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  • Writer's pictureElly Suverein

Elly's stories November

Buying new mattresses for our new staff accommodations proof to be difficult . Really nobody carries any stock and certainly not for 6 beds. Or actually 10. Because we also bought 2 bunk beds for the oldest room, so that we can also offer decent sleeping accommodation to the employees of the companies that sometimes work here for a few days. When we ask a salesperson where the beds come from, their depot or from abroad and how long it will take, we only get the answer; from the supplier....

On the way down there we were stopped at a speed check. We see it quite often lately. Of course we drive faster than 60 and according to the officer we have to pay 1000 rand. The ticket is filled in annoyingly slow. Until he asks how much would you like me to write ? With an offer of 400 rand cash, the ticket is quickly torn apart. After all, it will soon be Christmas.

Monique and I went shopping for a sofa that is suitable for at least 6 people and which is of course also easy to clean. This is delivered the same day and with the necessary instructions the TV room is ready to use with coke and crisps. Happy staff you would think.

Cassius, our gardener, is instructed to paint and thoroughly clean his old room. An absolute necessity now that everything is empty. When he is almost finished he says : “my friend is painter”.

“That's nice for your friend” Monique replies and she doesn't understand where this comment comes from. 'My friend' turns out to be the temporary worker who is now busy in the garden. TIA!!

Now that the staff rooms turned out so beautiful Monique goes all the way. She creates a beautiful garden around the staff quarters as well. She has made a kind of nursery garden behind their house and everything is growing like crazy here. This is all replanted and it looks very attractive.

Meanwhile, Patrick orders a tent with shade cloth, which only lets through 60% light. The sun is so strong here that so far most of our vegetables and herbs are burning and dry out. Patrick-style, it's not half measures; a tent of 25 by 10 meters. If that still doesn't bring enough crop?

Mixed feelings about the animals around us. Monique has found a new path that can get us closer to the hyenas, the jackal cubs are seen almost daily and the cheetah brothers have been around us for almost 4 weeks. With a preference for the termite mount right in front of the building. Fantastic. The cheetah female has been here again and the brothers are constantly calling her. Such a wonderful sound! Apparently this yell stimulates her hormones which will make her want to mate faster. In this way we learn something new here every day.

The lions, on the other hand, are not doing well. One evening we see 2 cubs (where we thought there was only 1 ) but the female is so skinny and has bite marks all over her body. She is also ignored by the rest of the pride. Bad news and we haven't seen her since. One of the larger males is also very skinny and cannot walk more than a few steps and then falls down again. We ask Colin, Klaserie's manager, if the vet may treat him. It turns out, like so many lions, that he is infected with TB. Unfortunately, we don't like to hear that and it is also very contagious. A week later, the neighbors say that he has finally arrived at their dam and looks like he is dying. Sad, but we shouldn't interfere with nature and we will have to respect that.

We have Patrick, Fannie and 4 friends visiting from the Netherlands/Spain for a few days and luckily they can see all the youngsters. They are a bit unfortunate with the weather; rain, cool and cloudy. Not exactly what you want when you come from Europe in winter. But luckily they have already have had a lot of summer weather and seen all the animals in the first week when they are on safari in the area. Despite the weather we have a few very nice days with them and Nobu has another admirer named Fannie.

Veld grass is already being sown around the construction, so that all traces are erased as quickly as possible and nature suffers as little damages as possible. First there is no rain, a spray cart is been made that can also be used in case of fire. This way we are increasingly self-supporting on Ximuwu!

Because we have a lot driving and running on diesel here, we also have a diesel bowser and Marcel went to refuel in the village this week. We always postpone it as long as possible because this cart is of super bad quality. The unit was built 2 years ago in Johannesburg but we have experienced all crazy things with this bowser. On the way back in the middle of the dirt road to our fence, the axle just breaks off. Fortunately it happens at slow speed of 15 km/hr instead of on the asphalt road. Miraculously, Silias and Mythi manage to figure out a way to get the cart back into camp.

With the arrival of 2 new temporary employees and the expansion and building, there is also some ‘unrest' among our permanent staff. We try to solve this by talking to them regularly and Monique is the appointed person who gives the orders to everyone. Unfortunately, it doesn't work out with all of them and we have to give Cassius an official warning. We hope that he will now take his duties seriously and return to his old rhythm.

However, he feels so offended by the fact he has been warned and is waiting the next morning to resign. We feel sorry for him and his family and wish him luck.

Since the truck is out of the hangar, Patrick has filled the entire back wall with pallet racks. Our contractor has also discovered this storage space and we have already received quite a bit of building material so the hanger looks more like a building depot. Our tractor with forks offers a great solution and it looks like the Suzo warehouse from the past.

We are going to Cape Town for a few more days because Patrick has an appointment with the shoulder doctor. He enjoys sporting again and has expanded that with rowing. Resulting in shoulder pain. Where he thinks he can been helped with a cortisone injection, he turns out to have 2 torn tendons and an abscess. In short, he is in the surgical theatre the next day…

What is special in itself is that this can be done immediately. Try this in the Netherlands. When I explain to them that we cannot go to the Netherlands for a booster shot , they immediately organize a Pfizer booster vaccine free of charge without showing proof that we live here. So don't believe all the negative news about Corona and South Africa.

So Patrick is now just like me 2 years ago with the same operation, and has to stay with his arm in a sling for the next 6 weeks. Such a shame, because he was doing so well!

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