2005 Journal entry: The Wish List
“Age 28 – an up and coming chef – celebrity chef would be good, living the fast life in the UK, sipping on French Cabernet and nibbling on Britain’s finest Stilton cheese –daily. A handsome bank account, regular trips to Spain and of course a fabulous husband!
(Fast forward 10 years)
Things didn’t quite work out the way I planned.
Instead I went back home to Africa to get married to a Zimbabwean Paprika farmer!
My timing couldn’t be better. I said goodbye to the folks in South Africa, married my man and moved to Zimbabwe…just in time for the Hyper Inflation crisis.
I was an instant millionaire! Or more precisely, within one year of living in Zimbabwe, I was a 100 trillionaire. Only a hundred trillion Zimbabwean dollars couldn’t buy me a box of matches! And don’t knock the value of a box matches. We lived in semi darkness for a year and a half, with tit bits of electricity. Those days, a box of matches was a prized possession. But even though Zimbabwe was a nation of ‘trillionaires,’ making ends meet was tough and for many Zimbabweans, impossible.
After spending another day waiting in a 100m queue to buy bread, we received a surprise phone call from a friend in central Mozambique. He wanted to know whether we’d be interested in applying for a position at a sugar cane estate.
What was there to lose? Besides, it would be nice to have food available that we needn’t buy on the black market. And of course there would be prawns. It was a no-brainer. We applied and thank our lucky stars, we got the job! We packed our meager belongings and our 2 dogs, then headed for the ex-Portuguese colony in our clapped out rusty-red Ford pick-up truck.
I could never have known how much I would grow to love Mozambique. It started off as the regular wife expat experience; exploring the streets and surroundings, shops, meeting other expats, endless coffee sessions, eating prawns, crabs, calamari and more prawns. Life was good. But Mozambique was never going to be a ‘regular’ expat experience…
Bit by bit, I looked a little deeper and asked more questions. Maybe it was because of the layout of the sugar estate we lived on. Within 30 metres of our house there was a small village. I began to notice the everyday life, the struggles, the celebrations, the disputes…
I observed a way of life nothing like mine.
Soon the walls of my sheltered life would be smashed into a thousand small pieces, ready for the beginnings of a beautiful mosaic.
It was then that I began to document my experience; experiment with the camera and ultimately develop a love for writing and photography, fueled by my life in Africa.
After 7 years of living in Mozambique, we have moved to the Southern region of Malawi, to another sugar estate -one that is very different to our previous home.
Although we live only 100 km’s from the Mozambican border, life couldn’t be more different here. Malawi dances to a different tune.
Here I begin a new and exciting journey armed with my camera and and a thirst to explore! With plenty of roads to take, people to meet and stories to be told, I hope you join me for this next chapter of the Africa far and wide blog.
Welcome to the warm heart of Africa, Malawi!
“The best journeys in life are those that answer questions you never thought to ask.”
– Rich Ridgeway