From the Pen of
At last we have laid the slab to our new house! In fact as I write the bricks
are up to the top of door height. After months of paperwork and preparation, we have finally reached the stage of tangible proof of our efforts. It was quite an experience to drive out to our plot and see the first budding fruits of our labours. I certainly had times when I wondered if it would actually happen or if it would fall through and we would be back to square one.
Nonetheless, there it is. We looked with a large degree of pride at our little place. A strong feeling that as the bricks continued to go up our roots continued to go down.
A good school situated, by road, 500 meters from our house has accepted Rachel, making our position perfect.
Later, as we spoke about it (not that we spoke about much else), we wondered what it was like for our ancestors to have arrived in South Africa in 1820. They disembarked, were taken some miles in land and had their goods dumped in the middle of the bush. And there they were. Certainly no going back, but nor was there anywhere to sleep that night, no hotel to check into or friends to put them up. Just bush, wild animals and hostile natives.
Even some 70 years later when in about 1890 the first Dodge went out to try this new country, life was tough. Few doctors to go to when you were sick, materials and infrastructure scarce, if available at all, and out in the areas far from the big cities, life hadn't changed much at all. My grandmother told me of how she used to ride a donkey to school and oh, the excitement of their first car! You couldn't call a tow truck if your wagon broke and should you be attacked there was no phone to summon aid. None of this is unheard of in any country, but consider how recent this was!
I am also in wonder at how different things could be - My great-grandfather, James Dodge took part in the abortive 'Jameson raid'. There were only 500 men in Jameson's column that marched into the Transvaal to support the Uitlanders uprising (which never happened). It was a disaster and many of the men were killed. That my great grandfather wasn't one of those killed is obvious from 2 facts: I have a letter by him from Bulawayo (in what was then Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe) post-dating the event and second (and perhaps most importantly) I am alive which I wouldn't be if he hadn't survived (the raid predating my grandfather's birth). So we are pioneers in a less dramatic, less dangerous sense but, for us, a no less exciting one.