Photos and getting stuck in mud


For some time now, I've been meaning to post old photographs from my years in Botswana. Here is one of my favourites. A framed copy of it has been hanging in my office for years. Each time I moved and set up a new office, one of the first things I did was to find a spot for this photo.


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Rainy season road

I'm not sure exactly where I took it; in southern Botswana, no doubt, from the hills on the horizon. When? Early eighties, I believe. The dirt roads were always rough. I stopped counting how many times I got stuck! It didn't take long to learn that it paid to have a shovel and some old lumber in the back of my vehicle. Handy props for getting out of mud pits.

Years later, when I moved to Canada, I realized that getting unstuck in snow required the same basic (patient) technique (although kitty litter proved more useful than lumber). One big difference though: I didn't risk hypothermia when I spent the night outdoors in Botswana, sleeping in the middle of the road. Yes, that really happened. I spread out a ground sheet right behind the car (the traffic was non-existent, so there really was no danger). On top of that came my mattress and my baby's (folding) cot. By the way, the purpose of the ground sheet was to make sure that any wandering snakes would crawl between the ground and the tarp (and not between the mattress and the tarp, which could lead to a fatal bite). No, I'm not kidding. 

Why did I spend the night on the road? My Chevrolet Nomad was stuck, its chassis resting on mud, all four wheels half buried. Darkness fell before I was able get moving. With daylight came dozens of helping hands. I'll never figure out where the men, women, and children came from. I had scanned my surroundings before nightfall and hadn't spotted a single hut. 

After a lot of pushing and shoving and friendly admonitions to watch where I drove (and take a detour around the next mud trap), I was soon on my way.

I own so many more negatives, but digitizing them is a slow process. The scanner I have only takes a few negatives (or slides) at a time. And it's only compatible with an old and very slow laptop. I haven't dared use the small brush that came with the scanner to clean off the dust; I'm too afraid of causing even more damage. The colours aren't quite right. As soon as I have a small collection of photos, I'll post them under a new tab on the menu bar above, in the hope you'll enjoy them despite their imperfections.

Until then, thanks for stopping by to visit my website. Hope you're doing well wherever you are. Take good care.


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