Dirt has been a constant companion. Like air, you’re constantly breathing it in and exhaling it out. When the bus arrived, I passed through the red fog to the climb up into my seat. Before I could even think, the driver looked at me and said, “Why do you remain silent about what’s going on here in Zimbabwe? We’re living in hell. How many more people will have to disappear or starve to death before your people will care? Talking to you could get me killed.” My stomach turned. There is no way to explain the silence of the world when it comes to Zimbabwe. When I mentioned that I was trying to write as much as I could, the driver shot back, “You must try harder. You are the only chance we have. Everyone here is terrified.” I didn’t ask many questions. Why should you when you already know the answers? After much listening, I managed one before I got out, “What does resistance look like here?” The driver didn’t hesitate, “Prayer is my resistance. Every night when I go to sleep, I pray that I will wake up and Robert Mugabe will be dead.”
While I was looking at newspapers on the street, the vendor looked up and inquired, “When are you going to help us with Mugabe?” Before I could respond, she slipped me an opposition paper and said, “This should help.”
Later in the day, a local businessman approached me on the street. Unsure of what he was going to say, I let him do the talking. “When I first learned about Hitler, I always wondered how people ever allowed a maniac to kill so many people. I don’t wonder about that anymore. Now, I know. Here in Zimbabwe we are living it.” After some further conversation, he looked me in the eye and said, “Please tell as many people as you can about our terror.”
As I walked down the street, the Mercedes screeched to a stop. I wasn’t far from the local offices of the intelligence service. “Are you that guy writing the articles and posting them on Facebook about the President?” The question hit me in the gut. After responding that I was, I answered his probing questions very carefully. At the first pause in the interaction, I began to walk away and heard, “Be careful during your time in Zimbabwe.”
Many Zimbabweans have been fervent in their resistance for decades. The best that some can do are comments like the ones made to me throughout the day. After only a short period of time here, I’ve gotten a small taste of what happens to those who resist in this country. The difference is that I get to leave. When I do, I’ll do all that I can to make the rest of the world aware of the evil of Mugabe and his followers in Zimbabwe. I pray you’ll join me.