I’m a tired girl

Well, it’s been a long day, for sure.

I was up until 3 a.m. last night trying to get the video from my camera to download – and it kept saying it was working, but it wasn’t. I wanted to sleep in this morning, but the sunshine was streaming in by 8:30 so I gave in and got up.

A woman came around from the lodge to say that Ernest wanted to have a meeting with me, and that someone would come to pick me up in an hour.  Ernest came and he had one of the young ladies from the lodge with him and we went to pick up another at her home so that we could take them in to town for their medicals. The lodge had wangled 3 scholarships for their employees to go for a year and study hotel and resort management and so they all had to have medicals before they went – I think for TB and so on since they’d be handling food.

Then we got to the bank so I could get some money to buy a phone. Ernest had been telling me that he wanted me to spend only mornings at the school from now on and make a schedule for the 3 of them to come to the lodge so I could teach them basic computer programs – word processing and spread sheets and the like, so they wouldn’t have to catch up with learning that when they got to the college. Now I just have to get the transportation arranged – that will be “fun”, as usual . . .

Ernest took us to visit friends of his that were at their country place. A really nice hideaway on a lake that is reached by miles of sand track through the scrub. Apparently the lake has no crocodiles, but does have hippos. The nice thing is that there can be no motor boats on the lake because it’s the only habitat for some kind of fish which is not found anyplace else. The peace and quiet was restorative. I could have sat on their deck for days and stared, and not said a word. I have one picture taken past one of the houses and another taken from the deck of the other.

The two Hollanders leave tomorrow, and one of the British girls too, so there is much sadness among the youngsters tonight. To top it off, some of them went to Sodwana Bay today amd though they had been told that they musn’t take excursions without telling Ernest, and that they couldn’t stay out past dark (the park gates get locked at 6 p.m.), they decided to ignore all that. They stopped for pizza on the way home and their car got burgled. Cell phones, gas cards – and the key to the gate that they had wangled from someone – all gone. I was told that they tried to chase the thieves – a very dangerous thing to do here where automatic rifles are commonly owned by thieves – and that then another car with the thieves friends chased them. They had a very hairy time of it, but seemed very unrepentant about the trouble they’d caused, and not particularly grateful that they’d escaped more trouble than they had.

The Hollanders were the leopard research teams, and one of them was an exceptional photographer. I’d love to have many of his pictures, but he did give me some leopard pictures so I could share them with the kids as I may never see one myself. The picture I will post shows the two guys with a leoard they have just anaesthetised so that they could get measurements and put on a collar – I don’t know the exact details of what they were doing. One of them plans to move to Africa permanaetly to work after he graduates.

Then there was dinner at the Lodge again – where the food is routinely awful. I don’t know how they do it. It’s a much better meal to stay here and eat whatever the ‘kids’ cook up.

But the Lodge manager who is a local young Tembe tribe member told a pretty good joke. He said that some Americans came and hired a guide, Sipho, to take them hunting. They had come several tiumes and really liked Sipho, because he knew so much about the land and animals.

This particualr trip, Sipho told them he was getting out of the business and finding another job, since the guide business didn’t pay well enough for him to educate his children properly or feed his family. The Americans tried to persuade him to stay on, as they didn’t want to lose his services. They told hime that they would send lots of business his way. Sipho insisted that he was quitting and they ended up arguing so badly that Sipho went off to sleep beside the river by himself.

The Americans talked it over among themselves and decided that if they gave him a big enough tip and some clothes that they could persuade him to stay on in guiding. They determined that first thing in the morning one of them would go to speak with him, taking the money and the clothing and see what he could accomplish.

Meanwhile, in the night, crocodiles saw Sipho sleeping on the bank in his blanket, and decided he would make a tasty snack. They swarmed up the bank, and each of them got a chunk of Sipho, except for the last crocodile.

Now crocodiles don’t like to eat people’s heads, because of the hair. So Sipho’s head was left. The last crocodile decided that if he held onto the head long enough, the hair would wear off or fall out. So he took Sipho’s head in his mouth and sat on the bank waiting.

In the morning, the designated American made his way down the riverbank with his pocketful of money and his bag of clothing. He turned a corner and was suddenly confronted with Sipho’s head staring at him from a crocodile’s mouth. He backed up and ran back to his own camp.

His mates asked him what he was doing back there with the clothes and money. Hadn’t his talk gone well? The American told his friends “You know, that guy Sipho was just lying to us all along about being poor. I walked down the riverbank, and what did I find but Sipho, comfortably asleep in a LaCoste sleeping bag!”.

It got a good reaction from the crowd around the camp fire, and I laughed pretty hard myself.

One cottage

From the deck of cottage 2

Sleeping Beauty

Well, I finally got this leopard pic up.  I tried and tried to load it, and couldn’t, and had to learn a new way to reduce size as a different program here.  But it’s done . . .



  1. MT said

    Loved the Lacoste joke! But by now, you must have been told that hippos do in more people than any other animal. They can be deadly when cut off from retreating to the safety of the water. (The cottage on the hippo lake sounded lovely. I can hear them snorting and grunting from here.)

    Your word for ‘eggs’ is slightly different from the one I know. Maybe that area of Zululand has a different dialect from the one I’m familiar with in the KZN Midlands. Have to share a story about language confusion. A dear old lady (long deceased) that I knew was a young bride during First World War times in S.A. She was born there of English parents and had never had to do any household duties as there were servants at home. When she married she found herself in charge of a kitchen for the first time – also in charge of a kitchen maid who spoke only Zulu. One morning the lady used her primitive Zulu to ask the girl to gather all the eggs from the chickens and leave them in a basket in the kitchen. When she returned and looked in the basket, she found the bloody sight of the heads of all the chickens! But the girl was only following orders – seems like eggs (amaqanda) and heads (amakhanda) are remarkably alike in pronunciation. Oops!! So be careful what you order for in a foreign language. You might get what you ask for. (By the way, shisa (‘sheesa’) means hot and makhaza is cold. Have picked up a lot of nouns and adjectives over the years, but am not good at stringing words together to form coherent sentences).

    Good luck at finding your leopard. Missed my chance by having a lazy morning in camp in Zambia. The rest of the party got up early and went out for a drive and had one right next to the vehicle – oblivious to them as he was stalking a warthog family. I thought my friends were kidding when they returned to camp and said they had seen the leaopard up close and personal – but they had excellent pics to prove it. So much for sleeping in!

    Looking forward to your next journal entry. Stay safe! MT

  2. RBC said

    Hey, wondered if you took any Canadian flag pins? I was downtown yesterday (Chinese Festival) and Olivia Chow’s office had a booth. Picked one up and couldn’t help but think gee, never thought to mention them to you before you left. They’d be willing to give me about 50 or so and I think some paper flags, if you’re interested. Would need to know how to post them.

    Hi Rhonda:

    Yes, I did take some flag pins. Not sure how many I have, but probably a couple dozen. Mail up here is mostly impossible and mostly doesn’t arrive, but thanks for the thought.

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