Kreisman Law Offices recently added two sculptures by Zimbabwe artists to its reception area in a show of support for the struggling people of Zimbabwe and the incredible economic woes facing its citizenry.
The two pieces were created by Chapungu artists and represent the vast wealth of human talent among the Zimbabwe people. This talent has long been recognized throughout the world and Chicago. In 2003 Chicago’s Garfield Park and the Botanic Gardens of Chicago displayed similar sculptures by Chapungu artists, along with other exhibits and presentations celebrating Zimbabwe’s culture.
Unfortunately, most of the world has been ignoring the agony of Zimbabwe, a once prosperous and medically advanced nation in southern Africa that is suffering from political and economic turmoil under the brutal rule of its government head, Robert Mugabe. Zimbabwe which was once known as the bread basket of Africa is now a country that can’t feed its own people. The unemployment rate is higher than 80%. Malnutrition is wide spread. It’s a nation overwhelmed by poverty, the HIV/Aids epidemic and hyperinflation.
The current living conditions in Zimbabwe are dire and the life expectancy is the lowest in the world: just 37 years for men and 34 years for women. Cholera is an epidemic. People have become ill with anthrax after eating the decaying flesh of animals. Power has been lost in the city morgue in the capitol city of Harare leaving corpses to rot.
Doctors and nurses are doing what they can under these most difficult circumstances. There are many facilities with no water, no functioning toilets and barely enough medicine or supplies to treat the very ill.
The nations’ poor health spurred the Physicians for Human Rights to release the following statement:
The chaos in Zimbabwe’s health system in 2008 is unprecedented and scale and scope. Public-sector hospitals have been shuttered since November 2008. The basic infrastructure for the maintenance of public health, particularly water and sanitation services have abruptly deteriorated in the worsening political and economic climate.
Furthermore, a director of admission hospital stated:
A major problem is the loss of life and fetal wastage we are seeing with obstetric patients. They come so late, the fetuses are already dead. We see women with eclampsia who have been seizing for 12 hours. There is no intensive care unit here, and now there is no intensive care in Harare. If we had intensive care, we know it would be immediately full of ill patients. As it is, they just die.
Some organizations are already on the case, including Doctors Without Borders and UNICEF. Much more is needed to stem the tide of the suffering of the Zimbabwe people are undergoing at this time. These figures are only symbols of what could be and once was in Zimbabwe.