Would you go to Zimbabwe now?

Old Dec 7th, 2008, 11:27 AM
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Would you go to Zimbabwe now?

We are scheduled to spend 1 night at Vic Falls - New Years Eve - at Ilala Lodge - our last night on the trip. We are all really excited about it!! Teenaged DS is very thrilled to be going off one of the highest commercial bungee jumps in the world, and the other kids all have adrenaline activities lined up. Ilala looks wonderful, and we have reservations for a very nice special New Years Eve dinner.

But...

Can I eat that dinner while there are people almost right outside the window starving? My middle class guilt is really giving me trouble here. And, although there isn't any cholera in the area, and we are healthy and well fed, so probably will be able to fight it off, the cholera thing is still a concern.

The country really needs tourist $, although Bob sure doesn't, and the local folks will need our tips and business.

I don't know what to do. I have sent an email to our TA, to consider a plan B, which would be a night in Johannesburg, to include a visit to the Apartheid Museum, and a few other sights during the day before our evening flight out.

I hope this thread doesn't disintegrate into the usual (recently) name calling, but I am interested in your opinions.

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Old Dec 7th, 2008, 01:10 PM
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In a word, no.

The decision, however, is one only you can make. The starving Zimbaweans and toruism dollars is one thing, but the added cholera epidemic (and refugees streaming across the borders) is another. I can't imagine a more depressing New Year's. Why risk disease when you can do all the things you mentioned from the safer Zambia.
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Old Dec 7th, 2008, 01:18 PM
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Hate to say it but if you don't eat the food it will not end up in their mouths.

I was told that the food that we ate in Zimb. was from S.Africa.

I'm very happy that I went to Zimbabwe this past August and contributed just a tiny bit.
The Zimbabweans whom I met told us they were grateful that we came. They look forward to building their tourist industry back up again.

As for whether or not to go, it's truly your decision alone.
Good luck!
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Old Dec 7th, 2008, 01:45 PM
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Cybor, what you say is interesting - that the folks want to build up their tourist infrastructure - I can well imagine, what other sources of foreign currency do they have?

And, actually, I'm not worried about the cholera - everything I read says it can be avoided, and even if you don't, if you are at all healthy your immune system can fight it off. Dehydration is usually what gets people in the end, and that can be dealt with with oral rehydration salts, and I've got some Gatorade and Propel drink powder.

So far, we are still leaning towards going, but I am watching the situation there with an eagle eye.

I just hope the OAU and other important, LOCAL players put their feet down soon and give Bob a good, peaceful exit strategy!

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Old Dec 7th, 2008, 02:30 PM
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For my May trip, i opted to stay in Zambia. While i understand the view of the falls is much nicer in Zim than Zam, I also went thru some of your thinking, about helping the PEOPLE of Zim, but... my tourist dollars will not go to waste in Zambia, and might help them show BOB the exit.
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Old Dec 7th, 2008, 03:49 PM
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I have a hard time believing that tourists will be exposed to cholera. Just drink bottled water, it's almost everywhere anyway.
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Old Dec 8th, 2008, 11:32 AM
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Personally, I wouldn't go.

Political stability gets more fragile by the day as the cholera epidemic worsens. It seems to me that a coup is a very real possibility. And ethical and health questions aside, being caught up in a coup means, at best, difficulties getting out of the country. At worst, your family could be separated, imprisoned, hurt or even killed.

On the other hand, I've been predicting an imminent coup there for the last couple of years and it hasn't happened. In the last two or three days many people have been calling for action to remove Mugabe, including Desmond Tutu, Condoleeza Rice, the president of Kenya, and some UN officials. So maybe it'll all be over by New Year's Eve. Who knows?

You might want to look at allAfrica.com or news24.com to read the latest on the situation.
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Old Dec 8th, 2008, 12:58 PM
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One night at Vic Falls beats a night in Johannesburg by a long way. I wish white people would get over their guilt about American slavery that propels them to irrational political behavior and their guilt about the hungry black and brown people of the world for whom no amount of help will ever be enough if simply because of uncontrolled reproduction. Go and enjoy Vic Falls from the Zimbabwe side! I agree with earlier comments about the food and about cholera. If there's a revolution in Zimbabwe on New Year's Eve, you can easily slip into Zambia.
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Old Dec 8th, 2008, 03:29 PM
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Wherever you eat your dinner, there are people right outside starving somewhere pretty close, even here in the US.

