As we drove through mountainous Eastern Cape, South Africa, the sign said, only 133 turns to go. We crossed the mountain range after mountain range and as the evening light dipped into the vast green valleys, the unpaved road to R61 [ Our navigation system kept saying that for next 7 hours] became a mix of adventure, apprehension and absolutely tough. The road/s had, made to order type, evenly spread holes for miles and miles, and several times we took turns up and down the mountains, unsure we were on the right road. We travelled in the evening that went into night on road/s to R61 [ Inter State Road]. The villages were clean, neat and beautifully painted. It pained me to see however that every mountain peak was claimed, and one had huts on every mountain top. Much later I understood the reason for this claim and reclaim.
In the village of Njiveni, the game of soccer was at its peak, boys were focussed on the goal post, the temperature of 6 degrees meant nothing, the green savanna joined & swayed in anticipation. The evening pale light scaled the drama. Click…my camera clicked and the boys in the audience turned. The composure broke loose with this external intervention. I smiled and waved and there was a cheer and smile sent back to me as well. In the darkness of the valleys we did see people walking in colorful clothes as that seemed only way of transport around.
I did not then realize that the unpaved road to R61 which then almost became impossible to travel, I would collect so many impressions & stories that connected to my heart, instantly. A feeling of me, as a child waiting for my father to return from farms, in the fading evening light, lingered in my heart later that night.