Friday, February 22, 2008

Kalahari 101

I feel like Wilma Flintstone cooking over an open fire....except I don’t look as good as she does when Fred comes home from the quarry....... Still cooking for the guys (picture below is Patrick and Obert getting my outdoor stove ready) but I’ve heard DeWets are trying to get someone to come and do it for me. They’ve heard from people that our camp has the best food which was comforting to hear, although I must admit a couple of my menus had meat that I wasn’t sure how to prepare and I wasn’t proud of the outcome....fortunately the guys are all very appreciative of my efforts.

But, I’m running out of chicken, ground beef and sausages --- leaving me with oxtail and other cuts that have me baffled so hope help comes soon!

Pictures below are the guys sitting around the campfire with the moon in the background.

And to think I used to think I was ‘camping’ in our air conditioned trailer in Idaho and that a mouse was the biggest thing I worried about coming across. things have changed! We had 2 cobras killed in our camp this week – just babies, but cobras nonetheless. The camp men are good at sweeping and checking the grounds and keeping bushes well trimmed. Roger insists that I wear my hiking boots at all times and we use flashlights at night so there are no surprises.
Thermometer reading 40C at 1 p.m. -- still a couple more hours to go before we peak - then it cools off beautifully in the evening.

So, a couple of weeks of being in the Kalahari has made me appreciate some things. Like the heat for instance....One of the benefits of having it so hot (usually hits around 44C around 2 p.m.!) is that:
1. I can’t tell if I’m having hot flashes or not
2. Excess pounds literally ‘melt’ away
3. You don’t need moisturizer as your skin is always moist
4. If you forget to put salt on your food – just lick your lips and voila!
5. My feet sweat so much that they look like I’ve soaked in a tub for hours (I can dream..can’t I?)
6. I get dinner prepared by 10 a.m. before it gets too hot in the kitchen tent so there is no running home after work like I used to and wondering what we can have for dinner
7. Everyone is in the same boat, so no one looks at you funny if you’re not spiffed up for dinner
8. I don’t need to use a ‘seat warmer’ like I did back home (and people here can’t even begin to imagine why we’d need one!)
9. You don’t need a thermometer – usually it’s comfortable, hot, dang hot, or hotter ‘n hell!
10. O.K.....couldn’t come up with 10 reasons...but give me time!

I’ve had a chance to get to know our camp workers and they love to ask about Canada. I showed them a picture of a friend of ours who was ice fishing and they just couldn’t believe it. The girls call me “Auntie” and the men call me Mma – both are terms of respect and they enjoy hearing me trying to speak Setswana to them. Their camp is very basic, so I’ve started freezing water containers for them so they have cool water during the day and evening; a very small gesture which they appreciate.

Roger and I drove into Gaborone this week, and took some pictures of scenes along the road and some of the street vendors in the city.

Below is a picture of the “7-11” which is about 50 km away from camp.

Roger got his hair cut in a village about 80 kms from camp

Goats are donkeys are everywhere and are part of the bridal dowery.

As I'm sitting in the truck at the Saber camp accessing their wireless to update the blog, the Safety Officer came by to introduce himself. When I told him I was Roger's wife, he said he met Roger last week when he inspected the drill site and said it was the best one he had ever seen and was telling everyone about it. Way to go, Roger!

The skies are the most beautiful I've ever seen.....

Honestly though....there is probably a part of any given day when if a helicopter landed and said, “do you want to go home?” Roger and I have admitted we would both jump in. But then something good happens, or we see new sights, or meet people from a culture so different from ours, or especially at night when we’re in our tent after having dinner by the fire, that it all seems to be worth it.

Challenging? Absolutely. But I have a feeling I wouldn’t want to miss out on being here with Roger for anything in the world.

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