The first few years of my childhood in Zimbabwe were spent between two homes, one in the city of Bulawayo and another in the village of Lupane. During the times I spent in the village, I used to tag along with my mother or with a relative as we walked to the bus stop every Saturday to wait for fresh supplies of food that my father had sent to us from the city.
There were always other families waiting for their parcels as well. These were the only chances I would have to mingle and play with other kids before I started school. While all the families waited, there were lots of cars passing by, as this road led to one of the world’s wonders, the Victoria Falls.
We would wave at the travellers and they would smile and wave back. The most exciting part was when some of the passing tourists would toss out sweets and other goodies from their car window as they sped by. Usually it was the kids in the cars that would toss the treats.
This spiced things up and entertained us all while we waited at the roadside bus station. We would run to pick up the surprises with anticipation to see what it was that a stranger had decided to share. If there were not enough sweets, we would take them and place them on a rock and take a smaller stone to hammer the candy so it would break in tiny pieces and all the kids could share. Our excitement was not derived from hunger. We were all well provided for and healthy. For me, it was like strangers were sharing something of themselves with us.
Those moments in my childhood are some of my most cherished memories in the village that I have never forgotten. The last time I visited Victoria Falls, I passed by the very same road side bus station where these
memories were created. A feeling of nostalgia came over me. I shared with my fiancé my memories of this and we decided we would do the same; we would leave little tokens of appreciation to strangers along that road. We dropped packets of potato crisps, sweets and chocolate bars. At times we stopped to chat with vendors and even if we didn’t buy anything, we would leave some kind of gift for them. The last person we saw was a young boy who was running along the road going the opposite direction. He was going to the next village with a message. He was delighted to get a bag of potato crisps and a cold drink. I told him that I had grown up not too far from where we met him. He wished us well. My heart was filled with the joy that comes along with sharing little things with strangers.