Tractor and dream T-shirts…

Every season in new colours…
Available at this site for only ?17,95!

The T-shirts shown above are available only at Sissy-Boy shops!
(dark- and light-grey, and red, with white lettering)

Before the Falls…

pic: fueling up…

I find diesel in Bulawayo, fortunately…
I leave town, back on the road, sing a song.
I’m still singing 5 hours later, not as enthousiastically as before though. The tractor does about 3 clicks an hour and my headphones pump out ‘Black Cat White Cat’. A rather distinct contrast to my pace. I feel like an elderly farmer, I keep going. At least I AM going. Then, somehow, my brain comes to its senses. 430 clicks at 3 km/h… isn’t ever going to make me arrive at Vic Falls!

By now it’s late in the afternoon. I pass by an abandoned, once confiscated farm. Most of its fences have gone. Biba, tractor and me fade into the bushes as if in slow motion…
Tomorrow morning there’ll be some mechanical cranking and stuff, but for now it’s too late. I watch the sun go down the same bushes.
Evening. In the tent. Dark, 19.00 hours. From the inside, light from the upper tractor case. Biba is looking on longingly as I’m stirring the pan of satsa, that has been cooking on the gas burner on the lower lid of the case (satsa: cornflower and water, boiled into a solid porridge, looks like sticky rice, to be shaped and eaten with the hands). Biba is hungry but it takes time to prepare satsa. Professionally, I stir the goo till it’s smooth. Local women of Bulawaya have taught me how.

Sun-up and I play some music, put on my coveralls. One would think I was all ready and up for it. And I am! This is to be my first solo venture into tractor maintenance. Though, maintenance… my suspicions are that my technical problems aren’t quite that mechanical. It’s more likely that I fueled up on ‘bad’ diesel that has clogged the whole system. I’m rather curious to what it is that could be wrong with it, since the tractor has proven able to move on some kind of cokacola-coloured concoction passing for fuel (dodgy gas station in Sudan).
I sacrifice my hose to the task of emptying the tank. Let’s see what diesel tastes like, then. Happy tunes from the background. Biba messes around in the bushes. Not a soul in sight (rare, that). Smack, smack. Mmm not a lot of taste, but greasy.
By the end of the day I’m so used to the smell that I’m wondering whether it would be lucrative idea to start a fragrance production line called ‘Diessssel’. Must be the fumes…

Biba is almost growing up…

‘Well it’s my own fault’, I mutter as I shift the diesel from the tank to the jerry cans. The filter in the tank had dropped to the bottom and I had been too lazy/careless/dimwitted to fish it out before tanking. Thick.
The diesel has been ‘enhanced’ with twigs, grit and sand. So I filter it twice, clean the fuel line. Then I try to unscrew the top of the fuel filter on the side, which must be full to the brink. UGH!
%#@&*)*_)&&%^$%$^%$ ! Must’ve been screwed back on by a guy while I wasn’t looking. I attempt to summon some adrenaline from the depths. COME ON!!! YOU CAN DO THIS!!! not…

I’m packing up camp. Put Biba in her ‘Seat’ and hope for the best.
We’re moving. After about 500 metres I need to use the air-valve to ‘re-fuel’, the filter is too clogged up to handle it by itself. We make it another 500 metres in ‘normal’ mode, then it’s 3 km/h again.
So I jump off, start unscrewing the tubes connecting the filters. If I can’t open the filter, I’ll just bypass it. I feel totally cool. (yes I know this is stuff that toddlers are obliged to know before being allowed to go to kindergarten, But anyway, manon does maintenance!).
This still doesn’t seem to have fixed the issue entirely. I wave at passing truckdrivers. ‘Nope, I’m doing quite alright, don’t worry’ If I had a penny for every time I passed them, repairing something…
In the end I’m aided by a local farmer by the side of the road. It appears that I have missed one small ‘built-in’ fuel filter… Off we go!

Traffic signs: ‘Watch out for elephants crossing the road’
Fear of lyons when Biba and me get off to pee or for a stretch of the legs. Passing through a giant wildlife reserve. Entering Vic falls, passing heaps of primates and warthogs (like ‘Pumba in the Lion King). Atown saturated with wildlife.

I check out the busiest campsite, want to see if it’s quiet. My arrival is accompanied by cheers and shouts of (what turn out to be) local youths. Biba and me are being dragged off the vehicle enthousiastically. She is being hugged by two danish dogs, who seem to take to her. I’m being sprayed by a waterfall of questions and beer.It’s far beyond midnight as Iget to lay down my head.
The bar is still playing loud music.
It’s only then that I hear it, realize where I am. The background noise of giant, humongous, gargantuan thunder and hiss, created by one of the miracles of the world! Victoria Falls!

In Vic Falls, I’m being taken on a tour….
That’s for later.

At the phone-credit shop I encounter a signal..
In here, I receive a call that all is not well with my grandmother

A village of ‘wild life'; Vic falls…

The kids of Vic Falls manage to keep me pretty occupied.
Tractor-driving lessons for street children. I get percussion lessons from the local drum band, listen to their songs.
Vic Falls is the total opposite of what I expected. Not the tourist trap I’d pass through with just a quick snap of me in front of the falls, but a great and inspired community, which makes me want to hang around.

And, that pic of the falls is coming.
I’m off doing it now!

A live show at the campsite!

Manon travelling Zimbabwe…

Tractor and dog are at the moment in Vic falls, enjoying the view;)

Me though, I’m in Holland because of familycircumstances. Heard my grandmother might be dying any moment so I called my insurance to see if I had to wait untill the final message… Within an hour they called me back and said they could book me on a flight home the following day. Couldn’t say nay!
My gran heard the news before her emergency-operation and when she woke up I was there. She could only smile. And smile, and smile. Said ‘now I don’t feel no pain anymore’ but her grip on my hand was twitching.
She’s still hanging in there and the operation and her mental condition-powerboost seemed to have done magic. Sunday I’ll be flying back ‘home’ to the arms of my loving tractor and Biba;) Hmmm, yaa!

Getting close to the elections though, in Zim.
And still have to take that beautifull picture at the falls, interview these amazing people!!!!
Lot’s of love,