Diary of a Zhombe teenager: Our daily routines back in the ’90s
ZHOMBE – This is the diary of a teenage Zhombe boy, written some 20 years ago. Back then, around 1998, the national economy of Zimbabwe was still in good shape but Zhombe had its own poor folks – many of them – and my family was amongst those considered poor.
We could not hire a maid to help around with the chores, so our parents expected us to do stuff from cooking to hewing wood and fetching cattle from pastures as well as cooking. We were boys doing all things boys and girls do!
Well, personally, the 1990s fill me with nostalgia! As a teenage boy in a poor family in a poor village of a poor community, the diary had nothing impressive. Here is how it looked like:
DIARY OF A ZHOMBE TEENAGE BOY…
04:45… Milking the cow(s)
05:10… Fetching water at the family well
5:30… In the bathroom (you know what I mean by “bathroom”!)
06:00… Having breakfast -sadza and milk he just milked
06:30… Off to school
07:25… At school assembly
When we see our kids growing up in the city and taking a lackadaisical approach to life, it’s difficult to make them believe the routine we went through on a daily basis.
It was a routine made in Hell. For obvious reasons, most families do not have a maid or general hand to help with the chores, so the schoolgoing kids are also the maids and the generals hand.
Last week, a Bee Mine teenage boy wrote to me about how he can barely find time to study while at home. On weekends he has irrigation projects to attend to. If he’s not doing that, then he’s out in the veld looking for some stray bull or cow! So he wrote asking for advice on how to handle such a bloated list of family chores.
Young man, you can’t stop helping around at home. Neither should you stop excelling at school! Somehow you have to keep both balls in the air.
Every day is a hustle. Back home at night, using fire or candlelight, you would summarize your study notes onto small cards which you can then browse through while out looking for the stray cow.
For us, it wasn’t easy; it wasn’t enjoyable, but it was necessary. The same goes for you today!