Monday, January 26, 2009

For Zimbabwe: Something Better Than a Hunger Strike

I don’t mean to cruelly diminish Desmond Tutu’s hunger strike, but Zimbabwe’s problems are hardly going to be muted by his dietary choices. Admittedly, Jenny Des-Fountain’s food drive won’t make a dent in the Zimbabwe’s problems, but it might actually save a few lives.

Fiftieth birthdays are supposed to be special.

But a party was the last thing on Jenny Des-Fountain’s mind as her half century approached.

Jenny Des-Fountain will drive tonnes of donated food to Zimbabwe

“It just didn’t seem meaningful when Zimbabwe was going through what it was going through,” the blonde life-coach says.

“So I just got hold of my friends and said: ‘Come on guys, bring a bag of mealie-meal [maize porridge powder] along’, and they did.

“They brought beans and they brought fish as well and I ended up with a boot-load of food.”
Ms Des-Fountain puts the overwhelming response to her appeal down in part to the South African government’s inability to find a solution for Zimbabwe.

“What is our government doing? Let’s be honest - they’re not doing anything,” she says.

“People are calling me asking me what can we do. They wonder what they can do because our neighbours are suffering so much.”

Zimbabwe’s problems are such that Ms Des-Fountain’s truck is barely even a drop in the ocean.

But for Thulani’s village it will make a real difference.

For those with cholera or chronic malnutrition it may be the difference between life and death.

Zimbabwe needs more than a few truckloads of food--and even boatloads of food won’t solve the political and economic problems, either. But though she can’t save the nation nor all of its citizens, though she can’t remove Mugabe nor force recognition of the democratically elected government, she can help some people make it a few more days.

And while South Africa’s government has made a habit of giving Mugabe cover when criticism grows too loud, it’s good to see that some of South Africa’s citizens can still muster a little neighborly care for the citizens across the border.

Lovely woman.

On a completely different subject, can the Beeb’s web site ever run with normal-length sentences? Nearly every sentence on most of these stories is treated as a new paragraph and it drives me absolutely mad. I realize that typical journalist sentences aren’t measured in the same way as your typical essayist sentence, but it bugs me to see the way the Beeb site handles their copy. 


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