Sabati - Cintsa

Trip Start Jul 19, 2009
Trip End Oct 25, 2010

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Where I stayed
sabati lodgevolunteers house

Flag of South Africa  , Eastern Cape,
Thursday, February 2, 2012

 Well, looks like I finally made it. I'm at South Africa, 35 kilometers from Chintsa, the little beach village I told you about last time I was here. It's land inwards, the Komgha area, near the Sabati river. Very remote and secluded, a conglomeration of 5 buildings, one a communal house and the others sleeping quarters. 
The journey here went smooth enough but it was still very tiring. I was met at East London airport by the driver of the Volunteer Africa 32 degrees South organization. As he had to wait an hour and a half for the next group to arrive we had enough time to drive into town and get my sim cards etc sorted out. Everything is supposed to work fine now but I haven't been able to find that out because of poor reception
 The trouble I went through to get everything just so, half my luggage has to do with writing and communicating, and then this. I stupidly assumed I was now equipped be hooked up to Internet anywhere at all. Never mind, due to the forecast of heavy rains and storms the program has been changed and instead of going wood chopping 300 km from here and camping out there it looks like we are heading back to Chintsa tomorrow for a couple of days.
  Well at least there will be Internet access.
The wood chopping, we'll get to that later, is one of the projects we'll be working on. Alien plant removal it is called, being the non-indigenous plants that have started to take over. Physically demanding the leaflet says. Well, all will be revealed - I reckon I am quite a tough old thing, though Dennis, the project co-coordinator, has already started to make jokes about Amsterdam hair salons and my red walking shoes. 
 I can't remember the last time I saw a hairdresser and as for those shoes, they proved to be a blessing. An afterthought really, just before leaving I realised I'd need something decent for hiking. After trudging around at least 10  different sports shoe shops without success I accidentally walked into a trendy place and somewhere hidden on the bottom shelf of stuff on sale I found the perfect shoes. However, they only came in bright red - beautiful, soft, leather-lined, and with elastic laces, so no fiddling around with those. Great. Cost a bit more than I meant to spend, even with 70% off, but like I said,  just right. 
 This morning I had a chance to try them out, we went for a 2 hour walk - did I tell you it is hot here? - with Luc, Dennis's trainee and an absolute sweetheart, looks 15 but all of 19. There are only 4 of us on the project, Kasia, a young Polish woman, we share a room and she is a happy easy-going, pretty girl. She lived in Amsterdam for some time, and now in London, so we have something in common. Then there's 2 good looking Brazilian guys, students, in there twenties I guess. Looks like I'm in nice company.
So this morning we walked down to the Gonubie river bank, near Humans Drift bridge, though we didn't actually see either. It was wonderful to walk in the hills, look at the flowers, the trees and the skies and feel jubilant for being in Africa again. We were warned of spiders and ticks, so we kept swotting the webs, though one swept back and a nasty looking spider hit me right on the eye. The ticks seemed to have a preference for me, my trouser legs were covered with whole colonies of them. But no animals, though we were promised there would be lots.  We saw animals yesterday evening though when we went on a night patrol at Mpongo private game reserve, that's 30 km from here, and a rough ride in the 'bakkie', the land-rover being en panne. On the way back we had a flat tire that thankfully Duran, the boy from Brazil, managed to change it in the dark. I was ready to collapse after the journey and climate change and all.
It's hours later now, and dark again. Thanks to the generator I can write this, there is of course no regular electricity here, nor running water for that matter, but it is a wonderful place to be.
The rain has come, by the way, and thunder and lightning and I can imagine Dennis doesn't want us in tents tomorrow.
It's the day after tomorrow today and we have been through a lot of if's and but's because of the weather. Yesterday we visited a school at a place called Mpongo and had such a good time with the kids. We played charades but Luc, who speaks Xhosa, told me they were cheating, well, I'm sure they were, they were fighting over the sweets brought along as prizes, but of course, how were we to know not understanding a word they said? Afterwards we played clappy-singy-dancy games and they were in stitches because we got everything wrong. I got a bit teary remembering the Amanzimtotti orphans and hope I will manage to visit them later on.
In the afternoon it was hole-digging to plant the poles for a fence for 2 little something boks, found without mothers and being sheltered here till they can survive by themselves. They are bottle fed and in the mornings they peer into our bedroom making funny noises, looking all innocent but demanding their bottles. Anyway, I saw the strong lads hacking away at the hard ground and getting nowhere and decided it was not for me. Even I have my limits. So I sat on the porch, sipping my cider, reading my book and tossing them the occasional encouragement. It rained heavily in the night and this morning just one of the 2 erected still stood.
  It was decided we had to leave, couldn't put it off any longer or we would be isolated there because the roads were turning into mud pools.
It took us the best of 3 hours to drive the 35 km to Cintsa, that's counting another flat tire. Standing in the pouring rain, soaked to the bone I remembered my cheap throw-away plastic raincoat, it was so flimsy it looked as if I was clad in a giant blue condom but it was well worth the 50 cents.
We had a little talk at the volunteers office amounting to the fact there was nothing for us to do but stay at the volunteers house and pray for better weather. We ended up in the pub, of course, getting rather sloshed. The others decided they might as well continue through the night, but I am being good, sitting here typing and eying up my bed, even though it's just past 8 pm.  There's a small chance of visiting another school tomorrow and that would mean an early start.

Well, that's it for now, a bit boring I suppose, all the names and distances that don't mean a thing to most of you. Just so you know I have arrived safely and looking forward to 2 months of South Africa, the Wild Coast, I think - you never know what comes your way, do you?

ps. If anybody gets this then that means it works:) 
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potifar on

geeft niks hoor, het is hier ook a bit boring!

Rui on

Read your blog is like be in Africa,!
I can create perfect images of what are you seeing!
Please take care of you and also take care of all the kids!
They stay so happy with small things.....

jockmcconn on

Welcome back to SA, K-A. Looking forward to reading about your adventures. I wonder if you'll run into the one-legged taxi driver again?! Please pay us a visit in Grahamstown.

Elie on

Hello Kate
I wish you a good time .
greetings from cold Europe

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