Ho Hum


Well, it’s been a fairly boring and wasted day here.

Went to the school this morning and did my teaching, but all of my computer students were unavailable for this afternoon, so Oscar and I were supposed to go to to some small town today in the other direction from Manguzi.

Unfortunately Oscar has not shown up – and he has the USB modem for the camp computer with him, so I can’t even do schoolwork. I’m writing this at the lodge and will save it until I can get it up at the camp. AND he hasn’t phoned – just like a man, eh?

I have heard from the camp gatekeeper that he may be out of the camp, as supposedly there were two lions that have been seen outside the camp. If there’s a hole in the fence and the lions are getting out of the park, they have a real problem and will have to get it fixed asap. Also he may be in an area with no phone towers, though that seems unlikely in this land of cell phone saturation. I’ll let you know when I find out.

I saw the strangest little lizard last night – it looked almost transparent. It wasn’t a chameleon, I don’t think, since as far as I know they’re all tall and thin, like a leaf set on edge. Didn’t get a photo, as it was on a late night trip to the biffy and didn’t have my camera.

Also saw the biggest kudu that I’ve ever seen, and he walked into the bush before I could get my camera focused. Same problem with the duiker. They are very small – about the height of a Newfoundland dog, but small and slight. They come in red, brown and “blue”, and move so fast when they spot anything that moves, that I may never get a photo of them. Darn!!

I did though try and get a few small video sequences with my Fuji still camera – it will take short 1 minute videos of dubious quality – but I may be able to get them on-line when I get my modem back. We’ll see . . .


Well, the lions did escape – dug under the fence. They had to be killed, since they will never ‘unlearn’ that behaviour and will teach others.

Saw my ‘transparent’ lizard again. he has developed a more “white folks” pinkish flesh tone and has some black spots too. Must have been fresh-hatched or something.

Things starting to get green here at an amazing rate – and all with no rain! It’s hard to believe. The difference in the number and type of bugs between this week and last is also amazing, though not quite as fascinating to most people over 12. It also has gone up to the 90s every day for the past week, and usually only down into the 70s at night. If it gets much hotter, I may just chicken out and head for the city earlier than planned. Though our little cabins do have AC, the problem is working in the heat. By the time I get home from my couple hours at the school in the morning, I’m already feeling like sleeping until the next day, and I still have to prepare lessons and teach at the lodge in the afternoons.

There is something very puzzling here with the cactus plants. I’ve seen the same types of cactus in other places, but here they grow much bigger and get bark on them at the bottoms just like trees. Can’t decide whether they’re fish or fowl . . .

Had fun at school today – in one of the classes we conjugated the verb ‘to dance’ with appropriate action. And you should hear them sing – even the kindergarten and Grade 1s sing harmony, and every morning when I get to school they’re singing. What a wonderful way to start the day.

Haven’t gotten around to posting the video yet, will see about it soon, but will put some pix up today.

African sunset

Mom and baby

Program messing up again – no more pix tonight.



  1. Davina said

    Hi its Davina, I know your in africa and I know your are teahcing.I met my teacher today and I know what my class looks like now. I love you. When you get back I will give you a hug for doing a good job.
    Love Princess Davina

    * * * * *
    Hi Davina:

    I love you too, and I will need lots of hugs when I get back.
    Say Hi to your mommy, and Victoria and Donovan too.
    ~Granny M

  2. MT said

    Howzit, grannym!

    Temps here sound about the same as yours. Way too hot for fall, and we need rain as well. In three months we’ll be grumbling about the cold. Why are we never happy with the current conditions??? The grass is always greener – blah, blah, blah. Sorry about the lions, poor things. They probably were thinking “The grass is always greener …” themselves.

    *** ROFL – how true. Maybe I’d better just button up before someone decides to shoot me, eh?? ***

    Have you seen your chameleon yet? You’ll never forget the strange thing when you do. They have the weirdest little ‘hands’, more like two opposable fingers, and their eyes move independently. Was holding one when some local kids came up and they were freaked out by it. They think it has bad magic and is a tokolosh (like a ghost). Frogs spooked them as well.

    ** I have seen chameleons, but not here so far – just gecko type little guys, which actually seem to be quite a variety and since I don’t know who they are, just call them all house lizards. **

    Are your cacti prickly pear (like huge mouse ears) or are the tree things euphorbia? Isn’t it amazing that plants can grow so big under such harsh conditions? When the rains come everything will come into flower and have a different kind of beauty.

    ** Euphorbia, and another type, but don’t think prickly pear. The huge-eared cacti here I think are called lipstick cactus – or at least that’s what they called them in Cuba. They have the cylyndrical scarlet blooms on the tips of the leaves. **

    Laughed about your cellphone comments – how so many people have them, yet most of them don’t phone to say they are going to be late or are not coming at all. Look for the cellphone towers in and around Durban. They rise above everything, but have been camouflaged to look like huge palm trees standing stiffly on the landscape.

    ** Those I’ve gotta see . . . **

    Agree with you about the kids’ singing abilities. Makes you want to cry when they break into that harmony at the drop of a hat. And some of them have so little to sing about ………….

    Hope I am not pestering you with my e-comments, but I do enjoy reading about your adventures. If you get a chance, please tell me what park you are working in with the elephant-tracking and how you got to know about the volunteer program. That’s all from steamy Ontario tonight. Sala gahle!

    ** Keep on pestering, please!!! I so love to hear your experiences and ideas it’s really adding to my stay here. I’m doing both elephant monitoring and lion monitoring and it’s great. I found out about this place by doing a web search, I think on volunteering, but can’t remember. It’s called Tembe Elephant Park. Look it up. They’d love to have you here for any length of time you wanted to come, I’m sure. There is a volunteer page on the site that tells you all the different things you canbe involved in as a volunteer. Hamba gahle! ***


  3. MT said

    It’s MT again. Just read BBC Online story about two woman near Manguzi being harmed because of ‘bad muthi’ spell at highschool. SA paper had reported story, but had not mentioned place. How awful! Hope you and your classes are OK.

    ** Could you spoosible get me the URL in case I can’t find it? The computer is a bit touchy about may things, searching seems to be one of them. Thanks. And thanks for passing that on. We are fine here. **

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