African Hospitality

One of the cultural adaptations that I have found to be most difficult is letting go of my Canadian social graces and graciously accepting African hospitality.

The weekend with the Dingwas was a case in point…one that Jetske & Peter and Buche are also constantly battling.

It is my nature to not only be infernally independent but also extremely uncomfortable with what I perceive to be inconveniencing anyone. While I have many faults, these two are the most problematic for me here in African. But now they are causing me to change and adapt in ways that I did not know were possible. There are moments when I think that even Buche is proud of the progress that I am making!

Part of my problem is that I do not want to be perceived as a white princess expecting special treatment due to my skin color and gender. So unfortunately I take my resistance to an extreme level, i.e. beating up Lawrence in public when he wants carry my groceries for me as one case in point. However, what Buche, Jetske & Peter, Lawrence and many others are teaching me is that my resistance is an even worse offence and not culturally acceptable.

So I am endeavoring to take deep breaths and learn how to be gracious. The weekend in the Dingwa house was a real challenge and accomplishment for me on this level. As I noted in a previous post, the three bedroom house was jammed packed with visitors the weekend that I was there. My initial instincts were to book a hotel room for myself so that I would not be a burden or inconvenience. Mrs Dingwa would not hear of that notion so I knew that I needed to be gracious and accept the hospitality being shown to me.

There was a lot riding on this visit:

  1. my very important, if sometimes exasperating, friendship with Lawrence
  2. cultural respect
  3. being the first ever “white” and “female” friend that Lawrence has ever brought home to meet and visit with his family and neighbors

to name a few.

Even arriving at the house at 3:00 am on Friday morning pushed my limits. I felt incredibly bad that not only were we arriving in the middle of the night but that the Dingwa housekeeper and Lawrence’s brother-in-law were waiting up to greet us. There was no quietly sneaking in but an official welcoming party when both Yolanda and Tafadzwa needed to be up in a few short hours for a long day. Her to prepare the house and food (without electricity and ready access to water) for the return of the family and his to write a crucial exam. I am sure you can see how distressing I found this. However, I sucked it up and behaved myself. Unbelievable I know!

The next challenge came when I found out that while I would have a bed and bedroom to myself, others would be sleeping on cushions and blankets on the floor including Lawrence’s mother. I can not begin to tell you what knots this tied me up into. The African tradition is that all are welcome and room is made for all visitors regardless of house size and population. It is also tradition that guests are given beds to themselves while family members sleep where necessary. Accepting this fact and tradition was beyond a shadow of doubt one of my most difficult challenges since moving to Africa. But accept it I did as I had absolutely no choice or I would be unacceptable rude.

However, Saturday morning I was able to assert my Canadian sensibilities by declining Yolanda’s offer of heating water outside on the open fire for me to use to wash in. She had more than enough to do and many other people to heat water for. The look of shock on all members of the household’s face when I actually completed my freshening up in a cold bucket of water was worth it! I simply had to prove that Canadians are tougher than they look.

 

 

Friday night with the Dingwa Ladies

Following a busy but mostly pleasant day of sightseeing, meeting Lawrence’s friends and hanging out we headed back to the Dingwa household where I had my first opportunity to meet Lawrence’s mother, his sister, Anna along with her son Tim (Mr. T) and daughter Tina (Dolly).

Neither of Lawrence’s parents actually work in Gweru. Mr. Dingwa works in the financial field in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe which is approximately  300 kilometers from Gweru. Mrs Dingwa teaches at a school that is approximately 1 and 1/2 hours away from her home. So their routine is return to their home in Senga, Gweru every Friday afternoon only to leave again at 5:00 am on Monday mornings to spend the work week living close to their work.

