We left Windhoek just after noon. The saga of buying the car I will leave for now. It is amazing how it happened, how things occur in sequence, each with their tension and anxiety which in retrospec it would take a good writer to turn into a cogent narrative.
We took possesion of the car at 1030 am amd left Windhoek a few hours later, having packed, shopped and gassed up. We stopped after a few hours for a snack under a tree. How to describe it? The roads are very straight and flat (having been made for the purposes of the south African army) There are mountains or hills all around us, but we never seem to go through them, just straight! The B roads are very good (there are no A roads). Every once in a while there is a sign announcing a rest stop in 1 km: a table and benches under a tree. It could be anywhere. Except for the signs warning us of warthogs and flying springbok. Substitute a charging moose, and it could be Newfoundland! There is even a couple of suggestive twin hills, like those coming out of Port Aux Basques into the Codroy valley.
We drive to Otjiwarongo where we meet Mary Anne. She is a volunteer from South Africa, nearly finished her 2 years. She envies us going to Khorixas, for she thinks we’re closer to the good stuff. The grass is always greener. Otjiwarongo has Cymot (Canadian Tire on steroids) and SuperSpar (supermarket). I’m not sure if it has a night life, tho’.
Dark start around 730, when we’re about 40 minutes from Khorixas. We’ve seen big birds, that look like peacocks without tails, an eagle sitting on a telephone pole, little duikers (deer about as small as rabbits) and a fox. So we slow down and arrive safely.
At the gas station, we call Dr Micheal to show us the house. He is Nigerian, and looks about 25 (we find out later he’s 32). He tells us we’re going to the hospital for supper.
What we can see of the hospital is clean, spread out, with covered walkways from area to area. The key to the canteen is finally found, and we eat: tough fried meat (oh Mark the vegetarian), fried potatoes, sliced tomatoes, mango juice, an enormous slab of cheese. There is 1 l of UHT milk, but no cups. Dr Michael takes it.
As we leave the hospital he says: you must take your rations and boxes of food are brought out. Apparently they will continue to give us this untill we ask them to stop.
And so we came to the house: me, Mark, the driver (a traditional leader, and enormous) Dr Micheal and a helper.
Opening doors was difficult. Despite necessity, they broke down the garage door. Apparently the front door can be opened, but is very difficult to shut.
I’d had a day dream (which I knew was a dream) of our “three bedroom house”: discovering it, running from room to room. But life as it truly is: Mark went in via the back door and came out with the information that there are cockroaches. I went in, carrying some stuff, not knowing where to put it down!
There are indeed three bedrooms: in a row, leading onto a large hallway/gallery. In the first bedroom were 2 (hospital?) beds, with thin plastic mattresses, hospital linen and a towel. In the second is one bed, and in the third nothing. After that is a “living” area, eating area, kitchen, pantry, alcove and porch/washing area. At the other end is the toilet, shower, sink: all in rough concrete.
I felt like crying. I was frightened, overwhelemd and somehow scared of this derelict house. There is space, but no furniture. Mark took control, and we made the living room more cosy: sweeping it, putting all 3 beds in and rigging the mosquito net over 2 of them (tying them together with our tow rope!). To cheer ourselves up, we switch on a computer and connect to the internet. There is no service. We turn on the fan (sitting on the one chair) and go to bed.
Now, 5 days later, I still find it too big and not quite clean enough (tho’ I think a valiant attempt was made). It has a new fridge, an old stove and kitchen cabinets that are too rusty to put stuff in. The water pressure was too low (the stop cock was turned off) and that has been remedied. The roof leaks in the kitchen, but only when it rains. We have figured out which doors have keys, and which are just too dirty to attempt to open. We’ve fumigated with Raid and some other insect killer. It isn’t home yet. Yet.