Weighing in on everything from avocados to Zimbabwe

Weighing in on everything from avocados to Zimbabwe

America to Zim: Day 10

posted by Leila Z. on

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Yesterday we travelled back to Nyamweda in what would become a fairly epic kombi ride. We received a call from Caution in the AM saying that there was a kombi driver who had agreed to take us to Caution's house and that he was waiting for us at Mbare market. We were overjoyed at the prospect of not having to lug our stuff over hill and dale, so Joseph and I hustled to get our things together and depart from Fradreck's. The kombi from Fradreck's to Mbare took its time (~45 minutes), pausing to drum up business, detouring to avoid the police -- all the usual. When we got to Mbare, we called the kombi driver to check in (from the post office!! Apparently there is a physical building, even if the service is non-functional), and from his vague directions began to wander in the direction of kombis to Mhondoro. I noticed a guy following us who looked super sketchy (in a market know. For sketchiness), so I called to Joseph and we let him pass.

Eventually we found the proper kombi, and were ushered into the seats of honor (or as I like to call them, the "ejection seats of honor" -- no seat belts, of course) -- the two seats next to the driver. Joseph went off to buy mangos, and who should show up and get on our kombi but Mr. Super Sketch. I was a little freaked; Joseph reassured me that he was just a friend of the kombi drivers sent out to look for us, and perhaps his English wasn't good enough to approach us. (He did, in fact, come to Nyamweda and didn't cause any trouble.)

We then waited in the kombi THREE hours to depart Mbare. In the meantime, there was a constant parade of vendors hawking junk from China (they get your attention by hissing, which I hate). I admit that I did buy a junky lock for my suitcase -- it only needs to be secure enough to make it back to the US.

When the kombi finally did depart, it was exquisitely uncomfortable -- because of Joseph's ailment I was in the middle seat with about 6" fewer leg room because of the radio. (I have a gnarly bruise on my knee today from where it was jammed against the dash.) When we were almost to Nyamweda, a huge thunderstorm descended. Instantly the track (we had turned off the main road by then) turned into a river. Again, in the literal sense -- multiple times my feet were doused as we swam through especially deep parts. But at long last we were dropped not far from Caution's, and walked back as the rain was dissipating.


I especially wanted to have a singing lesson with Langton Bapiro (whose CD I have listened to many, many times), but he is too shy to ask outright for a lesson. Instead, the plan was to invite him over for a few hours, offer him some beer, and THEN ask for a singing lesson. And we have done so today. Joseph is feeling poorly, and this seems like a fine way to spend an afternoon. There is some chibuku (corn and sorghum beer), which I tried and can honestly say resembles nothing so much as vomit (same sour taste). But it was duly given to Sekuru Bapiro, who seemed to enjoy it, and now he and Caution are playing our mavembe mbiras (Dande), and the singing comes, softly.

Caution and Bapiro discuss singing lyrics for "Dande"

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