Friday evening was going to my first opportunity to meet Mr and Mrs Dingwa. Also arriving that evening was Lawrence’s sister, Anna and her children. Her husband, Tafadzwa was staying at the house while he completed some Master’s exams at the University located very close by and wrote his final exam on Saturday. This was why we scheduled our visit to Zimbabwe for this particular weekend as it gave Lawrence the opportunity to see his sister and family and me a chance to meet them all. Even though it meant that the house was full to the rafters and not enough beds for everyone. But more on that later.

I have to admit that initial greetings and introductions with Lawrence’s family went extremely well and the gifts that I had brought with me were graciously accepted except Mr. T pointed out to me when I presented Mrs Dingwa’s German print blue fabric to her that she is known as “Mrs Brown” as that is the color that she wears most often. Oh well, now she has a different color to wear!

When Anna had arrived with Tim and Dolly, I couldn’t help to exclaim how beautiful Dolly was. Of course in true diva style the fourteen month old absolutely preened! I guess she comes by it honestly given the way that her uncle Lawrence struts proving some traits are hereditary.

Once introductions were completed, the men disappeared to meet their father at a local watering hole while I was left alone with the Dingwa women. Do men never learn? How on earth could Lawrence possible think that it was safe to leave me alone with his mother and sister for hours? We had a lovely evening visiting, trading Lawrence stories and planning out his life – that is what he gets for leaving three strong and determined women who care about him alone for hours! The poor boy no longer stands a chance as we have plotted out his life for him and have the will power and initiative to make it happen!

All in all a wonderful way to spend my first day and evening in Zimbabwe. Thank you ladies!

 

 

 

Post Script to Exploring Gweru

One would think that Lawrence has now had enough exposure to me to have learned how not to rattle my cage….however, he appears to be a slightly slow learner in some areas.

So as retribution for a momentary lapse that he had this week I am outing him!

Early in our day of exploring Gweru when we were all congregated on the busy downtown sidewalk having our social hour I decided that I would slip across the incredibly busy street to purchase bottles of water as the morning was growing hotter and hotter.

Having successfully navigated the first lanes of traffic, I was temporarily halted in the middle of the very busy mainstreet waiting to cross the final two lanes to the safety of the sidewalk. As I was stranded there waiting for my opportunity through a break in traffic, I called back to Lawrence that should I not make it across the street and back alive to please ensure that my body was sent home to my parents.

The ungentlemanly reply (and I quote!): “No, I won’t bother because it will cost to much!”  It seems that financial considerations are always at the top of Lawrence’s list.

It is too bad that no one thought to take a picture of me standing fuming in the middle of this street 🙂

 

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Exploring Gweru

Finally fed and appropriately attired in a dress, I was set to explore Gweru and surrounding areas. Having a tour guide who grew up in the neighborhood was a decided advantage even if his tour of childhood places only took a half hour for me to see given that he was never very adventurous as a child.

A drive to nearby suburb/village Shurugwi yielded the following picture that just doesn’t hold the same fascination for Africans as it does a Canadian:

Local transportation - exactly whose job is it to take things off and on the roof???
Local transportation – exactly whose job is it to take things off and on the  bus roof???
Surigwi
Shurugwi

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Our first stop downtown Gweru was mainstreet where I waited in the car while Lawrence popped into a store to get a Zimbabwe sim card for his phone.

Downtown Gweru
Downtown Gweru
Gweru Parking Enforcement on the hunt
Gweru Parking Enforcement on the hunt

While waiting in the passenger seat of the Mercedes and defending the car from the parking enforcement officers newly instituted in downtown Gweru, I heard a female calling my name. Sort of an odd feeling given that I was newly arrived in a town and country where I did not know anyone other than Lawrence. It turned out to be Lawrence’s Zimbabwean girlfriend, Chenia who I had spoken to a number of times on the phone.

I guess that it was easy for her to recognize me as there were no other white women in Mercedes about town, ha! Plus, she had seen numerous photos that Lawrence had taken of me and sent to her while she was finishing up her Social Work degree in Lesotho. As we chatted and compared Lawrence notes we drew a little crowd of other friends of Lawrence so that by the time he had returned to the car and me, a full party on the sidewalk was taking place. Leave it to Cheryl!

