Since I wrote the first part of this ‘living in Binga’, I’ve remembered so many trivial things!
The sugar ants were prolific in Binga. If you have never seen such an insect, they are quite big, a translucent golden colour and very delicate looking. Somehow I got hold of a bottle of bright green peppermint liqueur. When I spilled a few drops, the sugar ants ate it up really quickly. Their abdomens swelled up and they were like tiny green lights running all over the floor. This amused me so much I spilled quite a lot more of the liqueur and attracted more ants. Did I mention that I spent a lot of my time alone? Roland was away on tsetse control for three weeks out of four. I showed him the luminous ant trick when he got back and he thought it was pretty cool too! We didn’t like the liqueur much anyway.
The crusty old bachelor who built the strange looking house we lived in in Binga, had managed to transplant some Sabi Star trees. (Sabi Star are also known as Desert Rose). Crusty old bachelor had dug up at least ten and planted them in a straight row in the sand bowl ‘garden’ at the front of the house. Binga is in an arid area on the Zambezi Escarpment so there wasn’t much other vegetation. I have seen similar flowers in Bali which is odd as Bali is tropical. How incongruous to have these beautiful flowering trees right there by the front door.
To while away the time I started stitching a patchwork quilt. In fact I’m still working on it some 53 years later. It is still unfinished and unlikely to be finished. It is mighty big though. Stitching by lantern light is not good for one’s eyes. The mice that nested in the back of the sofa were running around and squeaking as I sewed.
I can remember looking out over Lake Kariba to the Zambian side. Sometimes, at night, I could see the light from cooking fires along the shore. Sometimes I could hear the sound of gunfire. I would take my little 9mm Beretta and barricade myself and my dog in the bedroom behind the metal door. Fortunately I never had to use the pistol, which was just as well. In fact it was far too heavy for me even if it was a small gun. On the odd occasion when I did target practice (obligatory) I was more danger to low-flying vultures than anything I actually aimed at. Apart from anything else, it was a bugger to load. Looking after it was also a responsibility I was happy to give up when we moved away from Binga.