Hold onto your hats, this is going to be a long one. I would suggest grabbing your favorite drink and settle in for a good read. A lot happened during this day and I have a feeling you’re going to enjoy it as much as we did.
So to start off, it’s the last day of school in Zimbabwe, the girls and I decided that it’s “side pony tail” day.
Today, since it was my last opportunity to roam around solo – I had set my sights on walking around the High School to get a “feel” of what its currently like there. But I was sorely disappointed to find out that the high school finished the day before and so I missed out on the “vibe”. But, in a way I think it helped because I was able to run around with my camera and take a video of the place and re-kindle a few broad memories from those 6 years I spent of my life.
The first thing you notice about the place is that there’s obviously more trees around. I mean the quad looks amazing with them towering over and coating the place with enough shade for everyone that would sit around there.
As I walk past the Labs and classrooms, it’s strange to roam from the outside looking in (literally). Everything looks the same until I come past the computer room……. Oh, the memories of when we were sliding “floppy discs” into the drives. When the green cursor used to flash on the screen waiting for us to put code and instructions in. Now, they may not be Macs, but they’re modern and sleek. How times have changed.
I take a few steps up the corridor and there’s the sign…… Keep Left. Ahh, those days when movement between classes had to be slick and without ‘drama’. Boy, if these walls could talk, I’m sure all of us that went to this high school have something that went down somewhere between lessons.
I walked further down and went hunting for our ‘mark’ that we left on the school. As a class of prefects in the year 2000, we wanted to make sure that we would be remembered. So we took the time to find a substance that we were able to write our nicknames onto a sheet of glass that slid into the slats of the window. Our old ‘Common Room’ didn’t have it – so I was bummed but then I realized that the room didn’t look like a common room…… So I went hunting for the actual common room and it turned out to be just next door. And……….
It was there. They had moved it with the common room. It was so cool to see it. Some of it has weathered off, but it’s lasted 17 years! Woohoo, Class of 2000. There were a few tiles that showed evidence of other years that tried to do the same thing, but it hasn’t worked. I honestly felt really cool and proud of our year.
So, I made a quick video of the school from this point. Here’s the vid – excuse my breathing and footsteps. But enjoy and reminisce some more with me. There’s a few pics to go with it as well. If some of you don’t remember some of the things I’m mentioning here – brush over them and look past the ‘inside jokes’.
Now that we have that out of our systems – I decided that I’d pop in and visit a friend from school that is currently the Computer Teacher at MCC.
Edgar Somerai, I knocked on his door and got him to surface from his slow morning at home. I didn’t do the selfie thing because they guy was still waking up and you just don’t do that to a person. It was awesome to catch up and hear what it’s like being on the ground at a place where we were students. He obviously loves what he’s doing and it was great to see him. We chatted for a bit until I had to head back for the junior school Final Assembly. I figured that since I had missed the high school experience – I might as well watch my girls sit through their very first assembly.
It was a long one, shame. I had to lean forward once or twice to show my daughter that she shouldn’t sit with her knees up and kind of slouch across the chairs. It’s amazing what I take for granted having them at home. She got the message and continued to sit nicely. I was glad that none of them were talking through the various speeches and such. I forgot that the end of term always was a time to hand out team badges and colours for various sports. I loved those days and always remembered wanting to be one of the people that went up to get one and spend the first day of my holiday sewing badges onto my blazer.
They open every day with a devotion and close everyday with prayer. The culture isn’t just one of cultivating manners and character but also to cultivate Godly character as well. If you went to this school you were literally fed the bible everyday and I reckon it sticks with you whether you liked it or not. So as they opened and closed assembly, it was precious to watch the kids bow their heads and close their eyes as a form of habit rather than just up and leave.
So, Schools’ out and it’s time to make a move and get to the Lion Park.
Off we went.I couldn’t help but take pics of the signs as we were getting closer. It makes coming to the venue that much more pleasant and exciting.
Our aim was to get there and have a lunch and then observe something on the reserve and also view the Lions. The reserve we went to is called Antelope Park. It’s a place I’ve had in my memory since I was a little girl. I think I mentioned something about going there in one of my earlier posts. The way that this place has developed is insanely impressive and I know that the owner works really hard to keep it at the standard that it’s at.
So I took a few pics of our time there and I’ll take some time to explain each segment and what was happening while we were there.
