Drawing from her own experiences, former Miss Earth Zimbabwe, Sandiswe Bhule gives an analysis of the situation prevailing in Zimbabwe.
There is something about Desperation - it is a catalyst, a fuel, an enabler and a driving force. I have seen many people achieve greatness or endure the most horrific situations thanks to Desperation. Sometimes her presence is so obvious, other times it is masked by layers of confidence, excuses and much more.
Desperation - why we settle for less
Like most things, it is easy to identify Desperation in others than it is to see it on oneself. I remember looking at one of my neighbours and wondering why she does not leave; my conclusion was that she was desperate. Yes, I was very linear minded at 15 and all I could see was a woman desperate for money and for the chance to tick the "Mrs" box when filling in forms. I never saw beyond that.
It was like the time that I came across grown men who used to let a younger men treat them like dirt - I wrote that off as desperation. Just my one glance from the outside settled the matter in my head; they were doing all they could to keep their low-pay jobs. I shook my head in sadness and hoped they could not see my disappointment even though I was sure it was written all over my face.
When Desperation befriended me
The day came when I became desperate, and I am only seeing it now - a whole five years later! At the time I had dressed it up as anything but, I had used it as my driving force and it had served me well. I had thought that it was my servant and I was the master, but I was wrong. Desperation had taken the reigns of my life and she drove me right to where I am now.
It is actually a good six years ago that I had my first brush with Desperation, and she had introduced herself to me as an extension of me. In a way we had become one because when you are alone in a foreign land with nothing at all to your name it's easy to become entwined with her. She is the one who reminded me that sleep and food were luxuries, she made sure that I kept working towards my hopes and dreams in the face of hardship.
No money for a kombi
Desperation was an amazing companion though; she knew when to back down and when to stay by my side. I remember her stepping up for me 5 years ago when I had come back home from Namibia and I used to diarise meetings without any transport money. Those were the days that I asked for transport from random kombis in Gweru and they gave me a lift to wherever I was going. I guess she had teamed up with faith, I must say they make an awesome team! Things got better, clients started paying and she visited me less and less, maybe she was there and I just did not pay attention.
Going to sleep hungry
At some point three years ago I rented a room in Mkoba 5 in Gweru. The industry I was in had been flooded by service providers who gave customers a lesser quality of service for much less than I could. It seemed I had to go back to the drawing board and rearrange my options. All I could think of at the time was how grateful I was that I was single and childless. Imagine being able to only provide maputi and tea for supper, porridge for breakfast and any dollar for hobho fruit for lunch? That's what I ate for a good 3 months and desperation spurred me forward, she probably kept me alive.
I guess even God understands Desperation in a special way, He surely must! It looks like He has been doing so since time immemorial. Even in the Bible, it appears that the more desperate payers are answered the most. Heck! My prayers I have offered up together with my side kick Desperation have a record answer time! Maybe God has a soft spot for her, sad thing is her presence cannot be faked.
Zimbabwe's unanswered prayers
Often times I wonder if the children of Zimbabwe are not desperate enough, or if our cries are not heard. Are the ones who are not desperate right now making it seem like everything is alright? Do they provide a shield that stops God from hearing our prayers? It seems like most of us keep going to hell and back and on the way we keep seeing bits and pieces of heaven out of our reach.
Maybe our prayers are answered and the answers are diverted by those that prey and lie in wait. We have so many opportunists in Zimbabwe and I am sure they are kidnapping the answers before they get to everyone else. Either way, we are becoming more and more desperate for a chance to live a dignified life where we don't have to bribe, pay crazy prices for mediocrity, offer our bodies for jobs and degrees and do a whole lot of other unbecoming practices.
We are desperate for a leadership that will not tear down houses that they watched us build with our hard earned money. We are getting even more desperate for affordable education and medical care.
Desperation can be an excellent friend or a frenemy, she can keep you on the straight and narrow or take you down the road to destruction. Our young men and women start "making deals" while in school and they date older women and men for money. Parents from all social circles put food on the table by bribing; from the vendor on the Harare streets to the car parts importer in the industries. When and how will this end?