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Photographer's Note

Girls carrying buckets of water from a pond in southern Zimbabwe in January 1984. This part of Africa was hit by a severe drought and in most places water was scarce and sometimes had to be fetched from far away.

I spent the entire winter of 1984 in southern Africa. I was "between jobs" and rather than spending the dark and cold winter at home, picking up unemployment money, I took some of my savings and travelled to the African summer to write freelance stories.

I travelled to Musume in Midlands Province along with two Swedish missionaries, husband and wife, stationed in the city of Bulawayo. The southern part of the country was the hardest hit by drought and the network of Lutheran missionaries were good sources of information.

On the way to Musume we travelled through an area where the groundwater levels were the lowest ever recorded, where crops had failed and people had had to slaughter their cattle for lack of fodder, unless the animals had already died from starvation. For some time villagers had been forced to eat the seeds they should have planted, and when they ran out of seeds they survived on some kind of porridge of grass and nuts.

I didn't see anything looking as bad as the Sahel in the 1970's or the Horn of Africa in the early 1980's, but it was bad enough.

A photo of a dry field of maize is in the WS. They were both scanned from Kodax TRI-X B&W negatives.

I will post two or three more photos, plus workshops, from my visit to Musume.

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Additional Photos by Gert Holmertz (holmertz) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 11716 W: 564 N: 22512] (97626)
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