Of The Harare Agriculture Show: A day at.

harare agriculture show

The Harare Agricultural Show is an annual agricultural business exhibition held at the Exhibition  Park Harare. Why they still call it “Agricultural Show” when it might as well as be the biggest Business exhibition event in the country second only to the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair is something I wonder about to be honest.

The Agricultural Show is another tradition we adopted from our colonial heritage. When the settler farmers launched it back in the 1900s it was a platform to share and exchange ideas on commercial farming; at a time when the indigenous landowners were being displaced from their ancestral homes to communal reserve areas, where they were restricted to subsistence farming, leaving the fertile arable lands to the settler farmers.

After our independence from colonial rule the country underwent a controversial land reform to reclaim the land that was stolen but there is still an uneven distribution of this resource vital, which might explain the mostly unspoken sentiment that maybe what has simply changed is the face of our oppressors. Where one settler farmer used to own large tracts of land, it’s now a senior government official or a decorated army general or war veteran and the rest distributed more along partisan lines and more as a reward for patriotism than capacity to utilize to the land assigned. Small wonder our agriculture production has been at an all-time low, from being Africa’s breadbasket and in charge of SADC’s Food Security, to us needing aid and donor support; though the government now seeks to make corrective measures through various intermediary processes to develop sustainable agriculture, some of which would be great if they could weed out the corruption that everyone turns a blind eye to, seed and resources being misappropriated.

The Zimbabwe Agriculture Society (driving force behind the Harare Agriculture Show) has taken a radical strategy to “reposition itself as the centre of excellence in facilitating national agricultural development that ultimately impacts positively on rural livelihoods.”

To consolidate, broaden and deepen value chains, while highlighting the “push-pull effect” and close, and perhaps inseparable, linkages between sustained agricultural productivity, industry resuscitation and increased capacity utilisation, and the resultant improved economic growth, the theme for 2018 is:

FIELD TO INDUSTRY

 

field to industry Produce Connect Develop

The icon depicts the various activities and ingredients to ensure a good harvest, a link with industry and the main actors, while showing the resultant economic growth, and all this enveloped in the year 2018, emphasising the need for urgency among players to ensure agriculture-led economic growth.

History lesson and current affairs aside this year I decided to attend the Harare Agriculture show… wait that’s a misleading statement. My services “were volunteered” as a chaperone to my nieces and nephews, so they could attend. I almost said I was too busy to do it but I did not have the heart after seeing the excitement written all over their faces when they found out they could go if I was taking them.

They really should just rename the Harare Agriculture Show to The Harare Children’s Carnival Show, they are the ones who enjoy it the most from face painting to amusement park rides and of course how could I forget candy floss.

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Mostly all I remember from the show is mostly waiting in lines.

  • Lines to get into the show. There was a high turn out and of course because of the cash shortages people use plastic money, so it takes longer for each person to get served, and sometimes the system would crash and I kept thinking there should be an easier way to do this like prefund my ticket and simply waltz through the gates like they do at toll gates ? The queue for those paying in cash was super short and moved quite rapidly how I envied them. Cash is king these days
  • Lines to buy tokens for the amusement rides. And of course those with cash got served first and faster.
  • Lines to actually get on the rides. All the really cool rides had lines so long that looking at them just sapped your energy so we ended up picking the less fun rides
  • Lines to buy food. Those selling food and snacks, if they did not make a pile of money then, I don’t know what they were doing.

With all this going on I never got a chance to visit the exhibition stands for any of the businesses though it did look like a great networking opportunity I was terribly sorry to miss but I did see a cow or two and some pigs.

harare agric show

And just when it looked like the fun evening festivities were about to begin which would kick off with the customary fireworks display rivalled only by one you see at  Meikles hotel on New Year’s we had to call it day, it was getting cold and dark and the little ones wanted to go home

Harare show

dancing

are you not entertained?

My verdict would I attend it again? In a heartbeat (especially if I wasn’t on chaperon duty and if I was, I would make sure we went first thing in the morning before the rush)

Maybe next year I might even consider being an exhibitor cause I thinking what kind of national business exhibition attracting foreign exhibitors does not have an easy to find online presence, no common hashtags, so people can easily share moments, such as this one. Free wifi should permeate every corner of the exhibition park  and if you are only finding out or reading about the Harare Agriculture Show today, a week and some change after the event that’s exactly my point, businesses in Africa need to embrace more of the digital world and by extension bloggers and their networks instead of treating it as a hobby sport by people with internet access and too much free time on their hands………..

And that’s why next year my exhibition will be a Bloggers Hub. I wrote it down so it could be real. Now someone help me make my dream a reality step, into my office and let’s chat about it over coffee…..

