Lacey and I have friends from Zimbabwe - a country in a desperate situation largely due to an unjust government. Please pray for the people of this country, the witness of the church in Zimbabwe in these difficult times, and for both mercy and justice. Below is their most recent email update describing their situation...
Dearest Friends and Family,
Well it has been two long months since our last news to you all on what has been happening in
and we apologize for the silence. The last two months here have probably been two of the worst economically that we have ever seen. We have literally watched a nation already struggling, been dealt the final blows. The most frightening thing about this, is that these 'blows' have been dealt by non other than our own government! In every other nation it seems that the president and his cabinet and other officials spend their time trying to avoid national disasters and crises, but in Zimbabwe it seems that these are the very people who spend their time creating them! We could not even begin to describe to you what we have seen and heard of taking place within our nation in the last few months. I dare say that there probably is not even one Zimbabwean who has not been affected by the situation. Zimbabwe
I believe that Zimbabweans no longer understand or know what a normal lifestyle looks like anymore. Our water is extremely short especially in Matableleland (the region in which we live) and we are now down to about 12 hours of water from a tap (faucet) in every four days. The rest of the time we are taking water from containers or boreholes (underground water). People who live in the high density suburbs of our city have bowsers that are allocated to their areas. People may then line up sometimes for hours on end and get a maximum of 20 liters (5 gallons) of water per household per day! Schools are having to buy water in bowsers in order to keep their plumbing systems going and to try and maintain some form of hygiene. This has affected our public health dramatically and already we are having very severe outbreaks of Diahorea and gastric problems of huge proportions.
Food is still chronically short. Vegetables and some locally produced fruit is still readily available but the two main staple foods, mealie meal (ground corn) and bread are hard to come by, even on the black market. The other basic commodities are non existent and probably 80% of our supermarkets may well be closed within the next two weeks. Many families now need to travel out of the country on average once a month or more to buy even the very basics such as flour, oil, sugar, bread etc. While there still remain the vast majority of people who are unable to make trips out of the country and have to manage on what they can find.
About 10 days ago all the butcheries were told that they would get their slaughter house licenses back. People were jubilant, until they got them back with a list of regulations that go something along the lines of:
- You will be paid out at Z$ 360 000/kg for the beast you slaughter and you can buy it back at Z$580 000/kg.
- You may send you animals in for slaughter and 1% of all you slaughter will be given to the army.
- 30% of all you slaughter will be sold to government -at cost.
- The balance of meat that you remain with is then to be shared between X, Yand Z butcheries.
How does a business survive that? Hence there is still no meat on the shelves....
Petrol and Diesel can only be found on the black market now and it has to be paid in foreign currency. Since the governments 'price freeze' three months ago fuel has gone from an average of 90c (
) a liter to $1.20 /liter. So much for controlling inflation!! At the beginning of September the Zim dollar was about Z$150 000: US$1. Today the rate was Z$500 000:US$1 and the rate is still climbing.......they are estimating that it will be up to $700 000:1 by the end of this week. US
The government is in the process of passing a "indiginisation bill". In this bill they are stating that every foreign or non black owned company has to relinquish 51% of it's share holding to a local non white Zimbabwean. If they refuse to do this it seems that there business will be taken over much like the commercial farms were, and still are.
Even as I write this, there have been more farm invasions and more productive commercial farmers have been forcibly removed from their farms in the last few days.This week 10 commercial farmers were taken to court for growing crops on their land?!! What a time we are living in. Chaos is the only word that I have to describe it.
In the last two weeks I was able to read an updated report on
and quite honestly the statistics are frightening. Not only are we top of the charts for the highest inflation in the world (approximately 15000% per annum) the next highest in the world is Myanmar(Burma) at 70% and Iraq 40% , we have the fastest declining economy, the lowest life expectancy thanks to HIV/Aids, poverty and lack of even basic medical assistance. The highest child mortality rate (which has doubled since 1985), but also one of the highest and greatest needs for food aid in the world. The list goes on and on. Do you know that Zimbabwe has a higher death rate than Darfor? But we are neither at war or have a drought, and all of this could have been prevented. Zimbabwe
When people come to
they do not see child soldiers, or children with kwashiorkor bellies, we have no car bombs and people are not being shot dead on the streets, blown up by land-mines, or raped. But they are simply fading away. The combined impact of HIV/Aids, poverty, lack of even the most basic medical assistance and food shortages is taking a huge humanitarian toll on the people of Zimbabwe . The only evidence that there is are of the headstones and number of fresh graves that are being dug on a daily basis in our cemeteries. Many of them are very young people, some who have had no chance at life at all.....3500 people die in Zimbabwe every week totaling 600 000 people since 2003. A very frightening statistic considering that Darfor even with all its trouble has 400 000 people die in the same period. What a very sad and drastic state our nation is in. Zimbabwe
For C. and I, life has continued on. It has certainly not been fun, in fact quite simply life here is pretty stressful right now. But knowing that this is where God has called us is a great comfort and God has really continued to provide our every need. We feel quite overwhelmed by the vast sea of need and desperation that we see around us on a daily basis. But what a joy to know that we stand here and are able to be a part of the greatest hope that we can give people and the most important hope of showing people Christ and the hope that He gives. Pray that we would be bold in proclaiming this truth and training others to do the same.
Thank you for your continued love, prayers and support. To know that you stand with us means more to us that you may ever know. We look forward to hearing all your news and please keep in touch.
Standing Firm In The Arms of Our Everlasting Father,