The rest of the day was spent sight seeing and hanging out with Lawrence’s friends and family. All in all an excellent day and wonderful introduction to life in Zimbabwe.

 

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Surigwi mountain
Surigwi mountain

 

 

 

There is no doubt that Zimbabwe is much greener than Botswana and definitely not a desert!
There is no doubt that Zimbabwe is much greener than Botswana and definitely not a desert!

 

 

Friday in Gweru

Friday morning dawned bright and early in Senga, Gweru.

After only a couple of hours of sleep and emerging from under a significant mound of blankets attired in my thermal long johns it was time to start explore my new surroundings, the Dingwa homestead. Dressing in a pair of comfy stretchy pants that I normally only ever wear inside my apartment I headed out to the kitchen that was bathed in sunshine and echoing with the sounds of roosters crowing from the next door yard.

The ruler of this domain is the Dingwa housekeeper, Yolanda. Even though it was only 7 am and Yolanda had not gotten to bed the night before until was safely ensconced in my bed, she was up preparing for the day. This preparation includes lighting the fire outside in a lean-to in the yard to heat water for bathing. Currently parts of Zimbabwe including Gweru are facing significant water shortages. So water for the day’s activity must be trickled from the outside tap very early in the day while still available. Once the household is up and moving around the water is then heated to be used for bathing in a small wash basin.

The other difficulty facing the household was the lack of electricity. Yes, I know it is a curse that I am carrying around with me! It seems that early in the week thieves had decided that it seemed like a good idea to steal the diesel petrol out of the transformer that powers the neighborhood. So, no water. No electricity. Can you spell A.D.V.E.N.T.U.R.E.

So clad in my comfy stay at home clothes I went in search of a hot mug of tea. Before I had a chance to ask or even blink I was whisked out of the house by Yolanda, my new friend who informed Lawrence that we would return shortly.

My new friend Yolanda
My new friend Yolanda (picture taken when we were leaving on Monday)

Having no idea where I was going or why and dressed in clothing that I would never step foot outside of my apartment in, I gamely went with the flow. Why not? Lawrence had just moments before said that he wanted to take me for a walk around the neighborhood and that I didn’t need to get changed so I felt reasonably comforted that I wouldn’t offend anyone by my wardrobe choices.

Off we set with Yolanda beaming broadly and greeting everyone that we encountered. I was excited to see my surroundings in the light of day having arrived in the dark of the night. Soon it became evident that we were headed to a tiny strip mall of shops located a very short distance from the house. Once the shops were in sight, Yolanda informed me that we were purchasing eggs, bread and milk for breakfast. She was obviously proud to be showing me around and off! I was just as eager to experience life in Senga, Zimbabwe.

After popping in and out of several of the shops it took some unearthing to locate eggs to go with the milk and bread that were more readily available. To say that I stuck out in the neighborhood like a sore thumb would be an understatement. Even dressed as I was and looking more than a little rumpled after such a short period of sleep it seemed that I was still good enough to attract a proposition or two. However, I was in safe hands and we soon had accomplished our tasks and returned home.

Due to the electrical cut and the need to cook on a single gas burner to would take Yolanda time to prepare our morning meal so Lawrence, his brother-in law and I adjourned to the sunny yard to wait and chat. Of course, my appearance in the neighborhood was attracting significant attention and there were numerous drop bys and people to meet and greet. While chatting in hushed tones with the Dingwa’s lovely neighbor about the political affairs of the country who dropped by the yard but the Voter Education team bringing polling and voting information about the upcoming election in July. Oh, and yes, I am still dressed in my comfy clothes and waiting for Lawrence to zap because I am not properly attired for this more traditional culture.

