The sad state of affairs in Zimbabwe was not something I expected to be a part of on this trip. The surprise was shocking.
My flight Wednesday from Nairobi to Gaberone, Botswana, traveled via the pariah city of Harare, and it’s one of the few air services that exist into and out of this capital of oppressed Zimbabwe.
So it was not unexpected that most of the passengers were headed to Zim. These were Zimbabweans, not NGOs or aid givers or missionaries. They were people who were returning to their country after business abroad.
At least half of that was with very small children who required medical attention that no longer exists in Zim. It was quite uplifting to see these now healthy kids jumping around. But the flipside were the passengers boarding in Harare for Nairobi. These children were being carried onto the plane looking dazed and very ill, totally silent, by very concerned parents.
And sitting near me in business class were three Zim government officials. Two sat far away from a third, and whispered constantly. The third took his seat and started demanding champagne, then speaking louder and louder to those of us around him, about inconsequential and unintelligible stuff.
When the flight attendant asked him to be quiet during the video on flight safety as we taxied out, he raised his quite large bulk out of the seat and started shouting at her, reminding her of his special importance.
It was a sad reminder of the state Zim finds itself in today. Children with no modern medicines, parents with no alternatives abroad, and the big bosses taking advantage of them both.