Archive for the ‘africa’ Category

Bucket List transport to Kruger National Park
May 15, 2013

You are looking at your “Bucket List” of things to do before you die and one sentence in particular is highlighted in fluorescent yellow: “Travel to South Africa to take a safari in the Kruger National Park.”

Actually, your dreams are only a flight away to South Africa on a reliable airline to Johannesburg’s Oliver Tambo International Airport and if you are a wily traveller, booking a sturdy 4×4 vehicle in advance off the Internet will give you the advantage of getting great savings on cheap car hire, where you can find the perfect vehicle to safely get you to and around the Kruger Park.

Once through airport customs and immigration, a friendly Rental Agent will be there to meet and greet you, making your arrival to South Africa a welcome one.

After sleeping over in Johannesburg you will set off on the first stage of your safari to Kruger, world-famous for its abundantly diverse wildlife. The Park’s magnificent scenery and unique wilderness with the “Big Five”; Elephant, Buffalo, Lion, Leopard and Rhino and array of other animals, makes it one of the few remaining areas where one feels as if they are in the true Africa of old, away from the noise of smoggy cities and the endless hum of traffic. Instead there is the peace of the bush, the sound of the African fish-eagle’s lament echoing out across the Olifants River and the rat-tap-tap of the tok-tok beetle as it trundles through the fallen leaves of the mopane trees.

There are so many places where you can stay in the Kruger Park and surrounding areas, with a range of accommodation from low budget to luxury game lodges. These can be booked through the South African Department of Tourism at the same time that you book your cheap car hire.

It is said that the Kruger National Park was the prototype of wildlife sanctuaries in Africa, offering a wildlife experience that ranks as one of the best in the entire continent. Established in 1898 to protect the animals in the Lowveld of South Africa, the park comprises nearly two million hectares and is unrivalled in its vast diversity of flora and fauna, with an estimate of some 336 trees, 114 reptiles, 49 fish, 34 amphibians, 507 birds and 147 mammals.

It is also interesting to note that man has been part of the environment for centuries, from the bushman’s paintings that are still visible in rocky outcrops and caves to the fascinating archaeological sites of Masorini and Thulamela. Giving evidence of cultures before ours that lived and hunted in the vast tracts of land, and part of the proud conservation of the Kruger National Park.

Africa’s mysterious magic has always been its unique wildlife and the habitats in which they can be found. For you as the visitor, the African bush provides remarkably stirring experiences with only a few other African Game Parks as diverse as that of the Kruger National Park.

Reluctantly you will leave the Park on your homeward journey, dropping your 4×4 vehicle back at the airport where you will promise yourself a return to Africa where the old saying goes “the dust of Africa never leaves the soles of your feet.”

Susan Cook-Jahme©

Advertisements

Looking "Inward"
July 22, 2012

Sometimes a Gal just has to do what a Gal has to do!

When I need to get “my head around things”, put life into order and talk to my inner-self, I sweep.

Yes, I grab the broom and start on the farthest room, slowly making my way through the house to the front door.

I move furniture so I can gather all the dust-bunnies who are hiding from sight and manoeuvre them into a neat little pile. All the time making big sweeping statements with the broom, swish, tension and bad thoughts are released from my body.
Getting into a rhythm, my thoughts turn passive and I am able to negate the broom deftly like an abstract artist brandishing my brush onto a large, blank canvas.

Swish, the dust-bunnies are relegated to the dust-pan and I throw them into the bin. I am now calm.

In the routine of this domestic chore, I find I have re-connected with a fundamental simplicity.
Having done homage to people who have“passed-over” and smiled at the good things I remember about them, – my Father’s shy smile that reached his twinkling blue eyes.
Come to terms with the recent death of my favourite uncle who was one of the most eccentric and funny men I have ever had the privilege to know.
Smoothed over old conflicts and seen the reality of where things went wrong and how they were put right, or should be.
Thought of my three daughters with love and affection and turned them all into successful millionaires and bottled my grandson’s contagious laughter, giving it away to sad people to make them happy.
Remembered times when as a child, my brother, sister and I went on long, rambling walks with our Mother through the African bush, the smell of the tall yellow grass sweet after the first rain.
Our dogs rushing and sniffing out small animals and shadows in the late afternoon sunshine.

