26 January 2012

Off the beaten track: Outing during holidays

When we have long weekends or holidays, it is not usually easy to go for outings and  enjoy communicating with nature in highly polluted cities like Chennai where I live.  This is one of the reasons why I have always liked to live in villages (or towns such as those in which I worked during my tenure in Africa many years back). Travelling on African roads was always pleasant as you can understand from the following photo which shows the road between Addis Ababa (Capital city of Ethiopia) and Sheno, a village near the city. I taught Physics in Sheno Secondary School in 1982-83. I and my newly married wife used to travel to the city almost every weekend.

This evening, my memory took me to an enjoyable visit to the gigantic Victoria Falls in the late 80's. Local people call it "Mosi-oa-tunya" which means "The smoke that thunders". (Back home in India, I remember a visit to the beautiful Hogenakkal waterfalls near Bengaluru when I was a high school student. `Hogenakal' comes from the Kannada language term `Hogeiyina kallu' which, interestingly, means nearly the same as that of Vic Falls).

I enjoyed self-driving my car to the falls located at nearly 2000 km from where I worked, thanks to my trust worthy Toyota Corolla and nice Southern African highways.  Staying overnight enroute would be no problem, thanks to my camping kit (which I always used to  carry).

As we drive, we can hear the sound of the spectacular falls several kilometres before reaching the site. If we are lucky, we can see beautiful animals such as elephants and giraffes crossing the road much gentler than we do.

As we reach the site, the beauty of the waterfalls and the rain forest in front of it overwhelmes of our thought. As soon as we enter the gate, we come across a statue of David Livingstone, who is considered to have discovered Victoria Falls. Like Niagara Falls which has the US and Canada on its sides, Vic Falls has Zambia and Zimbabwe on its sides. There is a bridge which connects these two commonwealth countries.
In front of David Livingstone's statue

In front of the rain forest
Sometimes, I used to  travel with friends such as Balasubramanian (fondly called `Bala'). (Bala was one of the officers deputed from Indian Air force to impart training to local Air Force Personnel). He was a very nice person from a Brahmin parentage. The above two  photograhs were taken by Bala.
L to R: I, Bala's younger son, Mrs Bala and Bala

L to R: Sitting: I and Bala's elder son Standing: Bala's younger son and Mrs Bala. This photo was also taken by  Bala. The background setting is a Southern African styled cottage
Bala's younger son and I in front of the Zambia - Zimbabwe bridge
The sight of elephants and giraffes during the visit was so exciting that I liked to decorate my residence with their pictures. Interestingly, Pam Minter, wife of Peter Minter, a good friend and colleauge of mine, gave a picture of a giraffe made by her, as a gift to me.
Pam's work adorning my kitchen
On realising that the picture deserved a better place, I shifted it to my living room.

My living room

L to R: I, Pam Minter and Peter Minter
Later, I'll write about Minters.

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About Me

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Chennai, Tamilnadu, India
I am a retired K-12 Education Management Professional. I have worked at different levels in K-12 school systems, textbook publishing, elearning and Education NGOs. I have held memberships in The Association for Science Education (UK), American Association of Physics Teachers and The Malaysian Institute of Physics. I hold a 1st class B Sc Degree in Physics followed by B Ed [English and Physical Science] and M A [Childcare and Education] degrees. My published works include 59 articles in teacher development magazines in India and the US and a book entitled `Creative Classrooms and Child Friendly Schools' (listed in Amazon). This book is almost an anecdotal account of my professional experience in six countries (including Cambodia where I worked as Technical Adviser to the Ministry of Education, Youth And Sports). I served as mentor in the Certificate of Teaching Mastery Program offered by Teachers Without Borders.