Hello to all,
Our main news today has to be the creeping waters of the Zambezi and the flooding. Last year was the worst for about 50 years and the home had to be evacuated for about a month.
We helped to put sandbags on the small bridge on our dirt road leading out of the village as it is the first place to go under and block the road. The sandbags worked well and we were able to use the bridge for another 2 days but not it is gushing across a few feet deep.
By Friday afternoon however it was too risky to take the 4x4 across and go into town as we did not know when the road would wash out and leave a big gutter so we took staff home by boat.
We have a 6 metre aluminium punt with a 40HP motor which is a little small but we can manage to take 9 adults at a time. We now have to use the boat to bring in food and any other supplies, take people to town which is a 20-30 min trip depending on the load, take children to sport or the hospital and bring staff to and from work. It so far has meant about 4 trips a day starting at 6am and finishing at 6pm.but could be more tomorrow as that is the first working day where we will have to move all the staff and school teachers.
On Saturday we had the children helping to fill and lay sandbags and they did a good job and worked hard with only a few complaints. The bags had to be put around all the doors to the buildings but there is still more to be finished off this week by the yard workers.
At the moment the water has to rise only 1/2 metre to start coming into buildings and it rose about 200mm on each of Friday and saturday but has slowed down today so we are praying that it keeps slowing or preferably stops rising.
The hippos that we hear 100-200 metres away on the other side of the river seem to be enjoying it of course as we hear their loud grunts often during the day and night, it is a very deep sound that carries a long way and you always think that they are on your side of the river but as yet they are keeping their distance.
Apart from the flood our watchdog Lydia had 8 puppies about 6 weeks ago, she rolled on one when it was very small so we have 7 left and they have been a laugh a minute to watch them grow and climb over each to get to their mum at feeding time. Their antics change every day and the children have loved coming over to play and cuddle them. Marg feeds them and mum twice a day and she is like the Pied Piper to watch all the puppies follow her in a line to get fed. Lydia has been a good mum except when they come up and put their little heads in her food bowl as she then turns and virtually puts the whole of their head in her mouth together with a vicious yelp that has the puppie scurrying away crying loudly.We have now given one away to the local village elder and a couple to staff and our eldest boy wants to take 2 home to his village. We will be keeping one in the home and one in the transition with the older kids.
The kids have been cleaning up the long grass at the transition home and working hard too, we have been proud of their effort as they are not used to manual labour.We are hoping the home will be finished in the next few weeks after which we will start teaching the kids how to live on their own and support themselves. they will be starting Vocational training in early April.
One of our keen fisherboys caught a nice tiger fish last week and Marg cooked it for him tonight and he ate the whole fish about 35cms long himself. It was a really special treat for him. They have been trying very hard to catch more but the fish will not be biting again until after the water level drops, I have about 6 trained to cast properly and they will be very happy when they start catching more. They no sooner finish school of a day then they are knocking at the door asking for the rods and bait.
The local chiefs (Indunas) from the village came for a meeting last week and requested a boat ride as they had never had one and they did enjoy it so that was a nice way to mix with the locals.
Will have more news next week