Tuesday, May 18, 2010


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. 

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Update 4May2010

We have a relatively quiet home for the next 3 weeks as the majority of the children have gone to stay with relatives for the school holidays. They were all excited about their holiday so we are hoping they enjoy the break. Some have gone to relatives in very nice homes and others to people in mud hut villages so their stories will be interesting and varied as to what they would have done during the time away. Marg helped take the kids out to the western Caprivi and enjoyed seeing where they came from and meeting the relatives.
 We are feeling sorry for the ones left here as it is a terrible feeling to think of an orphan who does not have any family links at all. There are different jobs which we have been able to get them to do and give them rewards to try and make them feel that someone cares for them and stop boredom. We are not getting any help with this as it is not part of the local culture to keep children amused.
The water peaked last Friday at close to the same level as a month ago and now is on the way down, hopefully it keeps going and we can get back on the road in a couple of weeks. I have had to be relieved of boat driving as the new home for the older children has to be finished so I am back in building mode. We laid floor tiles last week and the next day when I went to do more the workers were in the room cutting up steel on them with a 9 inch grinder ( I am finding out new definitions for patience). On the other hand I have a worker helping me who I know is keen to learn and he has picked up the tiling methods quite quickly and he feels quite proud to have done something technical.
Marg has a badly infected finger at the moment after something bit her while sleeping. I have had two similar problems from cuts while working and the infection is so aggressive that the next day your finger is swollen like a boil, you cannot bend it and a red streak is already running up your arm. We don't know what causes it and it takes a week or so of treatment for it to come good.
    Something we were dreading did not happen did this morning as one of our boys had a badly infected ear and he was writhing on the bed in pain so we had to take him to hospital by boat at 4 in the morning. The moon was up otherwise it would not have been possible and we did the trip and return without a problem. The little fellow is still in hospital for a few more days as it is so serious. Marg of course is doing her normal babysitting and has spent all day with him and will probably do the same tomorrow, she is a marvel the way she always puts other peoples wellbeing before her own.
A little snippet;  was watching the local news tonight of a story about a murder and they showed where it occurred. Then it showed someone shovelling about a bucket of blood off the floor, very effective coverage of the event.
Talking to our security guards one day and they said with the full moon last week they saw six canoes each night at one in the morning crossing the river from Zambia. They were not sure what the reason was?? 
We have only two of the puppies left and the children are feeding them any leftovers so they are growing quickly and still getting into mischief. The others have gone to staff members and the local villages, primarily to be used as guard dogs.
Will write again soon