Living in love and loving it - got a walk with the puppy dog.
This last year so many people have helped me. I want to thank people and I would love to give Christmas gifts. Yet, my budget is not one that has room for gifts...not even baking cookies which has gotten so much more expensive and most of my friends are healthy eaters.
I have some lovely things from my world travels and I have decided to share some of these with special people in my life. An example: I have a family friend that when my dad needed oxygen and I didn't have my credit card on me, volunteered to put her credit card down. She has arranged flowers for my father in laws funeral several years back, run food across the street for my mom, helped call the plumber while I was mucking out the basement and on and on and on...... Well, I saw that she collects African things. So I decided to give her something I got there and I wrote this to go along with it. I'm going to have to do some thinking about what to do for the rest of the people on my list.
The reservations had been lost at the Seronera Wildlife Lodge at the edge of Ngorongoro Crater. After a long, dusty drive over bumpy dirt paths to see the Tanzanian lions, zebras, elephants and baboons; the whole group was ready for a shower and soft bed. Instead, all the woman of our 2007 mission group packed into a small housekeeping room – on a hard, termite crawling floor.
I tried to sleep, but the wall to wall snoozing bodies blocked that concept, so I decided to get some fresh air. However, as I gently attempted to prop open the door, it locked behind me.
The open air reception area was closed for the night. I laid down on a bench, but the spider monkeys harassed me. I walked over to the rock grotto outdoor bar and in signing hand gestures I tried to explain what had happened to me to the bartender closing for the night. A few men were called and two bamboo sofas were pushed together, a kerosene lamp placed on a table and I was given a smelly old wool blanket which I was thankful for on the cooling night. Then everyone left for the night.
At first I thought, “This is not so bad, I’m going to get a better sleep than the rest of the gang”. Africa is alive at night and had a different plan for me. First, overhead bats flew in catching the many mosquitoes. It was frightening and a blessing at the same time. Just before a biting nat could land on my face a little sonar flyer would swish past my face saving me from the critter. As the night grew cooler bats and bait vanished. Finally some much needed rest.
Then a horrible smell hit my nose. It was the rotten mixture of a dozen cow barns. Then just outside the range of my eyeglass free vision appeared a massive blob. It grew larger and clearer the closer it came. Then I saw a nose as large as my face lean down to smell me. At this range I knew it was a Mbogo, one of the “big five” that kill people. Cape buffalo, along with the lion, leopard, elephant and rhino, as explained earlier in the day by our guide, Simba, were the most dangerous animals on the acacia tree savannahs. The one that claims the more lives each year, was inches from my face. I did the logic thing and played dead and prayed. The buffalo grew bored, instead of gored, moved on. I was also visited by baboons and saw a pack of African wild dogs hunt rabbits along the path, but nothing as terrifying as a huge cape buffalo.
A day before we were to leave our Sakila Village mission trek, we visited the town of Moshi for some last minute take home items. At a leather shop (Tanzanian Craftsmen of Shah Industries Ltd. P.O. Box 86 Moshi Tanzania), I saw albino workmen impressing images of the big five on chairs, purses, and wall hanging. One craftsman was cutting the leather and filling it with sawdust and glue to allow ears to come to life. I purchased the leather image of the cape buffalo in memory that I had left Africa literally meeting the top of the big five face-to-to face.
When I saw your wall of African object I knew my guy had found a new home. So, I hand off this image to you to share with you the knowledge that if anything ugly gets in your face….you can survive it. Amani! (peace)
Side note: Tanzania has the highest albino population in the world. Albino's in Africa are treated very cruely (they are thought to bring bad luck and that their body parts have magic, so they are often killed). The company that made this, employees disabled people and albino's thus saving their lives.