You know when you buy satsumas in England, and maybe one in ten is so deliciously flavourful that you almost don’t want to eat another in case it isn’t as tasty? The local sastsuma-like citrus is called naartjie (a type of mandarin) and every single one is like that one-in-ten satsuma. Try them if you see them. I’ve spent half the day sorting them into crates and heaving them about. The other half was spent goat herding! The goats (plus one bullock who thinks he’s a goat) go out for a two-hour wander twice a day and it was up to me to stop them getting eaten by caracals (Caracal caracal) or unusually-awake leopards (Panthera pardus). The fynbos is very much like Mediterranean Europe and reminds me a lot of Zion Canyon – huge sandstone cliffs, rocky floor and scrubby bushes. This makes it extremely tiring to herd goats, as they just scoot under the shoulder-high bushes while I struggle through trying to keep them together. I only fell over twice.
So – Jamaka Farm is wonderful. I got right into the thick of things almost as soon as I arrived, helping to round up some horses and carry a butchered sheep carcass to someone’s house (those things are heavy – how a leopard can jump a fence carrying one and then climb a tree is mind-boggling). Most of yesterday was spent peeling and slicing mangoes, laying them out to dry and then sorting pre-dried ones. Considering the time required, they should really sell for more than R10 / 100g. Tomorrow I’m holding down the fort almost by myself as one owner is off to market and the other is seeing some horses. I really hope anyone who phones up can speak English.
Summary so far – cons:
- Afrikaans is much, much harder to pick up that I though it would be
- My carefully-chosen clothing looks like it’s going to last maybe two weeks
- The food, air and location are all fantastic
- The work is fairly physical – beach body by the time I hit Port Elizabeth!