Firstly a big hello to our neighbours Kath and Arn and thankyou for your letter and news on how our puppy is going at home. Kath does not have a computer to read the blogs but receives a printed version from another great neighbour, Doug. It is good to know our home is in reliable hands.
We have a bright spot this week as the road is now drivable after patchup work, it is a big relief as being restricted to using only one boat for 57 kids and over 20 staff places pressure on everyone.
The first vehicle to come in this morning was a local taxi and he is amazing at the places you see him driving. The road is still only suitable for 4WDs but this is a small Toyota hatchback which only sits about 9 inches off the ground and the staff use him a lot to come to work. Even on a Sunday when I take the boys to their soccer match in the middle of the bush he will turn up.
Marg was in the hospital sitting with the boy who had the ear infection and they were both snoozing when a monkey jumped onto the bedside table and took his lollypop. He took it to the roof with his other "loot" and they had to watch him lapping it up like a two year old. There are quite a few of them at the hospital and you are probably thinking it is in the middle of the bush and not clean but both are not true as the hospital is in the middle of town and quite clean. The boy has recovered very well and we were impressed with the treatment he received as his infection was serious and needed mega doses of antibiotics. He is now one of our fisherboys and loves it.
We have a deaf boy about 16 years old who goes to a special school in the capital, Windhoek, about 1200kms away and comes home for the school holidays. I took him out fishing last week, he had never done it before, and of course he caught the biggest tiger fish of any we have caught. He was "hooked" and is always ready to go now in the morning. They were fishing from the bank on Sunday when he caught a huge Bubble (catfish) and if you could have seen the look on his face you would have thought he had caught a million dollars. They had it for dinner that night which meant there was fish 2 nights running as I was lucky on Saturday and had got three nice tiger fish. I have tried several times since without a bite.
Marg has been busy covering the kids and many staff in calamine lotion as the chicken pox has spared only a few of them. Many who have been with relatives etc during their holidays have also been struck but still have mainly enjoyed their time away. We have heard differing stories, some have missed their friends a lot and others have been very busy doing what the locals do,eg one older girl has been helping her Aunt build a new mud hut. When they are built here the tradition is that the men put in the framework of sticks and posts and it is then the womens' job to do all the mudwork for the walls. The girl has also learnt many traditional cooking recipes. This was a nice story as she has done exactly what the program was intended for the children to do and accomplish.
Marg has to do one of the trips to the western Caprivi region on Friday to bring them back. She then has to drive to Livingstone across the border in Zambia on Saturday to take a volunteer to catch her flight home. It is a 2-3 hour drive each way but some of it is through game park or reserve and their is a good chance of spotting giraffes or elephants.
We have been given a 2-3 week old baby to care for after she was deserted by her mother and left in the bush. The kids who come back,especially the girls will get a nice surprise to see her and I imagine will spoil her lots. One of the really nice aspects about being here is watching the way the children all get along with each other, apart from the isolated argument of course. If one or two children have to go away for a short time they get a very warm reception on return.
Each Monday we have to take food to a feeding centre where up to one hundred children are supported by it. They come from disadvantaged families who cannot feed the children and the food gives them one good meal each day. Marg of course loves going there and on Monday she bought some of the small fish I have spoken about before (1-2 inches long). She then watched the ladies there prepare them into a mushy meal and of course was asked to try, she found it quite nice. We take dried fish for them and Marg learnt how to buy the good ones at the market in town as some have a beetle in them that send them bad.
The local gossip; the local airport has had no jetfuel for over a month and planes have to land at the nearest one about 100km away in Botswana to refuel before coming here to offload passengers.
Another airport has no water.
Our puppies are not popular as washing is going missing from the lines and it is ending up on our doorstep. We have moved house and brought their mother with us so there is no guardog at the mainhouse and the hippos are taking advantage of it as they are coming out of the water at night and grazing about 5-10 metres from the front door. We see a new set of tracks each day.
I have a new alarm each morning. I call it the " morning breeze alarm" as it is cool now and the window in the bedroom is typical of many here and wont close so I have this cool breeze blow on me each morning from about 5am. I guess you could say it is environmentally friendly, does not need batteries and still works with a power failure.
Best wishes to all.