Home is the place you long to be, where the heart is

By IAfrica
In Zimbabwe
Jul 25th, 2014
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When news of the Malaysian Airways plane that went down somewhere in Ukraine first broke, I was in the middle of travelling to Melbourne, Australia, for the International Aids Conference. To hear news filtering that six activists travelling to the International AIDS Conference had actually been killed when the plane went down on its way from Amsterdam put me and everyone else who was travelling in a very sombre mood. It sank in slowly that more than 250 lives had been lost while flying.

After believing, like so many others, that flying is by far the safest form of travel; you begin to wonder.
I could see bewilderment on the faces of many travellers that day at Hong Kong airport where we waited to get our connecting flight to Melbourne. For once, it became a daunting task; the very act of boarding a flight.

Upon arrival in Melbourne, the bafflement, shock and fear continued to be palpable.
Everyone at the conference could not help but begin to think about safety.
Just how safe are you as you travel?
One thing about human beings is that when we get bogged down with living; just getting by from day to day, we often forget that we are mortal.
When some of us or a loved one is plucked out from our midst; especially in such a violent manner as happened with the more than 290 passengers aboard that Malaysian plane, it begins to sink in that we are just but mortals.

As the conference opened, tributes continued to pour in.
A tragedy had occurred.
Candles were lit and ribbons were tied. Lives had been lost.
Imagine the shock when news filtered that yet another plane had gone down in Taiwan.
Then news started filtering in that another plane had gone missing in Africa, an Algerian plane; which for Africa, is very close to home.
Lives had been lost, once again.

As I watched the news in my hotel room, I literally went into a panic.
Flights were going down everywhere. On the other hand, wars were being fought and people dying like flies.
A United Nations School had been attacked and some people had been shot at.
It was terrible.

Being away from home, I just could not help but start wishing days would move fast so I could return home.
I was not the only one.
Everyone else around me felt the same.
They just wanted to go back home.
Home is that place where the heart is.
Home is that place where one feels safe. And then I began to realise just how much we take for granted.
When at home, the sound of gunshots is not something I anticipate hearing.

When our children go to school, we are not worried about some terrorists attacking the school, and kidnapping our children or some crazed gunman firing at random, killing innocent kids.
But this is the kind of life that some have to live with in countries like Nigeria where Boko Haram abducted some girls and up to now, some of them have not been found.

Back home we do not have to walk constantly looking over our shoulders as is the case in some places.
This is because in some countries you just never know who is lurking behind you and with what intention.
Some have their throats slit just because they have shopping bags with them. Some get raped just because they happen to be the wrong sex.
So many girls and women are being used as weapons of war across the world.
Just watch international news and you will realise how good some of us have it.

Yes, there is no running water all the time at home. There is hardly electricity half the time in most areas.
There are not enough jobs. There is not enough money. There is not enough housing. In fact, many do not dream of ever owning a house. Things are difficult. But there are no gunshots either.

Planes are not going down all the time.
There are no fears of that happening in our airspace. People can still go out at night and expect to get back home safely. Yes, once in a while there will be cruel murderers who sniff out life but half the time a person in Zimbabwe is safe.

Some may be hungry and that certainly needs to be addressed. They may be joblessness which also needs to be addressed but over the past few days, I have never appreciated home so much despite being in a city that boasts of some of the most beautiful buildings and best views.
I have never realised how affordable life is in Zimbabwe till now.
Melbourne is expensive but then again incomes are high.

Speaking to some Zimbabweans who are resident here in Australia, they expressed the same wish.
They ideally would have wanted to be back home. But their biggest fear is how will they make ends meet.
Some tried to secure employment but have never managed to secure any. This is despite being highly qualified.
Thus, they stay away from home, slaving away so their families can eat.

But deep down, they yearn for home, that place where the heart is and where it is safe.
As planes continue to go down, and bomb blasts become a daily occurrence in some parts of the world, all I know is I cannot wait to get back home.
Yes, there is a bit of nervousness about flying so many miles to get home but the safety and peace that awaits me once I touch down at Harare International Airport, even though there may be no power back at my house, is worth it.

Next time you want to bash your country again; just think twice.
Home is best.

btonhodzayi@gmail.com

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