Surprise and hecticness

now following step by step.

During our vacation we got a SMS from “Home Affairs” to collect the result of our permanent residence application.

We ended our holidays one day earlier and just arrived in time to get our papers before office closing at 15:00.

Richard is now South African resident and I have been rejected. Speechless? That’s what we have been.The next days I had a nervous breakdown and only wanted to go back home. Home to Germany, to our kids and grand kids and to our house. Poor Richard. For sure it was a hard time for him because he couldn’t handle me anymore and was fully busy to prepare all my papers I needed for the appeal and the application for a new 4 years pensioner visa.

Sven brought first time a laughter into it asking: “Dad, what are you doing now? Sending Mam home? Super, she can start immediately as my secretary. And how many women will you have then?”

What happened? Home Affairs didn’t check my application according the requirements valid at the day of handing in my papers at which a certain gross salary income was to proof. Meanwhile requirements have been exacerbated substantially and the regular income is checked net. And this at a day with a very strong Rand – and I was about less than 100 Euro below the threshold.

That’s the strategy, the ordered company explained us and no single case at all: Unfair assessments and rejections because they don’t want white people in the country. Many pensioners demoralized from waiting over years, ill or meanwhile out of financial means for appealing or applying for renewal of 4 years visa. So only few appeal applications come back, what’s in the sense of government.

We proofed again my meanwhile even raised pension and added the rental income of our house. And now I’m well above the official requirements even as net amounts.

And now again: waiting, waiting, waiting! For at least 6 months, consider it 12 to 18 months.

But meanwhile my 4-years-visa has been extended to September 2021.

Richard already applied for his SA ID Card and got his SA driver licence. This reads so easy, but again was a long and time consuming process with preparations of paper at the computer and waiting hours in queues in front of different office counters.

Coming back from holidays, of course none of the agreed, bespoken and promised works on board of Camaheto were done, which gave me the remaining rest. So we started again, as happened two years ago with open construction places. We must try not to bother too much, which isn’t hardly possible any more, as after all I long for a cosy home, not marked by black shoe prints, silver metal shavings or wood chippings, Sikaflex imprints, …

I just try to get on my feet again, play my music, and live a normal routine day. Both of us are still involved with Sea Rescue and I had to do a controllers training the last weeks. Meanwhile I had my first self responsible rescue mission in the control room, lasting from in the morning to midnight. I managed it, could understand all English conversations, write them down, answer and minute them. Work the log books and papers as well as the computer work. I was really proud of myself.

Early this year we again had fierce fires in and around Simon’s Town. The complete mountain slope was a blaze until to the houses. Several families lost all their belongings. We had fear that all our camping gear, stored in a garage at the upper edge from the mountain slope also would be consumed by the flames. A couple of meters away from the plot the fire could be stopped.

Sea Rescue doesn’t help and support only at sea, but also in cases of accidents and nature catastrophes. This time I could accompany a mission direct at the fires to save camping houses. Never in my live I have seen blazing fires like this. Fire crawling up a tree trunk and the complete tree crown explodes. The fire can jump over great distances and starts at another spot a new fire storm.

Even days later I had to battle with tearing eyes. Richard took care those days only of our boat. The offshore wind blew still glowing ashes over the bay onto our boat. Still weeks later we had to cope with ash rain and our Camaheto was covered in black soot.

Autumn and winter is the time supposed to rain heavily to fill again the dams. In the last two years rain was falling more and more scarcely and weaker. Instead of feared mud slides down from the burned mountain slopes due to heavy rain this year we battle with a very special and serious problem: There is no water in our complete area any more! The dams are nearly empty. The last 10% of the dams cannot be used for drinking water as too muddy. After some storms in the last weeks dam levels have risen to meanwhile about nearly 40%, meaning effective 30% for drinking water. Comprehensive water restrictions are in place. Drinking water only for drinking, cooking, washing, body care. Washing water is collected and used for cleaning, watering and flushing of toilets. Outlet pipes from washing machines or kitchen drains were let outside into water barrels to water the garden. Water bottles are placed next to plants into the earth so that the raw water gets drop by drop to the roots.

After our sport training we shower standing in a pot. Water is turned on and off permanently. Water on to wet oneself – water off. Soap and shampoo – water on for a quick rinse – water off. Long showering isn’t possible any more. Richard and I just need one bucket water for us together.

Water on our marina jetty is available only on two days for one hour to top up our water tanks. Our washing machine is now connected to our onboard water tanks and we wash maximum one machine per week.