It doesn’t have to be a new broom to sweep clean, just a broom that helps me face another day.

“Resting where no shadows fall
In peaceful sleep he awaits us all
God will link the broken chain
When one by one we meet again.”

(Love you, Uncle Ian oxo)

If you enjoy my writing, purchase my books and EBooks:

Read my daily Blog:

Read my “big”Blog:

“Like” me:

Buy Wallabok Wear:

Little Palaro Girl, Uganda
July 14, 2012

When you capture children on film it is always such a blessing as they pose with inhibition.
This photo was taken with my little “point and shoot” Lumix camera in Palaro, the northern part of Uganda, close to the southern Sudan and Congo borders.
I think it is the only clothing she has.

If you enjoy my writing, purchase my books and EBooks:

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/susancookjahme

Read my daily Blog:

Read my “big” Blog:

“Like” me:

Buy Wallabok Wear:

From June into July in Uganda
July 10, 2012

I think Graham wanted to lull me into a zone where I was to be spoilt with hotel accommodation before settling me in to the place his recent employers had supplied for our immediate home in the North of Uganda, Palaro.

My first two nights were spent in the Protea Hotel, Kololo, Kampala.

After 35km hell ride from Entebbe Airport it was a relief to see that I was to be lodged in the luxury of a 4-star hotel. Entering one of the 11 suites, I welcomed the cool air from the air-conditioner and placed my suitcase down, taking my shoes off and enjoying the feel of the cool marble floor beneath my feet. Walking out to the balcony I found it overlooked one of the restaurants where a few people were seated below at tables enjoying midmorning tea and cakes. “Ever so British,” I thought to myself.

Graham had to go into the city, as he had to meet his boss in the Simba head offices and suggested I settle in and relax, promising to take me into Kampala to see some of the sights the following day.

I was tired from my trip from London, via Nairobi, so had a shower in the suite’s well-proportioned shower and then lay on the bed and fell into a deep sleep, only to awake when I heard the key turning in the door. Graham had returned from his meeting. We sat out on the balcony and ate lunch which we had ordered through room-service. Catching up on what had been happening since he had arrived in the country two months prior to my arrival. It sounded as if all the promises of his contract had not yet been forthcoming. Unperturbed, I listened quietly. This was not the first agricultural assignment he had undertaken in our lives when this had happened. Time eventually ironed things out and the situation either worked out, or we moved on, – Graham is highly experienced in his field and does not have difficulty in finding employment.

Push coming to shove, we always have our back-up option and that is our property at the foot of South Africa in Cape Agulhas that we have run as a bijou Bed and Breakfast operation, and can easily do so again at the drop of a hat.

However, the spirit of adventure is in both of us and we enjoy the challenge of a new project and place to live. The love of land entices us into making the quick decision to sign up, pack up and pick up on a new place, discovering the flora, fauna and people of the country we find ourselves living in.

Ugandans, I have discovered are extremely friendly and always happy to stop and while away the time asking you where you come from and why you are in their country. The majority speak fluent English and often favour communicating with each other in this language over their home tongue. As the country has had massive amounts of Western Aid poured into it, it hosts huge numbers of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) and even in Gulu, Uganda’s second largest town, one finds established ex-patriot hang-outs in the city-centres.

Early the next day we were collected by a company driver and ferried to the Simba office where I met Graham’s immediate boss, a diminutive young Irish American lady who looked as if she was younger than our daughters, but she obviously had earned her place in the company as I realised she was well informed and capable. After being politely dismissed from her office, I retreated to the grounds surrounding the offices, leaving Graham there to talk business.

