Homeless & happy

The 3 amigos…crocodile hunter, landmine clearer and semi-pro fisherman!

Living over here as an expatriate I meet many people who have no home.

I don’t mean homeless people, I mean expats who come from expat parents…born in Africa…left a country after independence or because a war started and have been on the move ever since.

It’s not like they flit from one place to the next as refugees, they live, work and settle…albeit temporarily…in which ever country they are in at that time but you ask where is home and they just chuckle and say ‘nowhere really’.

 Now I know some people think I’m flighty, some think I will never settle, some think I will never be happy in one place. Always on the move, an eternal gypsy! But one thing I am sure about when I am asked where is home I don’t hesitate for a second.

 Home is home…I just happen to be living away from there at the moment!

 This weekend was a friend’s 30th. I am at the preferred of my 2 locations in Moz – up at the lake – and so his birthday was to be spent having a camping / braai / chilled party at another friends lodge.

 I had had one heck of a week at work, colleagues who are just not pulling their weight, confusion and chaos deploying to the field, crashed cars, problems with kit…the list goes on.

 However on Saturday afternoon I met up with my pals to head off for this party. It seemed as if everyone had had as hassled a week as me. However we packed the coolboxes and launched the boat (we live on a lake so boats are the generally accepted number 1 choice of transportation!).  

With the cold beers open as we sped through the stunning gorge out into the open water we all agreed that no matter how much you think you are literally on the cusp of being broken by this ‘challenging’ country, after 5 mins on the beautiful expanse of the lake your entire attitude changes and life doesn’t seem quite so bad at all!

 Skipper ‘misshelen’

 

 

 

 

 

 

The view from the helm!

 

The evening spent was spent in good company, chewing the fat and with many celebratory toasts and speeches to the birthday boy. Waking up after a welcome long nights sleep to a truly stunning view of the lake, we cooked up a genuine South African breakfast (left over steak and potatoes, fried eggs etc) and headed off to visit the next door neighbours farm…a crocodile farm!

 

Hundreds and hundreds of handbags in the making Mum!

  

     

 Then it was back on the boats for everyone to head home.

As we jumped into the boats we noticed 2 baby crocs in the shallows. They must have just recently hatched and were basking in the sunshine. Our hosts were worried they had chosen their jetty as their home and would grow up to terrorise their many pet dogs so asked us to ‘relocate’ them on our journey back.  

We took them with us and finding a suitably nice looking rocky bay released our prehistoric looking friends into their new abode.

 

Caroline relocates the baby crocs!

       

  

After a worryingly dry rainy season, the rains have been coming slowly but surely and mini-waterfalls now spurt from many of the cracks and crevices of the gorge walls. Speeding past one we begged the skipper to stop and off we jumped to cool off for a while…taking our four-legged friend with us!

 

 

He’s only little so needed a bit of help climbing the waterfall

 

Later in the evening showered, changed and eating supper with Monday morning on the horizon, I sat there thinking how lucky I am that Sunday night blues really don’t exist in my world…we spend weekends just like this one having adventures before heading back to jobs we love…and I think I got some insight into why these eternal expats are happy to live the life that they do.

Cheap as chips

Everytime anyone (me included) drives out to a minefield you invariably get someone running behind the car frantically waving and shouting to catch your attention as you drive out of the compound gates.

 It’s inevitably for 1 reason only – so they can put in their ‘order’ (either that or you’ve got a flat tyre!)

Let me explain…

The majority of the fruit, veg, fish, meat and the like you buy at the markets here is farmed by the rural guys out in the countryside then walked, cycled or driven into town to be sold at the markets…at a premium price obviously to make it worth their while!

If however you happen to be out in the bush where these goodies are all grown you can, shall we say, cut out the middle man and get absolute delights for a bargain price (plus your shopping tends to be in significantly better shape having not spent several hours in the back of an overloaded pickup truck or being bounced around on a bicycle being brought into town

(I swear I have seen maybe 30 chickens hanging off bicycle handlebars squawking to high heaven and goats strapped to the back of bicycles bleating pathetically resigned to their sad fate).

Depending on which minefield you are going to will depend on your shopping list. So head out west to one of our minefields next to a dam and requests for fresh fish come in abundance. Head south east and its pineapples, south west and its mangoes and bananas. Head north and I guarantee you will get a request to buy a goat!

My request list this week;

2 freshly caught bream…£1

2 medium mangos…20 pence

10 bananas…15 pence

1 big pineapple…20 pence

5 oranges…10 pence

(just for the record a live goat will cost you about £15).

Stuck in the office last week I popped out to the supermarket and bought 1 apple…60 pence!! (the only fruit NOT cheap out here but sometimes you just REALLY REALLY want an apple)

Now am back out in the bush where life becomes…well…back to basics

 

This is how we pay salaries

 

 

This is how we commute to work

 

This ‘office’ is how I cope with staring at a laptop screen all day!!!