We all rose feeling rather shabby except Max who was still asleep as we took a wash from a cold bucket of water, had a tepid cup of coffee from a flask and a couple of lovely sweet mangoes for breakfast. Once Max joined us it was off to the the gardens where he was to plant 30+ Moringa trees. He had marked the site off the previous day, pre-positioned his young trees and with a simple hoe set to work. Stephen, Nick and I left him in the good hands of Mr Khunga as we set off in search of orphans, as school is still sitting and seeing them at home with their guardians is a lottery.
There are two or three school sittings a day because there are so few teachers and classrooms – it really is depressing when you learn most of the junior classes only get three hours formal lessons a day having in many cases walked miles. We managed to get to one of our most distant orphans where we had been defeated previously by the heavy rains and caught another girl walking to school for her session. With four days to go we only have to track down two more families which means I will have seen all 49 orphans in 20 village locations. On return to our bush base in Makhasa village we found Max had completed a wonderful task of planting all the Moringa trees and staked them out.
We discovered on our trip out in May the children at the kindergarten were enthralled by balloons 🎈 so at break time Mrs Khunga the teacher allowed us to create mayhem with a further delivery with enough for all- what fun we had. With Max showing us his blistered hands from digging and the rest of us operating on final reserves after such an exciting and sleepless night previously I relented and we headed back to home base, referred to as the Ritz by Nick. (it certainly is in comparison to the bush house) As we had to go on a ration run I wanted them to visit “Waitrose Chipata” the huge African market. It’s hard to describe the sights, sounds and smells save to say it’s a unique experience. My plans for a BBQ were washed out by a major electrical storm so it was western cooking inside. After supper while sitting on the verandah chewing the cud I suddenly realised I was alone and it had gone very quiet. My happy band had slunk off to bed and the hour of nine had not yet passed. They were both no doubt dreaming of lions and elephants in their room as I had wangled a night in the Luwangwa game reserve and they leave tomorrow morning for a 24 sleepover. I am dying to hear their tales on return Thursday. Good night.