The rains have caused for delays on starting to build a road to access the school. So in the mean time I have been playing lifeguard to the baby butternuts! Coming from a big city there’s no better feeling than mud in between your toes and watching having the opportunity to watch little veggies grow! So magical and I didn’t think I would find it as enjoyable as I am checking them daily and watching their progress. I suggest you all turn your fingers green and your toes brown and head into the garden!
Spiders or what I might call, the grim reapers brother decided to visit me on Thursday, and it has been a dramatic downhill from there. Unfortunately, not like the movies. I didn’t get bitten and woke up being able to climb walls. The only spider-like quality I gained was only being able to crawl for a few days if move at all. I’m not really a medicine person, despite my mum efforts to make me take pharmaceuticals (medical prof). So I mentally prepped myself for being ill for a long time, but boy it was something else! I’ve always thought I know better when it came to self-medicating. But having no knowledge of how to treat myself or diagnose what this bite was, delusion started to kick in. Three days of staring at the ceiling and I was begging to be taken somewhere. Maybe it was waking up worried an insect was coming to get me every time sweat dripped down my body, or crying walking to the toilet, help was needed. Obviously, there are two sides to every story, and there were a lot of moments I was rather grateful. When your body is in that much pain, and your in-between conscious and unconscious and all you can do is focus on breathing, you have a very successful meditation sesh! I felt like waving a little flag for myself every time I came out of serious fever, I think it gives you some sort of self-strength. (I will also add when watching war movies, I always wanted to know if I would be able to survive what the soldiers did. So maybe there’s a hint of sick and twisted inside of me, and let’s not forget about being a woman and having the power to withstand childbirth). Lay in the back of the car I headed to the hospital. Bloods taken and an infected bite had sent me into some septic rage, minus the shouting or movement. Every little cut, bite on my body started to get infected. Even my left eye decided to join in on the party and began to swell. I was treated with a course of much-needed antibiotics, but whilst the nurse put a fancy form of sugar onto my bite (to draw out puss). I couldn’t help but think there is method to my madness. Sugar was the cure! Anyone who opts for natural medicine first would understand the confused looks you get when you pick lemon and garlic over cold medicine. But I think there’s a more holistic way of healing than a hospital. And nothing says this more than the Fizzy drinks sold in machines as you walk in. I mean seriously guys. I understand all hospitals are different, and Truly thankful for the antibiotics I was given. But I believe there has to be a better way? A place where there is a bit of natural light, soothing sounds instead of nurses shouting down hallways. Holistic healing with vital medication, a combination of both. I would love to hear any stories of people who have treated bites naturally, what can and can’t be achieved. What did Hippocrates say ‘Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.’
Hopefully, you’ve watched the video attached, firstly sorry I’m no Attenborough crew and there’s more shots of my nostril than anything else. But walking in the bush with an extended arm wasn’t happening! As you know, it’s a struggle getting too the school. So at 2Pm Davie unknown to me dropped me of at the closest road with intensions to walk to the school and back and mark out a path in the bush so we can build a road. Simple right. If ive said this once ive said it a million times. Danni doesn’t do directions! Luckily he didn’t send me alone Kaieso and Tilda came along, local people who work on the tomato fields. Getting to the school was actually simple, it took just over an hour. I walked through the village, locals coming out to shake my hand and to say hello (feeling way more important then I am) After reaching the school and talking to the teachers we decided to make our way home. Two of the teachers decided to join the team and walk home with me. And off we went, we’ve all heard of the saying too many cooks in the kitchen. Well it was proven right! Three people trying to decide directions made things a little complicated… An hour later and it was obvious, we was lost. (Kaiso’s AKA Mas 2l bottle of home brewed beer could have also played a part). No obvious paths, ducking and weaving under thorn trees we carried on our hike. At one point I thought I wasn’t going to return, flashing back to episodes of Man Vs wild all I could remember is when he climbed into a camel and there’s zero chance of my tucking into an empty carcass for a night sleep. Luckily Tilda could semi speak English and translated for me, sometimes not so much in my favour when the teacher said in Xhona ‘Elephants have trampled these trees recently’ and the only word she decided to translate was ‘elephant’, not really what you want to hear on foot! But things got more extreme then an accidental translation. The sun was starting to set, Kaieso at this point was marching ahead to try and find the road before dark, causing an assembly line of messages being passed from the front to the back. Davie was somewhere close but yet so far firing gunshots into the air. Luckly I was too tired to panic and too focused on moving forward. 3hrs in and we found ourselves on a road. Never have I been so happy to see a patch of cleared dust. Thinking I was safe, the last moment I would encounter wildlife. There, we saw him, not a joke translation either. A male leopard watching us on our way. It wasn’t really panic that set in, you don’t have time for that. More like an overwhelming stillness, standing in ore as you make eye contact with such a mysterious creature. It takes a few seconds before you can breathe again, let alone take in what’s happening. Something I’ll never forget. He simply stared, checked us out and slowly wondered back off into the bush. Predator maybe, but I saw nothing but a gentle shy wonderer. (possibly because I never saw teeth). Just as we backed away, before anything else could come and say hello to me. Davie arrived with the car, safety at last! After my lesson on compass use, and feeling like I survived some Initiation challenge, we decided maybe not to send me back into the bush for a little while!
On Friday, I took a drive to the district school inspector’s office. You see, is not as simple as raising funds to give to the school. You have to get approvals from the DSI and council to donate and help build. I went with my auntie, the headmaster and another teacher. In the heat with no aircon, I sweated my way through the communal land. There are three things in life I don’t cope well with, and first world me comes out to play – 1. Small spaces filled with hot air 2. All I’m saying is hanger is real 3. Bugs thinking, they can nap in your bed and munching on your skin.
115Km on tar highway would take you just over an hour, but not here! 3hrs later we arrived. The DSI, a man whose joy and enthusiasm about children fills the room. Clapped and insisted his 2IC clapped too as we told him about our plans. Things have been slow over the last few weeks. Complications keep coming our way, and when things don’t work you start to second guess yourself. But any doubts I’ve been having about staying here were washed away after the meeting. He made sure we wrote an approval letter there and then, to be stamped by him and sent to the minister. Never in my life, would I have thought something with my name on would be sent to a minister. And like any person brought up with harry potter, all I was thinking was ministry of magic! Maybe no owls appeared but there was some magic, not only in the DSI but in the teacher who came with us. A Local man, who currently works for free. Schools are desperately in need of teachers but unfortunately, Governments are unable to pay. So this valentines day, I honour my post to a man who has nothing but gives everything. Whats next? A little more waiting for the go-ahead and building can commence!