Saturday, June 28, 2014

Balancing Rocks

We have spent hours among the boulders of Africa.  Though I've posted oodles of pictures and though it is almost always out in the hot sun that we've explored them, no matter where they are these giants are an awe-inspiring thing I want to photograph more.  Inspiring the old currency of Zimbabwe, these balancing creatures have become a symbol of the importance of development within the country in partnership with the preservation of its unique environment.  

We recently made it to Balancing Rocks, a national park that sits on the edge of Harare. The formations are a natural occurrence, caused by the weathering erosion of softer surrounding rocks.  Though these rocks can be found all over pockets of Zim, the Balancing Rocks National Park houses some of the country's most famous formations.  


The park can be found in the neighborhood of Epworth on the south-east edge of Harare, a unique place in its own right.  In the 1890s, this segment of farmland was established as a Methodist Mission Station.  During the 1970s and early 1980s, the Methodist Church had such a hard time dealing with a sudden influx of squatters on the land looking for affordable housing near Harare, that it finally gave the land to the Ministry of Local Government in 1983, sighting an uncontrollable population increase.  Unfortunately, Epworth had never been planned as a residential urban area, and this spontaneous population increase to this day suffers from a lack of public utilities like water, electricity, and sewage lines.  Only the schools and other public service centers enjoy electricity there to this day.  In addition, crime, murder, a lack of street names, and tragedies that occur when the rains demolish many of the houses made from un-burnt bricks make this a difficult place to live.  And right in the middle of it all?  That ironically symbolic juxtaposition of development and environmental preservation: a quirky national park where the boulders have witnessed it all.