Based on the popularity of the posts written by my sister, I’ve decided to ask my other sister, Theresa-Anne, to write a post about an interesting experience she had not too long ago. Enjoy.
“I have had my fair share of adventures while traveling. This is my most recent one and I wonder if any of you have had a similar experience. I was visiting my Grandparents, who live in a lovely, peaceful retirement village in Harare, Zimbabwe.
I had not been to Zimbabwe in a VERY long time and thought that I had best take the opportunity to visit my parents-in-law who are missionaries, helping in a farming community about 2 hours away from Harare. The trip to the farm as well as my overnight stay was uneventful and it was good to see what they are doing on the farm. At about 14h00 it was time for me to be returned to Harare. It was decided that my in-law’s partner on the farm, Precious and his family, would take me back as they wanted to visit some family in the city. We loaded ourselves into my father-in-law’s bakkie (A bakkie is a pick up truck in South African slang) and the adventure began…about 15 minutes down the road the bakkie just cut out. Precious got the bakkie started and off we went, but a few moments later it cut out again. We were now stopped on a dusty farm road with no building in sight and I was wondering “What now?” Precious is quite handy with getting vehicles ‘on the road’ so he jumped out to see what the problem was. I am not sure if any of you have experienced this, but when you are stopped on the side of a dusty African farm road you are never alone, locals start appearing out of the bushes to assist you with whatever they can. First came a cow-herder, with a large herd of cattle…he had a look at the engine, added his 2 cents worth and a little while later continued down the road with his herd. Next came a bus from the local bus service. The driver also seemed to know what the problem was and told Precious what to do – well, at least I think that is what happened because none of these conversations were in English! All the time I was sitting there thinking “How am I going to get a message through to my mother and grandmother” as I had no local simcard. The bus continued down the road and our bakkie still would not start.
It seemed that the best plan would be to call a friendly local gentleman by the name of Kapeta who would tow us back to the farm. Well, this was a good plan except, that I did not see any other vehicle on the farm…so how was I going to get back to Harare? The family I was with warned me with chuckles and giggles that Kapeta’s car was like nothing I had ever seen before…and they were right! Having lived in various African countries I have seen many interesting vehicles, but this was definitely the most creative one I had seen. It was a smaller bakkie which was made up of what appeared to be the bodies of 3 or 4 different vehicles that had already met some demise… And this was going to tow us!! As most local Africans, my travelling friends were very confident, but to say I was very doubtful is putting it mildly. How could this bakkie, which looked like it could fall apart at any moment, tow us back to the farm? Well, it did and slowly we chugged back to the farm. As we entered the homestead, Precious announced to me, with a huge smile, “Now, you are really going back to Harare in style!” and I looked up to see that there was actually another vehicle on the farm – a very well-used, battered, not-sure-it-can-go-for-two-hours mini-bus. Okay then. With no other options, we loaded ourselves into the mini bus (which was on loan while Precious’s bakkie was being repaired) and after messaging my mother about the change of plans, we were once again on our way to Harare. We were about 20 minutes into the trip and everyone was relaxed and chatting as we made our way down the dusty road, when the mini bus also seemed to cut out. My heart sank! By now it was getting dark and I just wanted to get home! Well, I had no need to worry, seemed that all that had happened was that a wire had come off the battery and once put back…all was good and a minute later we were on our way AGAIN.
I can’t say that the rest of trip was relaxing, but it was uneventful. We made it through a police road block, through the dark suburbs and finally to the gate of my grandparents’ retirement village. The security guard was very surprised at our arrival, but did let us in as my Grandfather had called him to let him know we were coming, I just think he did not expect me to be arriving, as Precious had said, in such style! I will be honest, it was a wonderful feeling to be back home. I did chuckle to myself as we drove through the complex wondering what interesting gossip would have taken place among the elderly residents if we had arrived during the light of day.”
Keep traveling, keep safe.