First Rain

23 09 2007

We had our first storm yesterday evening. It was all noise and not a lot of action, but there was enough rain to give that exquisite smell of rain on hot ground that to me is so African. In the past I have always associated it with hope. Hope of a good season, hope of new growth, hope of good things. This year I am having difficulty with hope. The light at the end of the tunnel has not been turned off to save power, it has been stolen and no-one can afford the replacement cost. I suppose it does not help that I am desperately lonely with no real solution in sight. Fortunately I do have Jenni, and though I know she loves me, she is still a dog and conversation is difficult.

I went flying on Friday afternoon with a friend who has a private pilot’s licence. I could not bear to be around the office any longer and needed a change of scenery so when Rob offered to take me up I jumped at the opportunity. I have no problem with light aircraft though I do wish they could be a little quieter. Flying for me is a release, not least because you HAVE to concentrate on the task at hand and all other worries are temporarily forgotten. I guess being above the source of all my problems also helps in a psychological way! We went up for an hour over the training area adjoining the small private airport north-west of Harare. It was interesting to see the area from the air as normally it is a highly productive farming area. Things have not been normal in agriculture for some years now and it showed in the hopelessly late and pathetic crops of wheat that have still not flowered. A number of once neat greenhouses are now just remnants of tattered plastic. Large areas of the bush have burned and even Grace M’s house that she “acquired” from a local successful businessman/farmer has succumbed to flames. Pyrrhic justice in the truest sense but she will simply “acquire” another if she feels like it. Quite a lot of land has been prepared for the coming wet season but it is obvious that the “new farmers” have neither the money nor skills to farm through the dry season with irrigation and must rely on the coming rains. It does not help that the electricity supply is often too erratic to be of use.


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