“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” –Mark Jenkins

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

12 blisters in under an hour!

Tracey hoeing the maize field
620am start and this time it was Tracey without much sleep – we got up to a pretty chilly morning, my snoring and the barking dogs had finally found their way to Tracey’s ears and kept her awake all night. Not a good start with a tough day ahead of us.
Standing side by side with old Bernard cracking open clods of sun-baked earth with a huge hoe is a memory I will forever cherish. He speaks very little English and can’t see a thing, so communication is tricky, but he loves to laugh and from what I can make out it’s mostly making fun of his friends.
Hoeing with Bernard
The work was hard, hot and very slow going, but we pushed on – and after 90 minutes, our hands were raw and Tracey said she would take washing old mans balls over this any day! Thankfully a minibus of fit young men arrived on a tour bus from the charity African Impact, and when we realised there were not enough hoes to go round, Tracey and I happily gave ours up in favour of preparing the chicken shed for new arrivals.
washing the chicken feeders
200 new chicks would be arriving on Friday and the chicken shed looked like it hadn’t been used for a year let alone cleaned out after the last occupants. Armed with a shovel, a hoe and a wheelbarrow we set about peeling back layers of chicken shit covered in an army of cockroaches inside what can only be described as a hovel. It was dusty, dark and absolutely stank, but we got there in the end taking turns stepping outside for a gasp of fresh air.
Next we had to wash all the plastic chicken feeders – with only the central farm tap and a ball of wirewool nabbed from one of the ladies washing up bowls! Note to self: Wire wool and hands covered in raw open blisters don’t mix well – agony is not the word. It was at this point Tracey said she would take hoeing any day!
starting a circle
The two hour lunch followed and whilst Tracey snoozed in the classroom, I boodled a water carrier with plastic bags to have something to show the ladies when they arrived.
Veronica was first in as usual and some more new ladies arrived to learn. Word had got round and although Veronica was teaching a different stitch and confusing some of the newbies, it was great to have someone who spoke Njanja to ease the pressure. The afternoon was a roaring success and another set of Zambians walked out of the classroom clutching their work and sporting broad smiles all the way down the lane. This is what we came for… and it feels amazing.
Boodle class with a very happy Veba

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