I walked around the grounds and enjoyed looking at the tropical palms and plants in the gardens. The peace did not last long, a man staggered through the security gates with a bleeding head, making his way into the offices. Curious, I took a seat in the shade of a large gazebo, waiting for Graham to tell me about the injured man. It did not take long, as he soon joined me. Apparently the man had been sent into Kampala on the back of a boda-taxi to collect cash which was to be given to Graham to pay the driver of the pick-up that had been hired for our use. Unfortunately thieves had been alerted about this from an “inside informer” from the office and attacked him on the moving boda-boda. In order to escape he jumped off, landing on his head and hurting himself whilst hanging onto the money.

“Odd,” I remarked to Graham, “Why on earth send a target like that on the back of a motor-bike, surely he should be in a closed company vehicle for such a job?”
Graham nodded, “I agree, but now we still have to wait for money to pay for the pick-up rental.”

I was once again left on my own whilst Graham went to see what could be done, so ambled over to where the driver had parked the beat up old vehicle that was our mode of transport. He had his wife with him in the four-door cab and invited me to meet her, suggesting I sit in the comfort of the vehicle. Next thing I found he had locked the doors. As there were kiddie-locks on the back doors, I could not get out, short of clambering out the window, which I was not going to do, – well not immediately anyway!

With a jovial laugh, he happily told me that he and his wife were holding me hostage until they had their payment. By this time, I had a slight sense of humour failure and did not join in with what I hoped was their joke. My day out looking around Kampala did not appear that it was going to take place and had gone somewhat awry.

In the end Graham arrived and paid the driver in full, he was happy, we were happy and all I wanted to do was return to my nice, clean, cool hotel room and put my feet up. When I suggested this, my husband looked very relieved, “Good idea Babe,” I thought so too and waited until we were well rested. Over a glass of wine at dinner, I mentioned how I had been kidnapped by a friendly Ugandan and his wife earlier on in the day. We both laughed at my first day in Uganda and initiation of Kampala.

With a bit of luck, I shall be able to visit the craft markets and places of interest during my next trip to the capital city.

If you enjoy my writing, purchase my books and EBooks:

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/susancookjahme

Read my daily Blog:

Read my “big” Blog:

“Like” me:

Buy Wallabok Wear:

From London to Gulu, Uganda
July 3, 2012

I am heading into being resident in Gulu, Uganda for four weeks and feel like I have signed on to some sort of reality show where the bush survival guru Ray Mears suddenly arrives on my doorstep to tell me that I have qualified as a fully-fledged Girl Scout and to add to that, the winner of the £ Million and a relaxing trip to a fancy spa for a well-earned massage and foot rub!

Boarding Kenya Airways from London Heathrow on 6th June, I flew via Nairobi, Kenya, transferring flights to get to Entebbe. The plane descended and flew low over Lake Victoria which brought thoughts of British Imperial Airways, and the days of the grand voyagers, (the S23-Empire Class Airplanes, giant Sunderland’s) carrying the post and passengers from the United Kingdom to South Africa.

Flying Boats that my grandfather had told me flew on a main route from Southampton in England on to Augusta Italy, stopping and progressing on to Cairo Egypt, then Khartoum, Port Bell Uganda, Victoria falls Rhodesia and then Vaal Dam in South Africa.

Grandpa also told me about other routes via Africa’s Great Rift Valley where the majestic old converted WW2 planes landed on the waters of the Nile, progressing to the massive lakes; Victoria Uganda, Naivasha Kenya, Tanganyika Tanzania, Nyasa Nyasaland, Victoria Falls Rhodesia and on to the Harbour in Durban, where my grandfather was employed as  Imperial’s Port Harbour Master.

As I descended the stairs from my ‘plane to the apron at Entebbe, more memories of the “Entebbe Raid” that took place 4th July, 1976, – a counter terrorist raid carried out by the Israeli commandos came rushing in to my head, here I was standing where an Air France plane with 246 passengers was hijacked by members of the Popular Front for Liberation of Palestine and the German Revolutionary Cells and flown to Entebbe.

Clearing customs and immigration took a long time, as twenty Iranian businessmen were in the queue before me and they were obviously important, so had to be hustled through whilst the rest of the passengers waited their turn.

