Zambezi Kiwi

Living in Zimbabwe

COVID in a developing country

May 4, 2020

So, as most of you know (from AVIDLY following my blog) I’m a first-world girl living in a developing country.

I’ve wondered – a million times – how to write about COVID here, because I’ve struggled with how to make it relatable.

After all, while we watched the first world hit panic stations over hospital beds and flattening the curve, we were glancing sideways at a hospital with one ventilator (when they were all the buzz) and zero isolation units between 33,000 of us.

While ‘stay home, save lives’ became the catch cry of the West, we were watching tourism dry up in a tourist town where there is little to no real government support to fall back on when you lose your job (as have an estimated 90 per cent of us).

Hunger, and thereafter starvation, are very real possibilities in the coming weeks and months for roughly 20,000 of the people in this town.

It all makes the question ‘how can I help?’ so much more tangible and pressing when there is no substantial formal support system in place.

I’m not trying to be mean spirited, or political. I understand these times are scary for all of us, no matter where we live. What I am trying to get at is that living here has given me a different perspective on pandemics to what I think I would have back home.

Our little town, Vic Falls, is doing its best.

Members of our grassroots COVID Taskforce (to which you can donate here for medical supplies, and here for food) have, among other things, ensured donations are recorded and channelled appropriately, organised PPE and medical equipment for our local hospital, and organised urban planting initiatives. Many of us have jumped onboard enlarging vegetable gardens and planting every seed we can get our hands on.

Others have organised fundraisers and worked on spreading the word, while councillors in each ward are working on lists of the most vulnerable towards which donations can be channelled.

It is incredibly inspiring to watch, we are getting closer to our goals…and it has all made me feel rather useless.

After all, I don’t have official contacts I can work. I don’t have piles of money to donate. I don’t have local knowledge to even begin to organise food supplies…but it dawned on me a few days ago that I do have one thing.

I can sort of write.

So, here’s what feels like a very insubstantial attempt to help the little town that has captured my heart – and the hearts of so many around the world who have passed through.

You can help too, of course. By donating at one of the links, by sharing this article so others can donate, or just by booking in and paying for that holiday you’ve been planning for a while- even if it is only for next year.

Every little bit helps business owners keep paying staff through this tough time, or local aid organizations to get the supplies we so critically need.

We SO appreciate it, and from the bottom of our hearts, thank you.

Famine Relief:

Medical Supplies:

3 thoughts on “COVID in a developing country

  1. Dee Molton says:

    So lovely to see this , Narelle. Congratulations! Really great blog – you CAN write! Thank you, especially for the COVID blog. Resonated on so many levels. So much love to you both / all. Dee (VIS)


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