Sunday, 30 January 2011

Zoom zoom zoom, we have made it to Zim

As an opening to Zoomzoomzim, I thought I would give a little snapshot of our first full week in Zimbabwe of what we've found good (G) here, or not so good (NSG).

G: A very good journey out to Zimbabwe with Amandine and Zélie on top behaviour.
NSG: That we had to run across half of Terminal 5 with the girls half naked in order not to miss our flight (who said we were last minute?)!

NSG: A very annoying T5 security agent who very slowly emptied and checked one of our carefully packed hand luggage suitcase muddling everything up right from the beginning.
G: Going through Zimbabwe customs with about 15 pieces of hand and hold luggage and over £2,000 worth of kit and not pay a penny!

G: A very friendly welcome by Tearfund staff in Zimbabwe.
NSG: Feeling absolutely knackered on arrival.

G: Our lovely, huge (to UK standards, I'm still amazed when people here tell me that it is not so big!) and bright house. We love our veranda where we spend most of our time, and which is a great spot to look at amazing birds.
NSG: A lot of echoing driving us crazy (especially when Zélie is screaming) because of its near emptiness of any sort of hard or soft furnishing.

NSG: Endless cleaning needed!
G: Juliet's help. She normally works in the Tearfund office but was free this week to help me to make a good dent in the monumental task!

G: We've now got a fridge freezer.
NSG: What we paid for it. At least 3 times the equivalent UK price. Ouch!

NSG: The regular power cuts.
G: The fantastic inverter/charger (and the fact that it has been fitted by a brilliant electrician) that we took as hold luggage which means that we can now run lights, plugs, and sometimes the fridge without having to bear the sound of a generator (although we hear the neighbour's).

NSG: Sleeping on a half punctured air mattress for 8 nights.
G: That we now have a proper bed!

NSG: A tough first week for the girls. Amandine is terribly missing her nanny, her friends, her Bibi and other regular activities she enjoyed in Kingston. We are having to do quite a lot of disciplining and that is not fun. Zélie's health was not brilliant this week and had fever with a temperature reaching a good 39. She is now back to normal, but is having massive tantrums (does that apply for a 1 year old?) with unbearable and unpredictable screaming sessions and waking up at 6.30 (instead of 8 in the UK).
G: The girls enjoying the space, the freedom of running (or walking holding tightly onto fingers) around barefoot.
G: The French school I took them to visit this week that Amandine will attend very soon in the “très petite section” for a couple of days a week.
G: The trampoline on the communal garden of our complex where Amandine could spend hours.
G: The neighbour's dog who is making Zélie squeal with delight.

G: The reasonable supply of food in the supermarkets.
NSG: The fact that for $7 you can get a small jar of Nutella or 25 bags of Earl Gray tea or a basic plastic toilet brush. And that it is virtually impossible to buy an ironing board, washing lines or even a decent cheddar cheese (which for a Frenchie is already a massive step down, sorry if I upset anyone).

G: Our friendly neighbours.
G: The friendships that are already emerging, particularly with a couple of people we knew a bit before coming and who have supported us enormously.
G: Wearing flip-flops, t-shirts and sun hats, but not feeling too hot thanks to Harare's lovely weather. The power of African downfalls.

SuperG: The beauty of Zimbabwe as we were reminded when we drove through amazing country side just outside of Harare on our way to visit a little animal rescue sanctuary. The opportunities for fun that it offers (how about seeing a massive lion being fed at a meter's distance as a casual Sunday afternoon activity when you are 1 or 2 or even in your 30's?)
SuperNG: Missing our family and friends already...

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