How bad am I going to feel then?

28th February 2014

Tuesday 4th February 2014

Some very sore heads this morning, mine included. People were still full of praise for the fines night which was great to hear. Lots of excited people as our year group, “7e” had now finished the formal part of the course with the next six months being our placement. Everyone had been placed with the exception of Rom who had opted to go back to Australia for ‘visa’ reasons and Cliff was still waiting to hear about his ‘dream’ placement in Uganda.

This was my first day in my placement, first duty was to take the Group to the gate along with the other two ‘Back-ups” Jomi and Wien. It was upsetting saying goodbye to everyone, I’ve made some really good friends over the course and it’s tough knowing that they’ll all be going out tonight at the Joburg airport’s Keg and Aviator and I’ll be left here – I hate missing out.

Driving back to camp I felt totally alone and really down. Over the last five and a half months of the course I’ve not had much opportunity to be by myself, there’s always been somebody around. Lots of crazy thoughts going through my mind, have I made the right decision not to take sometime off now and be with the rest of the group on the bus? Then it hit me that I’m actually driving a Landcruiser cruiser through the African bush, its just me, no instructors, this is my life for the next six months.

I caught up with Wien in the Landy, he’d stopped ahead, I pulled up behind him to watch a hyena having a good roll in a muddy puddle. We drove on passing half a dozen or so zebras, these two sightings momentarily took my mind off being left behind.

Walking back into camp it hit home again, it was virtually deserted. There was nobody up on the deck studying or playing cards, nobody around the fire pit having a smoke and no laughter coming from the usual tents. At this point I felt incredibly homesick and if I were to be offered a flight back to the UK I’d jump at it. There’s nothing wrong with my placement or living in the bush, the hard thing is anticipating how bad I’m going to feel when I have to say goodbye at the end of my families visit in March. If I feel this bad now, how bad am I going to feel then?

Today was never going to be a busy despite a new group arriving, there were only four of them so nothing compared to the 19 students that graced the camp over the previous month. Jomi showed me the ropes of my new role, first up it was restocking the bar fridge, this took much longer than normal given the hammering it got last night. Then the glamorous job of emptying the fat trap and how to operate the generator.

After breakfast we packed away a couple of the dome tents and I moved into my new quarters. It’s going to be strange having a new roomie, well two new roomies. I’m going to get on well with Jomi and Wien but I have shared with Ben pretty much 100% of my time over the course and we gelled so well.

We welcomed the new guests to the camp with afternoon tea and then they went on an a game drive. As soon as I heard the vehicle drive off I instantly regretted not going with them. I’d opted instead to stay and write some emails so that If I went on the rubbish run in the morning I’d be able to send them at a ‘signal’ hot spot. Going on a game drive would have meant that I’d remember why I was out here, but by staying back in camp it gave me the opportunity to have a really good chat with Dee about anything and everything, this lifted my spirits. MHT