Baba (“Father”) Wyene is the night watchman here at Zesize. He’s very careful, always locking the gate and making sure to only let permitted people in during his watch. He’s also a carver. He brought by a knobkierrie–a traditional weapon–that he’d carved along with some spoons. His workmanship is really good and his prices low; he gave me one spoon and I bought another.
Yesterday was a good day, as I mentioned. A local school group was going to a local game reserve, Ndumo. I wasn’t really a chaperon; I mostly just tagged along as a friend of a friend of the people who run the school that was going on the trip. Good enough for me… We didn’t see much–some nyala, red duiker, wildebeest, impala, vervet monkeys, crocodile, and lots of birds–but it was nice going along those dirt roads at 20kph, arm resting on the window sill, through relatively unspoiled wilderness. We even went to Red Cliffs, which overlooks the river that divides South Africa from Mozambique. Hello, other country! It joins Zambia as a country I’ve seen across a river but haven’t been in.
After I got back, I relaxed for a bit before getting a ride to the grocery store–it’s 6km up the hill and I don’t have a car. Then I played some soccer, which you already know all about. The family friend whose organization I’m working for here then made me some dinner and let me take a real bath–complete with running and hot water! Amazing!
Today I went to a tuck shop–a convenience store–with Fana, the previously mentioned guy who I’m working with. There, a bunch of people were getting an early start to the weekend and many seemed to be a few drinks in already. This mostly manifested itself in the lively chatter and group dancing and singing along to the music absolutely blasting out of the jukebox. It just made me smile.
The road between the T-junction town of Bhambanana and Ingwavuma–the ‘tar road’ as they call it, being the only paved road between the two–has a lot of potholes. Well, both ‘a lot’ and ‘pot holes’ are understatements. Perhaps a ton of potpits would be more appropriate. These aren’t the sorts of things that would merely take out a bike tire; these are often four feet across and up to six inches deep. (I say this without fear of exaggeration.) People drive along at road speeds only to slow down to a crawl to drive around these things. People know that driving through them is a quick way to turn your car into a skorokoro, a junky car. Even the ones that have been patched recently are still deep enough to be avoided!
One thing that carrying your own water up from a pump does is that it puts water conservation into very concrete terms. My first 24 hours here, I used 25L of water in addition to drinking almost 5L of bottled drinking water. This was water that was already at the rondavel. The next 25L water, which I’d had to carry myself, lasted 48 hours and that included water that I boiled for drinking water.
There’s plenty of references to “Africa time” here. Things certainly aren’t run with a German sense of timing. Often one can leave at the time when something “starts” and probably still get there at an appropriate time.