Our work takes us all over Zimbabwe, and occasionally to neighboring countries. Most of the time, the place has no water, often for miles. We are fully equipped with camping gear….and luckily most of the places are fairly remote.
In late 2009 we did a contract in the Gokwe area, siting about 20 boreholes due to the cholera outbreak.
Rushing to make it from Shingayi business centre to the main hospital at Nembudziya, we came across some baobabs. We had no time to stop and gaze in wonder or take photos. I should have because the light was just right, low and sloping and tinged with red. So when we got a call from a client repairing a dam in the area, I jumped at the chance to return and see the baobabs again. I couldnt remember what it was that made them remarkable…but I knew I wanted to get back to see them again.
When we arrived at the site in Gokwe, not much had been done by way of setting up camp. Only two tractors and a handful of workers stood under a big tree…( we passed their lorry with Nissan huts etc way back down the road.)
We went out for a drive, to glean any information of other boreholes in the area; depths, water yield, age. I photographed these baobabs:
It is a short distance across the dam site and to where the construction workers and our guys had pitched their tents.
Above is the dam site and the little white dots you can see in the background are the tents and construction equipment.
Will wanted to set up our tent close by.
“No.” I said. “ I want to go over there…” I pointed to a cute little place in a grove of Mopane trees a distance away.
I get the “What the hell?” look men are so good at. Or maybe its a “for goodness sakes” look, because it came along with that resigned expressions men are taught at their bachelor parties.
Annoyed I add, “Well some privacy would be good…”
“I would like to fart in peace…”
So we set up our little two man tent where I wanted – it looks like one of those SANParks camps doesn’t it with the swept out areas? Actually it was like that – we just backed the car into the gap in the middle of the seclusion and erected our little tent. We blew up the mattress and snuggled down to sleep in the pristine Gokwe silence. (We didn’t take the roof top tent because the car uses SO much diesel.)
It had been a long drive – we left Byo early in order to be able to fit in a conference with the client in Gweru so I’d had to stock up with liquids when we arrived and of course, needed to visit the bushes…
Well, when the inevitable happened, the reverberations could be felt at the business centre four kilometres away…according to my dearly beloved…
He ducks and hides, thinking he is back in the Rhodesian war….he says.
“No more photo opportunities with Mopane leaves…You’ve blown them all off!!”
Very funny. On and on he went as if this were a memorable occasion!
Here we have a boring consultant in uncontrollable giggles over a tiny byproduct of digestion.
I’m very pleased, after thirty years of marriage, to still be able to entertain my own husband so royally.
What I hate about men, is the self satisfied, smug expression they have after producing a vuvuzela-like fart. They punch each other on the shoulder with a “good one chum…” or wave their hands in front of their noses – really pleased the stinkier it is.
Sometimes I wonder why we take our mattress pump with us on trips sometimes, and yet one tiny little peep from me is blown out of all proportion.
We went to find the strange baobabs – about twenty five kilometers out of our way. And the reason they are remarkable? They are black!
Armed with my pics, I’ve since investigated this and apparently its a fungus infection that some baobabs get when they are stressed. First noticed in the Beit Bridge area in the early 1980’s I spoke to a lady who has been studying them since then.
This one is right next to several healthy ones.