Today is one of those days where I can hear the echoes of Zimbabwe in my ears. Its cold winter chill grabs hold of my neck and its Saligna wood fires fill my nose with smoke. I can see Godknows running through an intersection selling his inflatable toys while I haphazardly maneuver around an overloaded commuter van.
These freeze-frame exposures of a country now so far away are much more than memories and certainly more vivid than dreams. In those days I ran the stairs at Borrowdale Race Track and ordered thinly sliced Biltong at the Village. Bought airtime on the street and held back tears serving orphan children sadza in the hospital. Those children, who refuse to count their days, though their days may be counted. Those children, laughing and playing, Shona and Ndebele together with no pretense. They are the heroes of a country so perpetually and simultaneously at peace – and war – within itself.
I remember standing on a mountaintop in Nyanga, breathing as if I’d never really breathed, living as if I’d never lived. This is the magic of a place marked in equal measure by thick summer rain and cold winter drought. A place that holds many stories, and many secrets, in it’s iron-rich soil.
Have you seen it? Does it grip you as it does me? Does it call you in whispers through the clamor of the busy first-world life you now live?
I long to drive its bumpy roads, long to taste its spice.
Long to hold its people close, and never let them go.