As I’m packing my books for the move, I’ve split them into 3 piles: those I will leave in Zimbabwe, those I will have sent to me in Wyoming and the precious ones that travel in my hand luggage for fear of losing them. The very first book in the hand luggage was my “An African ABC” by Jacqui Taylor. I think my dad must have gotten it for me when I was 6 or 7. I remember being spell-bound by it. As you’ve probably guessed, it goes through the alphabet listing things in Zimbabwe that start with each letter. It is magnificently illustrated. As I was thumbing through it today, I was trying to remember which of the illustrations was my favourite. Each page I opened, I thought “This is the one. I always loved this one!”, but then I’d turn to the next one and think “No. This one is the one!” So I’ll post a few here, but the pictures really don’t do the book justice.
I remember looking at the book when I was 7 wishing I could visit all the places it mentioned. Now I realise that I’ve gotten to see most of them. I’ve seen the majestic elephants. I’ve gone fishing in Kariba. I’ve seen the hippos and I am here to tell Jacqui Taylor that they’re more likely to bare their teeth menacingly rather than wallow with glee! I’ve sat around the fire at night listening to the sounds of the bush wondering what lurks in the darkness. I’ve watched the kapenta boats, eaten roasted mealies by the side of the road, and gotten sick from eating mangoes straight out of the tree. I’ve ridden a boat down the Zambezi, and watched the mighty river tumble over Victoria Falls. My gosh, Zimbabwe is a beautiful country.
I am definitely going to get my niece this book for her next birthday. Hopefully, she’ll fall in love with the pictures, look at her dad and say to him, like I said to my dad, “When can we go see these places?” You haven’t lived until you’ve been to Zimbabwe.