Coke in bottles (cans are becoming prolific now, too, except nobody seems to be collecting them)
-Mr. Freeze, a sort of freeze pop that somebody is always selling after church, at bus stops, etc.
-Lots of produce is grown here, but it’s hard to tell what is imported. I’d guess that our tomatoes, onions, bananas, lettuce, apples, and eggs are grown here, as well as most meat (at the moment, we have some beef mince, sausage, chicken pieces and a beef steak in the freezer—but again I really don’t know where it is from, I just know that ranching is alive in Zim)
-Bleach, vinegar and ammonia
-Our mattress, which is “foam-rubber”—pretty decent I’d say
-And other furniture: nearly everything we have bought for our home (couch, chairs, tables, bookshelf, nightstand) is made on the side of the road close to our flat, from welded rebar and woven grass. It’s incredible to watch it being made.

So what sorts of things are imported, you might ask? Currently we have corn flakes, peanut butter, baking soda, soup mix, rooibos tea, vanilla extract, crackers, fruit juice, instant pudding, cat food, cooking oil, mayo, olives, pasta and butter-type spread from South Africa, and butter from Zambia. Some of these things are also made here in Zim (like oil), but different shops stock different things, as you might imagine.

Our fridge and kettle are from SA, but I think our stove was made here.

So there you have it, a snapshot of production in Zimbabwe, at least of whatever happens to come our way. I certainly enjoyed my little scavenger hunt.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A tribute to Zvakanaka

Zvakanaka is our kitten we got our first week here in Zim. He was 6 weeks old when we got him and trained him to use his litter box, not to bite me, and to sleep on our laps. We really enjoyed having him around to cuddle with, and laugh at, and pet something soft.

Unfortunately, he snuck out of our garden one night and was killed by a dog. We are very sad. So Zvaka- know that you were loved and are now missed.

Zvaka was the first real animal that I lived with and then disappeared and we actually found dead. I was surprised at how upset I was at the whole event. I cried much more than I expected. As I thought about it more I realized that Zvaka was the one who kept me company when I felt lonely here. One of the most difficult things I have experienced is not feeling like I have friends around me. So for these first few weeks, as we are making friends, I have found myself lonely and longing for companionship- and many days Zvaka provided a bit of that. I have wrestled with being sad over such a normal part of life with pets- but I decided that I was made to feel and sadness is part of life with the Fall. So my prayer for awhile is that I will continue to choose love over safety in future relationships and that my heart will be sad and weep over what Jesus weeps over. I was reminded yesterday of the many great and real tragedies around me- much bigger than the loss of a kitten. So while I can be sad and grieve a bit over my kitten- I must rise again today and live out of the life that Christ has given me and the command that he has given me to be light, salt, and to love my neighbors. Maybe they will bond with me over the sadness of my loss- and maybe it will open doors to conversation that never would have happened.


Happy 1st Birthday Noku

We realize that we haven’t given you much of an update about Zim yet. So here are just a few things:

We are settling in nicely and most days we really like living here- we love our home and garden.

We know how to take the public transport to just about anywhere

We are now getting used to driving on the left side of the road and dodging pot holes and slowing down for the hard to spot speed bumps.

We have found that you can buy just about anything in town (except for a water filter and chocolate chips), you just have to be willing to walk a bit.

We love practicing our Shona and have found that some people in the city are eager to help us and some just want to speak in English.

We are very excited about the ways that Foundations for Farming is growing and especially about their vision for the Peri-Urban (or high density) area.

Two of the Peri-Urban trainers are Joseph and Vivian Chitopo. They are close to our age and have become very good friends. So far we have spent much more time with Joseph-as he has helped us with our many trips to immigration and because Vivian is still in training at FfF. Last week we got to share just a bit of relaxed “family” time with them, as we celebrated their son’s first birthday! I made a cake and was quite impressed with how it turned out. Below are a few photos.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

our flat

here are a few photos of our new flat!