Written 1996

Natasa and Katherine in Zimbabwe


Head for Victoria Falls

Saturday - July 5, 1996
      We were up early this morning with the intention of hitch-hiking to the Zambian border to see the infamous Victoria Falls. As the day unfolded, we not only received an additional traveler, Jennifer Morris, another volunteer from Synergos, but a small pick-up courtesy of ORAP. The trip to the falls took under five hours thanks to Jennifer's earlier Formula 1 driving experience. On our way we traveled along "Old Vic Falls Road" which, as with most roads in Zimbabwe, in very good shape.
Katherine and ORAP's loaner

Katherine and ORAP's loaner
      Upon arrival at Vic Falls we searched out a quiet camp-site. Though quiet while struggling to set up our tents, once snug in our sleeping bags, the lions roars began to shake the ground. We did not get much sleep that night.

Rafting the Zambezi River

Saturday - July 6, 1996
     Have you ever put on a cold wet suit at 7 a.m? If not, you will when you raft the Zambezi river. The day began with a twenty-minute descent through giant trees and large rocks in our wet suits. Once in our rafts, we were briefed on our responsibilities as rowers. Our guide, Alf,
Victoria Falls

was quite serious and we quickly learned why. The Zambezi, rated a number five river, would do it's best throughout the day to drown each and every one of us (some more than others). When the river would let us rest, we found ourselves floating in beautiful pools of green water protected on either side by enormous black canyon walls, one belonging to Zimbabwe, the other to Zambia.
     In the late afternoon, exhausted and cold after a full day of fighting with nature, we were told that our little war was not over. We spent the next thirty-five minutes to one hour, depending on who is speaking, crawling up a seven-hundred-and-fifty meter vertical cliff. That night was spent exerting as little energy as possible. We made sure that our table at the Elephant Hill restaurant was as close to the buffet as possible.

A Day at the Falls

Sunday July 7, 1996

Natasa in front of the falls

Natasa in front of the falls

      This morning we woke up with very sore muscles and knew that, after spending fifteen minutes climbing out of our sleeping bags, there would be no bunji-cord jumping. We had a lazy breakfast at the Pink Baobab Cafe and spent the rest of the day staring at the magnificent Victoria Falls. Victoria Falls is one of the most spectacular sights in the world.
      It is here that the Zambezi river widens to seven-hundred meters and then plunges one-hundred-and-seven meters into the Zambezi gorge. It is estimated that five-hundred and forty-five million liters of water fall per minute sending clouds of spray up to five-hundred meters into the sky. Wanting to stay longer, we put off our drive back to ORAP until 4:00 in the afternoon.
Natasa in front of the falls

Jennifer, Natasa, and Katherine
      On our way back, with the sun slowly going down, we witnessed Africa at it's best. We watched as villages prepared for night. Cows walking home, women carrying bundles of wood on their heads, fires beginning to burn, and the stars coming out in the sky.
      We were prepared to drive straight back to ORAP, however, we were growing more and more nervous every time we saw an elephant crossing sign. We did not think that we would encounter anything more than the usual baboons and wart hogs along the road. Unfortunately this would not be the case. Deep into the night we found the road blocked by a freshly hit cow. It was at this moment that we realized that we had driven enough for the evening. We came upon some friendly people who not only let us camp in their yard, but woke us up early in the morning with fresh coffee in hand.

Home to Orap

Monday July 8, 1996

      With little sleep in our systems we now drove to the sights of Africa awakening. We picked up young boys making their daily multiple walks to school and watched the sun burn-off the morning fog. Arriving back at ORAP at 9:00 a.m. and safely returning the car, we took a short nap. Even though the day did not prove to be so productive, we managed to interview Mr. Ngulube, director of training and education services. A fascinating man truly dedicated to humanity. We spoke at length about the need for linkages between the international community and the people. He is a great believer in the "meeting of minds and souls" reminding the two of us of a frightening truth "if one is going without food, there is no shortage of food but rather a shortage of love." We spent the evening typing up our last two interviews.

Yet Another Day of Laundry

Tuesday July 9, 1996

Today we got up and spent the morning doing all of our laundry. In Africa doing laundry can mean the better half of a day. We begin by boiling water and carrying it to an open area where there are large sinks. Here we soak our clothes for an hour and then begin the arduous task of scrubbing and dipping. Once cleaned, we neatly hang each piece on the line and let the sun finish the job.
In the afternoon we went to town and gathered some maps and mailed our postcards.

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Written 1996