Serious discussion of voter concerns
A serious discussion of voter concerns

Zimbabwe has been ruled for more than 30 years by President Robert Mugabe who is currently 89 years old and showing no signs of retiring. There are many issues at play in Zimbabwe including poverty, economic uncertainty and upheaval, land reform displacing white farmers and political repression to name a few. For this political junkie, it was a dream come true to be so fully and quickly immersed into a real and honest dialogue on politics so soon in my visit.

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Escalating Power Outages

Today, I am grateful for a quiet Sunday in Peter’s Place, Gaborone. This is partly due to the need to rest up from a very busy adventure filled trip last weekend and an equally busy week upon my return. I also need the time to catch up on communicating far and wide.

Due to a week full of no or very little access to internet thanks to escalating power outages impacting the entire city of Gaborone, today will be a frantic attempt to catch up on writing blogs, emails and hopefully a successful skype call to my parents to wish my Dad, Happy Father’s Day. My attempt yesterday to communicate with my parents between the two long, long power outages was completely unsuccessful. By the way, if I can’t actually talk to you consider this my official “Happy Father’s Day”. I love you! and this maybe all you get from me.

Fortunately after being without power most of yesterday it has stayed on so far today. It is already past noon here now. With any luck it will remain on until at least 5:00 pm today before our traditional Sunday evening outage occurs so that I can call my Dad and be a good daughter.

Given the state of power and internet in Gaborone, if I don’t get my communications in today it may be another week before you hear from me again.  At least as a seasoned East Coaster (Maritimer as we are called in Eastern Canada) I am well seasoned in surviving power outages in winter and tropical storm season making living here in Sub Sahara Africa a piece of cake. No worry about frost bite here at least!

So bear with me, please, when blog postings seem few and far between as my postings are in the hands of the electricity and internet Gods these days. Hopefully there will be moments like today where if I focus and avoid be a social butterfly I can catch up 🙂

My Grand Entrance into Zimbabwe

Ah, who doesn’t love a border post in Africa???

Each one is unique and special. To me, they symbolize new territory to explore and adventure on the other side of concrete walls, fences and cranky immigration officers. You always have that heart stopping moment or two as you hand over your documents wondering if you will make it through or not. If all of your paper work is in order. Is your immigration or customs officer having a good day or bad? Some you are happy to visit again and again. Others, well let’s just say once is enough. They are a challenge to be conquered but not to be repeated.

You need to keep reading to discover how I feel about the Ramokgwebana/Plumtree boarder post between Botswana and Zimbabwe.

Having left Gabs at 4 pm which was much later than anticipated due to work commitments Lawrence drove straight through from Gabs to the border posts with no stops except at a tiny petrol station just a couple of kilometers from the border. We were pushing to make the crossing before the border closed for the night at 10 pm and thankfully we made it by 8:30 pm with time to spare.

Pulling into the parking lot on the Botswana Ramokgwebana side we noticed lots of activity. Given the time of night, Lawrence had figured that the crossing wouldn’t be that busy. As we exited the vehicle with me desperately seeking a toilet to relive my rather full bladder the size of the immigration ques became extremely obvious. So like the good traveler that I am, I sucked it up and got in line to hold our place while Lawrence was doing toilet reconnaissance.

When he finally arrived back to the line up looking relieved and happier my stubborn gene had kicked in….any surprise there??? As the line up was moving at a reasonable pace with new participants arriving all of the time, I wasn’t going to jeopardize my spot by slipping out of the que when it was simply mind over bladder. Given that I did not have the Dingwa household address to rattle off for the immigration officer, I needed to remain with Lawrence so we could go through immigration together. Plus, he had to do additional queuing in order to take his car over the border.

Interestingly enough the large majority of those in line were Zimbabweans going home for a visit. Let’s just say that Zimbabweans are much more polite and friendly to stand in line up with than some others. In fact, I have fond memories of a Zimbabwean gentleman coming to my rescue in the visa line up in Gaborone when I first arrived in Botswana. For those of you who missed that story you can find it at https://cheryljdalziel.com/2012/09/29/back-to-the-immigration-office/

I digress. The que was long but friendly and eventually we wound our way to the front and through the paperwork without a lot of fuss or questions. Whew!!! But it is always easier leaving a country than entering in these parts….