It will need at least 3 winters with substantial rain falls to fill up the dams.

The last big storm a couple of weeks ago brought again only little water and the strong winds blew the rain away from the dams.

Instead the storm with gusts up to 65 knots caused lots of havoc to the marina. All bridges to the marinas were broken and we had to use our dinghy and outboard to get on land or take during daytimes a ferry shuttle service.

This storm announced the winter season. Temperatures fell by nearly 10 degrees and the mountain tops were covered with white powder of snow. The raise of the dam levels is attributed to the melting of this thin snow blanket.

 

Überraschungen und Hektik

folgten von nun ab Fuß auf Fuß.

Während unseres Urlaubes bekamen wir eine SMS von „Home Affairs“, dass unsere Einreichungen für die „Permanent Residency“ zum Abholen bereit lägen.

Wir beendeten unseren Urlaub einen Tag eher und schafften es gerade noch rechtzeitig vor 15.00 Uhr Schlusszeit dieses Amtes, unsere Papiere zu bekommen.

Richard ist nun Südafrikaner und ich bin abgelehnt worden. SPRACHLOS? Waren wir auch. Ich hatte die nächste Zeit einen Nervenzusammenbruch und wollte nur noch heim. Heim nach Deutschland zu Kindern, Enkeln und in mein Haus. Armer Richard. Für ihn war es mit Sicherheit am schlimmsten, weil er mich gar nicht mehr händeln konnte und voll beschäftigt war, alle meine Papiere vorzubereiten, die ich für einen Einspruch und eine neue Einreichung eines neuen 4 Jahres Pensioners Visa brauchte. Ich habe komplett gestreikt, habe nur noch geblockt und wollte nicht mehr.

Sven hat das Ganze das Erste Mal mit seiner Aussage zum Lachen gebracht, als er fragte: Was machst du denn jetzt, Papa? Schickst du Mama heim? Super, sie kann sofort bei mir als Sekretärin anfangen. Und- wie viele Frauen nimmst du dir dann?

Was war passiert? Home Affairs hat meinen Antrag nicht nach den am Tag der Einreichung geltenden Regularien geprüft, wo das Bruttoeinkommen maßgeblich war. Zwischenzeitlich sind die Bestimmungen noch wesentlich erschwert worden und das regelmäßige Einkommen wird netto gecheckt. Das an einem Tag, als der Rand super gut stand – und ich war knapp 100 Euro unter dem Limit.

Das ist die Strategie, wie uns von dem von uns beauftragten Unternehmen erklärt wurde und auch überhaupt kein Einzelfall: Unfaire Begutachtungen und Ablehnungen, weil sie ja keine Weißen im Land haben wollen. Viele Pensionisten sind vom jahrelangen Warten inzwischen zermürbt, krank oder haben einfach nicht mehr die finanziellen Mittel, um Einspruch einzulegen und den erneuten Antrag auf ein neues 4 Jahres Visa zu stellen. Also kommen nur noch wenige Berufungsanträge zurück, was im Sinne der Regierung ist.

Wir haben erneut mein mittlerweile auch gestiegenes Einkommen nachgewiesen sowie die Mieteinnahmen unseres Hauses dazu addiert. Und ich liege mit meinem Einkommen nun doppelt so hoch als die offiziellen Anforderungen auch für Nettobeträge ausgewiesen sind.

UND JETZT WARTEN WIR WIEDER! 6 Monate plus für den Einspruch!!!

Mein 4 Jahres Visa wurde inzwischen bis September 2021 verlängert.

Richard hat nun schon seine SA ID beantragt und seinen SA Führerschein bekommen. Das liest sich so leicht, war aber ebenfalls ein langwieriger und zeitaufwändiger Prozess mit Vorbereiten von Papierkram am Computer sowie stundenlangem Warten in der Schlange vor diversen Amtsschaltern!

Als wir vom Urlaub zurück waren, waren natürlich keine der abgesprochenen und versprochenen Arbeiten an Bord von Camaheto erledigt, was mir den letzten Dämpfer gegeben hat. So starteten wir also wieder wie vorher mit unseren seit 2 Jahren offenen Baustellen. Wir müssen versuchen, uns nicht so aufzuregen, was bei mir kaum mehr möglich ist, weil ich endlich mal ein gemütliches Zuhause haben will, das nicht von schwarzen Schuhabdrücken, silbernen Metallspänen oder Holzspänen, Sikaflexabdrücken etc. gekennzeichnet ist.

