Zimbabwe quasi-wrap-up, in no particular order (I'm home now, and the 'rents got into JNB just a couple hours after I landed, so I have them here for the weekend until they leave for Cape Town on Sunday. But most of this was written prior to leaving.):
- I make a point to greet people I pass on the road during my morning runs (not just here in Zim, but anywhere). I don't know the local tribal dialect well enough to give it a shot, but the people here understand basic Zulu so I can use either that or English. Half of the time, when I use English, I am returned with a "Morning, master." I hate that. But it is just another part of Africa.
- The exchange rate in Zim is 30,000 dollars to $1 USD. That's the unofficial rate, and that's the rate you generally pay for anything, assuming you're not an idiot tourist. They only want you to pay in USD, and they'll only give you change in Zim dollars, but unfortunately the change always comes assuming the official rate, of 250 dollars to $1 USD. So if you're not paying in small bills and expecting little or no change, you need to expect to get ripped off. Everyone here generally assumes white people are fabulously rich and therefore the general unspoken goal is to help us rid ourselves of whatever funds we may have. They're not really all *bad* people though, however, so much as they're just hungry. More on that soon.
- The World Vision team we've been working with here is a wide assortment of the coolest people on the continent (and a handful from beyond). The team is comprised of the supply chain pilot leads from the 5 primary countries that have been implementing our quick-wins initiatives from the previous phase of work (WOW that was a sentence spoken in perfect Consultantese). But it really is good, relavent work that we are doing, and they can see that. These are the same countries that will be leading the implementation of the work my team and I are completing right now, and they are: Ghana, Somalia, Zambia, Uganda, and Southern Sudan. I've been especially interested in learning as much as possible from my colleague and brother David, who is here from Sothern Sudan (as some of you might have guessed). I'll be writing more about the humanitarian situation there from WV's perspective once I've had a chance to flesh out my notes from the meetings. Also, I've spent some good time with Diana, from Uganda, who is trying to help me set up a trip to there (on my own time) to meet counselors who are working with child soliders rescued from the LRA. Horrible, horrible stories, but that's why I want to go, to help stop them.
- We're staying in a hotel that is semi-reminiscent of Las Vegas, set in an African utopia. The food is usually buffet style, but they apparently ran out of food on Wednesday because there were only 2 menu options, and no buffet for a change. And the quality was iffy, at best. Running out of food in Zimbabwe is not an unusual occurence. Also, the power shut off for anywhere from 2-10 hours at a time, every day. They had a generator, but it wouldn't power the AC. I was not comfortable at those times.
- There's wild animals everywhere - mainly wart hog wandering the streets (or lack thereof) and the occasional baboon or monkey. You have to keep the sliding door to your balcony closed and locked so that they don't come in and take your stuff. The hotel is a series of buildings (full of rooms) that all surround a central area where the pool is, but that's surrounded by some natural-habitat pond, complete with fish and the occasional baby crocodile.
- The falls are pretty cool but the views aren't that incredible. There's almost too much mist shooting up from the bottom to make good pictures from the better vantage points possible. But it was neat to see. More on them later too. Theoretically.
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