CALUEQUE - RUACANA
This story is not about a war although one was raging in the distance and had nothing to do with me. Or so I hoped. I somehow seem to be attracting wars (not whores) where ever I go. Calueque is about 20km upstream from the Ruacana falls on the Kunene falls, just inside the Angolan border.
The department of water affairs bakkie was giving problems and had to be taken to Windhoek for repairs. That means Zion. At the same time an SWAWEK plane would take off from Windhoek airport and carry 5 senior water Affairs officials to Ruacana. I was asked to accompany the officials because I could then have a good insight as to the progress of the building of the Ruacana dam. On arrival in Windhoek, as planned I parked the bakkie at the airport and unloaded the keys at reception.. The plane was waiting, one of those small jobs with a propeller on either wing. Eventually it became airborne and I became a better Christian. Flying is not for me. I aided the pilot by checking if the propellers were always running. The ground was so far away, it seemed. Then, as luck would have it, we hit turbulence and and I thought here we go to meet our maker. chop-chop. Thje landing at Ruacana was perfect and the plane taxi-ed into a hanger. The pilot told us to wait before disembarking and not to touch the air frame. When It was my turn I unthinkingly touched both sides of the door frame. Ever been hit by lightning? It felt like touching the overhead lines.
We were led to the living quarters of the contractors and enjoyed a good breakfast. Beer was offered and we reminded the waiter that we cannot drink during working hours and were, in turn, reminded us that we were not in South Africa. And after breakfast we trudged on in our Safari suits toting files and whatnot. The workings at the ruacana construction site was impressive. We planned to take a look at the Calueque weir but prohibited to do so due to military action in that area. We did a thorough inspection of the sites and then decided to have lunch. This time we drank the beer. After lunch we made a trip to the general stores to check out the stock levels. The store was a huge building with a staircase stuck to the side and terminating onto a platform. The inside was sweltering hot and muggy. We waited on the platform for the store man. About 200metres ahead and to the right we could see a guard post at a break in the barbed wire fence. There were two guards doing duty. That means wondering around looking for something to entertain themselves.
One of the officials, in a hoarse voice, told us to get into the building immediately. When I looked up I could see the one guard aiming his rifle at us. About 8 persons passed through the door instantly.
The plane was scheduled to return to Windhoek at 2 ‘0’clock and I had to stay behind because another senior official would take my place. ..
A truck would be leaving the next morning and there was place for one passenger. I slept over and next morning rode back to Swakopmund in the truck. (SWAWEK is the parastatal equivalent to ESCOM)
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