Oh to be one those lucky fish bastards out there with just galloping inflation!

Champagne corks are not popping all over Zimbabwe as we find ourselves officially back on the hyperinflation roller coaster – for the second time in ten years. Google defines hyperinflation as when the prices of goods and services rise by more than 50% in a month. I define it as really, really crap. The next worst, galloping inflation, is where prices increase by 10% in a year. Oh to be one those lucky fish bastards out there with just galloping inflation.

Admirably conquering his fear of Rrrr’s, our Veep blamed financial terrorists for hyperinflation, pointing his finger fair square at businessmen who put their prices up when the cost of fuel and other basics doubled. Despicable bastards.

I think the fact that Zimbabweans are arithmetically challenged is more to blame. When the US to the noble RTGS rate slides out inexplicably , rather than get to grips with either the 3.6 or 4.8 times tables, people just jump up to 4 or 5 because what the hell, we know we’re going to get to 5 just now anyway, followed by 6, etcetera, etcetera, etceteras too numerous to mention. Alas.

Jenny’s hairdresser who is really crap at long multiplication and division, took a short cut and kept her numbers the same but just changed the denomination from the noble RTGS to US. Jenny is horrified that her hairdresser is terrorist. Alas.

From what I can make out, hyperinflation normally precedes political change. I certainly hope so. The government’s Plan Z to get us out of the economic pooh would appear to center on borrowing another 5 billion, on top of the 17 billion debt already out there, which by the way excludes the 7 to 10 billion owed to the ex- farmers. Having studied O Level Tuckshop Economics at Allan Wilson, I’m not sure that borrowing heavily to pay back debt is too clever.

Whilst on the subject of political change, thank God Nelson Chamisa won through. Let’s hope Biti and Ncube follow suit. And fingers crossed that Dave Coltart gets voted in as MDC Treasurer General. You can tell Coltart is a good guy ‘cos he rides a mountain bike.

Adam, Dave and I rode out to Marondera this last weekend to meet some of the pensioners we support. We visited the Ida home for the aged in Dombo Tombo township where the only thing the residents have to be grateful for is that there are people out there who know what Ida Wokwako means. It means Love Thy Neighbour. Last year we donated them a second hand generator. It has to be the most loved second hand gen set in the world. It was so humbling to sit and chat with old guys who looked like they were more than a hundred and who have absolutely nothing but still know how to smile. There but for the Grace of God go we. For sure we’re going to look after them much more this year.

We also visited Borradaile Trust which has a huge amount of feel good going on. We had a beer in the Borradaile pub which is called the Departure Lounge, named by the residents. We were shown around by Ian the Warden and his warmth and enthusiasm shone through big time. Ian’s mission in life is to help the old folk in Borradaile enjoy their twilight years. And for sure the Old Legs Tour will carry on pedaling to help.

Harare to Marondera via Arcturus and Goromonzi is beautiful ride but plenty tough with 125 km of big climbs and rough roads. We were joined for the day by Jude Eastwood who already has his eye on a spot in the 2020 Old Legs peloton. Jude and his legs did real good.

To help settle the tubes vs tubeless debate Dave was kind enough to have a puncture on his very bald tubeless tyres outside the Arcturus Post Office and fixed it with a plug in just 5 seconds flat. Adam didn’t even have time to video the repairs. The Post Master came out to greet us. Adam said he’d send him a letter. The Post Master said that would be great because he hasn’t seen a letter in months. Times are tough out there. Small wonder given the number of derelict farms we rode past. A lot of those farmers now live in the Borradaile Trust where green fingers that once fed a nation now fuss over rose bushes and petunias. Alas.

And whilst on the subject of riding, you are all cordially invited to ride out of Harare with the Old Legs team on Sat June the 1st when we set off for Mt Kilimanjaro- just to make sure we don’t park off on Mt Hampden and photo shop the Tour. We leave from KFC 2nd Street at 07.00.

To prepare for the ride we were given a lecture last week by Dave Gardener on how to stretch. Adam looked like a jelly fish trying to do star jumps. Mostly I stretched my funny bone laughing – until it was my turn.

Gayle is recovering from her breaks and fractures and will join us, but only in Tanzania. A big welcome to Renier Pronk who’ll fly into Harare from Holland to take Gayle’s place in the support team.

It takes me an hour plus of hard riding on a bike to get my heart rate up over 150. It took me just 5 minutes in the Visa section of the Mozambique Embassy. Despite my winning smile and innate charm, my efforts to get a visa failed, why I’m not sure. I think the English word bewildered was first invented in a Mozambique Embassy. Wish me luck on the 18th when I go back for Round Two.

In other matters Jenny and I were blessed with the arrival of our first Grandson. Welcome Colton.

And last but not least at Anfield last night, Liverpool beat Barcelona 4 nil. Whoop whoop.
In closing check out Ryan Moss’s incredible video of last year’s Old Legs Tour. It will give you goosebumps and feel good. Big thank you to the folk at Mukuru in Joburg and the Stichting Bergverzet in Holland for following the donate prompts so generously. If you want to follow their lead go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/oldlegstour. In Zimbabwe, transfer to Bulawayo Help Network via their CABS Platinum Account number 1124733450 or their Ecocash merchant number 139149. Monies donated help pensioners country wide.

This weeks Swahili 101:

  • Azima mimi 5 billioni? Kulipa wewe nyuma ijayo wiki, ahadi, labda!! Borrow me 5 billion. Pay you back next week, promise, maybe.
  • Utasika kamwe tembea peke yake!! – You’ll never walk alone.

Until next week, survive, enjoy and pedal if you can…

Eric Chicken Legs de Jong

Photos below – Hanging with the old guys at Ida Wokwako, the ride to Marondera and please be introduced to Colton.

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