Birthday week started off with a visit from Roger’s brother, Colin, and Andrew MacEwan from Kansas who were here seeing how the project was going. They joined Randy, also from Kansas, and came to our new camp for a braii. I love having people over for dinner (THAT has not changed!) although menu selections are much more limited than at home.
For my 51st birthday, as promised, Roger gave me sun, sand, starry nights and a gin and tonic. He also picked me some wild flowers (another first!) and we invited Obert for dinner. I made the two guys sing Happy Birthday to me, which they did – but laughing like kids while they sang.
The best part of the day was when the three of us sat by the fire and watched one of the BBC documentaries “Planet Earth”. Seeing Obert so enthralled by the world outside his own limited borders is a special experience for us. He has never been to the ocean, so when whales, dolphins and every sea creature you can imagine were shown – it was wonderful seeing his face light up, and hear the comments he made.
Over the last 10 days, we’ve learned much about life in Zimbabwe, and why the outcome of the elections is so crucial. Although Obert’s family has TV, there is only one state run channel as satellite dishes are outlawed. Mugabe has turned a once successful country into one in the midst of a human and economic disaster. I download BBC news stories on the elections so Obert can keep up to date and we hope their is a peaceful resolution to getting the opposition party in power.
Since it is a long ride to the south camp for Obert to join the other crew members on their weekly Sunday trip to town, he comes with us while we go for groceries. Last week it was a 7-1/2 hr roundtrip to Mahalapye and even then, the only good grocery store did not have some of the basic food we wanted to buy. One of the Saber guys found another road near our north camp that led to a large town called Serowe. We went there yesterday and were thrilled when the road was much better (only 75 kms on sand/rock and the other 50 kms on a tar road) and we got there in 2 hours. Along the way to Serowe we saw several small villages and Serowe itself is lovely and had a large, clean grocery store so we were able to stock up.
The days are still warm, but the nights are getting downright chilly! We bought blankets for Obert and us when we were in Serowe and they are coming in handy. The leaves are even starting to turn yellow as we head into Fall.
Yesterday I told Roger that I am having fewer ‘helicopter days’ since moving to the north camp (after 2 weeks of conserving/hauling water, we finally got a water line to our camp!) and I’m feeling more settled. Of course, we’re still counting the days until Brad and Anette arrive – and will treasure each and every moment they are with us.
So birthday week was celebrated in a much different way than last year. But in the end, the memories of both make me break out into a huge smile.