On Sunday 25th August I left my home in Secunda for Malelane, ready to start another trip to Zimbabwe for the Zimbabwe Pensioner Support Fund. I spent the night in Malelane, at the home of Linda and Johan Schultz, ready for a very early start on Monday morning. The truck was packed, full of fuel, and raring to go, thanks to the hard work of Linda and her crew.
I was able to get away from the Warehouse just after 5am, Johan accompanied me a short way, in order to show me a
different route, due to roadworks in the gorge on the N4 there are delays of up to 2 hours, so was very grateful. I was alone until picking Attie up in Duiwelskloof, but all went very well and we arrived in Musina late afternoon. In Musina we have the use of rooms in the NGKerk, where we are able to park the truck safely, and we get a nice room with a bathroom! We had tea at the home of Joe Joubert, who always makes us so welcome, and Joe’s daughter, who works for the clearing agents, is always willing to bring the documents to us, saving us a lot of extra travelling in the truck.
Tuesday 27th – we were ready to do the crossing early, but due to the loss of some of our documents there was a delay, Joe and Hester Joubert very kindly treated us to a good breakfast, and by 11am we were advised that all was ready, and we headed for the border. The crossing went extremely well, and we were on our way to Bulawayo in good time, arriving just after 6pm. After a good supper we slept at Coronation Cottages that night.
Wednesday 28th – the original plan was to pack the truck and head for Gweru, but we soon realised that there was a lot of packing and planning to do, and decided that it would be best to get everything done and then head to Gweru early the next day. In the end this turned out to be a good decision as we had a flat tyre while travelling between the Warehouses in Bulawayo. It was a tiring day, finishing only after 9pm, so it was a good shower, an excellent braai and then BED!!
Thursday 29th – After a very welcome sleep, some coffee and biscuits, we were on the road to Gweru by 7am. This road is in excellent condition, after upgrading has been done, and we were in Gweru in good time. After offloading at both Boggies and HuisVergesig we were in KweKwe in time for an excellent lunch with Ken Connolly at the KweKwe Sports Club. After lunch we did the off load at the Home and then collected Diesel, supplied again by Ken Connolly, for which the fund is very grateful,
Thank you Ken. Our next stop was Kadoma, here we were able to do our off loading at the home first, and then went to the home of Clive and Estelle O’Reilly. Clive and Estelle always provide us with a really good stop over, a good meal and welcome bed. Very tired after a long day travelling and offloading, we had a wonderful meal and a most welcome early night.
Today was going to be another long one, so the wonderful breakfast that we were given was most welcome. We were on the
road soon after 7am, and heading towards Chinoyi. It went very well, and we were able to off load the boxes and then head towards Harare in good time. Harare is always a bit of a nightmare for me, the roads are busy, and I am not in familiar territory like I am in Bulawayo. The first stop was for diesel, which is very kindly supplied by Jim Forrester, Jim is another of our big supporters and we left the depot with both tanks full to capacity. The boxes for Harare are all off loaded at the home of Mike and Marion Futter, and they take care of the deliveries for us – a big help, and we are very grateful. After a quick chat we were on the road again, this time heading for Rusape. The folk at the home in Rusape are always pleased to see us, and make us very welcome. After offloading and a chat we had to get back on the road, as we were hoping to sleep in Mutare that night. The approach to Mutare, Christmas Pass, is having an upgrade, so there are big delays, it was now dark, and we had to
find a different way to the home of Des and Sally Becker, our hosts for the night. We finally arrived, very tired but very pleased with our days’ work. As they always do Des and Sally gave us a really good meal, and I was able to get into bed fairly early for a good sleep.
Saturday 31st – It was to be a busy morning, so the great breakfast was much appreciated. We had a lot of help from Des and his willing staff, the boxes had to be delivered, the empties collected, and then the truck packed with the boxes secure for the trip down to Masvingo. We left Mutare at 11am, so an excellent morning’s work, very grateful thanks to Des and his staff, it would not have been possible without them. We stop in Chivu with a few boxes on the way, and we arrived in Masvingo at about 5pm. In Masvingo we stay with Gerhard and Trudie Burger, another of the wonderful host families that we encounter in
Zimbabwe. We were treated to a special supper, a much needed shower, and I headed for my bed early, the driving starting to catch up with me.
Sunday 1st September – today the plan was to off load all the Masvingo boxes, reload the empties, and then head to Shurugwe and Zvishavane to off load their boxes. First was a really good breakfast though, most welcome! Once the empties were packed on the truck, we were back on the road to Zvishavane by 9am. We stopped as usual at the home of Lynn D’Ewes, where we had coffee and sandwiches, and then it was back on the road. WE made good time to Shurugwe, where we did the off load, and were given a box of huge avocado pears – they were so good. We then made our way back to Gweru, to collect all the empties, and then back to Bulawayo. It was decided that the work on the repacking of the warehouse and sorting of boxes etc. could
wait until Monday morning, so we were able to have a good shower, a wonderful meal – Hannes braaied us a really good supper, and then an early night.
Monday 2nd – this was to be a very busy day – there was a lot of work at the warehouse – one had to be emptied and the stock moved to another one in Khami Road, using the truck before Attie and I headed home. Once that was complete there was some
distributing to be completed in Bulawayo, and then home for a shower (only one kettle of water for my shower due to the shortage of electricity – but it was a good shower anyway!!) and then we had been invited out to dinner at friends of Hannes and Attie. Not too late home – alarm set for 3am as we had to get through the border and back to Malelane next day.
Tuesday 3rd – Were on the road before 4am, made good time, and were through the border before 10am, so really excellent. I left Attie in Duiwelskloof, and made my way back to Malelane. Up to Nelspruit everything went very well, but the roadworks on the N4 meant long delays, and I finally arrived at the Warehouse about 7:30pm. Fortunately Linda was expecting me and brought me a plate of really good food, and after packing my stuff from the truck to my Bakkie I fell into bed and sleep!!!!! I was up early and headed home, arriving just after 8am.
This trip was very rushed, as it had been delayed, and, because Attie had to be home before 5th, we had to really push ourselves, and the truck. Attie is still recovering from his Knee operation, so was unable to drive at all, in fact he had trouble getting in and out of the truck, so was in considerable discomfort a lot of the time. The main thing however is that the boxes all got delivered and the old folk have what they need.
We are always very grateful to the wonderful host families that we have in Zimbabwe, they always provide us with good meals, a most welcome shower (water and electricity allowing) and a good night’s sleep. We never leave any of them without a full breakfast and often some “padkos” as well. We also get regular supplies of fuel, which is much appreciated. Thank you to you all.
Some of the roads in Zim have been improved, and this makes a huge difference, but some of them really need some urgent repairs. The Police Roadblocks are still a real pain, they are everywhere, and they cause problems with the truck as the stopping breaks our momentum, some of them wave us through when they see who we are, but the truck battles to pick up speed again, especially when we are still fully laden.
Although I found it very tiring it was a good trip, the appreciation of the old folk, and the friendliness of the people
we meet makes it very worthwhile.