COVID 19 lessons – Reflections

Everything in excess is opposed to nature – Hippocrates

Before the lockdown I used to swivel my seat from the vantage position at my desk, shift the drapes aside and nod my heard in affirmation.

I would be affirming a sound that I was used to hearing every evening before 1800 hours. It was the sound of the Tombs Scania bus from Kwekwe parking in the exit shed at the Border. This would be followed by sounds of pattering feet as the bus crew pressured the clients to rush into the hallway ahead of the next bus which normally would be Revival bus with its green liverie.

The rivalry banter of opposing bus crews , the belching abnormal trucks laboring under heavy loads would also permate the atmosphere. Everyday, every week the same scenario would occur and we would mark time with certain engine sounds.

Then lockdown happened. The buses went away with their pollution, the crews, the theatrics and drowning sounds.

Today I took a walk down the Border and was met with an eerie quietness. It was not silence, but a quiteness that made me to stop and suddenly hear sounds that I had not heard over a long time at this place.

Birds nestling in at Beitbridge Border Post – video by Nqobile Ncube

I heard birds singing, hundreds of birds swooping to land on trees to settle for the night. For years I realised these birds have always been here but our human activities drowned them out and our occupation blinded us from seeing them.

I recalled that few days ago I had snapped a photo of my totem brother sauntering around a telecomms digital box like an expert and I realise that with the thinned human presence on the ground, wildlife was beginning to boldly make multiple forays into the Border grounds.

The above two scenarios made me wonder if nature was not mocking us by asserting its presence in our time of difficulty. The players in the cited scenes ave always been there but we had no eye and ear for them.

We had been obsessed with our mechanical assets, mechanical sounds and schedules and we forgot the beauty and silence of nature.

As I walked away, I reflected that Covid19 had taught me to listen and pay attention to everything around us, the child crying for attention, a soul reaching out for help, someone needing a shoulder to cry on.

Covid19 has taught me to set aside time for more important things, my spiritual life, my personal relationships and myself.

I have learnt not to major on the excesses and be blind and deaf to reality to avoid a rude awakening. I agree with Hippocrates that everything done in excess is opposed to nature.

What is happening now has happened before, and what will happen in the future has happened before, because God makes the same things happen over and over again.
Ecclesiastes 3:15 NLT
https://bible.com/bible/116/ecc.3.15.NLT

#iamphindelasson

#beatCovid19

Zimbabwe @ 40 : Washing the paint brushes

Today I woke up to the memory of an incident that took place in 1982 when I was in first Grade. It was at Mafakela Primary School, Luveve, Bulawayo and it must have been a few weeks into the first term.

I do not know what brought the memory back but I remember I caused a huge consternation at the school, albeit innocently.

My teacher, Mrs BE Nyamambi, had assigned me and a group of girls to go and wash the art paint brushes after an art lesson and the girls led the way straight to the wash basins in the girls toilet. Yours truly followed and we started washing the brushes under running water in the was basins.

I remember we were then surrounded by so many girls raising a chant about a boy in the girls toilet and I did not even realise it was about me and my solidarity friends kept nonchalantly passing me the brushes to be rinsed under water and I obliged, not concerned about the growing crowd around us in the toilet. Childhood innocence!!

I think the storm abated when a senior prefect was brought in and after seeing our scenario, she ordered the crowd out and I think she helped us gather the brushes up and escorted us to our class. I don’t recall much after that but what I recall will suffice for today.

It is a painting lesson that got the brushes dirty and the realization that the next painting lesson would not take place under dirty brushes made our teacher to ensure that the brushes were cleaned.

The brushes might have painted masterpieces at that time but there was no value in leaving the paint on the brushes. It added no value but actually diminished the relevance of the brush. There with my story today.

Forty years after Independence my beautiful country has tried to paint a masterpiece. A dream masterpiece that was meant to come to life from the colonial portrait and become a gem where all rivers met and the grass never wilted. A masterpiece that was meant to be a great haven to all and sundry.

Then something like my paint class happened. The paint caked on the brushes and no one washed them. Instead they were used to try and paint mire pictures but because the brushes were caked not distinct art came forth. Blurred lines,smudges and undefined portraits came forth. Some brushes broke, some got lost and the paint diminished to a whitewash point.

All that would have saved this was running the paint brushes under running water regularly. The water would have breathed a new mileage to the brushes, given the bristles a sharp edge and the artists more zeal.

Running the brushes under water would have exposed the wear and tear and shown the need for replacement but one cannot assess wear and tear in a caked brush.

Running the water over the brushes would have taken the excuses away. A good painter will not blame a clean brush! But because the brushes smudged all excuses were there except to blame the painter.

Then many portraits later the picture did not tell our dream story. We had, and still have, an image that the current brushes cannot paint. Our dream picture needs us to return to the washbasins in innocent candor to nonchalantly strip away the caked paint so we can paint a clean clear portrait at our next turn.

