Monday was a travel day to the PermaGarden workshop up in Bray. A whole day is almost always required for a meeting or workshop in SA, mainly because we have to use the quite-unreliable public transport system. The plan was that I would be at the road out of my village by 7am, when bakkes and possibly the bus are most likely to come. I got there a bit before 7, and ended up waiting at least 45 minutes until someone was able to give me a life to Lorato’s village. Then I met up with Lorato, and we stopped by the clinic to pick up a CV (resume) for someone.
That’s where the craziness of the day started. We ended up waiting over an hour for this document, and then rushed over to the taxi rank, hoping we would be able to find a taxi headed to Ganyesa. It was past 9am by this time, and a little late for getting a kombi there. Luckily there was one, but it was completely empty. So we waited and waited and waiting, then drove around for awhile, and the kombi eventually filled up. So we rolled into Ganyesa and made a quick stop at the resource center that Tsiamo works at, arriving around 11. Then we go to Shoprite, grab some food, and sit down outside Shoprite to wait for the PC transport that will take us to Bray (which is literally on the Botswana border).
By this time it is nearly 1pm, and the transport is supposed to arrive at 2pm. Our counterparts are not there yet, but neither is the PC transport, so all is good. We wait, and wait and wait and wait, and then at around 3pm we call PC to find out where the transport is, and how much longer we might be waiting.
Then we get the news-the kombi is completely full, so even though it is almost to Ganyesa, we will have to wait for the PC bakke to come from Bray to pick us up. Bray is at least 1.5 hours away. So we settle down to wait for another hour and a half. We are frustrated, but we can deal. This is Africa, after all.
An hour passes, and Lorato’s phone rings. It is our APCD Lydia, telling us that the bakke got lost, and they were just now sending the kombi to Bray. So it will be another hour and a half at least. This concerns us because we are waiting outside Shoprite, which isn’t entirely safe to begin with. There is also a liquor store right next to us, which is REALLY not safe to be at as the sun sets. So we do some quick thinking and head over to a teacher’s house in Ganyesa, and wait for the kombie. Finally, around 7pm, we hop on the kombi and being the 150km trek to Bray, partially on dirt roads.
Around 8:30pm, we pull into Bray and breathe a sigh of relief. Just then, the kombi jerks to a stop. The driver floors it, and then we realize we are stuck in the sand. Seriously. We attempt to push it out of the sand, but 5 people vs a 14 person kombi…yeah. Nope. Finally an pair of Afrikaner women drive by in a truck, and we explain what happened. They run home and get a rope, and after several minutes of pushing, pulling, deflating tires, and pushing some more, we get it out!!!
We finally make it to the lodge at sometime past 9pm, and scarf down some food then head to bed. What a day! It took 14+ hours of travel (at least 9 hours of which were spent just waiting) to travel what should have been about 3 hours. Eesh…you Americans have nothing on PC travel stories. 🙂