The brother and family arrive in a few hours. I haven't been grocery shopping, haven't cleaned the house, and generally haven't prepared anything at all. So instead of posting, I'm passing on four "must-read" links. Take a minute between glasses of champagne to read and remember Zimbabwe - there is no celebration there tonight.
- "How Mugabe Gets His Bullets" - The UN reports that despite all sorts of bans and sanctions, the Mugabe government in Zimbabwe is getting Chinese made ammunition and weapons through third-party shipping across the DRC and other neighboring countries.
- "New $10 Billion Bill" - Whoops - forgot to post this article from 19 December. Too bad it is already so out of date. In the 12 days since then, Zimbabwe has released a new $50 Billion note. Of course, it is not the same $50 Billion note that is sitting on my desk. That is from earlier in the year, before 10 zeroes came off the currency, but from after the first zero slashing that dropped three digits. Going back to the pre-zero-slashing days of a couple of years ago, the newest Zimbabwean note is actually a $500,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bill. I have no idea what that number is, but it is the true reflection of the currency's worth - 50 billion with the thirteen artificially removed zeroes added back on.
- "Dollar is Key To Zimbabwe Survival" - A realistic account of how difficult it is to survive in Zimbabwe these days without access to hard currency (ie, the US Dollar). Without USD or South African Rand or Botswanan Pula, one can't buy anything. Now a shortage of USD in Zim is causing massive US Dollar inflation in the economy there.
- "The Death Throes of Harare's Hospitals" - The Harare central hospitals are closed. Closed. There is no specialist care available in the country. Surgery has stopped. Families were called to pick up their patients. One doctor puts it bluntly, "Everyone is being referred to private clinics, and if you don't have money, you die."
The last two stories I heard repeatedly on my last trip to Zimbabwe a few weeks ago. I interviewed three anonymous Zimbabweans about their lives - a private school teacher, a government doctor, and a poor working woman. I could tell their stories, but you wouldn't believe me. Instead, listen to their stories on the new ServLife Africa Podcast here.