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Posts Tagged ‘Zimbabwe’

“Press it down firmly.” The command was shouted from the side of the house. This was serious…..

There was a project in progress and the men in our house were finding a use for all the heaps of snow that had gathered through our brutal Canadian winter at the back of the garden. We did not know what to do with it anymore! The shovels whooshed to and fro as our recycle bins found another function in their somewhat restricted portfolio. Gone were the heaps of trash that had filled their bellies but instead white fluff lined their insides. The brilliant blue plastic receptacles caught the filtered light through the forest of maple and elm trees.  I stood at the top cocooned inside our warm house and admired my design team. They had pulled on their snow gear with their heavy snow boots too. All this cold weather paraphernalia did not seem to restrict their agility as they considered which consistency of the ice cold material would be most suitable for the job.

Heaps of snow....

Heaps of snow….

“What on earth were they up to?”

I had no idea what was being constructed and was drawn to stand and stare. One thing was for certain….. These men were focussed and on a mission.  It was being well orchestrated with method   and had a definite plan. They would stop, lean on the snow shovels, discuss and then work on. It was reminiscent of a road crew but with a whole lot more motivation! I watched and waited. The compacted blocks were turned upside down and the ice brick slid out. Each had a position in the plan. The wall of snow began to immerge. By this stage I could not contain myself any longer and further investigation was definitely warranted.

Josh gets a piece of the action too.

Josh sizes up the material.

“Oh these things weigh a ton!”  I shouted as I lolloped down the side of the house in heavy snow boots to get a look in on the action. The debate then ensued as to what these master builders were creating on this freezing cold day.

“It looks like an igloo. No, I think something more majestic…..a mini Zimbabwe Ruins!” They were not about to let on and just kept me in limbo.  I had a distinct feeling that they did not know what would eventually materialise out of this pile of snow. But it was getting colder and this engineering feat would have to be completed in haste. The pace increased and I waited with baited breath. Slowly it   become apparent as the last snow brick took its position. A name was written up on the side……….a snow bar!

Cold weather activity.....

Cold weather activity…..

It was perfect complete with a glistening sheen of the ice that had already formed along the top. But like any construction, it needed the hands of a lady to add a few of the finer points. So the odd decorative piece and some lighting was added to the master piece. Now all that was needed was to christen this baby!  A few willing friends were summoned to help us with the task.

A perfect evening.

A perfect evening.

It was a perfect evening…..not too cold and not too warm. We did not want our snow – bar to melt or sublimate for that matter!  The fine snowflakes drifted down and we celebrated our creation, life and most of all a special family birthday. It was after all the beginning of spring.

Time to celebrate......

Time to celebrate……

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As it turns out, I have recently proven to be quite a sleuth! My investigative talents were however not drawn upon to wade through the mounds of files to find original documentation.  I do this task with the automation of a robot and because I have to! I have become a master at sliding my brain into ‘oblivion mode’ when I have to complete repetitive tasks that don’t grab me!  (Ironing and housework to name just a few are tucked in between the paper chase.) But to get back to the paper work…….You need to take into account that these files were packed in South Africa, traveled  over twelve thousand kilometers by sea in a container and were then unpacked here in Canada. I peered into the boxes and tried to make some sort of order out of all ‘this past life.’ It was crucial as certain bits of information were required from these files in order to obtain permanent residency here in Canada.

 

We were quite excited when all the bits and pieces were found and our application was submitted. That was the easy bit! For ages one hears nothing from the authorities. You just wait. Then one day we are told to go for full medicals, yet again. I have had every orifice examined numerously all in the name of permanent residency. I am happy to announce that I am definitely in fine fickle!  Then the other day, the big one was dropped on us……. The Canadian authorities needed a police clearance certificate from Zimbabwe. Oh my hat! This was going to take some doing! We had one from 1981 but this was no good. It had to be current!

 

So this was when the ‘sleuth mode’ kicked in. Web sites had to be trawled and the appropriate forms found. We got this all assembled, sent a payment through our bank and couriered off the documentation to Harare. This was straight forward….. Weeks went by and we heard nothing. How would we retrieve this vital document from Zimbabwe? We racked our brains to recall any contacts that we might have had in Harare. But to no avail, most of our family and friends had already left and were scattered all over the world.

I resorted to Google. I typed in my request……. Assistance needed in the retrieval of a Zimbabwe police certificate. Lawyers’ names in Harare popped up on my computer screen in response to my search. I was in luck! I contacted a few of them and explained my dilemma. Within a few hours I had a response! The knight in shiny armour efficiently retrieved the precious document and sent it on its way back to Canada. (Thank you, Ken!)

 

It is now safe in the hands of the Canadian authorities in Ottawa. It is probably in a file somewhere on someone’s desk. If only they knew what talent and effort had gone into putting that file together. I do hope that nothing further is required to finalise the process.  I would also like to put my sleuth talent on hold for a while, that is……

Happy Canada Day!

Never let go......

Never let go……

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The familiar images flash past and I take in the different scenes. I recognize many of the places and floods of memories rush in. I allow myself to linger with these thoughts and a tear rolls down my cheek. The rich music soothes me with the smooth rhythms and rich tones. I do miss South Africa and all that goes along with it!

Jumping for joy on a Cape beach.

Jumping for joy on a Cape beach.

I suppose my sentiments have been jogged as I stare at the book cover ‘Scatterlings- A tapestry of Afri-Expat Tales by Eve Cummings. A few of my blogs will be included in her book and I realize that I now fall under the heading: Expat!

I must add that I am honoured to be tucked in somewhere in between. There are some prominent South Africans whose writings have been included such as Helene Zille, Clem Sunter and Max du Preez.  So I really don’t mind being included along with that lot!

But I suppose we also have our story to tell. It is the one of how you ‘start again’ in a new country. I have always been grateful that we did not feel pushed to leave South Africa. We were fortunate that we did not have deeper reasons for leaving; it was merely a work opportunity that could not be refused. That being said, it still does not make the whole process any easier. There have been days when I have been so apprehensive. The older brain just struggles to adapt to ‘the newness of all things.’ Fortunately we come from good ‘pioneering stock’ and we face the challenges head on and try not to play ‘the when we’ game. Not too often, that is!

One of my favourite views...the Lonehill Koppie.

One of my favourite views…the Lonehill Koppie.

But today I am just going to allow myself to miss the country and the people we left behind. I glance at the photos again….. It is truly beautiful! I think of the wine lands and scenic Cape Town where I grew up as a child. Then there were all the places that I spent my adult years……… The Karoo got me to ‘put on my big girl panties’ when I first arrived there as a young bride. I could not cook a thing and ‘pannekoekbak’ was a prerequisite of a young country housewife. So the learning curve was initiated! Initially I had perceived the Karoo to be barren but soon grew to love the stillness and the generosity of spirit of the local farmers. Mpumalanga was the complete opposite as it was lush and green and had the added benefit of the proximity to the surrounding game parks. We spent many happy hours in the bush there. The next stop was Johannesburg. I feared I would never settle in this metropolis, but I did. At first I felt like a little Barbarton daisy trying to survive in the middle of Adderley Street. It soon enveloped me with its charm and the warmth of its people.

The Karoo mountains

The Karoo mountains

Then there were the holiday destinations like Mozambique and Zimbabwe. How can I possibly sum up the tranquility and beauty in a few words? Camping in the bush, fishing trips, tracking the African Big Five or just lying on a remote beach in the sun…..these memories are all safely filed away.

 

A view from a special farm near Sabi.

A view from a special farm near Sabi.

 

 

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