We need to defy the remonstrating crowds and focus on the task at had for we have a portrait to paint. A multicolor portrait that will bring the rainbow back.

We need to catch the rainbow. We need to paint a new picture. Happy Independence Day Zimbabwe. Let us gather your brushes and run them under the running water. In innocence.

Painted in a corner? You’ve but to look at your own hand to see who’s holding the paintbrush.
Laurie Buchanan, PhD

#iamphindelasson
#beatCovid19

Trust God … and stop the sun

The Promise

“Do not be afraid of them,” the Lord said to Joshua, “for I have given you victory over them. Not a single one of them will be able to stand up to you.”
Joshua 10:8 NLT
https://bible.com/bible/116/jos.10.8.NLT

Faced with a daunting task of going to rescue a Covenant ally, Israel had to seek assurance from God that He was on their side and that they would overcome.

God came through for them and the commitment of victory was made. Therein starts the story.

The promise had been made that they would be victors but the battle still had to be fought for the promise to come true.

So is life, victory cannot be without a battle. In as much life offers the summit as a prize the mountain must be climbed !

The story continues,

Israel battles the Amorite allies (5 Kings) under the assurance from God and they slaughter the armies with the assistance of a violent hailstorm that killed more of the enemy than what Israel achieved with the sword.

The victory

On the day the Lord gave the Israelites victory over the Amorites, Joshua prayed to the Lord in front of all the people of Israel. He said, “Let the sun stand still over Gibeon, and the moon over the valley of Aijalon.”
Joshua 10:12 NLT
https://bible.com/bible/116/jos.10.12.NLT

The battle had to be completed. The enemy had to be routed and darkness was not to be an excuse.

Since God had given the guarantee of a complete rout it was therefore not God who was standing in the way of the 100% rout but the sun that was about to give the enemy allies the advantage of darkness to sleep away and possibly regroup.

The realisation.

It was not God to be called upon to ensure the 100% rout. He had already guaranteed it. It was the sun that was threatening the great victory and Joshua understood it very clear.

It was the impediment that had to shift not the Promise giver.

And he stopped the sun in its tracks, and the moon followed suit and there was a sonar and lunar combo never seen before and the enemy allies had nowhere to hide and they were completely routed !

Life has granted us a template to overcome all odds. But the overcoming is premised on battling on and never giving up on the will to make the difference.

When the sun wants to set on your battle, when it threatens to rain on your parade, do not swear at the promise giver, the promise still stands. STOP THE SUN !!

#iamphindelasson

#brokenbutnotafraid

#prpmisekeeper

#stopthesun

Good day Your Excellency Sir (5) : The reign of fuel attendants

Good day Sir. I hear you are at the United Nations General Assembly Sir. I wish you all the best in that huge forum.

After the Cabinet reshuffle there was a follow up where you did some remarkable changes.

https://www.herald.co.zw/ed-reshuffles-permanent-secretaries/

The fact that some changes indicate a bold determination is a plus to you Sir though some people still are at pains to accept the addition on another Ncube to the Cabinet. ( I am not complaining).

The Nation awaits your next move on your return but I belive you are aware there is a matter threatening the strident steps the Nation is trying to take going forward.

The fuel queues are back and the fuel attendants are kings (and queens) again. This time they are slowly making us feel the pain of “neglecting” them for so many years of fuel abundance. The ones with jerry cans have to learn humility and suddenly the executives and their big cars are under the security guard ‘s mercy and starting orders.

Your Excellency Sir, the vile fuel blackmarket is back and it’s evil cousins are rearing their heads again in fuel hoarding, increased fire risks and exortionate black market prices.

The economists say everything hinges on the transport which is obviously run on fuel.

I am not sure what has caused the shortages, from panic buying, hoarding to alleged skint forex reserves but what I know is that the Country cannot run on vapour Sir. Neither can can it thrive on the blackmarket Sir for its daily survival.

I hear whispers of sabotage. I cannot prove or disprove them but the fact is that there is a challenge that needs your attention.

As you return to our beloved country, and as we expect your decisive move on this matter may I quote Abraham Lincoln, ” Nearly any man can withstand adversity but the greatest test to a man’s character is when you give him power.”

https://quoteinvestigator.com/2016/04/14/adversity/

I am afraid your birthday cake still lives to be devoured another day as the empty fuel tanks and the fuel attendants re-reign.

Your move Your Excellency Sir.

#iamphindelasson

#thereformagenda

#brokenbutnotafraid

Good day Your Excellency (4) : Of Cakes and Cholera

Good morning Your Excellency. I am made to understand that yesterday was your birthday. May I take this opportunity to wish you well and all the best as you serve the Nation Sir.

