Monday, February 20, 2012

The long and winding road

Some of you may know that for the past 18 months I've been writing articles and stories for various South African magazines. One such magazine I write for, recently forwarded me my first fan mail. I've copied and pasted the e-mail from the person in yellow here below .

"I was handed a South African magazine today by a friend who had spotted the article, "The long and winding road". He had noted the name "Eldoret" in the article, and knowing that I come from that area, thought that I might be interested. It sparked off many memories for me, as I know the road which Jo describes, one might say, intimately, as my sister, who still lives in Eldoret used to work at the mine in the valley (fluorite being the mineral mined), and, in fact met her husband there. We had a farm not far from the top of that road, and we could drive to a viewpoint a little farther along the same escarpment, and look straight down on the mine workings which are situated in a branch of the Kerio Valley. I still have old black and white photographs taken from that viewpoint, long before the mine started!

I would dearly love to know how you came by this article!! Call it sentimentality or what you will, it was a blast from the past looking at the lovely photographs in the article. Is there the remotest chance that you could maybe fill me in on how you came by the article? Better still, I would love to be able to contact Jo Hedges."
If you'd like to read my story, The long and winding road, as it appeared in the magazine, please contact me via e-mail; I'll send you the PDF. Although the magazine is accessible via the Internet, it takes a while before the latest articles appear online. One of my previous articles ("Au naturel or not?") which appeared in November, can been read here.

I replied to the person who wrote back immediately and said he has many stories and photos which he's offered to share with me. I've been trying to delve - rather unsuccessfully -  into the history of the South Africans who arrived in Eldoret in the early 1900's; I also searched in vain for material regarding the valley where we spent the best year of our expat lives.

In Kenya I came across a magazine called "Old Africa" which has stories and anecdotes about the first settlers (farmers, entrepreneurs, professionals, missionaries) in East Africa. I hope to be able to do something with my new online friends' stories and photos in due course. I will keep you updated.

BTW the man and his wife live in South Africa now. Ironically they stay in the same town where Grant and I grew up, went to  school, married and had our first son! When they moved from Kenya, East Africa to the Natal Midlands in South Africa in 1978, Grant and I had just moved east to the Zululand coast. They lived next door to Grant's parents and he remembers them well, especially as they all served together on the Anglican church council in town.

Have a wonderful week and stay safe and well.




  1. Wow, Jo. Next door to Grant's parents? Is that wonderful or what? And what are the odds? Something good is going to come of this, I'm sure.

  2. That is so neat, Jo. I know you are thrilled to hear from him.. Hope you all get to meet someday. I'm sure you could really exchange many stories....

    We meet so many terrific people when we go on the print media. When I first joined Facebook, I was thrilled to meet up with a couple of 'kids' (who are now in their late 50's) that I taught school to --back in the mid-60's when I first got out of college. I taught these two teens back then when they were dating. They did get married, have adult kids and have grandkids now. I loved catching up with them on Facebook. Hope we can meet up with them sometime... Found out that I am only about 8-9 yrs. older than they are.... ha


  3. Congrats on the first fan mail. It is always good to be recognized.

    Great for you to get published. That is also a very important part of being an artistic writer.

  4. This is fantastic, Jo!! Isn't the internet amazing! How exciting for both of you! I do hope you get to meet soon! I'm sure you'll have some wonderful stories to exchange! I will look forward to reading them! Have a great week!


  5. Ah, the internet. Making it possible to make connections like this. How exciting.

  6. Wow ! that's interesting and how the world is small. I had a look on your article, I think it is wonderful that you can write, imagine people who don't have this gift and sit in the middle of nowhere ! Internet is great !

  7. Great that you have the fans writing to find out more about you!!! You and Grant have to be super-people, for sure. I believe that you miss the long and winding road from Eldoret to Kimwarer Valley! ☺

  8. Wow, it's a small world. That is so great that the man contacted you after reading your article. What fun! I'll be looking forward to seeing some of his old photos.


Thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate your feedback. Jo