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Preparing the ground

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I woke up today to a gentle shower falling outside. It was a slow and steadily falling rain; the kind that nourishes the earth. The warm, life sustaining shower that slowly sinks into the ground, soaked up by a parched earth, ever falling even as the sun peeks through. When the time is right, these showers produce the most amazing rainbows. Rainbows so colourful and so vibrant you thought you only had to reach it to touch it. I have spent countless hours amazed at this phenomenon. Growing up, our mothers knew, this was the perfect rain to plant your sweet potatoes in. For the younger tots it was in such showers that you spent countless fun filled hours, playing while mothers watched with mock indignation. The rain was so gentle, so warm, a caress on our skins.

As l opened the windows, my senses were assailed by that sweet, illusive aroma that wafts from the earth at the start of the rains. You can smell it, but it defies description. You just want to go outside and roll around in the wet grass and hope you absorb it through every pore of your being. You open your mouth and take it in in large gulps. You still can’t take in enough. It is the promise of new beginnings. It speaks of renewal and rebirth. It is the sweet smell of hope. It is the reward of months of faith. It is the earth exhaling in thanksgiving. It promises tender juicy mealies; so tender you eat the corn with the cob and sweet, sweet pumpkins.  It’s the promise of mounds of hot sadza and pumpkin leaves in peanut butter sauce. It says to the watcher, watch and wait, the season of plenty is nigh.

This shower is not the violent thunderstorm that so often occurs at the start of the rain season. The storm that is often full of sound and fury and at the end leaves a trail of death and destruction. This violent storm leaves gullies in the ground and tears up the trees from their roots. The lightning incinerates homes and leaves people stranded with only the clothes on their backs. The rain from this storm does not sink into the ground; rather, it sweeps across the land, taking away crops and livestock. Destroying when it is supposed to nourish. Taking life when it is supposed to give it. Our people knew not to plant their crops by these rains. Rather, you watched and you waited. You tilled the land and you prepared your seed for soon it would be time to plant under the nourishing rains that came after the storm.

And so it is with the affairs of Zimbabwe. We have experienced the sound and fury of countless violent storms. Entire families and communities have been uprooted and displaced. Storms of violence have left a trail of death and destruction. Yet still the gentle showers come, with the promise of renewal and rebirth. We open our lungs and take gulpfuls of the sweet illusive scent of new beginnings. We prepare the ground and we ready the seed and then we watch and we wait; because since time immemorial, these showers have said, the season of plenty is nigh. For however violent the storm, it soon wears itself out.

One comment to “Preparing the ground”

  1. Comment by waMagaisa:

    Beautiful Chama. The analogy couldn’t be more apt. I have often wondered whether the uncharacteristic calm of the last year or so is no more than the eye of a storm, you know the eerie calm that follows the first column of the tropical storm and precedes yet another, quite violent column of the storm … atm