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Who Really Needs a Sparkplug?

April 7, 2011

sparkplug290.jpgLast night the prowling African cats kept me awake for a long time. There is nothing to strike fear into your heart quite like the sound of    a mangy cat with a chicken bone stuck in its throat.  Cat in Shrek came to mind with his cough. Kack, kack, kack… I would have thrown a boot at it except the boots were keeping the mozzie net pinned to the floor.  The sound of his hacking cough fades as he drifts away around a tukel but he clearly runs into one of his mates and round of shrieking and yowling ensues. What a zoo.

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Meet the Future of Sudan

April 5, 2011

girl-290.jpgWe suggested (an important word) that our boat crew be on the bank at 5.30 for the return trip. To our surprise they chugged to a stop at 5.35. Not so surprising was the fact that we had some extra passengers. You grab whatever lift you can around here.  A girl about 18 and a boy about 15. And second girl, also about 18 with her two children, a young baby about 3-4 months and a daughter about 3. The wind has dropped, almost completely and the evening is yellow and warm and calm. We head off against the current with the bow down and a three year olds face peering at me from the safety of her mother’s side. I pull faces and wink but nothing happens in that little brown face. At least to start.

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Hibiscus Infusions in Melut

April 4, 2011

nile_290.jpgAfter shaking off my arbor instructor and his insistent “write it down” I piled into the runabout with Russell and some of the lads for a run to Melut (meh-loot) about an hours north of travel. There are no roads so it’s the best option. Pretty much the only one actually. But the wind is up and the Nile chop is really no chop at all but a reasonably heavy surf running at about ¾  of a metre and the tops breaking off and peeling back. But our helmsman could care less – that outboard is for running full  pelt at maximum revs or not at all.

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Stay in the Mind

April 3, 2011

stick-in-mind.jpgWhere did I get to before I was distracted by the hippo?  Church service… one of the lads took us to his family compound afterwards and to his tukel. We sat in there making polite conversation, the only light being that which threw in from the door. As you might expect in this part of the world hospitality is paramount but it can create challenges too. Soon the tinkle of glasses can be heard and a small boy ducks into the tukel with a tray with half a dozen glasses.

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Inquisitiveness or Foolishness?

April 2, 2011

church-faces.jpgHow can I begin to tell you how good today has been. With apologies to the Bard “let me count the ways”. The sun has been gone only twenty minutes or so but that old cliché about darkness falling fast in Africa is true. The arms are click with sweat and mozzie repellant as I sit at a plastic camping table and hope the buzzing of mosquitoes is only just that and not the sound of them landing. I am surrounded by African cats, dark shadows moving around just outside my circle of light, prowling this compound fighting for scraps and having to settle for very slim pickings.

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A Dinka Start to the Day

April 1, 2011

dinka_1_290.jpgI woke from a lucid dream of trying to fit level guttering on curved Dr Suess houses – and laughed. I had spent yesterday putting guttering on a building that had some “level challenges”. There is a hint of blue sky and the breeze is down a little but it is decidedly cool. Armed only with shorts and T-shirt I am hard pressed to stop shivering in the pre dawn light. I am parked down near the Nile which is a noisy river I have decided. The rafts of vegetation slide past at a steady 3-4 knots but the waves make a steady sloshing sound as the water is pushed around by the breeze.

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Would you Like Some Mud in Your Hair? Yes Please.

April 1, 2011

img_1382-version-2.jpgI have forgotten  how stifling a mozzie net is. If there is any puff of air out there it is obliterated by the net. At the end of a windy day there is no breeze and I lie in the open stripped right off (sorry sensitive reader) leaking more sweat than water drunk today, of that I am sure.

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A Drum’s Journey

April 1, 2011

44_290.jpgA 44 gallon drum is manufactured in the USA in a highly automated production process that sees no human involved, from the arrival of the rolls of steel to the packaging of the empty drums onto pallets. Only when the pallets need to be loaded on to trucks does a human appear, in the form of a forklift driver.  Even the plug and bung are inserted by machines.  

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