As for propping up an evil, vile regime, the Southern Africans have been doing that for years on their usual misguided prinicples.

I think the chances of a coup are somewhat limited, the army are the real power in the country now anyway, they are the ones who forced Bob not to leave after the election, but to fight and cheat, so even if they take over in name, what's going to change.

I would go to Zimbabwe now if there was something I wanted to see, but I've been to Vic Falls, and once was enough.
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Old Dec 8th, 2008, 03:55 PM
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Okay, my head is spinning a little bit from some of the comments.

Zambezi, you are completely missing the point. Do you have any idea in what shape Zimbabwe was before this mess? It had the highest rate of literacy in Africa, exported a huge amount of food and was generally a well-off, balanced cool country. Senile Bob and his cronies changed all of that, NOT the local populace. It was nobody else's fault.

Secondly, I URGE people to PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do some research apart from the regular news articles so that you can see exactly where any foreign currency goes in Zimbabwe. Very little of it trickles down to the local populace because of Mugabe's policy that all white owned and foreign owned business must give over 51% of their business to the state.

To all the people who've gone to Vic falls, and think things looked rather good, here's the real Zimbabwe:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPKGZreusoQ

Oh yeah, regarding a coup, I wouldn't disregard that option. The military used to back Mugabe because he gave them food and housing. Guess what, that food has run out. The military is on the brink of collapsing.

So my conclusion, don't go. If you don't believe me, find a Zim expat forum online and ask some questions about experiences they've had. I promise you it will shock you.
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Old Dec 8th, 2008, 07:00 PM
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Dear Mrs.AK: I first visited Zimbabwe (then Southern Rhodesia) in 1967 and have visited the country frequently since, the most recently in late October, 2006, when I traveled extensively in the countryside observing the work of a non-profit organization. I believe that I have a basis for my opinions beyond what a couch-potato might get from You-Tube. ZZ
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Old Dec 9th, 2008, 08:07 AM
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Dr Mr Zambezi

I'm a South African. I've LIVED there my whole life. I have friends who recently fled Zimbabwe. I have gone to school with kids who had to flee their homes in the middle of the night with nothing but their pajamas. My perspective goes beyond the activities of non-profits.
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Old Dec 10th, 2008, 05:24 AM
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Are you confused yet, Moml?
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Old Dec 10th, 2008, 07:57 AM
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cybor - not really. We will be there less than 24 hours, so I'm not really worried about our safety, besides which we will be in Vic Falls, probably the safest area in the country.

And, I think that the folks there need for us to come - not that our few hours and $ there will really make a difference, but every little bit helps. And, besides, I would love to see the falls, even if the water will be low (it was low when we went white water rafting down the Green and Colorado rivers, but still very spectacular!). And the kids want their adrenaline fix.

We are keeping an eagle eye on the news, though.



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Old Dec 10th, 2008, 08:27 AM
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Momliz,

Just a reminder. No matter how little time you spend there and how little $'s you spend, more of your money is going to end up int he government's hands than in the people on the ground.
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Old Dec 10th, 2008, 08:32 AM
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I understand, although if I give someone a cash tip, they must get some or most of that, no? I guess the penalties for not declaring tips must be severe, from what you're saying. I do hate to support Bob's regime.
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Old Dec 10th, 2008, 09:52 AM
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I would be very suspicious of handing out foreign currency to people.
I'm especially concerned about this sentence in the Australian government's advice page:

"Tourists also have access to a special rate, accessible through the Reserve Bank and other banks."

http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/zw-c...dvice/Zimbabwe

Also consider that foreign currency is tightly controlled, so locals might not appreciate being seen accepting foreign currency from anyone.

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Old Dec 10th, 2008, 09:57 AM
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Enjoy your trip!
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Old Dec 10th, 2008, 10:57 AM
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MrsAK, a typical White Southern African attitude about Zimbabwe. The last person like you told me that all the parks had been poached out. Well, Mana was more than pumping this September.

Vic Falls is more than safe, including from Cholera at the present moment. There is too much running water there for it to an issue.

Feel free to tip in Dollars. There is no need to change currency as USD is widely accepted.

Enjoy your New Year celebrations!
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Old Dec 10th, 2008, 12:19 PM
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Yeah Okay

Of course Vic falls is safe. Why wouldn't it? It's the only thing bringing any kind of money into the country.

Typical answer from someone who went on a exclusive safari and all of a sudden knows all about Africa...
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