Such an awesome welcome from Rabeccah and Kennedy – within minutes Rabeccah was transferring her belongings to her new gifted handbag and preparing to head into town. Before she went though we talked though our plans for last years school and Linda farm. She was very supportive and thankful that we had approached her first – giving donations directly causes all sorts of unseen problems… jealousy, corruption and the “gimme gimme” response so many people misunderstand. Thankfully she also sorted out a hefty taxi discount for us for the week. It was listening to these negotiations on her phone call that I noticed a pattern in the language she used…. The parts of the conversation that are conducted in English always seem to be related to time… words like “tomorrow” and “last time” are always said in English, the rest in their tribal language of Nyanja – I’ve come to the conclusion that time is not part of their language at all. When you live out here, this makes sense… everything out here happens in “African time”.
Our taxi driver, “Obey”, was part way through cleaning his cab when Rabeccah’s call came in and so my back seat was wet – in horror at the fact that his “Muzungu” (white person) passenger was getting a soggy bottom in his cab he immediately whipped off his shirt, whilst driving, and handed it back to me insisting I sat on it!
We arrived at Linda Farm about 945am and Songisa took us round – chuffed as nuts with the photobook of images from our visit last year. The team were already hard at work in the fieds, watering the rows by hand with a hosepipe. A Dutch family had kindly installed a new irrigation system last week, but sadly the river-fed water pump couldn’t deliver sufficient water in the time available each day to make it worthwhile – the cost of running the pump for that long just didn’t make it viable, so they are re-thinking the situation and connecting manual hoses to the system instead.
The watering started again at 2pm this time in a field of aubergines for over an hour during which I managed to get wind and sun burn on my face and neck. Not our smartest first day… lack of food and lack of suncream, but at least we were still smiling and every single aubergine had had a personal shower (I became a little obsessed!).
We wandered back down the lane to meet the taxi around 4pm and met Bernard (the blind farmer) on his way home – how the hell this guy finds his way around is a mystery, let alone swing a scythe all day hacking bushes back. Incredible.
When we finally arrived back at the Sunbird we were hot, smelly and starving and so demolished a giant bag of crisps and a couple of beers each before heading over to the communal dining room for dinner….. pork and none other than aubergines! A fitting end to a fantastic day.