The Zimbabwe Music Festival 2019 is just around the corner, starting with a free concert on Thursday evening, August 8th at WOU Monmouth, OR, and going through Sunday the 11th, midnight! See Zimfest.org. Please join us there, as we share in the love of Zimbabwe, learning and playing its music, hearing more about its culture, and connecting with like-spirited folk.
All kinds of musicians will be playing most of the day, both outside during the day, and inside for the incredible night-time concerts. If you have never tried your hand at marimba or mbira, now is a great time! Ancient Ways will be both a vendor in the marketplace open Friday-Sunday, and playing as Chipindura Marimba on Saturday at 1 p.m.
If you are attending, please stop in and say hello. Do get in touch now to be a volunteer in the booth for an hour or two, in case you can squeeze us in! We appreciate however you can help and look forward to seeing you there!
The latest news from Zimbabwe has been percolating for about a month. We have been waiting to see how the dust settles. As of the last week of June, anything except Zimbabwean currency became illegal to trade. Its fine to own, but can't be used, other than to exchange it for the Zim bond note. This of course, is so complicated for everyone. Let me leave you here with a brief report from our friend in Zimbabwe:
We are trying to cope with the situation here, both economic and political. I know that we are more fortunate than many and I don't know how the man in the street is managing these days. Food is becoming much more expensive and now that we have the ban on spending US$ for goods and services that has only complicated the whole issue. Of course, people still use dollars, and sellers accept them, but always having to look over one's shoulder. And there is much confusion about "exchange" rates between the dollar and the newly-created Zimbabwe Dollar (which is a mixture of RTGS and Bond). The official rate is now 8.85 but on the street it is 10, or 12, or whatever the seller wants to use.
I don't know what the NGO projects do with the dollars they get from the US; it isn't illegal in any way for the non-profits to send dollars - after all, millions of Zimbabweans in the Diaspora send money home on a regular basis, and the economy of the country depends to a large extent on these incoming dollars. But whether they are still paid out in dollars by Western Union I don't know. And if they are, legally they are required to convert them to ZimDollars - and then to use a registered exchange dealer and get the official rate. I have no idea how bookkeepers or accountants will account for it with any of these projects or businesses!
As an example of how costs have escalated, my wife's car was recently serviced; nothing complicated, just a service and oil change. She was charged an amount which was very nearly half of her monthly salary!
A large part of the country is having 18 hour power-cuts every day; they have had to change their life-style to sleep during the day and get up at night to do the cooking, washing and housework. This also means that alarm system batteries are not being charged up, also electric gate batteries. Hundred of people are now opting for solar power with batteries and inverters - we are in the process of doing so, although we haven't had such severe power cuts (I think because there are some very high-powered individuals lining nearby).
I don't know where this is all going to end up.
We too, have no idea where it will all end up. This is the 20th year Ancient Ways is celebrating on the ground in Zimbabwe, and most of it has always been in not knowing...it has never been clear how anything would be resolving. We all just have an enormous amount of faith in the Creative Life Force that cradles the good close to the heart, staying focused, standing for only the best possible outcomes.
Peace and blessings to you and yours - and may we see you at Zimfest!