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To hospital with a goat

Travelling through Zimbabwe, it’s easy to see the devastating effects the last few years have had on people.

Empty shelves

Driving through country towns that only a few years back were vibrant and buzzing, you’re now more likely to see boarded-up shops and dusty, empty streets. The small country shops and supermarkets used to be hives of activity in Zimbabwean towns. They now show nearly empty shelves. 

But life is beginning to come back to the larger towns. With the introduction of currencies like the US dollar and South African rand, people are beginning to buy goods from shops again.

In Harare, although basic food items are still expensive, people are visiting shops to buy bread, milk, flour and rice. Bigger towns outside Harare are also stocking up their shelves with these basic commodities and small amounts of foreign currency.

Trading without money

Go further into the countryside, though, and you’d be hard pressed to find a dollar or rand. For these rural communities, the only way to buy soap, salt or oil is to barter.

Now the harvesting has begun, people are carrying buckets of maize to shops which they’ll use to trade. Before the harvest, when there was no maize to barter with; people here had to use their livestock to pay for services. It wasn’t unusual to see a person being transported to hospital with their goat in tow.

Emergency response

Concern has been implementing emergency response programmes to help people cope with the crisis. We have been distributing food aid and setting up cholera treatment centres. 

We’re are also focusing on ensuring communities are have enough food in the longer term. As part of this, we’ve had huge success this year helping farmers to improve their harvest. Read more about this in my next post.