The Common Good

My Four Weeks in Zimbabwe

Blessings of shalom for 2009! I have just come back from a four week visit to Zimbabwe. As I have mentioned before, for me the Zimbabwean people are the heroes in the midst of extremely challenging times, economically, politically, and socially.

Related Reading

Take Action on This Issue

Circle of Protection for a Moral Budget

A pledge by church leaders from diverse theological and political beliefs who have come together to form a Circle of Protection around programs that serve the most vulnerable in our nation and around the world.

Inflation is estimated at around quintillion percent (18 zeros!). To meet the challenge of this mind-boggling, ever-rising inflation, the government continues to print new money bills with higher denominations, e.g. Z$1 million (there is talk of a new Z$1 billion note). Banks don't have enough money and are forced to impose withdrawal limits on their clients. With prices going up on a daily basis, the withdrawal limits force people to withdraw money everyday. Many sleep overnight outside banks.

This financial crisis has resulted in the "dollarization" of the economy where the U.S. dollar has become the main currency used for most transactions, including purchase of basic food stuff. The U.S. dollar is used in conjunction with currencies from neighboring countries such as the Botswana Pula and South African Rand. This has brought some form of stability, but the irony is that workers are not paid in U.S. dollars, Pula. or Rand! This money comes from remittances from Zimbabweans working outside the country and circulates among citizens. There is a high level of money literacy where people are able to operate efficiently within the different currencies.

The tragedy is that there are many who have no regular income, are unable to access foreign currency, and continue to suffer. It was so hard for me to listen to families telling me of their struggle to live; some go for days without food and others can only manage one meal a day. Ways of survival include working in exchange for food and clothing. I saw a group of young boys (aged around 10) filling up potholes along a strip of road and holding out their hands to passing motorists -

Sojourners relies on the support of readers like you to sustain our message and ministry.

Related Stories

Resources

Like what you're reading? Get Sojourners E-Mail updates!

Sojourners Comment Community Covenant

I will express myself with civility, courtesy, and respect for every member of the Sojourners online community, especially toward those with whom I disagree, even if I feel disrespected by them. (Romans 12:17-21)

I will express my disagreements with other community members' ideas without insulting, mocking, or slandering them personally. (Matthew 5:22)

I will not exaggerate others' beliefs nor make unfounded prejudicial assumptions based on labels, categories, or stereotypes. I will always extend the benefit of the doubt. (Ephesians 4:29)

I will hold others accountable by clicking "report" on comments that violate these principles, based not on what ideas are expressed but on how they're expressed. (2 Thessalonians 3:13-15)

I understand that comments reported as abusive are reviewed by Sojourners staff and are subject to removal. Repeat offenders will be blocked from making further comments. (Proverbs 18:7)