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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 May 2006, 15:01 GMT 16:01 UK
Zimbabwe voices: Hope
Hope couldn't feed her family as a maid

Zimbabwe is in economic meltdown, with the world's highest rate of inflation of 1,000% and chronic unemployment. Here, Hope explains why she left the capital, Harare, to move onto land seized from white farmers and redistributed by the government.

I came here to the farm in 2001.

I used to work as a maid. In the past I could feed my family, but in the end I couldn't feed them.

I feared for my grandchildren - what could I give them?

So when I heard about land being given to people I thought it was wise to go.

I heard about the land resettlement programme and said: "Let's go and farm and we could produce for our upkeep".

Although there is electricity in the city, what is electricity when you are hungry, how can you watch TV when you are hungry?

I didn't want to be forced to do illegal things to survive, so I decide to take up farming.

I take the petrol back to Harare and then I sell it for a better price
Lovemore, black marketeer
I am an able-bodied person who can work for herself. God gave me energy to work and I will work for my family.

But it's been difficult to make it because we don't have anyone helping us. We live in fear of being evicted at any time.

We were confident the government would come to our rescue and help us start.

But now nothing has come of it. We had hopes the government would resettle us into properly laid-out plots. We want to farm but we lack the support.


We have suffered shortages of seed, fertiliser - although from what I have harvested, I can manage to keep some as seed for the next season.

We will continue to ask our MP to ask for help.

Our MP, Patrick Zhuwawo [President Robert Mugabe's nephew], has promised us three bags of fertiliser. We hope he can deliver on his promise.

Sometimes we have to forgo the things we like. We have to go without sugar, for example.

There is no-one to give us loans. We don't have the papers to enable us to get loans, so in the end we look to the heavens for help.

But at least here with the little we have, we can look after the children better than those who remained in the city.

Look at my son now - he looks fit and healthy because he has food coming in from the farm.

Eviction threat

But the problem is that there are people who want to evict us. It makes us so sad.

As I see it we should sit down and talk. But we won't move.

Even if that person has a gun, we won't move. He can shoot, we won't move.

Why should people from the city, those who declined to take up land when it was offered five years ago, come and disturb our peace?

I am also a person even if I am poor.

These people should go back to whoever gave them the permission to come here, and tell them there are people on the farm already.

There is hunger in the city. Our husbands don't have jobs. Our children are unemployed.

My son finished high school but is out of a job. So what do we do to survive?

I can't go back to the city. We would end up stealing - it's at times like that when you find old ladies going into pubs and doing bad things.

God has reason and purpose for our suffering. He will bless us one day.

I mustn't steal to survive. So my family and I need the farm to live on.

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