Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Life's joys, life's trials

Oh hello, hope I'm not disturbing any important animal business here under the humans' outdoor kitchen... Will you all be long?

These Zebras and horses were occupying an outdoor kitchen at Bundu Lodge where we stayed on a recent trip to south africa as we had meetings to attend at Mercy Air and business to get done done...there's always business to get done! Janette Stone accompanied us and this sort of closed off her time in Africa as she left from here to go home to Canada shortly after we left to return to Mozambique.

We were driving and although we find the whole affair of driving for 2 x 9-10 hour days familiar and in some ways interesting, we're starting to think there are times it would best be done over 3 days. For one thing, it would make for no night time driving which in itself would increase the safety factor a lot since these roads are poor at the best of time and treacherous at night: no (or narrow) broken shoulders, pot holes, animals on the road, pedestrians on the shoulders, vehicles with no lights, no reflectors even, and there are always those who have had a few too many.

Anyway, we stopped at his place at about the half way point, mostly for old times' sake. We stopped here on our first ever trip up north while we and our friends were still "scouting out the land" for a possible move. That was shortly after the end of the war and things were in MUCH worse shape. The highway was a mere crumbling strip of asphalt being taken over by briars and littered with burnt out vehicles.  We were about 10 people on that trip, so we ordered sandwiches from the humble assortment available on the menu, mostly cheese sandwiches and egg sandwiches. The waiter disappeared momentarily then came back to say, "We have no cheese, and we only have some eggs, and we don't have enough cokes for everyone." Something to that effect, anyway. One of those cases where they really should have changed their menu before setting it in front of clients :)

Oh well, that's what keeps life interesting. Today, the place is fixed up nicely and the town is bustling with productive activity. We stopped for breakfast and turns out they had everything on the menu! Progress is a wonderful thing.

This is the place, in the Maxixe area.

We got home pretty tired but also ready to take on the next week's Intensive Seminar once again. We hit a sad bump over the first weekend though when one of our sponsored students who had been struggling with his health for awhile lost the battle and lost his life. It felt terribly wrong to have taken a boy to hospital in the back seat of our vehicle, and then to return him home in a casket. I dislike those difficult moments. There are lots of questions, and heaviness. But those are also the times that stretch and grow our faith like no other.  This boy was an orphan and had seen his share of difficulty, but his willing disposition and happy face bore testament to the hope he had inside and he will surely be missed. We are so grateful for the time given to us all to invest in him and love him and we look forward to seeing him again one day.

The following week, ready or not, rolled around. About 50 monitors attended the seminar, and it was a great time. Six of the monitors were ready for the health course (it's the last of 25 courses they have to complete in order to graduate), so that kept me busy for the week. They were a very engaged group and we had some discussions that were motivating for us all. At the end, they all passed their exam with good marks, yay!

Here's Dwight feeding our latest wildlife project: Punkin (we got her at the end of October). She's a duiker and was orphaned, so kids came looking to sell her and Dwight couldn't turn her away.

Our weather has been terribly dry and unseasonably cool this year, but a few weeks ago the heavens broke loose a bit and we got some much needed rain. Oh we needed it so badly, people couldn't plant their crops and animal numbers (wildlife and domestic) were dropping. Not enough to eat = sickness. 

One thing that does happen when it rains though is that flying ants come out in hoards! They beat crazily about lights, lose their wings, pair off, then that's the end of it and all you're left with is the job of trying to clean up those silly, feather weight wings. It's nearly impossible.

Once seminar was over, it was time for Dwight and I to get a bit of R&R time. Felt like it had been forever and we were really very tired and so ready for it. So we headed south to our favorite spot again.  It was a good trip except for the flying ants (I guess). We hit several "herds" of them, and oh my. What. A. Mess. You can't wind-wiper off, that just smears them. You need some soapy water and a serious scrubbing tool.

Service station shops are few and far in between, but when we found one, we'd stop and dwight would dutifully clean the windscreen. Once it's been real messy, it always surprises me just how crystal clear it looks once it's been cleaned.

So there's an elephant crossing south of the Save River. I have never seen an elephant cross there in all our years, but I like that they obviously must since there are signs. One sign even says "Afternoon Elephant Crossing", or something like that. Just so you know, in case you were wondering.

We have thoroughly enjoyed our getaway and prepare to pick up tomorrow where we left off.  There's quite a bit of driving to be done, so let's hope flying ant season is over.