Meeting Zimbabweans in Neighboring Countries in 2008 Hoping for a Better Future
Life is filled with contradictions. I am thinking now about the time in mid-2008, when I met Zimbabweans fleeing from their homeland looking for a better life. Many were afraid to talk openly for fear that relatives who had stayed behind might become victims of violence if they were quoted talking about the reasons they had left home.
I was fortunate to have several meetings over the course of a week at places like churches and truckstops alongside major international transportation routes into several neighboring countries. One meeting in Tete, Mozambique stands out. 14 ladies spent almost 90 minutes speaking about the reasons they had turned to prostitution as 'the only way they could make money to feed their families'. Only 2 had been able to consult with medical authorities. One was pregnant.
All of them danced and sang songs for me when they learned that I came from America, pleading with me to tell their stories. I am very thankful for this forum, to be able to tell their stories, and encourage the American public to promote efforts to seek peaceful reconciliation in that society.
I continue to correspond with Zimbabweans who still reside in Mozambique. A group of young teachers who are looking forward to the day they can go home, want to teach English in the Portuguese speaking country in an effort to build up the tourism infrastructure. It's a win-win situation that could provide gainful employment for the Zimbabwean, and a much needed service that could help dramatically increase the number of tourist visiting some of the best beaches in the world where today very few people in the tourism industry can speak English.
On the joint Zimbabwe-South Africa-Mozambique borders is an international Peace Park that needs helping hands to promote a wonderful idea. Corruption is a problem which needs to be brought to light.