Seems Most of My Life in Africa Conjures Images of DUST!
Dusty roads on the farms I grew up on alongside fields of maize (corn), tobacco, soyabeans and wheat; billowing up behind motorbikes, trucks, tractors and trailors weighed down with loud farm workers, legs dangling over the sides – sometimes smiling, often singing [before the nightmare set in with the Millenium];
Dusty twisters blowing across the dry lands in winter; eagles and vultures soaring up high, using the dusty wind thermals to ease their flight weary wings while scanning the bush below for prey – wheeling up against cobalt blue skies again and again; skies clear of cloud and rain for endless months before the ITCZ (Inter Tropical Convergence Zone) lowered itself over Zimbabwe from up North, bringing the first of many dark, threatening storms in November;
Dusty roads in the hot, searing heat of the Zambezi valley, excited eyes peeled for lion and their cubs panting in an afternoon siesta on the road, or elephant grey still shapes in the thick forests making the most of leafy cool shade in the mid-day high;
Dusty yards being incessently swept bare outside wooden mud huts on many of the farms we drove through on our way back home, into town, down to Kariba, or up to the highlands of Nyanga.
DUST that I was so eager to escape after 8 dry, parched months where dust covered everything, outside railings, plants, roads and cars; inside shelves, tables, floors and photos; we were constantly trying to clean up after that thin, fine, brown powder!
Our quest for “clean” became embedded in our quest for “freedom” from DUST – from struggling against a lunatic government, ethnic fuelled politics, a plummeting economy, the terror of not being able to leave and desperation to secure a better future for our children. This DUST blew us half way around the globe – from Africa to New Zealand, back to Africa and on to Canada – all within the space of 5 years!
Zimbabweans are now a world- wide diaspora, spanning the globe much the same as the Irish at the beginning of the last century. Economic freefall still has a strangle hold on our homeland back in Africa, which now boasts the highest Inflation on record in the world – much like the dust that we loved, choked on and escaped ~ or did we?