Published: March 29th 2012March 29th 2012
OK the internet is having issues and i have spent all day trying to add photos to this blog but no luck, I will try and put them up in the nxt few days.
Having left the farm early this morning I am now back at ‘Hogwarts’, the Harare house. Though I have heard that a lot of people don’t like the house (which used to be a school) I think it’s brilliant. It’s very higgledy piggledy with rooms and floors all over the place and a lovely garden with a swimming pool. Possibly the most prominent feature of the house is Napoleon the massive dog, he has a colossal head but it is completely empty, not an intelligent animal but he’s brilliant. Along with Napoleon is Gilly the other dog and the complete antithesis of Napoleon. She is tiny and loves nothing more than a swim, if you try and swim she will jump on you with her sharp little claws and if you push her away she will immediately paddle back her huge eyes staring at you. So, with Clive and Heather both off at work I think now is a good time to write about the time I have spent in Harare.
At the weekends I have been going down to Harare to see the family there and sample the city life. I have spent a lot of time whilst here with Graham and Pauline, in fact they were the ones who picked me up from the airport and we had pizzas in the garden of Hogwarts before swimming with Gilly the crazy little dog. They have been so kind to me and Oscar and the weekend before Oscar took off to Thailand they took us to a bird sanctuary. It was a lovely day trip and along with the birds and various wildlife, there were several old women fishing in the lake, three rods each, two between their toes and one in their hands. We had a lovely lunch, though it was on Africa time so took about an hour and we were the only people there! Also on the way back we had a pretty major near death experience, but I won’t go into that now.
In town with Carly we have done plenty of fun trips such as a day at the local flee market. Like all flea markets it was a mad, hot and brilliant place which was full of the usual tat (rip off DVD’s, fake clothing etc.) but it also had lots of lovely traditional African art, sculptures and the famous recycled street art which were fantastic for presents. I also spent a day with Carly at his work (Sunshine). It is a charity which helps kids/young adults with special needs earn some money after leaving school and help support themselves. At Sunshine they make a variety of things from dog biscuits to the recycled street art to sell at organized events or in shops. At the start of the day I was looking round some of the things they had made and the work was really good, in particular I liked some candle holders they had made from dried grass/vine and the bottom of a coke can (I have added a photo of them) which I couldn’t help thinking would sell for £15 in Habitat or John Lewis. Anyway, while I was there I was helping make a bin made of metal strips and stars cut out of plastic bottles all held together by wire. I always imagined making this recycled art would be difficult but it is really, really difficult. I have to commend these guys and girls who do it for a living as it is a huge amount of work for not much return. I have had such a good time with Carly generally, he is just such a kind guy. The number of times he has come up to me in the past month, put his hand on my shoulder and said “you know, you are my best cousin Oscar” and he has the most amazing laugh when he is properly belly laughing, like no sound I have ever heard!
We have also spent a fair few nights out in Harare town. In Africa drinking seems to start early and then power through reaching a peak before you head to bed! Our first night was at Blue @ 2, a local bar we went to with Clive. It was here that I was introduced to the vodka-cider which is exactly how it sounds, a tot of vodka mixed with a bottle of cider. Needless to say after a couple of these and with a live band playing it was a great night dancing with the band! We also had a night out with Clive at the French Embassy where there was a comedy gig. Again, a very fun evening the Zim comedian whose name escapes me was a good laugh (though lots of the Africa/Zimbabwe related jokes did pass me by, especially when he switched to Shona). Our biggest night out was a whole family affair (Me, Oscar, Clive, Heather, Mez and Gary). We all went to an event called Barnyard which was basically a concert with 6 cover bands of rock classics (Meat Loaf, Freddie Mercury etc.). It was a really good evening with loads of good people and dancing and (this being Africa) beer. The only thing I might say is that it was very ‘white’ (Rhodie) and though no one I met seemed to have any prejudices I did get a feeling that some of the people there were quite let’s say colonial. Anyway, it made no difference to it being a great night. Finally we had a night at the Aitchison’s for Steph’s Form 4 (GCSE year) dance. We (Me, O and Heather) arrived early for family photos and Graham and Pauline were also there. The party was a sort of pre drinks before the dance itself and other families started arriving after a couple of hours. It was quite reminiscent of our leaver’s ball, very similar affair but perhaps slightly less formal. Anyway one guy who stood out was Stephie’s partner who rocked up in full DJ, top hat and cane which I approved of immensely. It was great meeting Stephie’s friends as it was the first time I had really seen teenagers of 16 – 18 since I arrived in Zim. I have felt slightly that once kids turn 18, leave school etc. they head further afield.
So that sums up my time in Harare, it’s been amazing I just don’t want to leave! The rest of my trip has a lot to live up to as this has been the most amazing first stop on my world tour!