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Objects of pity

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I recently travelled to South Africa to attend a work related seminar. From the moment I heard that I was going to be part of the team that would travel to South Africa I was overjoyed. Some people may wonder why this was so? The joy arose just from the thought that I was going to eat a healthy meal, be in an environment where there were no burst sewage pipes, get clean cholera free water from a tap and just enjoy a hot shower and more so be able to watch my favourite TV programme as there would be electricity.

With just the thought of travelling to Johannesburg, my pregnancy suddenly felt light, my body was rejuvenated and energised because of the excitement. The moment I got out of the airport in Johannesburg, a sense of relief engulfed me, that feeling one enjoys when a huge burden has been lifted off his or her shoulders. Just the thought of being away from grim poverty, frustration and misery aroused this euphoria in me, the euphoria I last felt as a kid when Xmas was approaching.

On my day of arrival in Johannesburg I did not have any meeting scheduled so I had time to move around and admire the plenty and abundance in the South African shops.  As I moved around the Johannesburg shopping malls I was surprised to hear the jingle of Christmas carols signalling the coming festive season, a thing you hardly find in Zimbabwe. I was suddenly drawn to the reality of the times. What really shocked me was that we were approaching the end of 2008 and yet I did not feel the festive mood in Zimbabwe. As I continued moving down the malls, I was surprised at the number of people doing their Christmas shopping and the fully stocked shops. I rushed into the baby shops and bought stuff for my baby to come. I wanted to buy everything in the shop as I was surprised by both the affordability and availability of goods, the goods I never find in my country.

In the grocery shop, I bought basic food stuffs and even bought sour milk as I have a serious craving for it. Unfortunately when I got to the airport I did not know that liquids such as milk and drink were not allowed into the plane as hand luggage. The South African security officer told me to go back to the checking in point and request inclusion of the milk and drink in my luggage. She told me that I could not leave my stuff as I would need the stuff back home. The South Africans wrapped my two  2 litre bottles and helped me to check them in telling me that with the suffering in Zimbabwe I needed to carry the stuff. I appreciated the gesture of help but also felt pity for myself as by virtue of being a Zimbabwean people felt obliged to assist me as I came from a country well known for its humanitarian crisis.

Getting home, the first thing I noticed was the lifeless and miserable airport with little activity and this was a significant cue of the lifelessness of the Zimbabwean nation. The saddest part is that this is my home and this is where my baby is going to be born.

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