Zimbabwe – We found Richard!!!
To enter Zimbabwe from Zambia at the Kariba boarder, you cross the impressive 128 m high Kariba dam. Our first night in Zimbabwe we stayed at the shore of lake Kariba, due to the dam, it is the second biggest artificial lake in Africa. The north was rainy. Just after the boarder crossing it started to drop whet from the sky.
Due to the hyperinflation in the late 1990s and the collapes of the Zimbabwe Dollar, we had the picture in our heads Zimbabweans trading goods to get food and there is not much to buy. A couple of years ago the Zimbabwian Dollar was replaced by USD, which was probably a smart move. We were surprised about the perfect roads, saw the highest density of Mercedes cars and everything was available in shops. Zimbabwe has the best educated people across Africa and the most natural resources. Actually everything is functional and well organized. Despite the difficult political situation, we had the feeling, that the common people are doing very well...
We still had to drive 700km to Richard. And we were tired from the last couple of days. We drove off to get as far as we can and like always on such days Alex had a puncture, off course in complete rain. But a friendly Shona gave us shelter to change the tube. He also gave us tasty mangos from his tree, so after 1.5 hours we were back on the road. Completely wet we arrived in KweKwe just before sunset. It was clear that we reach Richard and his hometown Zvishavane the next day. The sun was shining the next morning and the scenery was again beautiful and after 200km at about 11:00 am we finally reached his home. What an emotional moment, it has been over 16’000km and suddenly you see on your GPS that there are only 30km left. We made it, we found him and his family!!!
In the afternoon we went with Richard and his kids to Great Zimbabwe. The place where Rolf and Richard met 19 years ago. It is like a fort on top of a hill used by a former regional kingdom. Brilliant construction. Later the day we went shopping groceries and shaking a lot of hands of all the different friends Richards has in town. On 24th December we visited the Mimosa mine, where Richard works as a foreman for diesel plant fitter. Later in the evening we went out to drink a couple of beers, made a lot of jokes with Boniface a really good friend of Richard and played pool billiard with the locals. When we returned to Richards house, his mom was waiting for us, she came all the way from KweKwe just to see us. The next morning it was time to celebrate Christmas in the Anglican Church. Because sharing is a profound value in most (if not all) African cultures, the priest explained at the beginning of the service, that he will also share the service with us and spontaneously switched to English language instead of Shona. Wow what an honor for us. The service was very special for us. The celebrations are full of joy, the songs have beat and the sisters where dancing. The priest than asked out Rolf for a speech. He did a short greeting speech but was very nervous. After church it was time for Christmas gifts. After a late lunch we were all sad to split off, but we had to go. It was one of the highlights of our trip. Richard and his family will always be in our memories. Thank you Richard for being such a brilliant host. We arrived late in Bulawayo. The next day we drove up in full rain again to the Victoria Falls/Livingstone. We crossed the border to Zambia, to catch up with Sandra, the girlfriend of Rolf. She will now join us for the last three weeks. Team up with Sandra! Welcome to the findingrichard love train!