Four days in Kruger National Park proved plenty so off to Zimbabwe. This is the country with the ruthless dictator/president. Mugabe is 90 yrs old and was reportedly good for the country in the 80s but has turned extreme in his grip on power and control and the economy and people have suffered. It felt like a broken country; everybody knew things did not work but they tried to cover up or ignore it. Visited the Great Zimbabwe ruins, their heyday from 11th – 13th century when they ruled an empire stretching from Central Africa to the Indian Ocean. This was a large city made of stone walls constructed with granite blocks chipped from local hills and laid up to 11 meters high with no mortar. The curves in the walls were graceful and beaconed one along to the next view point. Then drove up to Harare the capital, a large dirty city. Highlight was picking up a young woman hitch hiking with her 2 yr old child returning from her family farm plot to the city to take an interview with the local college so she could become a teacher. We got a more positive view of the country from a local making the best of her life in a difficult environment. Went to the National Gallery for a look at local art and even though we called to make sure it was open, when we got there the exhibit was closed. Also got hit up by two down and out stories and feeling was the “donation” would go for liquor rather than the stated purpose. Enough of big city life. We did get a terrific small statute of Shona sculpture (local soapstone carved with some smooth and some rough raw surfaces) from our backpackers Small World. On to another day of border crossings – leaving Zimbabwe, into Mozambique, one night outside Tete, Moz, and into Malawi where we will be staying with friends of friends introduced to us in Salida. Travel on!
May 23, 2014