Graham was there to meet me and it was so good to see him after being apart for four months. He had a chauffeur with him, which surprised me as he is a good driver. I sat in the back seat and off we went along the road to Kampala, Uganda’s capital where we were to spend three days in the Protea Hotel before heading to the north and the Gulu Provence.

Oh my word, I have driven in many African countries before, but never experienced such scary driving! There are simply no road rules, everyone to their own! I shut my eyes and opened them and caught Graham looking at me from the front passenger seat with amusement, “You OK Babe?” He asked, “Now you see why I have a Ugandan to drive me in Kampala!”

“That’s for bloody sure!” I retorted, shutting my eyes again whilst I reminisced:
Many years ago, as a teenager living in Malawi, I found myself listening with morbid interest to the tales told to my parents by people who had previously worked in the British Foreign Office in Uganda. These were ex-patriots who had fled the wrath of Idi Amin and the atrocities committed against foreigners living and working in that country. My mother would look my way and see that I was avidly taking in the horror stories of abuse, rape and even murder and slip into murmuring whispers so that I could no longer hear.

I remember a portrait artist telling a florid story about how in the early days of Idi Amin’s rule, she was summoned into his state office and commissioned to do his portrait. At first she said, she thought of him as this delightful “teddy-bear” of a man. But as the weeks went by and time progressed, she saw that he was unpredictable and cruel. She and her husband, (who was a high court judge) had to escape the country or risk death. How they ended up living and working in Malawi did not interest me, but I did wonder if she ever completed the portrait before the teddy-bear turned into a grizzly-bear!

From all the stories I stored in the back-burners of my memory, Uganda always seemed to be a place of tropical jungle, gorillas, heavy thunder-storms, the vast Rift Valley Lake Victoria, unpredictable tribes and the Entebbe Raid. It has always been a place I thought of as “far away and inaccessible “, and likely one of the last places I would ever visit.

Yet, here I am in Gulu, Northern Uganda, about two hundred miles north of the capital, Kampala. In the old days as a British Protectorate, there was a metre gauge railway between the nearby villages of Tororo and Pakwach, but sadly it no longer operates and the only way to get here is by road or by air into the local airport.

There are two main tribes in the area, the Acholi, (who make up about eighty percent of the population) and the Luo. Since the rule of Idi Amin, through to Yoweri Museveni’s National Resistance Army, these tribes have been targeted and attacked.

Later entered Alice Lakwena, heading yet another rebel group, which became the notorious Lord’s Resistance Army, – who, along with the government’s army, Uganda’s People’s Defence Force, carried out brutal genocide against these poor people. In the late 1990’s, government forced them into “Internally Displaced Person” camps. Thinly veiled, they were nothing other than concentration camps, where it was reported held in the region of two million people.

International campaigns known as “Stop the Genocide in Northern Uganda,” became prominent and in 2007 these camps were shut down and the survivors released. International pressure on the Ugandan government induced closure of these awful places, and there has been relative peace between the government and the rebel leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, Joseph Kony.

The other day I spoke to a man who had been working with the International Red Cross at that time. He told me how approximately 15,000 orphan children, known as “Night Commuters” fled into Gulu’s town vicinities for safety under the cover of darkness every night, fearing abduction and conscription as child soldiers.

Since the peace talks between the government and the rebel LRA, the violence has greatly reduced and seen to economic revitalisation in the district of Gulu. There is a university, district administration centre, a stadium, three hospitals, a management institute, teachers training and agriculture colleges, the airport is second largest in the country, (after Entebbe) thirteen banks, several radio stations, three main hotels, an army base, churches, eating and coffee houses, Rotary Round Table and many, many Voluntary Overseas Organisations from around the world. In fact, I believe at one time there were more than 180 Aid Donor Organisations, some of which had operations closed by government, due to the fact that the young volunteers sent to work here were having too good a time relaxing near the hotel swimming pools, soaking up the Ugandan sunshine and not doing much in the field!

