I got stuck in Zambia. Well I do like it here. But with half the world being on Boris ‘The Animal’ Johnson’s ‘Red List’ (Stand in the corner you bad bad country) it’s kind of difficult to find someone to take you back to the UK. My usual carriers, Kenyan Airways and Ethiopian Airlines have given up even flying there. Not worth it I guess. I had to buy a whole new flight with Qatar Airways, but then they cancelled at the last minute so I get another 2 weeks here. Then … who knows… maybe they’ll cancel again. Anyone got a yacht that they’re prepared to lend me? Meet me in Dar-es-Salaam and I’ll buy you a drink. I’m a good sailor though I do confess to once turning over a sailing catamaran. Not the easiest thing in the world to turn upside down but I did. So that’s out of the way and I’m probably ok for sailing karma now.

One of the cool things about having to stay this extra 3 months was getting to see Ketty again in the next school holiday… a short 2 week break in April. She was surprised and delighted to see me; she’d come top of the class again…yeah yeah… getting to be a habit my dear.

This site of course started out as a fundraising and info site for Ketty’s schooling at Magwero School for the Deaf, a beautiful caring environment that touches your heart when you visit there. Last year I made the decision to take advantage of the increasingly good exchange rate. Even though Boris the Animal’s jolly good wheeze of taking us out of Europe into splendid isolation should have plunged the pound into the pits of Hell, the Zambian Kwacha has suffered more. Alice (Ketty’s mother) had bought a plot of land years ago when she had a bit of spare cash. Tribal land is cheap and you don’t need planning permission or any of that stuff, so she’d put up foundations and a bit of wall to keep her claim to the land.

Ketty’s house – Mount Mphangwe in the background

So last year I sent the money across so we finished the build. If we have a nice house on the compound with electricity and painted walls, we can rent it out. There are always people looking for somewhere as Katete is a fast growing town and district. We need about another £1000 to get the plastering and floors done, get electricity in, get it painted. Then I will have achieved my ambition of making Ketty’s schooling safe even if I fall off my perch before she’s finished.

Ketty’s house after the build stage.

The money will happen, but it’s been delayed by the fact that I have to spend the next year paying back the fees for putting me in a quarantine hotel to keep me safe from you guys who live in the midst of Covid peril. Here we’re cool and it’s very rare you see people in facemasks. I haven’t heard of anyone getting Covid in Zambia but they tell me it’s happened and certainly by all reports we should fear the virus.

In fact serious evidence is emerging now that we’re dealing with a leakage from a high security lab, either in Wuhan or the States, involved in the delightfully euphemistic term ‘Gain of Function’ Research, which basically means engineering a virus to be a bit more nasty from what I can understand. I did a post on my other blog about some important developments in the quest to make sense of these last couple of years… you can follow those up if you’re interested…. here:


Finally to the title of the piece. For the first time I got to be here from planting at the start of the rainy season, through to harvest. Thieves were afoot towards the approach to the harvest so we were scared that the year would be spoiled by their activity, but Ketty’s family had a bumper harvest.
Please enjoy the short movie here:

Ever wondered where to find reverse gear on a team of oxen?

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3 thoughts on “Harvest

  1. Hi Tony, I enjoyed your letter and update on Ketty. I and a friend, both retired teachers of the deaf in California were among the first volunteer group in the preschools. staying at the delightful Marula Lodge. Jenny arranged for us to visit Magwera School for the Deaf. The ride there and back was an adventure in itself. We were so impressed with the school grounds, curriculum and staff, and loved talking with the students, including Ketty, via ASL. What a sweet girl. She is so fortunate to have you in her life. Building their house to insure her education is just a wonderful gift. I’m in love with that part of the world. I just wish it wasn’t so far away.
    Good luck with getting back home and safe travels. Carolyn


    1. Hi Carolyn… how wonderful that you met Ketty at Magwero. Yes it’s a beautiful school and the atmosphere of caring is palpable. Jenny at Magwero is a gem also… I wrote to the lodges to see if one would give us a cheap deal… for Ketty and her mother Alice, to see the wildlife of their own country…and Marula was the one that responded. Have a look at the post ‘We did it’ on this blog and you’ll see Ketty in her home environment… she has a loving family and friends. Good to hear from you, Tony


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