Monday, October 05, 2009
Bulawayo is abuzz again (and those who know will tell you that if Bulawayo is alive, then things must really be better, lol). Buildings are getting their first lick of paint in ten years. Every second shop is a supermarket. We even spot the occasional tourist. Everyone is complaining about the exchange rates- most people earn their salary in US dollars, but everything is priced in rand (except utility bills)- and when we first switched to foreign currency, the rate of the rand to the dollar was 10:1. Now it's 8 or 7.5:1- which means that salaries have actually been eroded (since almost no one is getting a raise at the minute). Most people seem to want us to switch completely to the dollar -which, to my mind, would be a nightmare. I am campaigning for the rand, myself.
Things are very upbeat on the street, if people have rather got used to griping... No one will tell you they are happier now that they can eat normally but believe me, they are :) Bigger things are still an issue- like power supply- but I know a few people who have even been able to buy cars in the last few months, something that had become completely impossible for most. I imagine the struggle is still uphill, but we're getting somewhere on the ground, if not exactly in government.
Image: flower seller at work at the City hall, Bulawayo.