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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Nkonyeni

It seems the old strip road builders knew how to build roads! We crossed it several times recently when working along the Victoria Falls road, and mostly it can still be used!

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Our contract for the Seventh Day Adventist Church began with a place called Nkonyeni, which is in the Bubi area. In order to get there, we had to cross the old strip road, and the Bubi river!

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Dramatic views – racing the rain!

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Huge forests line the river.

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This is a donkey berry flower. I LOVE donkey berries!

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No idea what this is – but its pretty!

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Prefab…

The Seventh Day Adventist Church are building a load of churches all over the country using prefab structures that can be built in a day. (We were asked to find water at five of them.) Below, is a “one day” built school. Actually, each structure can be built in a day – I’m not sure how many people it takes.

Prefab SDA school

I went off to lunch with an old friend the day we surveyed here!!! And didn’t get back in time…I arrived late to find everyone taking shelter from the heat inside one of the classrooms. They are surprisingly cool for a building without a ceiling. (Said to stop me feeling so bad!) Obviously insulation can be added to the walls and the roof, but it seems the white reflects enough heat. Chances are they wont get water in a borehole here, and on our recommendations probably wont drill at all.

Prefab SDA school

It was totally my fault we were late getting away from Gwanda but luckily on the way home, we had these light conditions to work with!

Prefab SDA schoolTaken about 20km before Balla Balla of the bottom end of the Matopos

Prefab SDA school

This road winds in amongst the hills – huge granite outcrops on both sides of the road, the mealie lands barren and maize stooks empty after one of the worst season in ages.

Prefab SDA school

I love this view (above) and want to share it with anyone who has ever driven this road…

Mbalabala…

Called Balla Balla in pre-Independence days, Mbalabala has a few of the Matopos-like boulder/outcrops…(often called “Dwala” in the local language isNdebele) dotted about…

MbalabalaThe area we were working in is communal land, commonly called “makaya” or “homes.” People from this area are offered a place to grow their maize, graze their cattle and build their home, either by a local chief or the District Administrator.

MbalabalaWe were there to site a borehole for the Seventh Day Adventist Church. Since a site wasn’t found immediately, and another survey was required, I decided to climb higher to get a better view…up here this hill is called Tshakambeba. (Not sure on the spelling on there!)

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I stopped and took photos all the way up the hill. Hey – I need to breathe!

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First stop was this lovely shady tree and flat rock to lie on!

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The view facing north…Mbalabala

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Half way up – I spied this tree…

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It’s more of a ¬†bush, although you cant really see that from this pic – only about two metre tall. The hills around Esigodini are clear on this photo, although seen from a different angle than usual.

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Its a little difficult, crab walking along the rock surface

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I made it to the top and the other side is an awful lot steeper than the one I climbed!

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That road you can see down there comes out right at Mbalabla.

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I’m pretty scared of heights, so I didn’t go any closer to the edge than this…

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Going down isn’t that much easier than going up…esp when you have to stumble over these kinds of loose rocks. Very strange shaped rocks too – almost like salad bowls and meat platters on a giants’ lunch table!

Mbilamboya River…

Is in Nswazi!

Further upstream are Diana’s Pools…(I’ve written about them and the orbicular granite, here on my blog…)

Surveying for water at three new Seventh Day Adventist Churches, we crossed this river several times…

These photos were taken in the late afternoon, hurrying back home.

The gravel road here is fairly good, the causeway curving around a glade of trees.

Mbilamboya River

Mbilamboya River

Its unusual to find running water in Matabeleland, but the water seeps slowly out of the Matopos and collects in the rivers leading from there…

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I think that is a little weir up there – we didn’t have time to stop and walk along the bank…

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This pic is taken on the downstream side of the causeway.

Mbilamboya River

I got out of the car and steadied the camera on the concrete of the causeway, and tried out a fancy feature called “sparkling water” but it only made silly non-authentic looking crosses on the pic…thank goodness I took this one (above) as well!