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Caravan of Hope - The diary - Zimbabwe

Source: Christian Aid - UK - Fri, 25 Nov 2011 12:36 GMT
Author: Christian Aid
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Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Livingstone, Zimbabwe


Victoria Falls takes you by surprise. You're wandering down a nondescript little path with scrappy trees blocking out the view ahead. And then there it is: space, plunging down hundreds of metres to a lake below and opposite, a sheer rock face with jets of water pouring over the edge.

It gets better as you go on. At the first glimpse of the view, we spent five minutes posing for photos (and if there's one thing a Caravanite can't resist, it's a good photo opportunity) before we realised there were even more spectacular vantage points ahead. We crossed a bridge ('don't look down, look forward,' was the guide's advice) and then carried on, keeping well clear of the sudden drop on one side of the path.

It was breathtaking stuff so it was hard to imagine that Victoria Falls are drying up. That at least is the belief held in the nearby town of Livingstone, related to us at a tree-planting ceremony in honour of our arrival. The volume of water tumbling over the side of the cliffs is diminishing and it is feared it could disappear altogether. Along with the snows of Kilimanjaro, could Victoria Falls become one of the highest profile victims of climate change in Africa?

It felt like a real privilege to see Victoria Falls as it is now and the view was enough to perk me up after a difficult day. The health problems I'd dreaded had finally happened and I had been feeling nauseous since the morning. The culprit may have been a fried caterpillar which I'd had at a buffet lunch the day before. Most of the African Caravanites steered well clear but in a foolish display of food bravado, I had one. Now I'm being punished!

Read more about the UN climate change negotiations on our campaigns blog.

Photo of the day

Caravanite standing by Victoria Falls

PHOTO: A Caravanite takes a moment to admire the view.



Bulawayo, Zimbabwe


Listen to Ally's podcast

PodcastA long wait at the Botswana border brings bad news for the Caravanites as the Rwandans and Burundians are refused a visa and forced to seek a new route to Durban. But, as ever, the Caravanite's spirits remain high. Listen to this podcast


Photo of the day

Celebrations of the Caravan's arrival in Bulawayo

PHOTO: The Caravanites receive a rather noisy welcome in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.


With two days to go until we reach Durban, here are some reflections from Head of PACJA, Mithika Mwenda, on the journey so far and his hopes for Cop17.

Q: How did the idea of the Caravan come about?

A: In Africa, there is a need to demystify climate change so that people can see what the link is to their lives and what response they need to take. Now that Cop17 is coming to Africa, we wanted to think of a massive activity which would unite the people of Africa with the UN process. 

Q: How do you think the journey has gone so far?

A: This caravan has become the defining activity of Cop17. Everybody in Africa is looking upon it and we are happy with the reception we have had. This is not just an activity for civil society, it’s for all the people in Africa. 

Q. The Caravan focuses on Africa but how important do you think it is that people all over the world, join together in tackling climate change?

A: Climate Change is not going to be defeated by one individual, one country or one region so we want to underscore the importance of solidarity between rich and poor countries and the need to collaborate. Africans are suffering now because we are more vulnerable but people need to understand that together we are confronting a challenge that will swallow us all. 

Q: Have you got a message for Christian Aid supporters?

A: I would like to thank them for the support they have continued to give PACJA. They should also share in the successes that we are witnessing. But Cop17 won’t be the end of the struggle. It’s the beginning and I like to think that we will be able to continue this solidarity.


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