Regardless, there are always foreigners to be seen in the Internet cafés, shopping in Gulu’s markets and driving along in vehicles with various logos emblazoned on the doors advertising a vast variety of Aid Donor organisations. The most interesting of these, in my opinion, is “Invisible Children.” A film has been made on what they are doing to help the crisis in Uganda and it can be watched on the Internet.

After living in the OLAM compound in Morrembala, Mozambique, I find this new place (where Graham is contracted by Patrick Bitature, Simba Group to develop 3000 hectares of virgin land in an area called Palaro into farmland for maize production) more agreeable. At least here I can safely go for a walk, the locals friendly and the village a hive of activity, colour and interest.

It is a far cry from London, but it appears to me that the people here are the same as anywhere, – all working, running errands, shopping and doing what they can to improve their lives.

If you enjoy my writing, purchase my books and EBooks:

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/susancookjahme

Read my daily Blog:
http://www.susans-light-box.blogspot.com/
Read my “big” Blog:
http://www.barefootwhiteafrican.blogspot.com/

“Like” me:
http://www.facebook.com/HappyScribbler

Follow me on Twitter

Buy Wallabok Wear:

http://cafepress.co.uk/WallabokCompanyLtd

Goodbye Morrumbala, Goodbye Jack
February 21, 2012

Me ‘n Jack

My last morning walk with Jack started around the usual time, 6 am.
He was waiting for me outside the kitchen door and gave me his usual talkative “Hello!”
I felt sad as I could not tell him that this would be the last time we would be taking our tour around the OLAM cotton complex here in Morrumbala.

Tomorrow, Graham and I shall be leaving early for Quelimane, where I shall say goodbye to him at the airport.
My first leg of the trip back to South Africa, via the Mozambique capital, Maputo.

At least this time I can understand most Portuguese and am able to make myself understood. Coming here three months ago was different, I had no idea what anyone was saying to me!

Getting back to Jack, he has been my friend, I shall be sorry to not have him around as he’s a great conversationalist. But at least he will be here to keep Graham company.

Next posting shall be from England. What a contrast it shall be, – from the extreme heat of Central Africa to the icy cold of Europe!

Thanks everyone, for sharing my early morning walks here in Mozambique, it’s been great to know you have been tagging along with me in cyber-space.

