Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Zimbabwe Looks Like . . .

In September Zimbabwe looks like a land waking up from winter. Like the purple flowers of the jacaranda tree and bright red bougainvillea. Like green popo fruit trying to turn ripe and yellow. Like small gardens filled with kale and tomatoes. Like baobab trees stripped of their bark, a sacrifice to woven mats.

It looks like the dusty, cracked feet of a twenty-year-old village woman. Like mothers nursing babies. Like the tattered clothing of an orphan. It looks like women carrying every manner of thing on their heads—baskets, suitcases, bags of mealy-meal, bundles of thatch, firewood, tall buckets. It looks like women and children carrying their little ones or siblings strapped to their backs with beach towels.

It looks like coffee colored skin, dark and glistening. Like young eyes that have seen too much. Like curious glances and warm smiles. Like twisted feet and untreated tumors. Like the sallow complexion of HIV.

It looks like bricks made from the soil of termite hills. Like round huts with thatched roofs. Like ox carts driven by small boys or young men. Like old preachers in faded suits. Like people walking or sitting or bicycling along the road. Like a pitch black countryside at night. Like hopeful vendors rushing to your car windows with hands full of bright orange carrots or baskets of oranges, lemons, apples.

It looks like prayerful dependence in the midst of pain and suffering.

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