With the aged [you say] is wisdom, and with length of days comes understanding.
Job 12:12 AMPC
https://bible.com/bible/8/job.12.12.AMPC

Picture courtesy of https://twitter.com/TrevorNcube/status/1041297127153061888?s=19

I pray that the age you attained will usher you more wisdom and that you will derive more understanding from the length of the days that have been credited to your name.

https://www.chronicle.co.zw/zimbabwe-reloaded-servant-leadership-free-of-corruption-red-tape/

As I went through the archives I came across your commitment to be a listening leader and I appreciate the fact that the mantra of servant leadership has continued beyond the elections rhetoric.

I cut short my birthday writting here Your Excellency Sir.

May I then appeal to you on another matter which I am made to believe you are already seized with : Cholera Sir.

For reasons that I would rather not dwell on now, we find ourselves facing a dilemma of critical proportions with horrific memories assailing people who were affected by the same scourge in 2008. I need not go into details but I only wish to point out that we do not need the grief , pain and scourge of that year Your Excellency.

It will take your hitting the ground running Sir, it will take your marshaling the nation forward Sir, it will take the buck stopping with you to hound this tiger to the horizon and see it over the cliff Sir.

The mark of a great man is one who knows when to set aside the important things in order to accomplish the vital ones.

Brandon Sanderson, The Alloy of Law

I am afraid the cake has to live to be devoured another day Sir. A vital matter awaits.

Good day Your Excellency Sir. May Zimbabwe see better days.

#iamphindelasson

#stopcholera

#thereformagenda

Good day Your Excellency (3): Cabinet files

Good evening Sir. On a lighter note I realise and recognise that you have three Ncubes in your Cabinet. You can never go wrong with Ncubes Sir.

From the onset of my letters to you, I sought to appeal to you that there was an inherent need to inculcate a new leadership culture in our country. Gone must be the patronage ilk and in must come the servant leadership mantra. I am grateful that so far you have committed to be a listening leader and a servant leader.

I hear the Cabinet is down to 20 and the age averagely is now hovering at 55.

I hear a renowned banker is now in the Finance Ministry and I hear some permanent ministers have been unglued.

I hear a large part of the country is happy.

Thank you for listening your Excellency. I pray you continue listening.

A leader of good judgment gives stability; an exploiting leader leaves a trail of waste.
Proverbs 29:4 MSG
https://bible.com/bible/97/pro.29.4.MSG

I believe the appointments were the easier part. Avoiding disappointing the nation is the bigger task Sir.

I pray that the path to the reform agenda and servant leadership does not detour nor derail.

#iamphindelasson

#thereformagenda

#brokenbutnotafraid 10

Moses: From Prince to border jumper.

The princess told the woman, “Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you.” So she took the baby and nursed him. Later, when the child was old enough, she took him to the king’s daughter, who adopted him as her own son. She said to herself, “I pulled him out of the water, and so I name him Moses.”
Exodus 2:9‭-‬10 GNB
https://bible.com/bible/296/exo.2.9-10.GNB

So Moses grows under the care of his own biological mother who is actually paid a royal stipend for looking after him on behalf of the princess, but that’s a story for another day.

When Moses is grown he is taken into the palace and adopted as the son of the princess and hence technically becomes a prince also and obviously benefits from the royal attributes.

I see him in fine linen, great food, great tutors and a bright future. I see him enjoying a diplomatic protection that saw him venture into Israeli territory without fear.

I am not sure what pulled him towards the Israel settlements but it is there that he committed his first murder.

He killed an Egyptian who was abusing an Israeli and thought he had concealed it. In my book it was a righteous deed as he came to the defence of the weak and he sought to correct an anomaly.

The irony of it is that the people that he was defending are the ones who outed him. When he found some Israelites in contention, he did not intervene with a murderous intent, no, he wanted to make peace among brothers but behold what he got. .

The next day he went back and saw two Hebrew men fighting. He said to the one who was in the wrong, “Why are you beating up a fellow-Hebrew?” The man answered, “Who made you our ruler and judge? Are you going to kill me just as you killed that Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid and said to himself, “People have found out what I have done.” When the king heard about what had happened, he tried to have Moses killed, but Moses fled and went to live in the land of Midian.
Exodus 2:13‭-‬16 GNB
https://bible.com/bible/296/exo.2.13-16.GNB

Therewith the story:

  1. Those who seek to change the routine do not depend on creature comforts to drive them. The quest for good is heart centred. Palace or no palace, Moses knew he had to right a wrong.
  2. Routine breakers have to be willing to suffer loss for the greater community to gain. Moses lost the prince status and became a fugitive in the quest to be a peacemaker.
  3. The change of circumstances for routine breakers cannot and must not change the quest to be a #routinebreaker. Moses moved from being a protected person to being a hunted fugitive, wanted dead or alive but this did not deter him from doing good and rescuing Jethro’s daughters despite being a border jumper and illegal immigrant in Sinai.

So, the vocation of a routine breaker is not subject to emotions, status or prevailing circumstances. It is premised from the heart and doesn’t stop until all good is done.

#brokenbutnotafraid

#betheroutinebreaker

#iamphindelasson

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