Proof we crossed the border
Proof we made it across the border

Exiting the building ahead of Lawerence, who was finishing off the paperwork to take the car through the border I made my mad dash to the toilet with a bursting bladder. Now before I go any further I just want to reiterate for the uninitiated that public and even sometimes private toilets in Africa are not for the faint hearted. They are an adventure in and of themselves. Like border posts, some are better than others…others, well let’s just say that going in the bush is far more preferable.

My best travel advice to date is that “Never, Ever visit the toilets at the Ramokgwebana border post”!!!!!! EVER!!!! My friendship with Lawrence could have ended because of this. Seriously! It is by far the worse toilet that I have ever made use of anywhere that I have been in Africa. I still shiver and cringe just thinking about it.

When in Africa as a female you always carry a roll of toilet paper or tissues on you for use as public toilets never have toilet paper. So it is a given that you carry your purse with you when visiting the necessary. So picture this if you please……a beyond filthy rest room, zero toilet paper and toilets that you simply didn’t want to get within fifty feet of but a bladder beyond bursting. It is simple, you consider it yet another adventure and go for it. So I earned my skills as an acrobat.

Huge purse over my shoulder (now where to set it down), wad of tissue out, the infamous denim skirt hiked up and panties down and a healthy fear of coming within two feet of the toilet seat……..another lesson learned, the longer the delay in visiting the necessary, the fuller the bladder…the longer it takes to relieve it. After maintaining the balancing hovering act for what felt like far too longer the desperation to exit my surroundings was almost equal to my desperation for visiting in the first place.

Quickly exiting the toilet stall which only redeeming quality was that it actually had a functioning lock mechanism (another rarity in Africa) I beat a hasty path to the equally filthy sinks to at least rinse my hands before making my way to the car where a pack of hand wipes were gloriously awaiting me. While standing at the sink two elderly ladies joined me. To my surprise they were actually giggling. Figuring that they like many others that I encounter were not that use to white women within their surrounds I just smiled and greeted them formally. Feeling as if I had paid them the respect that they were due, the giggling only got worse.

Finally as I was turning to leave the room one of them addressed me and said I quote “You have a naughty skirt!”

Remember this was the skirt whose malfunction before I had even left home had started my adventure off. Thinking that perhaps the fitted style of the skirt was too modern for her, I simply smiled, nodded and again turned to exit.

Then she stopped me again saying I quote “No, wait your skirt is naughty”. She then pointed down to my rather ample booty which was prominently on display as my naughty skirt was caught up in my panties. It seems that in my acrobatic state of attempting balance a purse & body in the hovering position and then haste to exit the downright filthy disgusting stall I had inadvertently caught my skirt in my panties. Thankfully they were clean and cute and this wonderful woman prevented me from walking out of the door into the parking lot where it would feel like half of the population of Zimbabwe returning home would have been treated to a sight to behold.

With a proper thank you this time and a far more respectful exit I arrived back at the car more eager and ready to arrive in Zimbabwe then you can imagine. Fortunately my entry into Zimbabwe through immigration and customs was far less eventful and we were soon back on the road with me at the wheel.

When you arrive in Zimbabwe through the Botswana border post of Ramokgwebana you are entering Plumtree, Zimbabwe. Don’t you just love that name? Feeling lighter and happier although it was now almost 10 pm at night, I was set to do the approximately four hour drive to Lawrence’s home in Gweru. Passing through Plumtree, Figtree and other small towns on the way to Bulawayo where we  going to stop to grab something to eat I was in the groove in the driver’s seat….

