It was a sunny morning at the beginning of December in the Old Location of Walvis Bay. Schröder was driving down the streets of the Old Location in Walvis Bay in search of extra hands on his farm in Rooibank to pick and load watermelons onto the lorry and offload them again at the grocery store in Walvis Bay.
He didn’t have the money to pay anyone and wanted to save on labour costs. He drove until he saw a group of boys playing soccer. It was seven year old Kerina Mburumba and his friends, David, Aaron, Frans and Reynold, covered in dust as they kicked the ball in the sand during the December school holidays.
Schröder parked the lorry, almost fell as he hopped off and greeted the children in Afrikaans: “Hoe gaan dit, jong span?” The boys giggled and said:
“Good and you, Sir?” “Og, wat soek die ou man tog hier?” Kerina mumbled to David.
“Let’s see what he wants,” David whispered back, “maybe we can score.”
“Help me to load watermelons on and off my lorry and you can eat as much watermelon as you want,” Schröder proposed. Watermelon! Kerina and his friends didn’t have to think long. “Kom ons gaan!” they called almost in accord. – “Let’s go!”
“Klim in, laat ons ry!” the old man said and the boys pushed each other up into the big lorry.
The boys had to hold on tight because the gravel road to Rooibank was bumpy, but they arrived safely.
After exploring the farm for a bit, they started to pick and load watermelons onto the lorry. They sighed and groaned and sat down to rest after every three of the heavy melons. After about an hour, the four boys walked towards the lorry for a last time – with the last watermelons in their arms and victorious grins on their faces.
“Nou kan julle maar eet!” Schröder said as the watermelon warriors clambered back onto the lorry or rather onto the watermelons in the lorry.
“About time,” Kerina said, when he was sure Schröder couldn’t hear him over the sound of the idling engine. “I thought he would never give us permission to eat!”
The drive back to Walvis Bay wasn’t any smoother than the drive to Rooibank, but the boys didn’t mind. – The red flesh of the watermelons was sweet and juicy and the pips made excellent ammunition for spitting contests. So they ate and ate and spat pips onto each other and into the dust trailing behind the lorry. Little did they know, the combination of gobbling too much watermelon and a bumpy drive can indeed leave them feeling nauseous. So Schröder had no choice but to take the boys home and off load watermelons himself!
Like the boys, I am sure you’d love to enjoy a juicy watermelon right now, so get it at your nearest supermarket or from the fruit and vegetable vendors at the roadside, like those close to the Gondwana offices in Nelson Mandela Avenue in Eros.
A watermelon is definitely delicious on a hot day in Namibia, and the best ones are usually those you get in early December.
You’ll still find good ones now though, and here’s how to pick the best one:
- Pick up the melon and feel its weight; it must seem heavy in relation to its size.
- Look for a yellow spot; watermelons develop a spot where they rest on the ground, and if this spot is creamy yellow, the melon is ripe.
- Tap the melon with your thumb. If it’s ripe it should have a deep, hollow sound. While under-ripe or over-ripe melons produce a dull sound.
It’s still summer, sweltering hot and not too late to enjoy a cold watermelon! – Consider sharing one melon with your friends though, eating one on your own might leave your belly a bit too full for comfort.
Have you ever had a “watermelon experience” like Kerina and his friends? Where do you buy your watermelon? Let us know by sharing your story in the comment section below.
Author – I’m Nela, from Windhoek Namibia but born in a small village called Omatunda in northern Namibia. I am passionate about writing, research and photography, as it helps me gain knowledge about people and my country.