San bushmen of the Kalahari

Ghanzi Travel Blog

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Got up about 6:20am (a late start!), packed up our stuff and had a nice shower. All my clothes dried overnight for the first time ever which was fabulous. Had a big brekkie which was delicious. Left camp at 7:40am and drove to the shops where we had an hour to kill. Went on the internet - heard from Kristy, Kate, Mich, Andrejka and Bernice - then to the supermarket where I spent the last of my pula. Susan hid my cheese for me so it wouldn't get confiscated at one of the many Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) control checkpoints. What was supposed to be only a short 5hr drive today turned into a much longer one when we had a number of delays for different reasons. First of these was 3 FMD control points each within 7min of the previous one. At the first one, as per usual we had to all disembark with all our shoes and walk them and ourselves through a footbath, while Sammy drove the truck through a big bath and had his wheels sprayed.
Normally that was it, but this time they wanted us to remove our packs off the truck and have them searched too! Jacob told them this was impossible, as our lockers were functioning more like chests of drawers than lockers at this point, so instead they did a systematic search of the trucks, including above, below and behind all the seats. Amazingly they didn't find the stash of dairy products (including my cheese!) hidden somewhere on the truck, but they did find loads more pairs of shoes we hadn't known were hiding in there, some of which were brand new and never been worn. Anyway, we had to go through the whole rigamarole THREE TIMES 7min apart, even though we hadn't got off the truck in between and the soles of our shoes were all white from having just been through the foot bath! Speaking of which, there was only about 2mm of solution in the bottom of the bath, and it was all dirty, so I doubt its efficacy was much good! Anyway, after the 3 FMD points, each one a repeat of the other, we finally got going again, and eventually made it to the road leading to Trailblazers campsite near Ghanzi.
The love between them was beautiful to see
We were heading along nicely until suddenly we got bogged in the deep sand. We got out pretty quickly but then someone realised the centre bolt on the truck was broken - apparently a very important part! Not good. We all hopped out to start preparing lunch by the roadside, as Jacob and Lloyd walked back to town to ring for help. Finally Robert from the camp  turned up and we established the truck could make it the short distance there. When we arrived we pitched our tents and Tam and I got a great spot under a thatched roof so we left the top off the tent and opened up all the windows to let lots of air in and keep it cool. We sat around for a while and I read one of Hayley's books 'I Choose to Live' by Sabinne Dardenne about her 80 days of imprisonment and rape in Belgium after she was kidnapped when she was 12yo.
One of my favourite pictures from the whole trip
Awful stuff but a very interesting read. At 5:30pm we went on a walk with Robert to see the San bushmen of the Kalahari Desert who communicate using a combination of normal language and unusual clicking sounds. The walk was very interesting. There was a 3yo baby girl, her young (teenage?) mother, another youngish woman and a youngish man, a middle-aged man and an elderly couple. They taught us about all the uses of plants we could see; many of which they dug up from the ground. There were plants for headaches, earaches, colds, coughs, period pain, stomach pain, antiseptic, a water tuber that could be used as shaved soap and then squeezed to get water for drinking and a cucumber-shaped red one that if you eat once a week for 3 months you can never get pregnant again (only allowed to be eaten when you've already got at least 5 kids)! Plus many more I've already forgotten.
All the plants looked really similar above ground but their roots looked totally different (the root was always the bit used; usually by being washed, ground up then boiled in water). The little girl was so so SO gorgeous; I couldn't stop taking photos of her. In fact, all the people were extraordinarily photogenic, and I took more photos than I've taken in weeks. After the 1.5hr walk we returned to camp where we had fried chicken, rice, veggies, apple and vegetable soup. The chicken was so delicious. After tea I sat up reading for a little while then went to bed to finish the book off. Fell asleep to the sounds of Jacob, Sammy and a few other men still trying to fix the truck...
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The love between them was beautifu…
The love between them was beautif…
One of my favourite pictures from …
One of my favourite pictures from…
The sterility plant - beware!
The sterility plant - beware!
The soap plant
The soap plant
Heading off back into the bush
Heading off back into the bush
They make me look like an obese gi…
They make me look like an obese g…
Ghanzi
photo by: Biedjee