~B

Day 9 of my blog everyday challenge themed Africa: Stories From Home

 

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Of Little Voices And Big Dreams

 

Little hands and big hearts

Let the little ones come to me……………

Kids are priceless and their innocence precious. Sometimes though, sometimes they ask in their little voices very difficult questions, questions you would rather the Earth open up and swallow you before you answered them………

When I say I am babysitting; I really mean that I’ll find something on the TV that we can all watch and (try to) keep them out of trouble until their mom comes pick them up.

Their tiny minds are like sponges absorbing all sorts “knowledge” so one must filter carefully what reaches through.

One of my nieces wanted to be a pilot from when she could talk until accidentally catching a scene from an episode of some “seconds from disaster mayday  air collision” type TV series; promptly put an end to that dream.

The other day whilst watching Zootopia, you know the place; where anyone can be anything? I decided to ask a niece what she wanted to be….

A Disney Princess” said a little voice with a big dream  (after binge watching episodes of Sophia The First)

“Sure darling you can be a Disney Princess” I replied. Who am I to deny a girl her dreams?……

Little Princess

Little princess all dressed in white throwing rose petals 

This other time we were scrolling channels looking for something to watch when a commercial for feminine hygiene products come on. You know the type with a catchy upbeat jingle about staying dry always and a lady with an umbrella is dancing in the street; a voice narrating how the new design and “wings” give extra protection:

The Niece turns to me and asks “Are those like the Elastoplast® in the drawer?” (The Band aids) we always keep some around because the little hands and legs always getting into scrapes.
I replied with a quick yes and hoped that was the end of that, but a few seconds later;

How come she is singing and dancing if she is hurt?” asked a little voice.

“Where is she hurt?” another little voice asked

You cant see it__” I started to reply then decided to go with “Anyway, she isn’t hurt bad__ ….she is fine now….”

In my head I was thinking oh lawd where is their mother; as I changed the channel. On the next channel there was another commercial, its almost as if there is schedule that such commercials show during this particular segment.

This time it was a bunch teenage girls in a classroom dancing and singing a catchy tune about checking for leaks as always. I guess it was a regular commercial because the little ones were singing and dancing along…….
A tiny hand was pulling my leg trying to get my attention and I could just tell that they had a question to ask…. And I probably would get myself tangled into a web I was not equipped to deal with so I changed the channel again…..

On the next channel, there is a Cadbury chocolate commercial. A lady pregnant with triplets is eating Cadbury chocolate.

cadbury chocolate craving pregnancy

The “babies” in her tummy loving it so much they start singing Joy a song by The Soil (which happens to be my favourite song from my favourite accapella group)

singing cadbury triplets
“I got joy in my heart
And you know it’s the kind of feeling
Followed by a sense of healing, “

What happens next you can definitely imagine:

Do babies like chocolate?” a little voice asks

Where do babies come from?” another asks as well

Chocolate!!!!” another replies

“So…. If you eat chocolate______” another little voice starts to speak………………

Thank you very much Cadbury

~B

PS what interesting situations have little voices gotten you into?

 

 

Of Coffee with Jack Of All Trades

If you were having coffee with me; I would welcome you into my house and home like the favourite guest that you are. I might not mention it enough or ever at all but I do so love your visits; every time there is a knock at the door, I hope its you but; its only my twin toddler nephews, they have discovered the art of knocking on doors.

They knock on open doors, they knock on closed doors they knock on all doors and surfaces until you say “Come in”; then they knock some more and giggle… And they have discovered clothes have pockets anything they pick up goes straight in there; money, keys, pens, thats the first place you should look when you cant find something, which happens, twice like déjà vu because twins….

Ah yes I’ve always wondered why babies clothes have pockets:

They are for putting all the “dollars”  from visitors so their parents so can buy treats for the them( ah the embezzlement that occurs, I guess its payment for all the drama toddlers cause) and also as My twitter Neha friend pointed out kids’ pockets are filled with innocence….

…….and that inspired the beginning of a story rattling about in my head:

“Once they had walked merrily, arm in arm, not a care in the world, pockets full of innocence and sunshine; until the day they dipped into the pockets to find them empty, somewhere along the way, no one knew where; innocence got lost or stolen or if they ever had it at all. Now they walked arms protectively crossed; some where along the way they had become adults……”

If you were having coffee with me I would tell that every time I have an interesting idea I have decided to write it down because I absolutely hate it when I sit down and realize I don’t remember what the idea was, simply haunted by the ghost of a brilliant idea that’s just at the edge of recollection…..

If you were having coffee with me I would say thank you for pretending to not notice that the house is a mess, we have been doing some home improvements, and also some furniture got damaged when we moved. Moving is rough on wooden furniture and glassware; the fact that it was raining; didn’t help.

Everyday I write but yesterday I was a carpenter repairing furniture, the day before that I was a babysitter, today I am an electrician and tomorrow I will be a plumber and maybe the day after that a painter, and then a gardener.