Ich versuche mich grade wieder aufzurappeln, meine Musik zu spielen und einen normalen Alltag zu leben. In der Seenotrettung sind wir beide wie gehabt involviert und ich hatte die letzten Wochen mehrere Controllerfortbildungen zu absolvieren. Inzwischen hatte ich auch schon meinen ersten Rettungseinsatz in Eigenverantwortung im Kontrollraum zu absolvieren, was von morgens bis Mitternacht gedauert hat. Aber ich habe es geschafft, konnte alle Konversationen in Englisch verstehen, aufnehmen, antworten, protokollieren, die Logbücher und Papiere bearbeiten sowie die PC Arbeit machen. Ich war echt stolz.

Anfang des Jahres hatten wir wieder heftige Feuer in und um Simon’s Town. Der gesamte Berghang brannte lichterloh bis zu den Häusern. Mehrere Familien verloren ihr gesamtes Hab und Gut. Wir hatten Angst, dass auch unsere in einer Garage direkt am oberen Rand des Hanges gestaute Campingausrüstung ein Raub der Flammen werden könnte. Wenige Meter vor dem Grundstück konnte das Feuer gestoppt werden.

Die Seenotrettung unterstützt und hilft nicht nur auf See, sondern auch bei allen anderen Fällen von Unglücken oder Naturkatastrophen. Dieses Mal nahmen sie mich mit zu einem Einsatz direkt am Feuer, um Campinghäuser zu retten. Noch nie im Leben habe ich Feuersbrünste gesehen wie diese. Das Feuer läuft den Baumstamm hinauf und die gesamte Baumkrone explodiert. Das Feuer kann meterweit springen und wird an anderer Stelle zu einem neuen Feuersturm entfacht.

Noch tagelang später hatte ich mit tränenden Augen zu kämpfen. Richard kümmerte sich in diesen Tagen nur um unser Boot. Der ablandige Wind trieb noch glühende Ascheteilchen über die Bucht auf das Boot. Noch Wochen später hatten wir mit Ascheregen zu kämpfen und unsere Camaheto war schwarz voller Ruß.

Im Herbst und Winter sollte es normalerweise heftig regnen, um die Dämme wieder zu füllen. In den letzten beiden Jahren fiel der Regen zunehmend weniger und schwächer. Anstelle der bei heftigen Regenfällen befürchteten Erdrutsche von den abgebrannten Berghängen kämpfen wir in diesem Jahr mit einem ganz besonders ernsten Problem: Wir haben in unserem Gebiet kein Wasser mehr! Die Dämme sind nahezu leer. Die letzten 10 % des schlammigen Wassers in den Dämmen können nicht mehr als Trinkwasser verwendet werden. Nach einigen Stürmen in den letzten Wochen sind die Dammlevel nun auf 24% angestiegen, das heißt, dass effektiv 14 Prozent Wasser nutzbar ist als Trinkwasser. Es herrschen hier restriktive Wasserspargesetze und –maßnahmen. Trinkwasser darf ausschließlich nur als Trinkwasser, zum Kochen, zur Körperpflege und zum Wäsche Waschen verwendet werden. Waschwasser wird gesammelt und zum Putzen, Gießen sowie zum Spülen der Toiletten etc. verwendet. In den Häusern werden die Abwasserschläuche der Waschmaschinen oder Spülbecken wenn möglich nach außen geleitet und in Wassertonnen geführt, woraus dann der Garten etwas gegossen werden kann. An Pflanzen im Boden stecken Wasserflaschen, die das Brauchwasser nur tröpfchenweise in die Erde abgeben und gezielt an die Wurzeln kommen lässt.

Nach unserem Sport duschen wir in einer Wanne stehend. Wasser wird permanent an- und abgedreht. Wasser an: Nass machen. Wasser aus: Einseifen. Wasser an: Kurzes Abduschen. Ausgiebiges Duschen ist nicht mehr möglich. Richard und ich verbrauchen pro Dusche für beide von uns gerade mal einen Eimer Wasser.

An unserem Steg gibt es nur noch an zwei Tagen in der Woche für jeweils eine Stunde Wasser zum Auffüllen des Tanks. Unsere Waschmaschine ist nun an das Tankwasser angeschlossen und wir waschen maximal eine Ladung Wäsche pro Woche.

Es wird ungefähr 3 Winter mit anhaltenden Regenfällen benötigen, bis die Dämme wieder nahezu gefüllt sind.

