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Thursday, 3 October 2013

Our dorp.

"Dorp" is the Afrikaans word for small town, and Estcourt is a small town. Had to go into town very early this morning to draw money at my banks ATM, get there too late and you have queues half way round the block, especially here at the beginning of the month.

Took my camera with to get some sunrise shots over our "dorp".

Click to enlarge.

Sunrise over our "dorp". Just behind where I was standing is the towns water works, the water in Estcourt is very, very good. The tree covered area centre right of the photo is known in Afrikaans as "Skuld bult," translation "Debt Hill", a k a "Snob Hill". The road on the left is the one I use coming in to work every day.

Top end of Wagen (Wagon) Road, on "Skuld Bult", the school I'm librarian at is about 100 meters  behind me at this point.

Heading down "Wagen road", the poor oxen must have sweated pulling loaded wagons up this hill.

Not many towns can claim to have their biggest factory right in the CBD! Directly ahead is the Nestle coffee factory, said to be the biggest coffee producer in the Southern hemisphere, and as you can see they are busy enlarging the plant so as to double it's capacity. Do South Africans like their coffee or what? Here you don't have to stop and smell the coffee, all day long you have the smell of roasting coffee beans permeating the air.

Harding street, the "Dorp's" main thoroughfare, the Nestle coffee factory is just to the left of me at this point. Just across the street on the right are the old Civic buildings, now a National monument. Where the three palm trees are with the two flag staff you can just see part of the Town Hall peeping out.

Albert street, named after Queen Victoria's husband, there is also a Victoria road. The ATM's I made use of are just to my left. On the right you will see a café advertising Halal Food. Most of the businesses in this street are Muslim owned.

Estcourt has a large Muslim community with several mosques. I have made very good friends with several Muslims especially during the time I though I might make my fortune as a businessman, The only people who ever helped me with credit, cash loans, (no security, no interest) were Muslims. There is one to whom I still owe thousands, when I told that the business was going down the tubes and there was no way I could repay him, he shrugged his shoulders and said "ins Allah" (God wills), patted me on the shoulder and told me to forget about it, and that I must never ever think about it again. To this day we are still good friends and I always get a great big bear hug as greeting when we meet.

Estcourt has several other large factories apart from the coffee factory. South Africa's iconic "Eskort bacon" is produced here. When the founders of this business round about the late 1920's approached the town fathers to be allowed to use the town's name as their product name, the horrified answer was a flat "NO!" use the town's name how very low class, thus the spelling "Eskort". There is a huge factory that makes "Masonite" (a tough, hard pressboard) out of low grade timber, a very big milk powder factory, that produces tens of thousands of tons of milk powder for export. There are also a wide range of smaller manufacturers, producing a wide range of goods.

Of course every "dorp" has a garden of remembrance, does not matter how small the "dorp" is there is always one commemorating it's sons who fell during the two World War's and other conflicts. More about this in the next post.


Mark Kautz-Shoreman said...

We've had a couple places where the smell in the air was fantastic. One used to be onions. If you smelled onions, you were in Vacaville. The other is at Ghiradelli Square on San Francisco Wharf. Can you smell the chocolate? Coffee roasting smell must be wonderful.

Kay L. Davies said...

Oh, a town full of the smell of coffee. That's where I want to live. Yum! I'm sure I love the smell of coffee more than I love the coffee itself.
I love the story of your Muslim friend who wrote off your debt with a great big bear hug. If more people read or heard about these kinds of things, perhaps the USofA wouldn't be so terrified of Muslims.
My husband's boss and his family are Muslims, and they are delightful people. We love them.
I really enjoyed your post today, Phillip, seeing the town where you work.

Jo said...

Oh wow, Phil, that was interesting to read about Estcourt and it's businesses. The streets look quite romantic in the early morning sun. It was good to drive through Estcourt last week (we also smelled the coffee) and it was very good to see you again. Blessings and love Jo xxx

Gorges Smythe said...

My wife would love a town that smells like coffee!

L. D. said...

A very interesting post. We toured Kansas City one time and as we passed a processing plant the smell was wonderful. Your photos of the sky and dorp are really wonderful.