Until I was rudely stopped by the Zimbabwean police at a road block literally in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night. Having been warned by Lawrence in advance that the police in Zimbabwe are not always your friend (like Buche tells me they are here in Botswana) I was at least somewhat prepared. Pulling to a stop, which frankly was a little more difficult as I was driving slightly faster than the speed limit was if there had of been any signs telling you what the speed limit was suppose to be, I put on my most charming smile.

Lawrence lounging in the passenger seat next me claimed that he has never seen such a transformation in me. Lawrence has seen many aspects of my personality including my penchant for independence and beating him up in public but he had never experienced me being “charming”. He watched enthralled as I simply charmed my “Zimbabwean Police Officer friend”. Less than five minutes later I was departing the road block with a smile and wave for my new friend, who hadn’t once mentioned that I was speeding. Nor was any exchange of cash necessary which is incredibly unusual as this is the purpose of the road blocks in the first place.

Back on the road with the most charming drivers we soon arrived in Bulaway, Zimbabwe’s second largest city and one that Lawrence has actually only visited once or twice before. So at midnight I was navigating through a city I had never been in before seeking food. Success was easily at hand and arriving downtown it was simply as easy as parallel parking with a captive audience watching the oddity of a white woman chauffeuring a Zimbabwean man at midnight.

While Mr. Small Bladder visited the men’s room ( I was not going down that road again determined to wait until we arrived at the Dingwa household) I stood in line to order food. Are you recognizing the pattern here? I certainly am :0 While patiently waiting to order after driving for a couple of hours I need to stretch out my legs. Then a great song came on and I was a goner. You guessed it, the impulse to dance couldn’t be controlled. Lawrence returned to the sight of me wiggling in line while the manager was yelling “you go girl” and a growing audience appeared at the plate glass windows looking in from the street. To be honest to you, I wasn’t really even dancing that much. Just more wiggling in time to the music. Honest! However, do to the growing crowd and spectacle someone in the back decided to abruptly shut off the music so that the white girl could calm down and the crowds disperse.

With a brief dance reprieve, food in my belly and back in the driver’s seat I was ready to push on to make the final drive to Senga, Lawrence’s village within Gweru. As we entered this stretch  of driving we encountered road construction site after construction site. Each one was marked by “robots” traffic signals indicating when to pause or proceed. Not to lay blame here but due to extenuating circumstances and pressures I perhaps proceeded through a red light that I shouldn’t have. But in my defense so did two others before me and it was 1:30 am in the morning.

Well, that simply led to my second police halt of the night and my brief time in Zimbabwe. I must have set a record! This time I didn’t even try to charm this one because I knew it would be a mistake to even try. However I did make the mistake of showing him my driver’s license…BIG MISTAKE! You see in Canada if a police officer asks to see your license you immediate produce it no questions asked. In Zimbabwe you avoid it all costs. It took my friend Lawrence more than 40 minutes of discussion with the said police officer to get it back for me while I waited patiently and extremely quietly in the car which is hard to do at 2:00 am.

When Lawrence finally returned to the car after 2:30 with my PEI driver’s license in hand, I was willing to forgive his making me wait to pee at the border post. Fair is fair!

This portion of our adventure finally ended half an hour later when we arrived at the Dingwa household to a warm reception even though it was now 3 am. An hour later warmly ensconced in bed under so many blankets that I could have smothered but needed because it really was that cold I was ready for a couple hours of sleep before I continued my adventures again early in the morning.

Yet another adventure filled trip

It would seem that my desire to seek adventure ensures that adventures find me.

There is no doubt that my blog’s name “Cheryl’s African Adventure” is rather apt. My adventure filled trip to Zimbabwe started before I had even left Peter’s Place yard last Thursday.

I have never been one to pack to far in advance of travelling, so poor Tanyala was panicking when I hadn’t  done it by 10:30 as I was to finish some work up before Lawrence was to pick me up at 1 pm. So with her very capable assistance I accomplished the packing in record time. And she proved to be right on every choice of clothing that she selected, even my winter coat which I wore twice.  She also had to rescue me when I  as getting dressed to leave.

