A country on the brink of disaster

1 11 2016

We in Zimbabwe are apparently teetering on the brink of disaster. The much-dreaded bond notes alluded to in the previous post have been signed into law by President Mugabe (yup, Bob notes are real guys!) and it’s all down hill from here. We are still not sure where they are coming from as the German company behind the printing of the now defunct Zimbabwe dollar refused to print these. Never fear, someone will step up to the plate where there’s money to be made.

Marondera air day. Fun in the name of fund raising

Marondera air day. Fun in the name of fund raising

Going out to an air day organised for charity at Marondera, a small agricultural town 3/4 hour from Harare, on Saturday there was little sign of impending disaster. Vehicles clogged the road and drivers drove badly. There were no queues at filling stations but I’d had to search out low sulphur diesel the previous day as my regular supplier didn’t seem to have it anymore. When we arrived at Marondera aerodrome there was a fair collection of aircraft  both ancient (see the Cessna 182 in the foreground) and brand new – a 2 seat helicopter. I guess it was all small fry compared with a similar event in the civilized world but hey, it was actually happening! The Air Force had even been roped in (camouflage aircraft back left) to supply parachutists for entertainment and paid rides for the public. The parachutists certainly were entertaining with some spectacularly hard landings and bad approaches through trees to the LZ. And yes, I mean THROUGH trees! The inevitable party after the show was over was not well attended and the music was not great either but hey, we could still buy imported beer.

The man in charged of the local parachute school said he was still very busy though it seemed that paramotoring, which is why we were there, is not so attractive as we didn’t have any inquiries. The next day the wind was too strong for us to fly so we packed up, had a late breakfast with our host the other side of town and headed home along a busy road.

Today I am breaking news to my employees that they will no longer be paid in cash and like the rest of us will have to get themselves a debit card. It’s not going to be a popular move but they were warned 2 months ago that this was coming. Cash can now be bought for as much as a 15% premium which can make for a useful bargaining tool when buying. My partner and I have decided to embrace the crisis and have bought a house in a suburb that needs considerable refurbishing before we move in. Surprisingly not all the companies we’ve got quotes from are that interested in cash and only offer a 5% discount but with the bond notes now inevitable that might change. Who knows, we might be able to pay off the mortgage with a few bond notes and actually save a lot of money as they rapidly become worthless. (People who had mortgages in the Zim dollar days were often able to pay them off for a few notes as they became completely worthless.)



4 responses

13 10 2020
Robert Faith

I would love to chat more about paramotoring! I hope to move to Zim soon, and I was already interested in paramotoring… would love to discuss before I make the investment.

14 10 2020

No problem, what do you need to know?

17 10 2020
Robert Faith

What are the rules? What is the governing body in Zim? Where would you consider it safe? Have you heard of poachers mistaking someone for law enforcement and shooting at a tourist just flying for fun? Other than Victoria Falls, where are other incredible places to fly? Do you want wingman when I get there?

24 10 2020

Once upon a time we came under the umbrella of the Zimbabwe Association of Paragliding but that body is now defunct though there are 3 or 4 paraglider pilots around and a bit active. I guess we come under the Zimbabwe Microlight Aircraft Association though they are not that interested in what we do. We do generally fly out of the local microlight club airfield so we did have to do a club radio licence though none of us has an airband radio!
I guess you can fly just about anywhere in theory but currently (covid issues etc) one has to file a flight plan 24h in advance which rather limits recreational flying.
Poachers are not an issue. They are not exactly ubiquitous and tend to be a problem in the national parks where it’s illegal to fly anyway. Most of Zimbabwe is not national park.
We have never flown as Vic Falls. There were a lot of microlights taking tourists up though not sure what the situation is now.
You are welcome to join us when you get here.

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