Beauty In The Face of Ugliness

Posted by Bronwyn Newnham on

Life in a chaotic nation is difficult and sometimes completely impossible. Zimbabwe is such a nation. The nation's political chaos has negatively impacted every single one of the people who live within its borders.  

Zimbabwe was liberated from an oppressive white colonial rule in 1980. Robert Mugabe became president in 1987. He was forcibly removed from office by the nation's military in November of 2017. He leaves his country bankrupt and disordered.   

The Physicians for Human Rights report spells out that the most basic functions of a government - clean water, sanitation and healthcare delivery - have collapsed in Zimbabwe
— Huff Post. 'Zimbabwe's Poor Healthcare System causing Humanitarian Crisis' 2018

The 37-year rule of President Robert Mugabe and subsequent takeover of Government in 2017 has left this nation in limbo as the USA and the European Union, who fund and support humanitarian efforts in Zimbabwe, are waiting for this new government to prove itself responsible.  

The Zimbabwe Independent Newspaper reports that the cost of healthcare is now dependent on the patient to pay for resources. It is $15.00 US to attend hospital for an appointment, and an X'RAY costs US$50.00 with an MRI costing the patient US$500.00. This cost is completely out of reach for unemployed and poverty impacted citizens. When people are able to attend a hospital, they find there is an inadequate supply of syringes, gloves, food and medications, even stationary. I could not find recent statistics for Attendant Medical Staff, but a 2010 World Health Organisation Document stated that Zimbabwe had 1.6 Medical Doctors and 7.2 Nurses to every 10,000 people.  

As drought and mismanagement have impacted Zimbabwe's hydroelectricity supplies, those in Zimbabwe's smaller towns have power for only one hour per day. (Daily Mail, Australia, Fri. Feb 16, 2018) Solar Panels are now supplying people with power for small electrical items. Water supply is often limited to one day per week. Limited improvements to the nations water supply have been undertaken and much of the leaky supply channels are those originally installed in the 1980's.  

Unemployment in Zimbabwe is not reliably reported. It is difficult to know how many people in Zimbabwe are in paid employment.  Robert Mugabe's election advertising in 2013 claimed that unemployment stood at 60% of the nation's peoples.  

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In our store, stunningly beautiful wire tree sculptures have stood in opposition to the crushing weight of discouragement and despair in Zimbabwe. Created by a young and enterprising man named Curlington, the trees are made from discarded industrial wire, enabling Curlington and his team to overcome cost blocks to creating a viable product for sale in Western Markets. Curlington created beautiful African Baobab Wire Trees that reflected the beauty of his African Nation, a beauty that no Dictator can overcome.  

Curlington worked on the border of South Africa and Zimbabwe to build his business. Here he met the lovely Julie Lewsey of Woven Trail, who took the time to mentor and empower him to reach Western Markets to sell his wire tree sculptures. She tells me that he has been a young man of integrity and enterprise.  

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Curlington went back to Zimbabwe to visit his family and while there became ill. The chaos within Zimbabwe's Health System could not supply Curlington with the care he needed to regain health and just before Christmas 2017 he passed away, leaving his young wife and daughter without him. We are also less without his inspirational courage and resilience to disorder.  

He has inspired me to be creative and enterprising in the face of all the negativity and bullying this world can bring to each of us.  To bring beauty in the face of ugliness and courage in the face of fear is the manner in which Curlington lived his life.

May He Rest in Peacefulness.  


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