Der letzte große Sturm vor knapp zwei Wochen hat wieder nur wenig Wasser von oben gebracht. Und der Starkwind hat den Regen auch noch von den Dämmen weggeweht.

Dafür hat der Sturm mit Spitzen von 65 Knoten in der Marina einen immensen Schaden angerichtet. Alle Brücken zu den Stegen sind gebrochen und wir mussten mit unserem Beiboot sowie Außenborder fahren, um ans feste Ufer zu gelangen oder tagsüber die kleine Fähre benutzen.

Mit diesem Sturm hat hier auch der Winter begonnen. Die Temperatur fiel um fast 10 Grad in den Keller und die Berggipfel waren weiß überzuckert vom ersten Schnee. Dass der Pegelstand der Dämme etwas zugenommen hat, ist überwiegend auf das Schmelzen dieser dünnen Schneedecke zurückzuführen.

Adventure Holidays Two by Two

Since more than a year long holidays for several weeks are planned and booked for end of February.

At this time I was as tired, nerved and stressed from all those excitements that I rather didn’t want to go anywhere. As a matter of fact I would have missed lots of fantastic experiences which I don’t want to miss.

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First stage was a four day 4×4 Ecotrail with our car, a ranger’s buggy and three other private cars through the Kgalagadi, a part of Kalahari.

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To be completely self sufficient was called for, night stops in non secured bush camps. Dinner around a fire place with roaring lions not too far. Sleeping in a tent knowing that the ranger takes care of us, his rifle next to him.

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Showering behind an open wooden wall with a bucket over ones head, “long drop” next to it, which content was covered next day before start with cold wood ash from the fireplace to prevent unpleasant smell. During the day convoy driving through steppe and veld, through man-high grass and over sand dunes, uphill and downhill.

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Via radio consistency and grade of the next sand dune to negotiate was announced and off it went. Keep distance from the car in front, watch the car behind if he can close up, waiting until our group of five cars is complete, and continue.

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Due to heavy rain falls steppe and dunes are vegetated and blossom in full colors. We see lots of small animals, many birds but unfortunately no lions. In breaks our ranger explains us many small and interesting details.

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Following this four day trail we stay privately a bit more than a week in the Kgalagadi in different camps. First time in our lifes we see lions lying on the road directly next to our car,

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hyenas crossing the road in a distance of 3 to 4 meters,

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young jackals playing around our car,

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And – how could it be diffent: amidst from nowhere a punctured tire:

Next to 9!!! Adult lions, 7 lionesses and 2 male lions, completely pigged out and sleeping or dozing. Thank God!

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We turn around and drive very slowly to a picnic place nearby, which is also not fenced in, and change our on the side slashed tire.

A German couple with a rental 4×4 safari buggy is sitting the whole time at a picnic and gobbling their food. My loud and unmistakable plea that we would appreciate help to lift this very heavy car tire, vanishes in the chewing noise of those both obese Germans. Richard and I feel like being a welcomed entertaining TV show! Later in the camp we saw the couple more often: eating, eating, eating! No wonder that more and more Germans have to fight with obesity.

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As we continue early morning and cross the border to Namibia, I nearly step with my flip flops at the entrance of the customs office onto a small but most harmful and venomous scorpion, that is kicked with the boots of an armed soldier into the next bushes. Whew, that might have easily go wrong!

At Marienthal we get as only guests a nice spot for our tent at a not yet opened camping site next to a farm house. It is wonderful to be again alone for some time! In the morning we walk to the farm house for breakfast, evenings for dinner.

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We can enjoy the pool and sit in the shade a long drink in our hand. A short timeout from the camping slogan “DO IT ALL YOURSELF”.

We love the style of the farm house with 12 small, quaint cottages, its trimmed garden with lovely stone figures and attached fields for own vegetables and own waterhole.

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One afternoon as we come back earlier as planned to our tent, we just come in time: the moment we drive with our car in the camping site our tent is just opened by two young rouges, who spotting our car go on a run over the fence and adjacent fields. We alerted a search team from the farm house and shortly later they returned with the leader of a squatter camp and three youngsters who have been caught close by, next to a river. We cannot identify anybody with certainty

This event makes us change our complete camping behavior immediately:

Inside the tent we store only what’s absolutely necessary for the actual dwelling. We live out of boxes inside the car, which are rearranged accordingly. Leaving the tent all which is not nailed down is stored and taken with inside the car. But this provides us with a not to underestimating security feeling. We learn our lessons! But it is also a pitty that one is forced to be suspicious and to be wary.

