November 15, 2015 12:46P post cont …
While Mafuka continued making the bracelets out of the baobab tree fibers, he invited us to ask whatever questions we like. After all, we’re out in the middle of nowhere so, other than a nearby fisherman down on the riverbank, who else in the world is going to overhear our discussion? No one! Our questions eventually led us to another controversial topic: Parents teaching their kids about sex. Here in Africa, what a child learns about sex is from another adult figure other than their parent. In fact, parents won’t even so much as kiss one another in front of their children. Vitalis seeing your parents kiss would only occur at a special event, such as a wedding, and it would be very brief. These affectionate displays are kept private. So when a parent realizes it’s time for one of their children to learn about the birds and the bees they will approach a respected elder in the village that’s close to the child (say an uncle, grandparent for close family friend) and ask them to have “the talk” with the child. It’s not that it’s too embarrassing for the parent to talk to their child about sex, it’s simply that it’s not an appropriate behavior in the African culture. Very interesting.
While we were all standing beneath the thatched roof of the stone pavilion, listening to Mafuka, we spotted a crocodile floating along in the water down below. In the distance, there arose a rather plump hippo.
Speaking of animals, when you’re out on these game drives, never assume any of them to be uneventful. On our ride back to camp, we had a near assault with a rather upset teenage male elephant. I was able to get some great photos, being so close, but wished I had caught the experience on video instead. Here’s what happened: we were driving up the dirt road and spotted two elephants to our right. The nearest one was not happy to see us. He raised his head and threw out his giant ears.
I zoomed in my camera lens and got a great close-up shot. This one is definitely getting framed!
Our guide Thabani said that the elephant was probably trying to cross the road and our jeep had interrupted his path. The second elephant stayed calm in the background but the one nearest to us, continued staring us down. For a moment, I sensed that he and I had locked eyes. I moved my camera out of sight worried that he might think it was some sort of weapon. He began swaying his head from side to side, flopping his ears.
We all sat there breathless with our hearts racing. Thabani backed up the jeep to make room for the elephant, who them stepped into the road. As he crossed the road he faced us head on and ran forward. We thought we were about to get plowed over by this massive creature. Suddenly, he reared back and trumpeted loud. None of us could move Oddly enough, Thabani and Vitals, seated at the front of the jeep, appeared perfectly calm – almost relaxed. After the elephant cross the road he rounded one of the mopane trees, tilted down his head and thrusted his entire head and body into the tree knocking it to the ground. Wow! Now the road was clear and Thabani turned around and asked: “Had enough?” Each of us swallowed the lump in our throat and assured him that we were ready to get the heck out of there!
Now that we are back at camp, I am relaxing on the front porch of our tent enjoying the peaceful view. At each the 4 camps I have collected a small handful of dirt from just outside our “tent.” The dirt I collected from this particular camp was a few feet from the stairs to our tent and had a lion print in it. How cool! I’m hoping to find a wood-carved bowl with a lid, identical to the ones placed on the bathroom counters at every one of our tents, holding the powdered laundry detergent we can use to wash our “smalls” (underwear).
Before our evening game drive, the camp staff is going to show us how they make origami safari figure out of table napkins. Lots of laughs.
Maybe this is just a guy thing but it’s so cool to stand over a toilet as you’re gazing out through your screened tent window into the nature of Africa. Haha!
I love watching all the warthogs run away. They’re so cute with their tails sticking straight up like an antenna and then having to stop and look back at what they’re running from because they’ve forgotten. So funny.
Back at tent 9 relaxing in my very comfortable bed. It’s a cool, clear night with no lightening or thunder so hopefully we get a good night’s sleep.
Napkin folding was fun to watch and our game drive’s main highlight was pulling up to the top of a ridge for a stunning look of the golden and green valley below.
This was a great opportunity for Aryn, Judy, Katheryn and me to capture a picture together with the beautiful view in the background.
Two particular palm trees were pointed out to me as resembling the facial image of two lions. Very cool.
We remained up on that ridge, taking pictures and mingling, right through to the final drop of the sun into the horizon. It was a beautiful experience I will never forget.
Our drive back to camp was full of laughter as Aryn, Katherine, Judy, Cheryl, Donna and myself joked about making up some extravagant tale we could boast to the group in the other jeep about what we saw on our drive back. The story took the embellished and hilarious turn (thanks to Cheryl’s contagious laughter) of our group witnessing an elephant giving birth to a baby. Before you knew it we were fabricating that the infant got stuck halfway outside of the mother and Cheryl had to get down from the jeep and assist in delivering the baby! She said: “Oh yeah, I just reached right in there and pulled on the baby’s trunk!” We laughed the entire way back to camp.
(Note: I just heard a hyena in the distance).
Aryn and Cheryl both have much nicer cameras than my Canon Power Shot. Aryn has a DSL and Cheryl a two DSLR’s. I know they were able to get some pics of animals running or birds in mid-flight that my camera’s shutter speed is too slow to catch. Cheryl’s always so funny when she gets one of those unexpected amazing shots – with an expression on her face as if to say: “Wow. That was 100% luck.”
I’m off to sleep now. Tomorrow we are visiting a village “homestead” and an elementary school. These are schools that OAT supports and money has been raised at this particular school for a computer room.