Last week we left Nieuwouldtville for Citrusdal. But before going to Citrusdal Petra, my professor, wanted to have a look for Hyobanches on the Gifberg (the local people call it Chifberch) and we drove up there. It was beautiful and we had an amazing view. At one point my professor jumped out of the car to search for plants. We locked the car and saw afterwards that the keys were still inside. Shit……Shiiiiiiiiiit. We were somewhere in the middle of nowhere on a hot summer day with water inside the car, without reception, where one car a day passes by, and not barely any battery in my smartphone. Could have been a better situation. Vanrhynsdorp was the next city but to walk would have taken nearly 6 hours. Not a real option. After a 15 minute walk we saw a farm far away and we hoped to get help there and we went across the fields. It was a bit dangerous especially when I jumped over a serpent (I was leading our three member team) and Natalie saw it and said “…hmmm. A black snake is laying under the rock. We should have good look where we go”. I just thought “Worst day, worst day. Someone else should go first.”
After 1 ½ hour we arrived at the farm but nobody was there. Really? I went over a fucking spitting cobra and survived to get to a farm with nobody there? Still worst day, but a beautiful farmhouse. We decided to take a break to drink some water out of the garden hose and search the place. Fortunately we found some wire; and the houses of the workers. As good as the farmers house was as bad was the space for the workers. I have seen a few bad places but this was by far the worst and disagreeable.
We went back to the car and it just took another two hours because this time we took the road and I got reception on one of the hills. I googled “Hijacking a toyota hilux with a wire” and found a few tips. Natalies solution was still a stone through a window. An effective solution, yet Petra was not convinced to damage her own car. After 45 minutes we gave up and Petra tried to prepare us for a long night in the middle of nowhere, while Natalie and I prepared her for the stone solution, as soon as the sun would go down and were thinking about going to another farm, when the daily car arrived. We went on the street to stop them and they looked at me not to sure what to do…..I still had my hood on and looked like a potential criminal, but they stopped and we explained our situation. Sometimes life is pretty ironic, because the car was filled with four Germans and two of them were botanists from Cologne. They tried to help us, but after 45 minutes again we gave up. Luckily they brought us to the other farm, but the owners where working in the fields, so we took a break and played with the cat.
After a while we looked a bit around the place and in one of the guesthouses was a couple. While my professor was talking to Michael (at this point we didn’t know the name), his wife offered us nuts and Natalie and me ate thankfully half of the bowl. Michael knew Petra and her project (while she forgot about him) and he offered us his help. He took his own wire and pliers and we went to our car. I took him and me 20 minutes to open our car. He whished us the best of luck and was gone in the next minute to make a barbecue for his wife and himself.
When we sat in the car and I asked Petra about his name, but she had no idea. It was a pity that I didn’t know the name of our savior, especially after a few people asked for it. The next day we met again and their names are Wendy and Michael.