A Very Bleak Christmas in Zimbabwe

Kudakwashe Chiviringa rushes home with a Christmas tree he got from a family friend in Harare, Zimbabwe, Saturday, Dec. 22, 2007. For most Zimbabweans there will not be much to celebrate this Christmas as the country battles with acute food shortages, chronic cash shortages and the worlds highest inflation estimated at over 8000 percent, so acquiring a Christmas tree is a great prize for a family.
(AP PHOTO/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

Andrew sends this sad Christmas message from family in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe and notes that When he left in 1986 it was Zim-$2 to US-$1. The names have been removed out of concern for their safety:

Dear *****

Wishing you a very Happy Christmas and New Year.

A very bleak Christmas here!

_____ and children are away at the Victoria Falls to meet up with ______ sister’s family from Zambia. We are staying at home for a quiet Christmas. The inflation is really biting now, as well as power problems – we have just come out of 5 days continuous electricity cut. Though we have a generator – that causes problems too as it uses 1.5 litres fuel per hour and petrol is very short and very expensive as well! So we just ran it twice a day to keep the fridges “topped up” ant to watch TV in the evenings. Since coming back on it flicks on and off several times a day – each time we expect another 5 dayer. There has been a cash shortage for the last month or so, but they have recently issued new higher denomination currency notes ($250,000: $500,000 : $750,000). The previous highest denomination note ($200,000) could buy one single banana as of last Wednesday. Today after the issue of the new notes the price of one banana has gone up to $400,000, so the new highest not can not even buy two single bananas – and they are grown in Zimbabwe. A coke is $6,500,000 if you can find it so (you can work out how many highest denomination notes it takes to buy a Coke!). Just imagine the cost of imported items – and there are very few of them. Also no mealie-meal for the povo, so they are really suffering!. Most supermarket shelves empty. I won’t go into the politics – but it seems that the sitting president is going to get himself re-elected next year despite having presided over the destruction of a country.

With Love From Zimbabwe-

A Zimbabwean holds the new Z$500,000 note after withdrawing it from a local bank in Harare, December 21 ,2007. Zimbabwe’s move to introduce higher denomination banknotes to end cash shortages fall short of solving the crisis analysts said as consumers besieged banks ahead of the Christmas holidays. (REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo)

More Bad News… Banks did not open today after promises from the government. On top of rampant inflation, mass unemployment and shortages of fuel and basic goods the country is now suffering shortages of bank notes. –BBC.

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