Don’t Pay the Ferry Man…
February 20, 2012

For the best part of the last six weeks Internet here in Morrumbala has been intermittent.
I have realized just how frustrating it is without this luxury when living in the back of beyond in a third world country.
Without Internet, there is no knowledge of what is happening in the lives of beloved family and friends. One cannot catch up and read current affairs, world events and news. There is no ability to carry out scheduled work loads, uploads, downloads or phone conferences via applications such as Skype, Google or other IM’s.
Checking on bank balances, making transfers, booking tickets for bus, rail or air does not happen.
Without modern technology, upon which we are fully dependent, we have allowed ourselves to become totally castrated when it fails.
There is no longer a post office in most villages.
Even if there was, they are not able to function without Internet.
No more is there the luxury of purchasing a stamp, licking it and placing it on the top right hand corner, (as straight as you can) of an envelope that has your hand written letter specially scribed and securely sealed inside, the address of the intended destination written in the middle with at least a one inch surrounding border.
On the back of the envelope, your return address, in case of no delivery.
Or if you needed a message to get somewhere in a hurry, the logical thing to do was to send a telegram.
It had to be carefully written as you had to pay for each word:
“Arriving Wednesday Stop Please meet me airport Stop 18.30 Stop Susan”
A specially trained telegraph operator would decipher your words into code and send it off with a series of dots and dashes.
Miraculously your message would arrive at its destination within 24 to 48 hours!
Two cyclones have been whizzing around the Mozambique Channel.
Buffeting the Island of Madagascar and the coastal towns of Mozambique. Bringing with it torrential rain storms that have besieged Morrumbala on and off since early December last year.
This interferes with cell phone connections and often we have been without the ability to make calls or send text messages.
Again, isolating us from the outside world.
There are not many land lines here in Mozambique. The twenty year civil war put paid to any developments like that. So the country relies on cell phone companies to put in place huge masts along the main roads that link major towns and cities. But, they are not immune to extreme weather or vandalism.
It is so exciting when you hear the “beep” of your mobile coming to life again when connections recommence.
When that happens, you immediately send off quick text messages to people as soon as possible in case everything shuts down again, letting them know you are thinking of them and still alive!
I could go on about the lack of electricity and television, but then I’d never get this Blog out to you.
(I have to transfer it to a memory stick and take it down to Graham’s office where they are lucky enough to have a weak Internet link. The inclination to do this is not huge, as it’s raining cats and dogs today.)
A few weeks ago Graham and I took the two hour trip to the ShireRiver as he had to talk to the ferry man about his ferry which was stuck in huge banks of floating reeds and was not working. OLAM needed to get a truck load of supplies to one of the farmers on the other side of the river and the truck had been stuck for a couple of days on the river bank.
When we got there, we realized that the ferry man was not going to do anything about clearing the reeds unless he was bribed into doing so.
I watched Graham approach the operator and then settle down on a bench outside a hut under the shade of a large old mango tree.
It looked as if he would be there a long time negotiating and cajoling, so I threw the strap of my camera over my shoulder and went in search of photo opportunities.
Soon a group of children swarmed around me and followed me, stopping every time I stopped and keeping a respectful distance as I snapped away.
After a while I tired of taking pictures of people being shipped across the river in huge dug-out canoes with their goods that ranged from chickens, luggage bundles, bicycles and even motor-bikes.
Focusing on a child wearing flip-flops many sizes too big, I felt a tug on my skirt.
Looking down I saw a smiling little girl who had been encouraged to approach me by her friends. They signalled me to follow them, which I did. They stopped on the river-bank and pointed towards a group of happy youngsters splashing in the water, their swimming companion an albino hippo.
“Delightful” I thought.
They all shouted her name, but to this day, I am not sure what it was.
Secretly I wondered if they were teasing me and saying that I had the same colour skin as their animal friend.
Hopefully that was all, and not saying I was the same size as the creature.
The elders from the village decided to join us and much to my amazement, some of the men shared their beers with her.
Goodness, a friendly white hippo that was a beer guzzler!
I am not sure if it was from drinking beer in the full sun, but she eventually tired of swimming and beached herself on the bank, dropping into a deep sleep.
Graham had come to the end of his indaba (meeting) under the mango tree.
I made my way back to the pick-up truck feeling like the Pied Piper of Hamlin with all the village children in tow.
Stopping on my way, I decided to show my group of followers video footage I had taken of them with my camera.
They were soon intrigued and fighting over prime viewing positions, laughing and pointing at themselves on the screen.
It dawned on me that they had never seen television, let alone play-back images of themselves.
Who am I to complain about lack of modern technology like Internet, cell/mobile phones and the like?
My three months stay ends on Wednesday morning at 4.30 am when we have to make the drive from Morrumbala to Quelimane. I dread the first two hours of back breaking bush track to the main road to Quelimane which is a further 3-4 hours, (all depending on what happens on the road with it’s bicycles, people, goats, long haul trucks and other vehicles.)
Although my first leg of air travel to Maputo only starts at 14.30, I have been warned to get to the airport by midday. Even although I am booked on the flight, it is a case of first come, first served on LAM – the Mozambique Airline.
I shall be biting my nails that we take off in time as I only have an hour in Maputo to check in to my International flight to Johannesburg and I now have the knowledge and experience of how long the customs and immigration can be in Mozambique.
So fingers crossed for me everyone!
Once in Johannesburg I look forward to spending a couple of nights with my cousin before leaving Africa for England on Friday evening.
Saturday will see me rejoining my daughters, son-in-law and grandson for a week before I start work again for a few months.
I am so excited to see them and already wondering if my grandson will remember me after a five month break.
The sad part is I leave Graham to return to work at OLAM in Morrumbala on his own.
I often found the place lonely and remote, even with his company after work. How will he feel when I am gone with no one to come home to in the evenings?
A few years ago when Graham and I were working on cruise liners together as art auctioneers, I mentioned to him that I felt so sorry for couples who had to live apart for months on end like many of the crew had to.
Little did I know that the world recession would affect tourism to South Africa and thus leave our little bed and breakfast empty more often than not.
Africa is a place of contrasts, and with the way things have been in South Africa, we have been forced to take jobs where we can find them.
The distance between Mozambique and England will not be so huge, just so long as the Internet works!
If you enjoy my writing, purchase my books and EBooks:
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/susancookjahme
Read my daily Blog:
http://www.susans-light-box.blogspot.com/
Read my “big” Blog:
http://www.barefootwhiteafrican.blogspot.com/
Like” me:
http://www.facebook.com/HappyScribbler
http://www.twitter.com/HappyScribbler
Buy Wallabok Wear:
http://cafepress.co.uk/WallabokCompanyLtd

