13 11 2006

I’m always rather amused when the US Fed moves the interest rates. One quarter of one percent (why not just say a quarter of a percent?) movement makes the BBC. Economists from leading banks are interviewed, opinions expressed and gloomy forecasts made. This last Friday our money market rate was 390% p.a. for a 30 day investment. Today it was slashed to between 30 and 40% for the same period. It might make an inside page of the Financial Gazette on Thursday.

Those who have never lived in sub-Saharan Africa will never understand our obsession with rain. It is life to us (hey we are mostly water anyway!). Bad rains mean a bad harvest and more hardship. The first rains are anticipated with eagerness and nothing can compare with the fresh, fertile, smell of rain on hot soil. The smoke from the endless bush fires clear and within weeks the bush has become a lush green from a brittle, dusty, dry. Morning conversations inevitable start with “How much rain did you get last night?” and bragging rights go to those who had the most spectacular storms. Of course with all the spare electricity in the atmosphere that in the national grid inevitably gets knocked out, sometimes for days. These days it’s becoming more difficult to distinguish between fault and power shedding. The latter is a programmed (sometimes) period without power. It is ostensibly to reduce the national electricity debt as we import a large proportion of our requirement. No, power shedding can occur at any time of day and is not the preserve of the suburbs. How this reduced dependence on power importation helps us build the economy, I’m not really sure. But we Zimbos are a resourceful lot and the importers of generators, computer UPS’s and inverters have thrived so we just “make a plan” and carry on. Well, a UPS and very large truck battery has allowed me to stay online this evening!

We had our first rain here (Harare) today. It was not as spectacular as it could have been but the air cleared and became fresh again and I didn’t get stuck on the way to exercise Jenni.  There’s a bit of hope…



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