Fat, buttery flying ants....  
These days, with all of the dreadful hardships that we have to cope with in order to survive in Zimbabwe, it is very difficult to be positive. I wish I could write and say that we were about to have free and fair elections or that banned newspapers, radio and TV stations had been
allowed to re-open or even that the MDC had stopped tearing itself apart and had resolved its internal problems. I can't say any of those things so I look more to the day to day situation for something positive to focus on. I wish that I could say that at last fuel was available or that prices had stopped going up or even that we had regular, clean and safe water coming out of our taps. I can't say any of those things at the moment either but I can tell you that Zimbabwe in November is a spectacular country.

Young men and women are graduating from our senior schools and their poise, enthusiasm, determination and love of Zimbabwe is exemplary. Listening to and watching these future leaders of our country makes me know, without a doubt, that there will be change in our land and it will be a change for the better. Whilst all around us is gloom and doom, Zimbabwe in November is a very beautiful place and when there is little else to hold onto, the seasonal changes also give strength and hope for better times.

Every day, as the rainy season draws closer, the sky gets darker and heavier and the temperatures take you to melting point. The trees are glorious in these last hot days before the rain: Msasas coming into pod, Acacias covered in new leaf, Jacarandas bathed in hot purple flowers and Flamboyant trees, almost too beautiful for words, draped in spectacular
red flowers. In our towns many of the streets and avenues are lined with Bauhinia trees, alternately pink and white flowering and now covered in long curling pods. The Bougainvillea's planted on the outskirts of many of our towns years ago, are also in full flower at the moment, covered in great cascading streams of gold, white and purple blooms. The birds at this time of year are a delight too; paradise flycatchers showing off their long orange breeding tails, nightjars calling for mates and trailing exquisite white breeding pennants and orange-eyed glossy starlings patrolling sunburnt, termite infested lawns. Some evenings as the flying ants stream out of dry dusty holes in the ground, it is just breathtaking watching birds arrive from all directions, swooping and swerving, gorging on the fat, buttery insects.

The European migrants have started arriving too with swifts and swallows regularly visible. It does not bear thinking what will happen if bird flu arrives here where experts are few and far
between, travel nearly impossible due to fuel shortages and where people are so hungry they will be hard pushed not to eat dead birds if they find them.

And this week in Marondera there is a feeling of blessed relief. Because the MDC in Marondera did not nominate candidates for the approaching Senate elections, we will not have voting here and are spectating from the sidelines. For a rare change we are not being harassed and intimated and forced to attend rallies and meetings. We are not being visited by large chested women wearing clothes decorated with the President's face. Women who bang on our gates, write our names down in their little exercise books and scare us into giving donations for ruling party rallies.

Our streets are quiet these evenings, we greet neighbours and strangers happily and the talk is of growing food and of rain. This time, thankfully, our town is spared from election madness, spared from the indignity of trying so hard, risking so much and then having to watch the manipulation afterwards.

There is much to be thankful for this November.