Mud Abstract
February 13, 2012

When the sun comes out after torrential tropical downpours here in Morrumbala, Mozambique, the earth cracks into dry geometrical shapes.
Here is a digital abstract I created from one of my photo’s:




If you enjoy my writing purchase my books and EBooks:
Read my daily Blog:
Read my “big” Blog:
“Like” me:
Buy Artwork & Photos:
Buy Wallabok Wear:

Chicken in Paradise
February 7, 2012

Last Sunday we decided to go to the local restaurant here in Morrumbala called “Paradisio Resturante”.
The proprietor is a rather paunchy Old Portuguese fellow, married to a local lady who does all the work whilst he looks on and shouts instructions every now and again.
Usually he can be found slouched in his chair at the entrance to the restaurant’s pub, with one of his pet poodles lurking between his ankles.
As you pass by, the poodle makes a rush at you, growling and gnashing his pointy little teeth until his master swats at his backside, shouting “comportar-se voce merda, se comportam!” (“behave you little shyte, behave!”)
Tail between his legs, he slinks back under his boss’ chair and waits for his next victim. 
It is not the cleanest of places and definitely not the best I have ever been to. They serve char-grilled peri-peri chicken and chips and the beer s are ice cold. So, if you ignore the state of the kitchen and make darn sure you do not use their bathroom, eating there can be a reasonably good experience.
Also, if you close your eyes to the t-shirts that the waiters are wearing, and do not allow your imagination to run riot as to whether they really do have AIDS, as broadcast in the slogan stamped in large letters on the front, you can get on with the business of ordering your meal.
It is also a pleasant change to being confined within the OLAM cotton complex compound and Graham was concerned that I was going a little stir-crazy after three weeks lack of Internet and unable to communicate with people on the “out-side world”!
We got there and said hello to the landlord, avoided his poodle and made our way to our usual table in the corner.
Then the noise started.
A high pitched yowl permeated the four corners of the place.

“Wow Babe,” I said to Graham, whilst looking in the direction of the kitchen, “someone must have ordered goat for lunch.”
I visualised a goat being slaughtered outside the kitchen door.
“Nope,” Graham pointed at three men sitting around a table some distance away, “there’s your goat.”
It did not take long for us to realize that one of the men was a very drunk deaf mute.
He was interesting to watch as he acted out what he wanted to do with one of his companions. It was not very friendly. He mimed that he’d slit his throat, stab him in the chest and then every now and then forgot about that and indicated that he was hungry and wanted to eat.
Or perhaps I was being naïve and he wanted to eat his friend after cutting his throat.
Our chicken had arrived and we tucked in, trying to ignore the blood curdling yelps from across the room.
Above us was a pergola with a tangle of creepers covering it,  I looked up, there looking back at me was a large black rat, his beady eyes darting backwards and forwards, looking at our food.
Then the poodle arrived at our table and sidled up to my chair.
“Shoo!” I shouted at him when I saw what he was about to do. He hopped off on three legs, the fourth leg waiving half-cocked in the air.
The cacophony of yelps continued from the drunken man.
“Sounds like a yeti. Well what I think a yeti should sound like,” I mumbled as I tucked into my peri-peri chicken.
“Time to get out of here,” Graham growled, standing up and pushing out his chair.
We returned to our house in the OLAM complex.
The three shebeens (moon-shine bars) in the shanty town were competing with one another for customers and blasting out their loud local music.
“Even they are quieter than that noisy guy in Paradisio,” I remarked.
“Yes,” agreed Graham, “but at least here we can close the doors, shut the windows and turn on the air-conditioner to drown out the noise!”
I am not sure that we will return to Paradise in a hurry.
If you enjoy my writing, purchase my books and EBooks:
Read my daily Blog:
Read my “big” Blog:
“Like” me:
Buy Wallabok Wear:

