Dear Dalitso

Everyday lessons for tomorrow

Be Careful about the company you keep.

December 18, 2023
Letter #30

Yesterday we were invited to a private dinner purely by accident/chance. We booked for dinner at our lodge, but it turns out that out of the other 36 guests we were the only ones who made the booking for the meal. The chef was also organizing a dinner for a private party. Smart guy thought to just include us in the private party, hopefully after consulting with the big boss who was hosting the party. It was a lovely and a welcome surprise for me and the family.

We met with people that we would not otherwise have daily interactions with. The crowd was made up mostly of businesspeople in the tourism and hospitality industry. I listened intently to the discussions that were taking place. They were mostly focused on light-hearted banter, the business environment, and new opportunities. I eavesdropped on several side conversations and the themes were the same. All positive.

On the other hand, I was keeping a close eye on our men’s church WhatsApp group as I usually do. It was alive with the usual debates. Topics covered included a criticism of the stadium constructed by a clergyman in Harare. They argued that it was too small, we do not know the source of funds, it is not up to international standards. There are other rich people who can build better stadiums it was argued. The conversation on the group moved onto the mini flooding we experienced in Harare due to blocked drainage pipes. Mostly negative- nothing good can come out of the current situation.

Contrast- in the first setting- I did not hear complaints but instead it was an energetic discussion about the opportunities that Victoria Falls has to offer. Please hear me well- I am sure they complain as well.

In the second setting- I did not hear anything positive.

It is important to note that in my church we are taught about the power of positive affirmation. I did not get it from my WhatsApp group but instead I got it from a group of young white businesspeople who as it turns some have strong church connections. Why am I writing about all this? It is important to surround yourself with people who will encourage/challenge you to build upon the good that exists around you. Amplify the positive. At times I call this asset-based thinking- building upon what is working and focusing on what has been called by others your sphere of ‘influence.’ It has become our usual custom to criticize (we must call to account errant public officials- that’s my 9-5PM) but at times we forget to think about our individual contributions and what we can do. Especially when all we can see are obstacles. The usual refrain- ‘ha zvingaite, muno? Aiwa’ We have become too pessimistic to a point of paralysis- we cannot move. I read somewhere that a mind fed with complaints and bitterness will most likely lose its ability to be creative. You are most likely going to be frustrated by many things in our country such as frequent power outages, a broken political system, headlines of corruption etc. Guard yourself. I am not saying go and pretend that these problems do not exist. Instead, maybe see opportunities in all these difficulties.

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