Tuesday, May 16, 2006

"Live Within Your Means. Do not Support Corruption"

Pat is a registered nurse in his early 40's working at a hospital in Zimbabwe's northeastern Mount Darwin district. In Zimbabwe's hyper-infaltionary economy supporting his family has become a distant dream. "It's not too much to ask is it," he pondered, as he began to explain how difficult things have been for him in recent months.

"This hasn't been a good start to the year," he tells me. In January of this year, Pat struggled to find a place for his daughter to enroll for "form 1" (8th grade). "I really wanted her to go to Bradley Institute (a Salvation Army Mission High School), but when I when to talk to them I didn't have the money they wanted." He adds, "I'm a qualified nurse, I should be able to afford a decent education for my kids."

Dejected, he resorted to sending her to a school he could afford which also meant it isn't as good. He found place for his daughter at Mavhuradonha high school, a boarding school run by the Evangelical Church. "Anna (his daughter) doesn't like it there, but what can I do?" If she doesn't like the school, how can a 13 year old be motivated to succeed?

Last week Pat's outlook turned even bleaker. Apparently the school invited all parents to come for a "consultation day." Pat is not sure he wants to attend the consultation day meetings. It's not because he is disinterested in his daughter's academic wellbeing that he doesn't want to go. "I've been hearing rumors that they want to double school fees to 40 million and they plan to announce it at the consultation day." His plan by staying away from the meetings is to avoid confirming what has become inevitable in Zimbabwe's economy riddled by inflation at 1,000% inflation; ever increasing prices.


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