Whilst we would never underplay the seriousness of the situation in Zimbabwe from a political point of view nor detract from the importance of events here, it is also important to reassure our friends and clients and to try to put into perspective what so many find difficult to understand, seeing only the worst in news reports
Zimbabwe is a beautiful country, filled with the warmth of millions of smiling, gracious souls.
It overwhelms us with its wonderful gifts of nature: the restoring rain, the mountains and valleys that define our very lives, the glorious sunshine that melts our hearts and the quiet thrill in the seasons' changes.
Zimbabwean people are industrious and strong, determined to make the best of bad times; many are hard-working, helpful and willing. They have a great sense of humour, seeing the good in most situations, able to smile with each other in mutual empathy.
Zimbabweans are also proud and honest; they're patient, resolute - these simple qualities are illustrated in ways just as uncomplicated
just a visit to the supermarket or a drive down the road may reward you with a smile that breaks across a stranger's face, a greeting called out in recognition, a song sung from the heart or a joyful joining of two hands in friendship.
The truth of the matter
The headlines shout the statistics and tell sickening stories of suffering and disaster. It is almost more than we can bear to see our beautiful country descend to these depths, to watch so many of our people hurting and traumatised, displaced and degraded by a government that won't accept its defeat.
What we are experiencing, we believe, are the dying throes of a desperate regime, clutching on to a façade of power through a brutal force of fear. The disturbing pictures and reports are all true, but the stories that aren't told, the ones that involve human kindness and generosity of spirit, are what allow our lives to go on somehow - and never without the hope that good will prevail.
Doing what we can
We know that many people out of the country worry about us here, concerned for our safety, and we can only offer the comfort that some of what we describe here provides: our people's resilience, bravery and strength will get us through this - we are survivors! The beauty that surrounds us is a tribute to the incredible fortitude of every ordinary person just trying to get on with the business of life in as normal a way as possible. Despite the absurdities of mind-boggling inflation, chronic shortages and political turmoil, life goes on.
Through these difficult times, it falls more upon every fortunate person to do what he or she can for those less so. The education fund set up for Tabita Ngoshi's son, for instance, is coming on and we include an extract from a letter from Bowdy Train
John and Nicci Stevens have become the guardians of Tabby's youngest son, Thomas Ngoshi. The Stevens have asked me and my wife, Georgina Sanger, to help them raise an educational fund for him. As you know Tabby died last autumn, and her death has left a very big hole in many lives. Poor Thomas is faced with the prospect of life without his wonderful mother at the tender age of 13.
A number of people have kindly asked if there is anything they can do for the memory of Tabby or to help her family. The single most important thing any of us can do is contribute to a fund to help pay for Thomas' education.
Tabby was such a delight and comfort to all those around her. She made friends readily, took care of everyone in any way she could and her legacy of warmth and love will be missed by all of us who knew her. Tabby did everything she could every day to keep those around her happy, comfortable and safe...
Georgina and I are grateful for this opportunity to help Tabby. She was as fine a person as we have ever known. Thomas Ngoshi would be eternally grateful for any assistance you can provide to him and his family in this hour of their need. I think the best way to accomplish our objective is to simply make cheques out to me (C. Bowdoin Train) with the notation that they are for the Tabby Ngoshi Family Fund. John and Nicci have promised to keep everyone who gives to the fund a regular report of Thomas' progress through school! I would be happy to discuss this proposal in detail with anyone who has questions or concerns. Bowdy Train
C. Bowdoin Train
The Grosvenor Funds
1808 Eye St. NW
Washington, DC 20006
The Tabby Ngoshi Family Fund is coming on! But we need more help for young Thomas, Tabby's son, who is only 13 and is now at Prince Edward School in Harare. Since her death, the money that Tabby had in the US has been blocked by bureaucracy and, until it can be resolved, it's important that we ensure the continuation of funding for Thomas' education.
So we ask anyone who can help to please do so. You may contact Bowdy Train directly.
We would like to thank everyone who has been in touch and hope that the above, in some way, puts your mind at rest and allows you some insight into our lives here and how, with all the good that there still is, we have the means to keep on keeping on! It is highly unlikely that the situation would affect safari trips. The camps, lodges and service providers continue to provide the high quality of service we expect.
John and Nicci Stevens
There is a way to be good again. (Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner)