Disclaimer : I went to Mt Darwin last year. Stay safe:)
Once upon a time I went to Mount Darwin. You know one of those trips your family plans for you and you can’t back out – this was it. Truth be told, I had mixed emotions about this. Excited to see my grandparents whilst dreading the journey – blame ‘motion sickness’. So if you don’t know Mt Darwin is a rural town in Mashonaland Central province in Zimbabwe.
We got to the growth point quite early. Everything had changed. I noticed there were new shops. Girls dressed up with a good attempt at makeup. At that very moment I realized how weird I looked. I’d worn odd clothes; a medium length dress with a T-shirt inside and non matching leggings.I didn’t realize things were changing.
A few kilometres in the dust road we decided the car was too low for the roads. We approached what I felt was a random house, exchanged greetings and after a few minutes of small talk, we explained how the roads were too bad for our car. We needed a place to leave the car. I was amazed by the kindness. This man didn’t hesitate at all. In fact he told us to park in the shade saying we wouldn’t want the car to be in the sun half of the day.
We carried our bags and began the long walk to my grandparents house. It probably sounds like I’m exaggerating but everyone we met greeted us. The genuine compassion; they’d stop, curtsy and greet us.
I cannot believe the excitement people had when we arrived. The neighbors came to welcome us and it was honestly a day full of warm greetings. I don’t know how everyone knew we had arrived considering not everyone has a phone here. People came all the way and they’d say “we just thought we should greet our visitors” I mean walk kilometres just to say Hi. The community is bound by humanity and love. People I didn’t remember greeted me by my name. You can imagine the awkwardness but they don’t care at all. They introduce themselves and still talk to you with the same enthusiasm.
The integrity of this community is outstanding. Staying there you pick up a few things. The borehole is downhill. You can imagine how hard it would be to carry water back to the house especially at an old age. I was truly amazed by the young girls who randomly came to the house with water for Ambuya (grandma). What really got to me was the five year old who would carry little five liter bottles until she fills up 20 litre buckets. My grandmother says some girls even come to ask if there is any dirty laundry or if she needs help cleaning the house.
Life is very slow there. It’s peaceful and refreshing. For a day or two I forgot how bad my week was going back at home. How I was struggling to do everything and balance my time. The sky is so beautiful at night. There are no outdoor lights here so the stars are visible and illuminated. Everyone wakes up early and this gave me a chance to witness a beautiful sunrise over the horizon. I’m a sucker for these little things so I made sure I didn’t miss the sunset. I cannot describe how pretty the sun is behind the range of mountains.
It’s so easy to forget how privileged you are. It seems normal and you don’t realize how in another life you might not have everything. Most of the youth here are not in school. A few have finished A Level, others wrote form four passing less than five subjects. The biggest problem is ignorance, they don’t know how to make their lives better. Additionally they don’t realize how disadvantaged they are because all they have ever known is what they see in the small community. No one is there to teach about a better life. Sadly quite a number of girls here succumb to peer pressure and surrounding circumstances leading to teenage pregnancies and/or teenage marriages. Their only source of income is farming but that seems to not be working out well so they survive on working in the gardens for the well established residents. This doesn’t guarantee money as payment though, they get pre-loved clothes or food.
On our last day we had people come to wish us a safe journey. They don’t come empty handed. They give the little that they have; lemons, nuts, beans, sweet potatoes , seeds etc. All this got me thinking what a good life has done to us. It’s these little things in life that make us human.
Tell me about your experiences in the rural areas. How best do you think we can help people living in these areas ?
Love and light