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Pole to Pole

Day 121: Bulawayo

Michael Palin - Pole to PoleWater is not the only scarce commodity in Zimbabwe. A report in this morning's Bulawayo Chronicle is headed 'Shortage of Bibles'. 'The sudden eruption of religious organizations during the past five years is said to be straining the supply of Bibles written in local languages. Religious leaders in Bulawayo said the influx of Pentecostal churches, breakaway groups from the mainstream Roman Catholic church, have led to a high demand.'

Demand is falling, however, at the Bulawayo Bowls Club. Pearle Sheppard, the secretary, blames Independence. 'A lot of people have left the country . . . we used to have nearly 400 members . . . and now it's gone right down to about 120.'

When we arrive to film, Pearle is concerned that we don't get the wrong impression from a large sign which greets us at the clubhouse: 'BBC. Do Not Leave Things on the Verandah for the Thieves'.

'Oh dear no, BBC is for Bulawayo Bowls Club,' she explains apologetically.

Despite it being a dull, drizzly afternoon there are twenty bowlers out on the greens. The men are thin, erect and grey-haired. The women are generally, though by no means exclusively, buxom, and as you might expect, younger than the men.
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  • Series: Pole to Pole
  • Day: 121
  • Country/sea: Zimbabwe
  • Place: Bulawayo
  • Book page no: 268

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