donderdag 22 mei 2014

We are the Game

18 May by Maarten van der Meer
While we were leaving Kruger National Park in the direction of Komatipoort, an enormous elephant bull decided it was not yet our time to leave the Park. It rose from the bushes onto the road. Instead of us watching the bull, it felt like he was watching us and we were the game. We were forced to turn around and move backwards, while the bull pushed further along the road. It took us half an hour to bore the bull before he let us continue our way to the exit of Kruger National Park.
And there they were, two leopards, enjoying the sun.  Laying on their back, not realizing what enormous joy they brought to the Wetskills participants. We were on the right spot at the right time, was this the plan of the elephant bull all along?

With the big-five in our pocket, we left Kruger National Park. Time to visit the Komatipoort water purification plant near the Mozambican boarder. The Dutch, South Africans and Mozambicans were divided among the vehicles for the 3 hour drive. Even if you didn’t want too, you were forced in bonding. The water supply plant was small but effective. Next stop: the Barberton prison wastewater treatment plant. Another 3 hour drive. 

While driving through a mountainous landscape with valleys full of orange trees, we had all the time to have lengthy conversations. We discussed subjects like drug abuse, living in compounds, elections, BEE, apartheid and the born free. It’s not possible to comprehend the complexity of the Rainbow Nation. To me it seems that South Africa is an ultra-mixed country, you don’t only have the blacks, colored, whites, Indians and Asians. There are eleven official languages and a great diversity of religions (Zion Christians, Pentecostal, Roman Catholics, Dutch reformed). Chance on segregation is everywhere.

When visiting the Barberton prison wastewater treatment plant, Nakampe explained the working of the plant and sketched the background of the two case studies: “Turning waste into business” and “Water and sanitation challenges in rural communities”.

 From there it was another 1 hour drive, time to talk and scratch on the surface of South African culture.  A well-disserved sleep was awaiting us in the Bundu Lodge. Return of Wetskills fellowship to Bundu.

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