- Kate Wilson

Chapter 2 from Antonia's African Bush dairies

Antonia is nearly a year into her life changing decision to leave the UK behind and join our team. As we move towards the rains she shares her experiences of one of her toughest challenges yet.. the October heat!

Chapter 2: October

There is a monitor lizard which sleeps on my roof sometimes. In the corner of the bathroom up where the wall meets the corrugated metal you can see a claw, an end of the tail. If she shifts, like when I turn the light on, you hear nails clawing, belly dragging. Slowly slowly she moves until the sun brings energy; unbearable October heat welcomed only by the cold-blooded. 

 The heat. It's the subject of every conversation right now. Bringer of sleepless nights, sweaty backs and unquenchable thirst. Like in any hot place us humans complain of melting, we wish we could fit inside the fridge, we frazzle. My house is hot. I've already mentioned the metal roof - when was that ever a good idea?

They warned me of October. Back in the stickiness of February rains when I was fresh faced in the valley the voices consented, jostled to be heard, to drive home their point - 'just wait till October’. What I wasn't ready for was how fast the fated month would march toward me, time in the valley slips away and days pass as quickly as clouds scud across the sky. Except they don't. I mean there are no clouds now. Not for days have clouds patched the vastness over the valley. We are all dry. Dust hangs in the air, prices rise in the market and the mopane trees finally stand bare. Hippos moan as they jostle for space in the shrinking Luangwa River. Heat shimmers over scorched grass and a seemingly permanent single drop of sweat sits on my upper lip. 

 

Inhale. Exhale. At my desk work also marches forward, albeit with my brain struggling to keep up. I am gulping down water to try and keep hydrated. Like our namesake mongoose the team is in this together and I'm so proud of all our productivity in what I'd like to call extreme circumstances. We're non-stop in production, are launching new designs and the shop continues to delight passing guests - attempting to distract from the heat for just long enough to tempt with a story of snare wire turned stunning, a refreshing glass of sindambi juice and a smile. 
 
Thinking of my time here so far I can only smile. That satisfied smile that brings a warmth to the core far greater than lips might let on. The dry season has been one of magic moments. I won’t forget the time when 20 giraffe joined sundowners to seemingly waltz across the river sands or that night when friends and I actually waltzed beneath the stars. I’m grateful for all the fun. My parents came out to visit and were initiated into valley life as I bounced them round in the green Landover. I’ve spent a birthday here and can vouch that bush birthdays are the best. My frisbee skills have stepped up a level with our weekly games and I’ve come to love yoga never having tried it before arriving in Mfuwe. Now I’m thinking of starting a badminton club; if we can move for the heat.
 
I’ve just heard that November is hotter than October. Lizard swishes tail across roof smugly, she’s in her element, or is it too hot even for her?
 
 

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