One of the first thoughts I had after my arrival from Germany to Zimbabwe was that people here know how to laugh.
I arrived in the evening after 18 hours in the plane, 18 hours of quiet and aloofness between people. Then I came here and I saw a group of laughing girls. I was overwhelmed by this atmosphere of joy they created. They were just having fun, but they were laughing so freely and openly that I immediately sensed a strong power out of this moment of happiness.
The following time I understood that this happiness and joy of life is one of the main characteristics of Zimbabweans. People are willing to laugh at any time. You can just stop in the road and have fun with anybody. Zimbabweans love to be cheerful and happy minded. They are willing to create happiness out of the moment and they know how to enjoy life being happy in the moment. There is no need to worry if you can be happy in the moment.
It doesn´t require anything special to be happy here. People are having fun even with their daily duties and occupations. You hear people laughing and singing whilst fetching firewood or working in the fields. You see people dancing while cooking. At any time you will find people being in a good mood starting from the early morning. One day I was hesitating whether I should join collecting bricks or not, a very exhausting job but then somebody said: “come! It´s going to be a lot of fun!”. And this is the mentality I´m talking about. It doesn´t depend on what you are doing. People will have fun out of any occupation. When people are waiting for something they will just start clapping a rhythm and begin to dance. And there will be created a joyful, powerful atmosphere. Especially if the work is boring or exhausting, there will be new energy out of the dancing, singing and laughing because it makes you happy.
It is fun out of the work and fun out of the moment which leads you to live the moment. And time will pass more slowly. This is a second observation I made here in Zimbabwe. People have time. Nobody is in a hurry. You are never too late. Everything has its own pace and takes its own space. For example when you watch how people are moving. A group of women can walk as slowly as Europeans would never be able to walk. They take their time. They are free to have their own pace and they occupy their own space around them. There is much movement in their way of walking. It is a very free and swinging way of moving which is very natural. It expresses confidence in being at the right place and being at the right time.
The same natural way of moving you can notice in the way of dancing. Everybody knows how to dance everybody knows how to move his body, from a small child up to an old man or woman. And everybody loves dancing. Everywhere you will see people dancing. Even on their own, even without music, even while eating. This dancing expresses happiness and creates a big energy and power. It is another way of living the moment. You free your mind and your thoughts and you forget about your worries.
And there are a lot of worries: Where to get enough to eat for the whole family, how to get enough money for school fees, where to find work and how to organize life in often difficult situations. If you have deeper conversations, if you have time to ask people more about their life you will discover that everybody has deeper worries and intense stories to tell: Close relatives and friends who died, hard and difficult lifetimes without any perspectives, terrible happenings like fires destroying everything you have or thieves stealing all your possessions. Everybody has such a story to tell. Everybody can tell you about deep losses and hard experiences.
And it is impressive how everybody finds the power to restart again and to live daily life in a happy way. You would have never imagined these stories which are deep inside. In daily life people don´t complain. They prevent themselves from being stuck in their worries. Being happy minded and willing to laugh is the way of freeing your mind and handling a difficult situation or a loss. It is a way of being positively minded, a way of finding power to restart again. So being joyful is not only one of the main but one of the most important characteristics of the Zimbabweans.
The singing and dancing and laughing give the Zimbabwean people a strong inner power. It lets you forget your worries, it lets you free your mind, it refreshes you; it gives you energy; it makes your spirit rise; it lets you li
ve and enjoy the moment and it contributes to a strong community sense. It is a source of happiness.
Some weeks ago I was told by somebody that laughing is the spirit of the Zimbabweans. I appreciate this spirit very much and I hope that I can take a little bit of this spirit with me when I am going back to Germany.