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Indigenous, Indigenous, Indigenous

Posted by on November 10, 2011

Today Salome and I had a long day out in the field. We decided to circumvent MRCZ and hand out our study flyers to the clinics without their approval so we could get patients enrolled as soon as possible. In the mid-morning we headed to the western suburbs to explain our study to 4 clinics.

Finding your way is interesting in Zimbabwe: I asked Salome if she knew where the clinics were and she said not exactly, but she knew the general area. I trusted her and off we went. When we got near the first clinic, Salome pulled off to the side of the road and asked for directions. A vendor selling some wares directed us to the clinic just like she said someone would.

Over the next several hours we went to four clinics, introducing ourselves and the study and asking for help from the nurses. All of the nurses were excited to participate and ensured us they would call if they found a patient fitting our criteria. It was a very productive day but we didn’t get back to the office until after 4:30. We were so late that everything was locked and we couldn’t actually get in.

We went down the street to try to buy some printer ink (no store in Harare carries color ink for a Canon MP530) then we got dinner at a local restaurant called Bannie’s. I really struck out on the meals though: they were out of tilapia and chicken stew and the pasta salad took more than 30 minutes to prepare so I settled with roasted chicken and chips (French fries). It was served with cole slaw and butternut squash and green beans so I finally got a good serving of vegetables (they are lacking in my diet right now).

Salome’s sister works for a theater company organizing plays in the area and we agreed to meet her at Theater in the Park for the opening night of a new play. However, when we got there, we couldn’t find Ruthie at all and when we texted her, we found out that she was on her way home (I later heard that she left because the play producer was being very selective about who they let in to the opening and her artist friends didn’t qualify even though I did). Luckily we got in for free even without Ruthie and I even got a complementary soda before the show.

The plays are performed in the round, in a thatch-roofed hut inside of a park in the middle of downtown. The theater is quite small, with the stage about 20 feet by 20 feet and three rows of bleachers lining all of the walls. It probably doesn’t seat more than 80-100 people.

The play we saw is called “Indigenous, Indigenous, Indigenous” and is about a family in Zimbabwe who owns a large tract of land that they use for mining, farming and hunting. One day the daughter discovers that a “bushman” has entered the house wanting to speak with her father. The “bushman”, who is an indigenous person, is upset at the way the father has been treating the land and implores the family to consider the environmental consequences. The parents, who were freedom fighters during the independence movement, brush him off saying it is now their land and he has no right to tell them what they can and cannot do but the daughter is more reasonable and listens to his arguments. It was a good play and acted very well. Two of the cast members are quite famous here and have been on television shows. There were a lot of parallels between the play and indigenous people’s movements around the world and it was great to see that someone here is trying to open the discussion of these issues. I hope to see more plays of this quality while I’m here.

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