Welcome to the newest chapter of my life…LIFE IN BEITBRIDGE!!!
As I blog I am sitting in a room that is sweltering with heat. A massive 40 degrees of hot weather…that is how I have been welcomed to Beitbridge town. My crazy life has led me into yet another exciting journey, from the cold and wet Cork City in Ireland to the extreme opposite dry and hot weather in Beitbridge, Zimbabwe. As I am going to be here for some time, I thought I would share this journey with my readers.
Beitbridge interests me for a number of reasons. I am here for work and will be exploring the rural areas of Beitbridge conducting much needed developmental work. Rewind to November 2015, a month after my arrival to Zimbabwe, I got a job as a Social Anthropologist at a research institute in Harare. This, in a nutshell, means I conduct social research and engage in social dialogue with communities as well as engaging in the rich culture and lives of people in their lived environments. I will be working on a project that supports mopane worm (madora) harvesters to improve their livelihoods. I am recently learning that there are populations living in conditions of food insecurity in Zombabwe’s dryest parts, particularly because there is no rain this year compared to other years.
That is actually a madora salad…who knew??? You learn new things every day.
These populations rely on mopane worms (madora, amacimbi) as their main food and income source. I am curious to know what else can be done with mopane worms and I am happy to say I have tasted them, I have touched a live mopane worm too!!!
If I say this work excites me, I am grossly understating how my new job makes me feel. I am grateful to God for the opportunity and the grace to be able to do what I love in my own country.
So welcome to my life in Beitbridge where I will be for a few months before I move on to other interesting projects. I am with a group of colleagues, which is just about it in terms of who I know in these parts. Living in Matebeleland South means getting exposed to new languages, the majority of people speak Venda, I heard a sprinkling of Sotho and Ndebele. Someone said some people speak Shangaan. Shona and English are being used but not in the villages where I spend most of my days. This means I have to learn Venda fast!!! I am living in Beitbridge town, which I was quite impressed to see is quite developed now. There are hotels, casinos , a shopping centre with most facilities including banks and supermarkets. Another plus is that Beitbridge is the border town between South Africa and Zimbabwe. If I could cross to South Africa, it is just less than 20km away to Musina. Sigh…
COLD WATER has become a very important commodity. This place is HOT but I am staying hydrated. Dressing around the villages needs to be conservative as this is a conservative community, so goodbye to shorts and minis. I will be posting pictures of my new wardrobe which includes ankle length skirts, long sleeved tops (no cleavage) and definitely a sun hat. This is definitely new because everyone who knows me knows I love my shorts. In Beitbridge town though, where I am currently reside, I can wear jeans and normal tops.
I hope to update my blog often so you can join me on this journey. I actually think I need to blog to stay sane as well as writing is my escape. I am taking lots of pictures and will probably do a vlog so that I show you the environment I am working in, especially the villages. I have already been introduced to the Venda culture of greeting the Village Headman whom I have met and engaged with a few times. See image below that illustrates how Venda women greet traditional leadership
Image from https://underwaterheritage.files.wordpress.com to illustrate how village leadership is greeted by women. I did this myself, pity I could not take a pic because the Headman was present.
Do follow my journey and feel free to engage with me at any point if you have questions, advice for life in Beitbridge and anything else.
Love from GG…