In my frantic haste at the last minute to be ready for pick up, I hauled on my fitted denim skirt and zipped it way too quickly. In my haste the zipper caught in the underneath fabric and wouldn’t zip past 3/4 of the way up. Because it is a fitted waist skirt that was partly zipped and stuck, I couldn’t get it either down over my hips or up over my bust thanks to my curves.

In a state of panic because I couldn’t fix it or get out of it, I raced to the main house seeking assistance from Tanyala and Sadie.

After much heated debate in Kalanga between the two which I am sure included comments about the crazy Canadian; repeated attempts to make the zipper budge and then attempts to get the skirt removed over my bust, I was still stuck solid in a half zippered skirt. Not suitable attire for border crossings.

Having lost all patience I rushed back to my apartment, grabbed the scissors and snipped the material caught on the inside flap of the zipper. Whew! that was a lot of effort just to get dressed. Once properly dressed with a working zipper we hit the road. I should have changed outfits but more on that later…..

It makes me so happy to driving around with Lawrence. And let me tell you that his lovely Mercedes is a dream to travel in. So with music playing, me dancing in my seat and people staring – we were off.

Because we were several hours later leaving than first planned because of work commitments, not skirt issues, Lawrence ended up doing all of  the driving to the Botswana/Zimbabwe border as the Bots border closes promptly at 10 pm. We managed the trip in excellent time with absolutely no stops (not even a toilet break – more on that to come) along the way finally departing Gabs at a little before 4 pm and arriving at the border post at 8:30 with time to spare.

Our border stop deserves a post all of its own……

Travelling Companions

It has been tough to write up my blogs due to power outages, intermittent internet connections and too much work – okay, and the occasional poolside afternoon nap.

So to hold you over until I get my next post written here is an adorable picture of Lawrence, his nephew fondly known as Tim or Mr. T and his always adorable niece Tina. Tina is rarely called anything but Dolly because she is so tiny and adorable like a doll. In fact, when I first met her Friday night on her arrival, I told her how beautiful she was and she absolutely preened. At 14 months you can tell that she is going to be big trouble when she is a teenager. And I made sure to tell her father that on many occasions. Given the fact that she is totally spoiled by everyone, now including me, she will surely be a diva. Boys and daddy beware!

By the way, I spent the entire weekend trying to convince family members that I wanted my hair done exactly like Dolly’s. Nobody is convinced other than me that it would be worth a try. What do you think?

 

Lawrence, Dolly and Mr. T
Lawrence, Dolly and Mr. T

 

 

I am back!

Well, I made it home from an adventure of a lifetime very late last night or should I say very early this morning.

The trip was fantastic and jammed full of fun and adventure. I have fallen in love with yet another African country. I was spoiled like a princess at the Dingwa household and was even invited back with or Without Lawrence.

I can’t begin to describe how fabulous it was but I will try in subsequent posts. But for now I leave you with a teaser of some of my pictures of my once again living out a dream…..

Yes, I hugged a lion and rubbed it’s belly!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here is the proof and only a small taste of my up close and personal lion experience

 

Queen of the lions
Queen of the lions

I did what Buche, Lawrence and Mr. Dingwa said I couldn’t possible accomplish. Proving once again that I am either the most determined person on earth or crazy. Some would say a mix of both. Either way, I lived out yet another one of my dreams. However, my mother will be relived to know that I didn’t bring one home with me! (that was actually her first comment when she learned that I was moving here to Africa that I better not bring home a lion) I am actually supremely delighted to have just prowled the bush with them and get in a hug or two.

Meet my new friends who are almost a year old lions who I had the privilege  of accompanying on a bush walk while they learned to hunt and try to play with me but that is a whole other story that you will soon hear about.

Tummy rub for my new friend
Tummy rub for my new friend

 

Stay tuned for lots more about my lion adventure and Zimbabwe trip.