Reflections on my 3 Years in Zimbabwe

REFLECTING on my nearly three years in Zimbabwe, I remain cautiously optimistic; the long-term future for this country is bright, and that is due in large part to the overwhelmingly energetic, dedicated, and intelligent young people, people who make up the majority of Zimbabwe’s population.

How can young people build a better country, you might ask? After all, the culture does not give the young such power. Well, I will concede that culture is a limiting factor – but, only a limiting factor – it does not have to be a complete barrier.

Young people can – and should – take a more active role in the development of their country, but that must start with self. That’s right; the key to having a better community or country begins with each individual making a commitment to being the best that he or she can be.

So, what can you do, beginning in the here and now, to create a better Zimbabwe, a country that you can be justly proud of?

You can start by defining what kind of society you want to live in, what kind of country that you, when you’re old like me, you can leave to your children and grandchildren. And, you need to decide what kind of person you want or need to be in that society. This means that you need to clearly define ‘you.’

Don’t wait for things to happen, or for others to do things for you. Identify what needs to be done, and then do it. Start small – you should aspire to reach for the stars, but take that journey one step at a time, one challenge at a time.

Is there a problem in your community that has bugged you for some time? The government is slow or non-performing about picking up trash? Well, quit complaining about it; get a group of your friends together and start a volunteer project to clean up your neighbourhood. Even better, organise a small enterprise of your friends and offer your services for a modest fee to homeowners in your community.

Never stop learning. Don’t restrict your learning to the classroom, text books, or what teachers have told you. Read widely; question every assumption, and put every theory to the test. Reach out to the broader world and see what it has to offer. You might be surprised to learn that you might even have something to offer that world.

Don’t fear failure. I read somewhere recently that ‘fear; is an acronym for Forget Everything and Run’. Well, drop that habit, and stop running. My definition of success is ‘a string of failures that you survive and learn from.’ If you’ve never failed at anything, you’ve probably not learned anything new. Remember, it’s not how many times you fall down that matters, but how many times you get back up.