10/12/91

TUESDAY 10 DECEMBER Our first stop after getting a taxi into town was the Post Office where Linda got 5 letters and I got two. We found a cafe and read them then walked up to the Terreskane Hotel to try and track down Scotty [our driver from the Kumuka overland we did back in 1989] but he had moved so all we could find out was his phone number. 

Within caught a taxi out to the Indian Embassy where we had heard the usual spiel about visas taking a week to get and costing a fortune. They were quite helpful though and we found out that it was possible to get our Indian visas in Pakistan, so we decided to leave it until we were there. 

Then we made an extraordinary discovery: Blakiston Street and Blakiston School! The taxi driver who had waited for us at the embassy dropped us off on Blakiston Street and we took some photos of the sign, then started off up the long tree-lined street towards the school. A further surprise greeted us at the school’s gate – school motto and coat of arms were mine! 

We went in and spoke to the principal who didn’t seem to know anything about the history of the school, but an old white chap told us that it was founded in 1945 and named after one John Leonard (or Lionel) Blakiston who was a telegraph technician and helped rescue a group of children and women trapped at a mine during the Mashona Wars in the 1880s.¹  

I made an appointment to come back and see the headmaster on Thursday then we had a look around the school hall, where the name Blakiston was everywhere: on shields, on billboards, and lists of past scholars. And above the stage was the coat of arms and the Blakiston family motto: Do Well and Doubt Not. 

The old white guy, who was a clerk or something at the school, gave us a ride over to the Sheraton Hotel, as it was hosing down with rain, and from there we walked back into the centre of town. After a lunch of scrumptious steak pies, we went and found Global tours & Travel, where we had been told we could get a cheap flight and pay in Zimbabwean dollars. Sure enough, we were able to book two seats, one-way, to Nairobi on the 2nd of January, and the cost was Z1,27 5 each or about 68 quid. Not a bad deal considering the other travel agent we had seen had quoted us 264 pounds payable and hard currency. 

In the evening we all went to a restaurant called Homegrown for a lot of food!


¹ The Mashona Rebellion was an uprising against the white settlers of Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) bt the Matabele and Shona peoples. Read more about it in this Wikipedia entry.

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