Thursday, 24 November 2011

Caravan Dispatches - Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe What A Pleasant Aroma

Drums of Peace, An Entertainment Group That Engaged the Caravanites,Much to their Delight
So as it turns out Zimbabwe turned out to be one of the most hospitable countries in this whole trip. Only it caught us by surprise. The people were very helpful and friendly. 

Take our courtesy call to Davis Dumezweni Luthe, Town Secretary of Plum Tree, which is a border town between Zimbabwe and Botswana. This visit that came in last minute turned out to be the best ever decision we made. The town secretary of Plum Tree, which is 9kilometers from Botswana, is apparently a comedian. It was indeed a relief to have someone crack us up on this trip seeing that we had a long journey ahead of us.
At a meeting in his office, he noted in his speech that, ‘Every level of government must appreciate climate change and do that by mainstreaming it.’ He added that not only did Zimbabwe draw up mechanisms. The 7th MDG which speaks of Environmental Sustainability is a serious issue for them. He wound up the speech with teaching us what Plum Tree stands for Peace, Love, Unity, Manpower, Trust, Resources, Enter , Exit. To which he got a huge applause.  

Flashback, just before we got to the Plum Tree area we had gone through a supermarket to purchase some supplies for the long journey. It was during that stop that we went through to a restaurant where we loaded up on dinner. As l was on my way back to the bus, some gentlemen who were having a drink called out wanting to know, ‘what are these buses about?’ 

So l stood there and began what has become less than a 5-minute speech on what the Trans African Caravan of Hope is all about. Right in the middle of my ‘spirited’ speech, one of the guys quipped, ‘can we buy you a drink?’ ‘Hmmm! Why?’ I asked curiously. ’Because you took the time to explain to us what the Caravan is all about,’ l thought, yipee. So as someone got me my Pepsi, l continued to tell them about the flag offs and the welcoming events in different countries. While walking back to the bus l thought, what nice people.
To top it up, we went to check out into Botswana.

Just the sheer number of people that are in this caravan is mind boggling but it is the way the Zimbabweans made sure we got what came across as coordinated-no-wasting-time service that amazed us. The town secretary waited as they completed our paper work. 

You had to be here to experience it. Right from the hotel to the cabbies to all that we met and worked with, they were so considerate and thoughtful. This is also the only country where we got dollars back when we booked rooms, bought food or shopped at the supermarket. Most of the countries, actually all countries we have been to have given us local currency once we gave them dollars. 

My East African friends and l analyzed it and we all felt that like one put it, ‘Zimbabwe was a surprise package.’ I tell you none of us saw this coming.

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