While we snooze, history is unfolding before our eyes

03 Mar, 2024 - 00:03 0 Views
While we snooze, history is unfolding before our eyes Bishop Lazarus - COMMUNION

The Sunday Mail

BUILDING a hut in the village might be relatively inexpensive, but one must gird one’s loins and psyche oneself up for some excruciatingly painful and back-breaking work.

Almost all building materials, such as bricks, beams and grass to thatch the roof, are usually either self-manufactured or self-sourced in what is so often a do-it-yourself enterprise.

To make the bricks, you have to bore through the seemingly iron crust of those hardy termite mounds in order to gouge out the needed clay, which is then mixed with sand and water to make a consistent putty.

But carting loads of sand and gallons of water to the brick-making site using a scorch cart and ox-drawn Y-shaped wooden sledges is equally daunting.

After the draining work of concocting the muddy mixture, it is then moulded into bricks and carefully laid out in the sun to dry.

This is just the beginning.

After drying out, the bricks are methodically stacked in a kiln and “cooked” at hellish temperatures.

This is no mean feat.

A lot of wet logs are needed to literally keep the fire burning for days.

And maintaining the required temperatures for a long period can only be accomplished through logs harvested from trees like mupfuti (brachystegia boehmii), among others that have that brown steely inner core that produces the fiery embers and heat for the task.

Those who once had the unenviable task of clearing new agricultural land would appreciate that felling these trees using an axe is extremely taxing.

You do not just wildly swing your axe, as this is needlessly energy sapping.

You see, the deeper you cut into the tree, the lesser progress you make because of the stubbornly hard inner core.

Nothing is as dispiriting as seeing an axe violently bouncing off the tree with just wafer-thin shavings, especially after taking what you think is your best shot.

The trick lies in maintaining a mechanical rhythm while patiently chipping away at the tree.

It is all about mind over matter.

So, this is clearly not a task for those lazy, smooth-palmed urban folk, who even develop blisters from a firm handshake. Kikikiki.

But, even after all this, one has to wheel the bricks to the construction site and begin the arduous task of putting up the structure. Additional logs that act as beams will also be needed for the roof.

It takes a combination of graft, expertise and experience honed over time to meticulously craft that sound, durable and aesthetic conical rooftop.

After all this is done, then comes the time to plaster the floor and walls. However, it is all worth it in the end. Nothing beats that godly feeling of being able to create, nor the thrill and gratification that comes with proprietorship of a newly built home from one’s own sweat.

There is also that dignity and satisfaction that comes with hard work.

Everything in the village is the product of honest, hard work. By its very nature, building is hard work. The Book of Exodus tells us how the Pharaohs of Egypt had to use slave labour to manufacture the boulder-sized bricks that were used to construct the imposing pyramids.

Moving mountains

Earlier last week, as Bishop Lazi had predicted at the beginning of the year, the heavy machinery finally invaded the capital, Harare, to rip up old roads, which had long been abandoned by the city fathers, as a precursor to extensive roadworks in and around the city.

The Government has had to step in to do what ordinarily would fall under the ambit of the ineffectual, inept and clueless city fathers.

With no vision, ambition, drive, direction or capacity, they have been snoozing as Harare rots away.

All told, about 40 roads — including Samora Machel Avenue; Simon Muzenda Street (formerly Fourth Street); Robert Mugabe/Gamal Abdel Nassar (formerly Rotten Row) junction to Tongogara, among many others — will be spruced up.

You just need to drive along Milton Street, adjacent to Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, to get a feel of the great things to come. All this, however, should not be viewed in isolation, but as part of long-running restorative projects that have seen the rehabilitation of city roads such as Seke Road, Josiah Chinamano Avenue, Cranborne Avenue, King George Road, Prince Edward Street, Connaught Road and Good Hope Road.

Little by little, and almost imperceptibly, the face of Harare is changing.

For Bishop Lazarus, it is the sheer scale of these big-ticket projects — the multimillion-dollar highway from Beitbridge; the imposing Mbudzi Traffic Interchange; the ongoing Kunzvi Dam construction; the historic Lake Gwayi-Shangani, among other mega projects — that are all happening while the world’s economy is in peril that is just astounding.

All these are the impressive foundations of a new Zimbabwe, as the country, against all the odds, continues its inexorable march to the promised land.

Even the staunchest of critics and cynics are now gradually acknowledging the good works of President ED.

“Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport is now (fire emojis). Renovations are still ongoing, but paitwa chakanaka tinozvikudza. I was so proud to walk our beautiful airport to be honest, so impressive — the Dutchess of Bvukururu was impressed,” said one of Nelson Chamisa’s supporters on X last week.

And to think that all this is also happening when Zimbabwe, without international financial support, is being throttled by the West through sanctions.

It reminded Bishop Lazi of an interesting article he came across in the February 24 issue of the Washington Post, as the US marvelled at the resilience of Russia’s economy, especially after being mercilessly buffeted by sanctions by Washington and its European and Asian allies in the past two years.

In fact, last year, Russia’s economy grew faster than that of the United States.

This year, it is expected to grow by 2,6 percent, compared with 2,1 percent for the US.

And, get this, unemployment in Russia is at a record low. The same miracle is happening in Zimbabwe.

“The key to Russia’s surprising economic endurance has been large sums of defence spending, what some economists call ‘military Keynesianism’ in a nod to British economist John Maynard Keynes’s support for using public spending to lift growth,” the Washington Post wrote.

Therein lies the trick, comrades.

Our massive investment in infrastructure is naturally having a multiplier effect on the economy by creating employment, building internal capacities through supporting local construction firms, as well as stimulating upstream and downstream economic activities. Over two decades of trials and tribulations have strengthened our resolve, making us better able to adapt to adverse conditions and circumstances.

James 1: 2-6 counsels: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

Even with the El Niño-induced drought looming on the horizon, we shall overcome, because our economy is now rigged for growth.

Did you know that in the past couple of years, Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube has been setting aside a contingency fund for a rainy day.

In the 2024 National Budget, the unallocated reserve actually stood at $6,7 trillion.

Despite the odds, our dream will not be deferred. Like a village hut, brick by brick, the walls of a new Zimbabwe are coming up.

Bishop out!

Share This: