Cathy Buckle. She "is a writer living in the town of Marondera, Zimbabwe. She is the author of three children's books, also writes a weekly email letter, which is sent around the world, on conditions in Zimbabwe. Despite the Zimbabwean Government and the heavy restrictions placed on journalists and writers, she is determined that the truth about her country, in which she was born, should be known. " If you'd like an insider's view, check out her website to read her weekly letters.We want to introduce you to another writer who has been documenting her experiences in Zimbabwe:
She's been kind enough to give us permission to repost a few of her letters here for Operation Love Zimbabwe. As you can see from the most recent two letters, there is a glimmer of hope amidst the skepticism. Let's pray that hope is rewarded...
Stay tuned for our next giveaway - you'll have a chance to win one of Cathy's books!
A smudge of caramel
Saturday 31st January 2009
Dear Family and Friends,
Early in the morning on the last day of January 2009 I witnessed the start of a new day over Zimbabwe and wondered if this was The Day, the one that would be remembered as our new beginning. A heavy bank of purple clouds lay on the horizon broken by a few wisps of startling white. A slight breeze stirred in the trees and the air was busy with early birds: fork-tailed drongoes, bulbuls and shrikes. A ruckus in the Mulberry tree in my garden meant the weaver birds were awake. Four pairs of birds are breeding in the tree, they stripped the leaves from many branches before they were satisfied with their nests but now their little colony is well established.
I couldn't resist walking barefoot in the dew laden grass and getting a close up view of two mushrooms that had shot up overnight. Thin stems, delicate creamy caps topped with a smudge of caramel, they had come from nowhere, grown two inches in a single night and then, as the sun got hotter they shrivelled up and were gone.
In amongst the snapshots of beauty like this, Zimbabwe is surrounded by sickness, hunger and extreme poverty. Thousands have died of cholera in the last few months and the epidemic continues to rage. It's often hard to believe that such horror can be happening in such a beautiful place and hard to see how we can ever get back to being a normal, productive, healthy, free people.
The decision by the MDC to take part in a unity government has blown a breath of clean air into our sick and stagnant country. It has given us hope again, a chance to test the trust that we put into the men and women we chose to lead our country when we elected them nearly a year ago. Despite all the negatives involved in this unity government, this is a chance for change for Zimbabwe. We are sceptical, suspicious and even doubtful that unity can be forged between perpetrators and victims, doubtful that this can work. It is not the clean sweep that we hoped for but it is at least somewhere to start.
Until next time, thanks for reading, love cathy
Turning coats inside out
Saturday 7th February 2009
Dear Family and Friends,
These hot, humid and rainy February days are ones that will never be forgotten in the years ahead. We can still hardly even dare to hope that this unity government is going to work and trust is very thin on the ground. It still sticks in our throats that the losers of the March 2008 elections have simply refused to leave power for the last ten months and have got away it. How crazy is this! Suddenly we are seeing the very people who persecuted a population, looted the country's assets and bought starvation and disease to the land appearing on television saying: "we must be tolerant of our differences and work together."
Hello! you find yourself shouting at the TV, are we seeing people turning their coats inside out and so soon? Do they really think that a few utterances now will undo everything they have done, and been seen doing?
Each day we tiptoe forward politically by a fraction of a millimetre and yet each miniscule gain appears as a gigantic leap because we have sunk so terribly low in the last decade. We now have the 19th amendment to our constitution which will enable the formation of a unity government and allow for the winner of the March 2008 election to be sworn in as Prime Minister. We also now have the news that a Magistrate has thrown out treason charges against MDC Secretary General Tendai Biti.
In the next few days, for the first time in three decades we will have someone other than Zanu PF looking into civil service books and you can only imagine how worried some people must be. A friend said he imagined the paper shredders must be working overtime in some of those government offices. You can almost hear them now! You can almost see those little strips of paper mounting up on our roadsides alongside all the other stinking garbage. You can almost smell the smoke from bonfires of burning paper!
Meanwhile ordinary people are in wait and see mode and while we wait a last desperate orgy of pocket filling is well underway. In just two days the price of petrol, in US dollars of course, went from 65 cents to 95 cents a litre and is still going up as I write. All other prices, in US dollars, are soaring as a result.
Twelve zeroes were removed from our currency this week and we went from being trillionaires to paupers overnight. This is the third time this has happened. First it was 3 zeroes, then 10, now 12. Another worthless set of bank notes is being introduced and thanks to a friend who can get her head around all the "illions", 1 New dollar =10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 or 10 Septillion Old Old dollars!
I don't know how we'll ever explain any of this to our children in the years ahead, or if we'll ever even understand it ourselves.
Until next time, thanks for reading, love cathy.