Last night was an interesting night. After dinner, we were all escorted back to our tents by one of the staff with a gun. Once it gets too dark to see, you aren’t allowed to go back by yourself.
I was still warm from the day and really needed a shower. Once I got myself organized, I popped in and cooled off. I wasn’t told this, but others were. You don’t leave the light on in your tent as it attracts bugs. Sure enough I had a done of little suckers on the lamps and the bed.
I decided to keep the fan on as to be part white noise and part cooling factor. I swear I still heard every noise and any footstep outside my room. I actually slept and did hear an animal fight at some time in the night. However, I did miss the elephants trumpeting and a lion roar. Tonight, unless it’s still too hot, I will keep the fan off, so I don’t miss those again! After all, that’s why I’m here.
This morning was out “Day in the Life” experience. We were asked, if we wanted to, to donate $10 and we would go shopping for a village and get them some staple items. We had a small game drive on the way to what they called the “Chicken Bus” and along the way we came across some elephants. Small ones and a couple of large ones. One, I kid you not, came right up to the vehicle. If he wanted, he could have put his trunk in to smell us. I got a video of it but I don’t think it will allow me to put it in here. If not, I’ll try and add it to my gallery. When it finally moved off, Thabani asked if we were scared. We all said no, it was just completely thrilling. A couple of us were actually in tears.
We then made out way to the chicken bus and went into town. The first thing we did was go to a flea market and look around. We were all given names with special meaning and we were supposed to interact with individuals to find out its meaning.
After the flea market, we headed to the grocery store. We were all given a list of 3 items and broke off into 3 groups. The items were in the native tongue, so we had to ask someone what they were. We had cooking oil, tea leaves and maize meal. Unfortunately, the store was out of cooking oil, so we got sugar instead. We gathered our items and Thabani paid with a credit card since they aren’t able to get cash. They’ve adopted American money, but the banks run out of it. So, the cash we collected we gave to Thabani and he paid with his card.
We got to the village and were greeted by the Chief and the women and children. They were singing to us as we got off the bus. It was all I could do not to cry. Not because of the conditions they were in, just because it was so beautiful. They were so welcoming and lovely.
The chief’s wife took us around to show us their kitchen which is hut made out of termite mound mud and a thatched roof. For what it was, it was beautiful and neatly organized. From there, we saw the chicken coop, showers and toilet, the goats and then the house her children built for her and her husband. We went to the vegetable garden and then we washed our hands and went into the summer house. Normally, women sit on mats on the floor and the men sit on the bench seats. I figured, I’m in their country, I will respect their ways. I sat next to a grandmother and her 2 year old grandson. There was another young mother with the sweetest little girl more than 1-1/2 or 2. We all introduced ourselves and told them where we from. They told us what it was like in a day for them. During this part, they wanted us to sample Mopani worms and Baobab fruit. When I heard the worms were coming, I must have made a face because all the women started laughing. They kept encouraging to eat them. That was a HARD NO.
As we were leaving, we thanked them for allowing us to share their home and presented them with the items we purchased in the grocery store. They all began singing again as we left.
I will never, ever complain again about my trivial issues again.
We came back to a delicious lunch of focaccia bread, pasta alfredo, tilapia and fruit.
At 4:30 we headed out for our first official game drive. It started off really slow. No elephant encounters like earlier today but we did see one off in the distance. This park doesn’t have any rhino, so we won’t be seeing any of those. So far, the lions have eluded us. There have been plenty of giraffe including one with a baby today.
We got back late so we couldn’t go back to our tents before dinner. Tonight’s dinner was butternut squash soup, roasted potatoes and roasted chicken. Dessert was chocolate mousse.
Tomorrow we will be out on game drive all day not 2 separate ones. Tonight I will try and sleep without a fan to hear some animals.
Daily Animal Entry: