Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Ele's, Piggies, and Easter Bunnies!

          Cuan's factory workers at TCI get the whole week off for Easter, so Cu and I decided to make a trip up to Zambia to visit his mom and family! With the country being just north of Zimbabwe it is a driveable (albeit, long) journey. We split the trip up by staying in Victoria Falls for a night and continued on to Mkushi, Zambia the next morning. Mkushi (ma-coo-she) is a beautiful farming area in the north-easternish part of the country, right by the Congo border. A lot of Zim farmers moved there when things turned bad for farmers in Zimbabwe. After just a few years the community has more than doubled in people and farms! Siobhan "Vaun", Cu's mom moved up there 6 years ago with her husband Steve and 3 beautiful little girls. Now they have just built a lovely home on their own farm, and have over 200 head of cattle and a fully functioning piggery! We spent a few days catching up with the fam, fishing with Hunter (Cu's BFF from back in the day), and despite Cuan catching the flu, had a wonderful time.

(Goin' to see the piggies!)

After 4 days of R&R Cu and I headed to Lusaka (capitol of Zambia) to do a little shopping! Our shopping trip to South Africa has been postponed indefinitely so we decided to hit up the mall in Zambia. It is brand new and has all the stores that we would shop in in S.A.! I found some beautiful things for the home, but its still a work in progress so no pics of that just yet!

The next day we met back up with Mom and family and headed back south to Kariba! A holiday house boat trip on Lake Kariba (click for more info) is a given for every Zimbabwean that I have encountered. Most were shocked that I hadn't been there yet. Kariba is a GI-normous lake created from the Kariba dam on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia. And is the home to hundreds of house boats ready for all occasions.

 The boarder post crossing into Zimbabwe at Kariba takes you across the Dam Wall. What an INCREDIBLE sight! The wall has 5 gates that are opened periodically to release water from the lake behind it so that it doesn't flood. When we crossed only TWO gates were open. And even then, only half way! It is unfathomable how much water pumps through those gates every second. Its not as large at Hoover Dam, but just as remarkable.

(A picture from the a viewpoint above the dam & just before we crossed over back into ZIM)
(Still doesn't quite capture the size of this thing!)
 After meeting up with the crew for the house boat trip, we departed on our 5 day adventure on the lake! Keep in mind this lake is around 140 miles long, so you won't see the same thing twice. On board the "Vunderful" house boat was a total of 11 adults and 9 children (ages 4-10). So needless to say it wasn't a boring trip! We spend the days sunbathing, playing dice and 30 Seconds (South African trivia game), swimming in the pool on the boat, fishing for brim, and of course sipping on G & T's! I will say one thing that was a little disappointing was the fact that we couldn't jump in the water. It looked just like some lakes back home, so inviting.. and on those hot days it was so tempting to jump off the top deck of the boat. For about 2 seconds.... then I remember there are crocks in there that could eat me in one bite. Now apparently it is possible to get it if you go to the middle of the lake where its really deep. I was even told people have learned to ski on Kariba, and they used to tube there. But I think that even if we were over water a mile deep, even if there was the teeniest threat of a crock being near, I wouldn't enjoy jumping in AT ALL. The heart attack wouldn't be worth it to me. So I just enjoyed cooling off in the pool safely on board.

I also saw some incredible wildlife in those few days. I haven't really been to the true bush since I got back here, so it was great to see all the elephants. I don't care how many times I look at them, they are still such amazing, massive creatures. It makes me feel like I'm looking at a world from the prehistoric age. And the incredible thing to think about is that probably not much has changed since those times!

Every night was spend having "sun-downers" on the tender boats (fishing boats attached to the Vunderful). The sunsets on that trip were some stunning sights to see. I have always been a huge fan of sunsets, the spectrum colors are 100000 times more beautiful than color any man could create. And watching the sun sink behind the horizon with a clear 360 degree view was breathtaking.

We were there on Easter Sunday and can you believe the Easter bunny made it all the way to the Vunderful in the middle of Lake Kariba? I was very impressed. We were woken up at about 5 that Sunday morning to the pitter-patter of 9 pairs of little feet running all over the boat looking for their eggs. After successfully finding every piece of chocolate on the boat, and few sugar-coma'd kids, we all enjoyed a nice coffee and watched the sun rise over the lake. It was a special moment for me. I missed my family and home so much, but also took some time to look around and appreciate at how lucky I was to be in such a beautiful place surrounded by such beautiful people on one of the most important days in the church! He really does some remarkable things if you take the time to notice them..

We celebrated by having hot cross buns for breakfast. Yes, they really do exist, not just a song you learn on the recorder! I'm still not sure of the tradition, but somehow they represent lent and the Easter season. A champagne brunch was later served complete with smoked salmon snacks, prosciutto, and delicious cheeses. That's my kind of brunch! 

(Hot cross bun breakfast, and delicious champagne brunch!)

Unfortunately Cu and I had to leave the boat a two days early to get back to work. But I don't have one complaint about the week. The company was wonderful, the food was delicious, and the scenery was incredible! Can't wait to visit again! Thank you to everyone who made it possible! Siobhan, Steve, Paul Francis, and everyone who contributed to the food, drinks, and fun! It was a blast

(Goodbye Vunderful!)

 And that's all for now! Until next time friends... Sarra Muche! (Shona: Stay well!)

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