Pieces of Home: Honde Valley

Silence.  That’s all you hear as you stand there, above the valley but not quite at the top of the mountain.  For the first few minutes,  it’s maddening.  No cars.  No music. No loud conversations.  Just you and the valley.

Honde Valley is a slither of land  near the Zimbabwe-Mozambique border.  Cloudless skies with a yellow sun illuminates the valley, and if you squint, you can see the border.  The mountains, already gargantuan in size, look even bigger, their sharp peaks grazing the endless the endless blue above.

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Then the weather turns.  Fog crawls up from below, until the whole valley disappears under the mist.   The temperature drops, and when it starts to rain, the lush green Earth gets brown and soggy, making it a nightmare  for drivers trying to hillstart.  But even then, with the cold and the damp, the Valley is still beautiful.

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Honde Valley wouldn’t be what it is without the mountains that encircle the community.  The mountains themselves are as diverse and interesting as the trees and shrubs that dot the valley in the summer.

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Honde Valley is a haven of peace and serenity.  From vast green forests, to small tea and coffee plantations, it’s not just a static valley of trees and rocks, but a bustling environment of animals, vegetation and people living and working with and for each other.  Now, it seems that it may very well become a bona fide tourism destination.  There are already a few resorts and B&Bs, with a clear view of Mtarazi Falls, Honde Valley’s claim to fame.

 

 

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The primary school at Honde Valley. It happens to be my mother's old school

The primary school at Honde Valley. It happens to be my mother’s old school

Honde Valley during the dry season

Honde Valley during the dry season

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The houses in the area also have their own story to tell, from the traditional huts with thatched roofs, the rundown shacks, to the modern homes equipped with TV, fridges, and electricity.  There are even ruins of an ancient storehouse, just behind my grandmother’s house.  It’s nothing more than a large trench lined with granite stones similar to the ones at Great Zimbabwe.  But those ruins are a piece of our history, a look, however tiny, into the life and times of Zimbabweans before the advent of colonialism and modern technology.

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