Saturday, June 24, 2006

Movies and popcorn are luxuries

I went to Zimbabwe over the Youth day celebrations. Eeish things are bad! The Zim dollar has lost its value so dramatically that all people do is count bills and more bills of money. When people are queuing in supermarkets one can be certain that it’s to do with money counting.
I was unlucky to get $20 000 notes (I should be arrested because I bought the local currency from the black market but so is everyone else!) instead of the $50 000 or the acclaimed $100 000 which lost its value the exact minute it hit the streets.

To leave a semi normal existence one has to use one million dollars everyday, that’s more or less buying a loaf of bread at 180 000 a 275ml of milk at 85 000, combi fare of 70 000 a 500g packet of meat at 490 000. One can forget about tomatoes onions and those other things considered to go with a balanced meal. Sad thing is not everyone can afford this.

The United Nations agencies report that over 4 million Zimbabweans face food shortages out of a population of about 13 million. I was talking to one of my friends from my former university and he was a very bitter man.
He spoke at length about how he had to struggle everyday as a teaching assistant. How their salaries are never reviewed in line with inflation (and when they do get reviewed the salaries are meaningless because inflation sets in the moment salary increases are announced), how he lost three girlfriends because of the distance.

He stays in Gweru and had met his girlfriends one at a time in Gweru but as each relationship died and he acquired another one he soon lost her to the capital city (Harare). Each had migrated in search for greener pastures. He spoke of how both of them attempted to keep the fires burning to no avail because of the ever increasing transport and communication costs.

It costs about one million two hundred dollars to travel to Harare and about 30 000 to send an SMS. He said he could not remember the last time he had been to a movie and attributed this to the breakdown of all his relationships.

Movies and popcorn all now seem to be luxuries to him. It is indeed an unfortunate situation that’s happening in Zimbabwe. Inflation is now breaking down people’s relationships and the very social fabric of our society.


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