After nights of sleepless excitement we have finally arrived! We are back in Zimbabwe – our home land – as visitors. How strange it all looks and yet how familiar.
Our son was there waiting for us at Harare International Airport, the plane was early, all our luggage arrived and accounted for, the immigration and customs officials polite and rather bored, the airport clean if shabby and outside the sun is shining in a blue sky. The countryside looks lush and green with long grass and flowering trees evidence of the past season’s good rains. It seems informal markets selling wonderful woven grass and reed goods, wooden furniture and sculptures are back in business along with the tree-cutters who advertise their wares on hand painted metal signs hammered into the trees on many a corner. A new addition are the sellers of “air time” who rush out into the traffic at each intersection to help you keep your all-important cell phone topped up! Incredible dodging and weaving in between vehicles who behave as if these intrepid vendors are bionic or at the very least, invisible!
Avenues of dappled shadow and hard-edge sunshine bring good memories flooding back. Riding home from school, heading off to matches, afternoon teas and morning playgroups. There is a smile growing inside of me. We drop our bags in the spacious guest suite of our friend’s home and gather outside on the patio to begin the unraveling of time and stories. We sit under the shade of a large canvas umbrella and look out over the impeccably manicured lawn, luscious tropical plantings, their swimming pool and tennis courts as we chat and exchange news and slowly the last few hectic days fade steadily away. And then as if to complete our homecoming, at four o’clock Blessing arrives carrying the tea tray. It’s laden with teapot and mugs for a hot cuppa and freshly baked home-made crunchies, our most favorite of biscuits. Ahhh! Such a civilized tradition and one we have missed!