Staying on the farm has been (and continues to be until 6am tomorrow) amazing. Life out here is so action packed, I am always so busy, which is why it has taken me 4 weeks to start writing a proper blog. Whether swimming in the pool, jacuzzying, reading in the sun, going to Clive’s aviary (yes aviary!), checking out the ostrich or being set on by the pack of dogs (Bella, Nushka, Delilah, Milo, Hermione and Scruffles) Just staying at the house I am overwhelmed with options! For example on our first day we had a Black Mamba on the front lawn, how much more exciting can you get!! We had to shoot it with a shotgun as it got into the ostrich/chicken pen and how many people can say they went black mamba hunting on their holiday!? It was such a buzz!
Something about Africa has ruined my body clock, at home I would not be up before 11am on a weekend but here I am up and bouncy around 7/8am! However the drawback is I hit a wall at about 9.30 and have to head to bed (unless we are on a night out when
the vodka-cider keeps me going!). this early bed is a major problem as Zimbabwe is beautiful by day, and if possible even more beautiful by night! From the rock pools in the game park I have seen the most amazing night sky; I have never seen so many stars, given a lifetime I couldn’t hope to count a fraction of them! Staying in the house with Clive and the family has been great, they are all absolutely fascinating with amazing stories, I just feel so boring and sheltered when I listen to the stories of kidnap, war etc. which are told as if they were run of the mill... The staff on the farm are also exceptionally nice, Beauty the cook, Herbert the gardener, they are all so helpful. It is a very different lifestyle here as food is cooked for us and coming for 6/7 months of cooking lots of my own meals this was sharp contrast, not that I am complaining Beauty’s food is amazing!
Clive also runs a clinic from the farm and has been able to do some amazing things with no medical qualifications. I was hoping to try my hand at some things whilst
out in Zim however it seems people are very careful in the month of March and there were not very many injuries that needed attending to. I have seen a couple of people in the last couple of days. The first was a poor little girl who was clearly not in good health, the strange thing about Zimbabweans is they seem to leave sickness until it is incredibly serious before going for any help!? Anyway there was little we could do other than refer her to a proper doctor and ask for their opinion and as yet we have not heard back, I hope Clive will let me know what happened to this girl and my fingers are crossed for good news. Our second patient was a man who had cut his leg whilst collecting tobacco. He has sliced straight through the plant and the momentum had carried the blade into his knee. When he first arrived it looked like he had a huge gash down his shin however, after washing the blood away there was just a small cut on his kneecap. We washed the wound and put on the bandages etc. though this wasn’t a proper ER scene
with blood everywhere it was clearly important for this guy and I’m sure that if we hadn’t washed out this cut with iodine and put a dressing on this guy would be dealing with a pretty nasty infection.
On a lighter note, along with the ‘homestead’ we have been round the farm itself, it’s huge (Though less than half of what it was before)! I have never given much thought to farming but after a day going round and seeing all the processes I can see how incredibly intricate and precise it is. For example there is a huge sealed tent that is dedicated to pollinating the flowers of the female tobacco plants BY HAND to sell the seeds. I have also been round the barns where they dry and pack the tobacco for sale, again an amazingly precise process with barns kept at exact temperatures to ensure the moisture is correct for sale. Going into these barns you are hit by the most overpowering smells, in the packing area I am amazed the workers can stand it as the smell is so strong almost nauseating.
On the other side of Clive’s land is the game park (a
legal distinction that saved Clive his farm and his house, though this is another story) which is a whole other world. Driving through we have seen Zebra (Mbizi), a giraffe (Twiza), eland (Morfu), kudu (Nhoro), impala (Mhara) and the crocodile (Ngwena). I have also been up to where the retreat will be a couple of times, most recently with a local ‘witch doctor’ to spiritually cleanse the area. It is very hard to describe the spot in writing, it is somewhere that must be seen and experienced personally, but it is absolutely fabulous. I cannot wait for it all to come together and be finished as it sounds like it is going to be a wonderful retreat, perfectly placed for the whole spiritual, relaxed, healing vibe.
To conclude, life on the farm has been wonderful. Staying with the family here has been so refreshing and at the same time eye opening to all these stories which I only half knew about. Clive is one of the most social people I have ever met and seems to know everyone in Zim. There was a honeymoon couple staying at the rock pools and we spent many evenings with them having dinner
and parties with them and their kids. I guess I just can’t wait to come back!
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