Even though I was apprehensive in October about wet season arriving, now the rains are drawing to a close, I feel saddened by the thought of returning to a dry and dusty Katete.
When I arrived, the land was parched and the dust muted everything to a shade of brown. Now, the world looks so vibrant. The sky is a deep blue, the trees and vegetation vivid green, and there are colourful flowers blooming everywhere. It feels dreamlike…
The rains really have brought life to the land. Anything planted will grow; you actually have to try pretty hard to prevent plants from growing! Back in London, I used to battle against the elements to try and grow herbs in sad little planter boxes. Here, I have a mint plant that is threatening to take over the entire garden and possibly most of Katete, and a basil plant that is following closely behind. My vegetable patch has also been coming along well, and I am particularly proud to have grown my first aubergine! To add to my list of fruit trees, I have now discovered bananas growing in abundance at the back of the garden, which bodes well for smoothie making!
The prolific garden produce does mean that I have to be creative in the kitchen to find ways to use it all. Mint has been working its way into salads, risottos, and was quite useful when it turned Pimms o’clock at our last braai. The basil, tomatoes and aubergines have brought an Italian flair to Katete (and given me an arm work-out in the process) with homemade basil focaccia, homemade margherita pizza and aubergine parmigiana.
It has been over a week now since the last proper rainfall, and with each day that passes, a bit more moisture leaves the ground, bringing us ever closer to dry season… I want the rains to stay, not just for the awesome purple and orange skies, and the fields of dancing sunflowers and the lovely vegetables in my garden… but mostly because the farewell to the rain brings me ever closer to my own farewell to Zambia, and I’m just not ready for that yet.