Like Livingstone many of us arrive on this bank of the Zambezi exhausted, penniless, brow beaten, war torn and parched for new life effervescent with adventure. This kick ass mentality tends to draw the unconventional, the dare devils, the free spirits, the hippies, the mavericks, the cowboys, the Rastas, the musicians, society’s fringe.
There are very few people who leave here unchanged, untouched or sober! Much like a beach culture the combination of all the right elements has that irresistible magnetic pull. Some say it’s the positive ions from the waterfall’s spray, good feng shui. Others say it’s the river, more healthy chi.
The truth is anyone who lives here has given up trying to identify or define it, locals are content just to feel it. In their effort to survive in the jungle imaginations have been stretched, muscles honed and egos largely ignored. A bizarre contradiction of this part of the world is that you won’t go very far if your ego, wallet or assets are the sum total of what you have to offer. There is bush lore to the tune of James Dean’s “Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today.” The ones who have made it in what is truly an inhospitable wilderness are those who have taken on the silence, patience and endurance of their environment.
A born chatterbox this lesson has been as painful and hard-won as the final stages of child birth. I will not speak, I must listen being my daily mantra surely deserves heaven’s blessings. “God give me the strength to live in a small town”. I don’t know who said it, I was told it. Like gravel, it has grit. And like grit it has indomitable toughness. That’ll be Victoria Falls!
Get a local’s perspective in the next chapter on “7 Things You Didn’t Know About The Falls“.
*robot – Zimbabwean slang for traffic light
Photo by Sandi