Tropical Storms in Mozambique
February 6, 2012

For the past three weeks there has been no Internet due to tropical storms in the region.
As there are no land-line telecoms here, everyone relies on cell/mobile phones.
Again, with the adverse weather, they do not work well all the time.
To top all of this, power cuts are frequent and we often find ourselves sitting in the dark.
On the positive side of this state of affairs, the incessant music that plays without respite from the shanty-town that pushes itself up against the OLAM cotton complex’s security fencing stops with lack of electricity feeding the huge speakers and there is a welcome silence for a while.
However, living in such a remote part of Mozambique Internet is paramount to keeping sane. The lack of it for a writer such as me brings on withdrawal symptoms similar to when I try to cut down on my coffee intake!
 No complaints though, the three weeks gave me time to update my work resume’s, rewrite articles I had been procrastinating about sorting out, and time to catalogue photographs that had been backed up on my external hard-drive for months.
Further to this, my knowledge of garden landscaping and design had been offered by Graham to the OLAM senior management prior to my arrival in Morrembala. This has kept me busy during the days when Graham is at work.
His immediate boss had mentioned to Graham that the cotton complex needed what he called “beautifying” and when my husband heard that, he said I was the person to fit the job description. When I asked Graham if this would be a paid job, and if OLAM would supply a budget for me to get a plant nursery going, to purchase plants and so forth, all I got was a huge belly laugh from him, “Babe,” he said, shaking his head, “I have been fighting with them to honour my salary payments for the past three months, which have not been forthcoming. I doubt you would get paid or any financial support. If you take the job on, you will have to improvise.”
Astounded at the news that Graham was fighting to get paid monthly by what is one of the world’s largest commodity broker companies, I was more interested in why he was prepared to continue working for them. From what I was told then made me shake my head in astonishment.
Apparently the last email sent  by Graham to his immediate boss asking for what is legally his had a return response to the effect that OLAM Mozambique were trying to make a plan to pay him, but they could not make any promises.
“Goodness Babe” I exploded, “Why on earth are we still here? It’s not as if this is the best place in the world to live with amazing attractions,” with that, the high shrieking of a pig that was having his throat slit in the village that surrounds the OLAM complex covered an un-lady like expletive I had made after my question.
That was just before the Christmas holiday, the particular boss who promised to “sort something” eventually organised to pay Graham what he was owed, but only after he had handed in his resignation.
When the boss phoned Graham and asked him to withdraw his resignation, he refused as there has been no solution made as to where the money from January 2012 and onwards was going to come from. Considering OLAM is a huge International company with their main offices bases in Singapore, I find all of this amazing. Only in an African country does this sort of abuse of work ethic seem to take place.
The end of this month is coming up and I am sitting on the side-lines watching the whole issue play out with interest.
My flight out of Mozambique to Johannesburg is in seventeen days, where I look forward to spending a couple of days with my Uncle and cousins before flying to UK to work for a couple of months.
Fingers crossed something really positive happens for Graham before then… 
If you enjoy my writing, purchase my books and EBooks:

Read my daily Blog:
Read my “big” Blog:
“Like” me:
Buy Wallabok Wear:
%d bloggers like this: