The Matopo Primary School Teacher-to-Teacher project is documented here. It is kindly being supported by ETAS (English Teachers Association Switzerland) and the Roger Federer Foundation.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A blow

Just when we finally get a breakthrough, the bill comes in, literally.

My husband Peter and I spent long days collecting donated materials, books and other things in preparation for our next visit in October, when I'll be giving the third annual Teachers Workshop Day, a much-anticipated event. Packing, weighing, sorting and lugging the boxes to the Post Office. Paying over CHF 1,300.00 to send 200 kilos of goods. But, I kept telling myself it's all worth it to see the looks on the faces of the teachers and kids when the lovingly prepared items are distributed.

To my amazement the parcels arrived in good time--only 7 weeks.

Now for the blow: Zimbabwe Customs has decided in their wisdom to charge a tariff based not only on the value of the donated items (which is actually less than US$100)but also on the cost of the air freight! 40%!!! HUH?????? We don't get it either, but it's going to cost us US$500 just to get the goods into the country.

I'm convinced this is a rip-off and nothing short of highway robbery--in the end, they are only stealing from their own people, as the money I'll have to shell out would otherwise have gone for things for the schools and the children.

It's one thing when bandits rob you at gun point and take your car. But when the government officials do so too? Rule of law? It's badly missing in Zimbabwe.

The really unfortunate thing is that I will certainly not be sending any more materials to the school--not like that! And who misses out?

Innocent children, hard-working teachers, and parents who are sacrificing everything so their children can get an education.

Some people should be really ashamed of themselves.