It’s Monday 7th September 2009 and Michelle’s diary

Michelle has just come out of spending six weeks up on the Mupamadzi River with the Walking Mobile team. Many of the team were at the Liuwa Plain with her so yoga is not new to them! Here she shares notes from her diary with you.

Moving day
Shadrack fixed my ‘floatflops’ today with a piece of wire. They broke after scrambling up the ‘green loaf’ rushing to get to Camp 2. The moving days are hard work but fun, loading every item onto the truck, then the mattresses and finally the green tarpaulin tucked in and tied on. The team and I climb on top, no space for me in the cabbie “that’s for wooden trays and other fragiles!” We lie on our backs as Webbie drives us to the next camp. A good height for spotting game but don’t fancy lifting my head up and getting hit by low hanging sausages or worse, the sharp winterthorn branches. I clutch onto my laptop and camera case and hold onto the rope for dear life as we meander through the bush. I giggle to myself, as I stare up at the blue, cloudless sky and thank my lucky stars for my ‘adventurous’ job. As the truck pulls into camp, grazing impalas and baboons scatter and dart off into the bushes. James always jumps off first, bounces around camp doing his baboon impersonation, squealing and squawking to scare them off and let them know that humans are settling here for the next two days so stay away!! Once calm, as quick as the truck was loaded its soon unloaded and a full camp including kitchen is set up in less than 3 hrs.

Michelle and the team moving to the next mobile campMichelle and the team on top of the truck, ready to set off

Yogging…
The guests left at 6.15 this morning. Yay, some extra time for me and Emmanuel, the waiter, to do yogging (yoga and jogging combined). A pair of saddlebill storks flew over, kissed by the orange sunrise and glided down into the shallow water, next to us. Really beautiful. Hyena howl in the distance and puku watch us in amazement as we do our stretches. The sand is soft and once again I lie on my back and smile inside. Oh Robin has just radioed – troops are back in 20 mins!! Just got to go quickly find 6x guinea fowl feathers to decorate the plates for crème caramel for tonight.

Michelle and Emmanuel joggingMichelle and Emmanuel sneak in some time for yoga in the morning

Next day
Got to cut back on desserts, cakes and snacks! They’re so delicious, I can’t stop. I feel like a hippo. I asked Emmanuel, if the exercise was helping to which he replied, “You don’t vibrate as much as before!” I guess I must’ve wobbled more. Such honesty. I work with a great team. Super efficient and they all have their prescribed duties. The first day I started with them, I helped pack the truck by carrying all the ‘girlie’ bits, the enamel basins, the copper water jars, the chamber pots, kitchen pots etc. As we were about to leave, I did a quick scan of the area only to discover that the chairs weren’t packed. “Hey Guys, we forgot the chairs!” They all looked at me, “No, YOU forgot the chairs. That’s your job!” I guess I have my task too!

The team loading items onto the truckmobile safari kitchen utensils

Another day… they all roll in to each other!
With a staff of 11 men, I thought it might be quite tough but they are wonderful and have all become friends. James, the tent attendant, got a message on the radio that his wife’s had a baby. He tells me he’s going to call it Michelle, even though he can’t pronounce it – it’s more like “missile”. Then Emmanuel, came up to me and said, “in our culture when you have a baby named after you, you have to go to the baby and put some dollars in its hand and bless it with your name and also have to arrange (and pay for) a little party and every birthday send it money!!” Ok then!

Michelle's tent cover also used as a door matMichelle's tent, easier to write tent one than caterer!

Day after Bobotie Day
I like my doormat – it’s my tent cover which doubles up as a doormat. ‘Tent one’ is so much easier than ‘Caterer’. Seems guide was a hard one too!

Hyenas were helluva noisy last night. Anyway another day in remoteness, not sure which one, I guess the days by knowing Bobotie and banoffie pie is on Thursday and work the rest of the week around that. We moved again today, exhausted! Shadrack came over “Missile we need another zip – these ones are really disappointing us!” Will have to order those to be brought down on the next supply truck which is Sunday, three days after bobotie day! Jack Daniels too, as Geoffery tells me, “we are running with economy!” when I ask him about our drinks supply.

staff laundry drying under the sun

Laundry day
The kitchen has a great atmosphere, hard to hear the radio sometimes to know when the guests are coming back as Radio Christian Voice is crackling from the radio. Lots of happy staff. Luckily the arrow marked babblers start ‘babbling’ loudly to warn us the guests are close. It’s great!

Cheers
Michelle

PS David Lyon sent through some wonderful verse written whilst on the walking mobile safari with Robin. Worth a read.

sunrise over the Mupamadzi River

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