The cats, and particularly Jimmy, were most happy to see us. Then again, maybe this was because of the biltong we had brought with us. A shock came when we heard that Darlington had gotten married only the week before. I was going to do the bride-price (lobola) for him but now, that wasn’t an option anymore.
Already before we left, Darlington had appeared to be struggling with something and now, definitely, I assumed his new wife was already pregnant.
The trip to Harare was a struggle. First a commuter to Chimoio, then another commuter to Machipanda, from where we had to walk across the border. On the other side, we had to share a cab to drive us to Mutare, from where we were just in time to catch the bus to Harare. There, we first got into a taxi which immediately blew its tire, after which we switched and, slowly but surely, arrived at our destination, Small World Backpacker’s Lodge.
The whole trip, by accident, we had made together with two Koreans who only spoke one word of Portuguese: ‘Aqui?’ and maybe two of English: ‘Yes’ and ‘No’. At the border, I had to help them to fill in the forms before we could continue. Still, they managed to have our bus from Mutare take a detour and stop at their hotel, the Harare Holiday Inn.
Along the way from Mutare, the bus was filling up completely. Not so much with passengers, but with luggage. Literally, complete households were being packed on top of the bus: beds, cupboards, even a whole furnace.
Back home, sipping on a Zambezi, I realized it was a very good thing we had made this trip. Not only for the obvious reasons, but also because of the following. Over the months I had been working in Zimbabwe, my disposition towards Africa in general and Zimbabwe in particular had become rather negative. Our last five weeks had shown us that, indeed, you also can have a very good time on this continent. That is, as long as you don’t have to rely on too much or too many people. Perfect for your holidays, then.
I also realized that South Africa shows where Zimbabwe could have been but that Mozambique is an example of how much lower Zimbabwe can go. The future still has something in store for these poor Zimbabweans.