Gardening is therapeutic; plants require only water and sun, you can even whisper your secrets to them if you like, the perfect best friend, who is always there, by the green patch where you first met, they will listen without interrupting, they don’t judge and you know they will keep your secret to the earth they sprouted from or until you cook them and have them for dinner, well because plants don’t talk and they are rooted to the spot (unless it’s a pot plant… HA) Its not weird right? To name your vegetables (Asking for a friend)

Its been lovely having you over, do tell what have you been upto? Read any good books seen any good movies… does watching a movie based on book with the subtitles enabled count as reading the book??

If you were having coffee with me I would ask you if you had to choose between Strong Roots or Strong Wings… what would you pick?

~B

PS My life is so much more interesting in my head…

mind.jpg

Its been two months since we moved and yeah about 90% unpacked yey!!! Unpacking is such a process…..

Of Coffee, Bougainvillea and Babysitting

If you were having coffee with me we would be trying out bougainvillea flower tea.

bougainvillea (2)

I was sitting outside feeling the sun on my skin and happened to look up and see the bougainvillea flowers shining red (or is that purple) in the morning light.

bougainvillea.jpg

Inspiration and curiosity struck, hmmmm what if I crushed those flowers and drank them. Thank Google for knowing everything because I checked the internet if drinking bougainvillea was as a thing or if it was poisonous to drink and according to the internet it’s a herbal tonic that is claimed to be good for colds and flu so here we go…

red tea.jpg

The smell of the tea is a bit strong and leafy. If you smell it with your eyes closed you can easily tell yep this is definitely a leafy beverage. And the taste of it, I wouldn’t say vile but let’s just say I won’t be having a second cup thank you very much. Curiosity sated

If you were having coffee with me, we would be babysitting my twin nephews who are 18 months old. Picture a hurricane of pure energy and then imagine there being two of them, it’s definitely more than a handful.

They still don’t talk yet (except saying mama) but they can cry, why can’t babies be born talking; life would be oh so much easier if they could tell you what’s bothering them, you know basic stuff, feed me, change me, entertain me……

Feeding time is such a messy affair, you know what I think would be great idea, to simply dress kids in the colours of the foods they are about to eat that way the stains won’t be as visible or better yet, you could just cut out the middle manchild and spit out butternut and let it dribble over your favourite scarf, spill juice all over the carpet and grind potatoes into your shirt sleeves then finish off by sprinkling bread crumbs into your hair…Bon appétit

feeding the storm.jpg

Oh yes question, when you are feeding kids and you make aeroplane noises do you imagine the are people on board the aeroplane, no? And you know what; it makes kids grow up with an unrealistic expectation of the tastiness of planes. FYI they taste like steel rubber and jet A1 fuel, don’t ask me how I know this, suffice it to say I am a curious busy body with one heck of an imagination.

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that if you are babysitting be careful not to feed them sugar rich snacks. The Sugar Rush is brutal if you think twin hurricanes of pure energy are destructive picture twin hurricanes of energy tripping on sugar. Books are being ripped apart, drawers are being opened, and everything is on the floor, some of it broken.

 

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Placing the coffee table on top of chair on top of the of the dining room table was a bad idea, because one of the twins is now on top of that stool clapping hands and giggling and trying to give me a heart attack in the process I mean what if they fall and break their brains what would I tell their mother.

“Watch the kids for a little” while she said, “it’s easy” she said, “they aren’t fussy at all” she said, “it will be fun” she said and “I will be back just now” she said…. Feels like she has been gone forever, you know how time doesn’t fly when you aren’t having fun?

If you were having coffee with me you would help me babysit keep an eye on the kids make sure they are playing nicely and not biting each other or grabbing toys from each and screaming for no good reason, and when they are silent and out of sight, RUN and find them that’s when they are being the most naughty.

If you were having coffee with me I would ask you if you dance. If you say you don’t I would tell you are lying (to yourself and me) Kids grow up knowing you can dance to music before they can even talk, play them good music and watch them dance like no one is watching I think we just grow up and become way too self-conscious, to enjoy the little things in life, laughing when someone makes a funny face, giggling when tickled and clapping when entertained.

If you were having coffee with me I would ask you does it hurt to feel sleepy because the twins are at their most fussiest just before they sleep, irritable and crying yet they won’t just lie down and sleep. It’s a bit of a struggle to get them to calm down, can’t keep calm when you have got all that energy.

Shhhh they are finally sleeping they look like little tiny angels when they sleep…..aaaawe

~B

 

PS imagine you ask someone to bake a cake for the twins and that they should write happy birthday on both and this is what they do:

happy birthday.png

happy birthday on both

have a great week ahead and Go Team Olympics