The Mulobezi Express winds its way between Livingstone and Mulobezi – a logging village in the middle of nowhere – and bisects the farm, almost down the middle. We have to cross it many times a day to get to the top fields.
Derailments are a regular occurrence and often it is out of action for weeks. When this happens the passengers all rally together and using logs as levers and a lot of elbow grease and sweat, somehow manage to lift the train back on its tracks.
When it is in operation we hear it come rattling past twice a week, its wheels screaming in protest – sometimes very late at night – loaded to capacity with people, livestock and goods if it is heading towards Mulobezi, and logs for its return journey. It sounds as if it is heading directly towards the house, which is very unnerving and the dogs always go barking crazy, tearing up and down the fence shouting insults.
Maintenance is a very loose term in this part of the world but from time to time a crew of men are sent along the line to check for problems and, if they can, to fix them. They are always a cheerful bunch and we can often hear their laughter and singing echoing through the trees as they make their way deeper into the forest (the dogs don’t like this either!).