So we get there and there’s a dam between where we are parked, the restaurant and some of the chalets. But they’ve built this bridge over the dam onto the Island where there are other Chalets set up for guests to book in and stay. I had never crossed over before – why? I honestly don’t know. But today I went with my little family and we explored it a bit and took a great selfie family pic.
Then we came back over and decided to kill a few minutes before lunch and sat at the quaint little coffee/gift shop they’ve set up there. As we’re ordering our snacks and drinks – I immediately notice Sarah’s recipe books on a stand at the til. I swoop them up and try to have a pic taken outside to show that I’m at Antelope Park, holding her recipe books. It would have worked better if I had updated it on Instagram straight away but I guess better late than never right?
Then it was time for our game drive. There’s something to note, is that my son has not had his midday nap up until now and so I was just waiting for him to go ballistic on us. But he didn’t – he got to enjoy seeing a couple of giraffes, some wildebeest and then proceeded to ask for his bottle and lay down on my lap and pass out. Everything within me was hoping that he wouldn’t have one of his marathon sleeps and miss out on the lions later.
As the drive finished, he woke up! I was so glad. Because we came specifically to watch his face as he saw the lions and how they would respond to him as well – being the smallest (I know this sounds a little sick, but it’s amazing to watch how wild animals will always go for the small ones)
As we’re loading up to get ready for our Lion enclosure tour – a young woman walks up beside the truck and greets my folks. They turn and don’t recognize her, but I look over and take two moments to place this person and would you believe it? It’s a classmate of mine from High School that I haven’t seen in 17 years! I say, “Rosine?” and she responds and we all have this aha moment. I immediately jump right off the truck to hug her hello. It was so good to see her for a quick hello and I was able to get her number from reception later – as she was working at the time and couldn’t really chat. (I touch base with her later on our trip)
Floating high on the fact that I got to meet up with someone I didn’t expect to, we’re off to see the lions. Ok, so the way that Antelope park is set up is basically like this….. They have the Camping and Chalet section where you can book in to stay and enjoy being in the outdoor environment. They have volunteers that come if for 2 weeks at a time to work in the park and have the experience of being in the ground work of the reserve.
Most of the lions are born on the reserve and then raised to be released into the wild. So they’ll enclose the strongest and best together to get the best cubs and then once the cubs are old enough, they go for walks and are slowly taught how to hunt for themselves, how to become a pack and eventually released up continent into the real wild with all of the necessary skills to survive. They have an enclosure that is 500 acres of land where they freely roam and have game that they will hunt for themselves.
Anyway, so we were walking amongst the cages where they are either being seen to for various sicknesses or being given opportunity to mate and further increase the population of lions.
It was wonderful to watch the girls and Jude observe them. Jude kept on wanting to go inside and stroke them. It’s fascinating to watch the innocence of a child that has no sense of danger. When we were walking about the cages, the lions were mostly asleep. But as we were near the end of our walk – they started to make amazing noises. I’ve tried to capture it on video here, but it didn’t do the awesome sound justice at all. (Plus my shoes were extremely loud and crunchy)
We also had the privilege of observing the one male and female do their “thang”. Aislyn was hilarious because she turned to me after it was all done and shielded her face and whispered, “I can’t believe we just saw the lions have sex!” I couldn’t help but laugh and say that it’s all a part of nature and a few extra tid bit facts around lions. As we’re having this moment, we notice a truck and a quade bike ride up.
We flag them down and can’t believe how nice it is to say hello to the owner, Mr Conolly – and his son, Jonathan Conolly. He was in school with my sister and so I did the selfie thing again because it’s not everyday I get to see friends from way back when. My parents caught up a little with Mr Conolly while I caught a little conversation with Jono before they had to carry on with their responsibilities.
We did what we could to get a picture in front of the lions, but nothing is ever perfect and so you have the lions backs. But what an eventful day and so much to be grateful for. I’m so glad that my children got to have this experience and that it’s documented in our memory banks. I hope to bring them again when they’re a little older to have a longer stay to actually have a night out here and hear the lions make their awesome sounds in the morning and evening.
I haven’t mentioned about how much my son loves animals, and his fascination with horses. It was great to have my dad around to help teach him how to touch a horse properly and be able to get up close to one together. I’ve been needing to get him involved somewhere where there are horses and animals, but am waiting for him to grow to the appropriate age that justifies an extramural of such a kind. We will see, maybe a dog first and then horses for my son. (not to own, gosh no – to ride and play with, yes. Lol)