Sunday, June 12, 2011

The quaint hamlet of Suurbraak

Riding through the tiny hamlet of Suurbraak on our recent motorbike trip to the Southern Cape, I took photos from back of the bike. Of the many houses lining the road we travelled on, I chose two below.

A chimney pot and plastic buckets testify to house without electricity and running water

The little village of Suurbraak lies in a fold of the Langeberg Mountains just down from the incredible Tradouw Pass. It's a village that gives an new meaning to the word 'quaint', even if, on the whole, it also suffers from neglect and many of the locals' cottages are sadly in need of upkeep. Out here the local community is rather starved of sources of income, although a cheese factory might open soon.

The heart of the village of Suurbraak has been preserved, and the buildings that rest on the village square and the two church buildings have been restored. Suurbraak lies in what could easily be termed a little piece of heaven, and because it is not a commercial centre is left largely alone. The little village came into existence in 1812, as a mission village. Today people still cook on wood burning stoves, use donkey-drawn ploughs and horses and carts to get around - it's really old-style living, mostly untouched by development.

Two doors further I snapped this house. Progress? I think so. It had a rain water tank on one corner of the house and a solar panel on the roof

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  1. I always get excited when I see people are using solar panels. Over and over, I tell my husband, "We live in the sunniest part of Canada (true) and we should have solar panels" but he ignores me. Sigh.
    — K

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

  2. Solar pannels are very in fashion in Belgium. You even get some money from the government for the installation. It's real worthwhile and you can safe a lot of money for the electricity and Belgium is not a shunshine country at all.

  3. The second house must be home to the wealthier inhabitants of the community. Solar panels and water tanks are major improvements in such a poor village.

  4. I wish they would make solar panels more affordable. That way more houses and people would be able to take advantage of the solar power. It is great to see it being used in Africa.

  5. These houses look similar to some cottages out in rural areas of Ireland that I saw in 1969.

    I liked seeing the solar panels and the rainwater collection tank.

  6. When I went to Kenya 22 years ago I had no knowledge of solar and how it works. Now in retirement I have purchased a cabin in the mountains where it is the source of my electric power for 7 lights - and also use the 5 batteries to operate an "on-demand" water pump for the kitchen sink, the shower, and indoor loo!


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