Here in Marienthal Richard changed completely frustrated about the permanent tire punctures all six Bridgestone Duellers for BFGoodrich AT tires. Since then no more punctures happened. TOI, TOI, TOI!

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Next stage is for three days Namib Naukluft, a wild mountain area with demanding hikes through boulders and mountain brooks. It is hot and sticky with thunderstorms in the evening.

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In places during our for hours lasting hikes we are accompanied by groups of monkeys, the big baboons, which sometimes come as close that it makes me shiver.

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The ranger tell us that last year during a long lasting drought the baboons rioted the camps to steal food, as they couldn’t find anything in the nature. At no circumstances we should keep food inside our tent, as they would possibly tear of the zip. So we get more and more used to living out of our car’s boot. Lastly all gets natural and every piece finds its explicit place in the trunk.

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At one of our hikes we bath naked in a natural water pool and enjoy in this heat the cold water. A sharp eye is upon our clothes that they are not stolen by some curious baboons. This would be really the last what we need – walking back to the camp, naked!

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We continue after this to Sesriem, a touristy high light at the west coast of Namibia with sand dunes which are reckoned to be the worldwide highest with up to 300 meters.

Some of those you can climb up the crest to the top: an unique experience at sun rise!

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We encounter our first sand storms, which appear out of nowhere and force up to thigh up our small tent like a spiders web and place our evening meal in a split second in the boot.

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After Sesriem we want to drive on the Namibian site through the Richtersveld National Park. We stop at the turnpike of the entrance to the National Park to show our papers. A Namibian and a South African officer on duty want to search our car for weapons. As I assure that besides our knife in the rack between the front seats no weapons are in the car the drama starts. The Namibian officer wants to confiscate the knife because we could be killed with our own knife when being attacked. He wants to send the knife to Windhoek where we could pick it up in a couple of weeks. Now I had enough: I explain Richard that he shell take back the knife and turn round on the spot and not to drive through the park. Now the South African officer relents and suggests to find a safe place for the knife in the side cover of the trunk. The Namibian officer is now “pissed off” and starts to check my backpack, my wallet and several compartments for diamonds. As another car stops behind us he gives in after taking a handful of goodies I offered him.

Wow – this was clearly an attempt to get hold of our knife or have it ransomed for money. We can enter the park and enjoy a marvelous scenery of rugged mountains and wilderness next to an Orange river which leisurely but mightily flows along.

I notice again that Richard is much too soft to oppose against such people and their machinations. I don’t give in so easily.

Following this we spend two days / three nights at Norotshama River Resort in a cozy small one-room cottage with bathroom.

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This small oasis lays within kilometer long wine growing areas which are irrigated directly from the mighty Orange River. We treat ourselves with breakfast and dinner and drive during the day through the landscape. Huge townships are next to the road. The huts are build out of reed and prevent that it doesn’t get too hot in the blazing sun.

At the second day – oh wonder: surprise! The heat killed our car battery. It doesn’t budge an inch, not even the remote for the car doors is working. So we have to look for another battery – Saturday, 11:00. But oh wonder, not even 2 km away in a big hardware store we get an even bigger and stronger battery, which is build in temporarily by very the friendly personal.

After this we start to an offroad trip which has been heartily recommended from the locals and graded as easy to medium. We drive into a gorge as majestic that it makes us completely flabbergasted

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Huge mountain walls on both sides of a gravel road. We are completely alone, not a single soul as far as you can see. But for just in case a picnic site for at least 3 parties to fire up a Sunday BBQ. For South Africans nothing exists to deter them from a braai.

The complete route is app. 25 kilometers long and reaches through different landscapes up to a mountain crest and back again to the valley.

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For me it was a terrible fright as our car reaches stone slabs and no path was visible any more. All my pleas to turn around doesn’t help by my husband. He alights and encounters the next meters in front of our car with slanting massive stone slabs and doesn’t react in the slightest to my clamour that we are wrong and that there is no possibility to drive further on. He comes back, starts the engine and drives very slowly but continuously slab for slab and step for step downwards.

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I don’t recognize anything of this, crying and hands in front of my eyes waiting for the “big bang”. But there is nothing, no bang, no rocking, no nothing. All fine. Driver happy, co-driver a nervous wrack.

We stay another three days at a camping site we know already, next to Namaqua National Park and a private park near Springbok. In both parks we do 4×4 offroad drives and enjoy being again the only visitors, as at this time of season there are no wild flowers blossoming and therefore not so attractive for a standard tourist.

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