Foreign currency: Travels inside Zimbabwe's economic crisis
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The bottles clinked in my bag as I walked past houses hidden behind security walls, gates opening to let Pajeros in. Since 2000, nearly every international headline about Zimbabwe had contained metaphors of destruction. "Zimbabwe Descends into Chaos," "Zimbabwe Teeters on the Brink of Collapse," "Zimbabwe Inflation Spirals Toward Ruin." There was no milk in the stores, but there was mango juice from South Africa. So this was collapse, I thought. From far away reading those headlines, I had wondered what it meant for a country to collapse. A country was not an empty structure. When pieces caved in, the people didn't go with it into a sink hole. Twelve million people still lived in Zimbabwe, the buildings still stood, fuel and food were found somehow, even if they were not in the shops, and though the center was weak and much was missing, the country had not sunk into a fissure and disappeared as ruin, collapse, and chaos implied.