That’s not home anymore…
I’ve been thinking a lot of the land of my birth lately! This once flourishing, innovative country is now one of the poorest in the world. Whereas they used to export food to neighbouring countries, now they are relying on food aid. It is heart-breaking to see how desperate things are there now.
I remember the Rhodesian bush wars and the sacrifices made by many – some mere boys when they entered the army. Husbands, brothers, sons – countless came back with battered bodies and minds alike. My younger brother, Paul, was only 16 when he went in to do his national service. He saw way too much way too young! I lost five classmates in one helicopter crash.
They weren’t the only ones who sacrificed. Some men were rotating 6 weeks in, six weeks out. Wives, mothers, sisters had to pick up the slack. My sister-in-law had to learn new skills as my older brother was frequently away on active duty during important times on the farm – planting season, reaping. She was just one example of hundreds of women who had to learn new skills – when the call-ups became more frequent – to keep farms and businesses afloat.
My older brother, Terry, was a member of one of the elite teams known as the Grey Scouts. They went into remote, difficult to access areas on horseback. He would take his own horses with him. He was not one to talk about his experiences in the war, but I remember one time in particular when his team were out on patrol and were ambushed. His horse was shot and killed underneath him. He made it back home that time unscathed physically – it was a close call. Like many others, a vehicle he was in hit a land mine and he lost the function of one of his kidneys.
I have no idea what non physical scars he sustained – I don’t believe the things he saw or went through left him unscathed mentally and emotionally. He loved his country whole heartedly and right up to the day he died, he was optimistic that things would get better. He did not consider the sacrifices he made to be too big.
Looking back, I think the sacrifices were too big. The whole war seems to have been in vain. The farm was not worth my brother’s life. But that’s just my opinion. I miss the land of my birth, but that’s not home anymore.