Makoni East…

We did three surveys in this area for Maranatha Volunteers, a branch of the Seventh Day Adventist Churches…

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What a view! I took this pic from the front yard of an elderly couple I met carrying their maize home from the grinding mill.

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Homesteads are small here, compared with Tsholotsho for example, where eight or twelve houses are all included in a stockade. Probably because in Tsolotsho, lions and other predators roam free!

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Shopping day?

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Look at the size of these rocks, towering over the tiny houses in the valley below.

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Pretty setting for a district hospital.

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OK, OK – I have to get a tree into my post somewhere! I just LOVED this tree, shaped by the lorries that pass this way!

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Nature’s fragrance…

On our recent trip to Binga area, we based ourselves at Mlibizi (pics already on here someplace,) a fishing camp on the Zambezi river.

Our first day’s work at Nechilibi, was rained off, and the car was a bit of a muddle because I’d had to bring things that usually belong in the back, into the cab.

Our second site was at Deka, also a fishing camp on the Zambezi, about an hour and a half away on a pretty poor road. We set off early, after checking that the Gwaai River was not in flood. You can see from this pic, the low clouds, just waiting to trap us in the car for another three hours!

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This pic (above) is taken from the bridge over the Gwaai River. It had been flooding high the previous day, but as you can see, it went down quickly.

Even before we reached this bridge, I’d noticed a terrible smell. I didn’t say anything, but wished we had not had beans for supper the previous evening! I smelled it again, shortly after, when I slowed down for a cow.

I flapped my hand and got a “Huh? Whats up with your guts?”

MY GUTS??? What a flaming cheek! MEN!!! And like all men, Will has an excellent ‘innocent look.’ I wondered if I should believe his, “It wasn’t me!” story? And it definitely wasn’t me!

It seemed to be worse whenever I slowed down and we eventually decided something must have died in our air-conditioner, or in the panel above the bonnet. I couldn’t work out why it would make a difference when we slowed down, but we had plenty of ideas about air flow etc! I stuck to my theory that he was not as innocent as professed!

When we arrived at Deka, I checked under the bonnet, and stuck my nose on all the carpets – nothing.  I left the guys doing the survey and took a drive along the Zambezi, looking for photo opportunities; did a little fishing with some kids I came across.

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Their back yard!

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I didn’t notice any smells when on my own, and began to wonder if Will was having me on! He must have squeezed one out each time I slowed down, knowing it would confuse the issue.

I collected the survey team, (and by the way, this hole was drilled and it had lots of lovely water.) We headed off to Kenkando, the second job of the day, 60km away (unfortunately, this hole was dry!) and the smells came back as soon as Will got in the car.

Eventually, after about twenty kilometres, stopping to take this pic:

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I noticed these flowers, growing on a bush close-by, were very fragrant.

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So I picked a whole stack of them (the guys sniggering on the back!) and put them in the cab – anything to cancel out that foul smell.

It didn’t work that well!

Arriving at Kenkando, and removing the resistivity machine (from behind Will’s seat) we discovered the MIA lunch (beef stew) from Thursday! Eeeew! It had got wedged under his seat; stray shoes and fire extinguishers pushing it out of sight! Every time I slowed down, Will must have leaned back, squashing the tupperware, lid forcing it to fart!

Phew! Were we glad we solved that one!

A few pics taken along the road:

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This is baobab country – just one doesn’t usually have the back drop of clouds when coming across them!

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Teak tree blossoms, I’m told (above.)

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This lady was collecting water – a laborious process – she wasn’t making sand castles!

Word of advice…

Don’t stop to buy fish along the road from Binga…because what starts off with a few (pretty) ladies to barter with…P1160826

Ends up with many, many more! They crowd around the car, shoving wide plates with stinky salted bream through the window, all yelling at the top of their lungs!

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Brighton, a member of our survey team, is pictured above wearing the striped shirt! I told him I would send this pic to his wife (s) His reply “Send it, and she will realise how lucky she is!!!” Amazing how brave a man can be when alone, and in this case, surrounded by lots of lovely women!

Pigs and figs…

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We crossed this stream on the way to a place called Kenkando. Only later, did we discover it is within walking distance…um not my walking distance, mind…of Kavanika – another of the churches where we had to look for water.

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Love the little piggies!

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I’m told they are a kind of fig… (the tree, not the piggies!)

Chininga…

Is in the Binga area, with an escarpment towering above it. The trees are large, the road, terrible! P1160450

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A series of gardens run through the middle of several lands and people grow vegetables as well as banana’s and mangos.

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Looks like wells may be a better option here than a borehole.

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Traditional homes here are mostly for shelter from the sun, and have breeze blocks built in to cool them.

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We found a tree there, that’s berries taste like peanut butter!

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And wild flowers!

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Wild Flowers at Nechilibi

Nechilibi is a place opposite the entrance to the Hwange National Park. We drove along the strip road to get there, and when I got out, found a huge variety of wild flowers! Must be the rains!

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This little guy (below) looks like he has a mouth! With yellow lipstick! With prickly spines under the flower!

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And yes, FYI, these pop – better than Jacaranda flowers!

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And the colour! Wow.

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These look very much like hibiscus that grow in our gardens – again, the deep burgundy contrasting nicely with the yellow.

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These, below, may be common, but they put on a dramatic show at this time of the year, covering bushes and large sections of barren ground.

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All of these flowers were within a twenty square metre area!

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This last one is not a flower, but I couldn’t resist the colours!

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The borehole survey at Nechilibi was rained off!!! Nothing more boring than sitting in a steaming car waiting for the rain to stop!

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We had to return there a week later! This is a short video of a part of the drive along the old strip road – although not in the rain! Please click on the link here: Driving on the old strip road

 

Clouds

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There have been plenty clouds around recently – this one, above, taken in Binga, above the water.

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I love it when the clouds hang right overhead! This pic was taken just after Kariangwe driving through thick black mud. I’d have liked to remain for hours, but fresh rain on top of that black mud could have been a disaster.

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Storm clouds mean everything to us – look at the lucky people where that storm is landing!