2013/06/06 03:58 PM
I arrived in the west Caprivi in the late windy August afternoon of 1980, the place that was to become my home for the next nine years was built in three geographical areas with natural boundaries. At one side was the crocodile infested water of the Kavango river and the other side was the dense forest with some of the most dangerous animals. Because we came from Katima mulilo instead of the usually route from sector 20 in Rundu... all the arrivals and departures to Buffalo have to go through sector 20 at Rundu where a thorough inspection and administration have to be completed but for unknown reasons to me we could not secure seats in the military plane from Grootfontein to Rundu, so we boarded the next best flight. Grootfontein to Katima mulilo and then by road to Buffalo, west Caprivi. As I mentioned earlier that lance corporal Tito Apolinario was responsible for my safe arrival to my adopted parents, must also mentioned here that one lieutenant whom I failed to record due to the language or age or both, he was responsible for our safe passage or transportation. The first vehicle that we boarded only took us near Cuando river but Tito Apolinario and I were not allowed to go in, so we have to stay on the side of the road while the lieutenant went in to request for further transport to our destination. After a long wait under the tree, our companion returned with the transport and off we went.
We arrived late afternoon, tired but anxious to see my new home... for days on the road I day dreamed of my future and what I was to find and was looking forward to arriving. The first sign of arrival was at the gate, after a slight hesitation the guards opened the gate and the vehicle crawled in Buffalo but what I did not know was that there was one more mode of transport that we needed to use before my arrival.
The transport brought came to halt at the front of green bungalows with the similar structure and size. Our companion, the lieutenant climbed off the vehicle and spoke to Tito Apolinario and wished me well. Climbed back into the vehicle and sped off. I marched after Tito Apolinario to Alpha company where he was attached and have to hand his gears. Here we met some of his colleagues and after much of excitements of greeting we walked to the river. Alpha company had a beautiful view and few paces to the kavango river. Without any protocol and ceremony we splashed into the water... the waters of the river of the man eaters, crocodiles. After bathing we prepared for the final leg to our destination, this time the mode of transport was a bicycle. This was a common mode of transport for the soldiers to move from the residential area(Kimbo) to the companies(base). We cycled for about seven kilometres through a stretch of the area, the home of elephants and buffalos to Kimbo my new home. Although my adopted family have been anxiously waiting for me, the exact day or time of our arrival was not known. Since we arrived when it was getting dark I had to spend the night at Tito Apolinario’s house meeting his family and neighbour. In the small community, news travelled faster, very fast that my version of the story or who I was hardly mattered and my arrival did the rounds. " the arrival of Tito Apolinario with a young boy shot at both legs by helicopter created wild emotions, a sensational story and commotions that is reserved for the hunchback of Notre-Dame."