Having left this blog for a few day’s,we now have a few more incident’s/event’s to report on daily life.
Firstly,the other night we had a close encounter with a Hippo of the largest kind. Having gone to bed ,in our little ground tent and with Michael gently snoring, I heard (above the snoring)loud munching,I knew this to be a Hippo as they are usually munching at night,but at least 25 metres away,but as they’ve got used to us being here,they seem quite comfortable to get a little closer, I, however was not quite as comfortable, so gave Michael a sharp prod in the ribs,he awoke,grunting rather like the Hippo himself, but couldn’t understand why I was fretting so much,not until he shone his torch out of the mesh window (this is what you are supposed to do) and Found himself face to face with this enormous(especially when you’re sitting on the ground)Hippo,the creature couldn’t have been less interested,thankfully,but I was cowering under the duvet,with Michael(Ray Mears) assuring me all would be well,I wasn’t convinced,but couldn’t do a lot,not having an emergency exit at the back of the tent and eventually, he strolled away,casual as you like. Needless to say we are now back to sleeping in the roof-tent !!
My version – They dont generally bother people unless you invade their turf -the lake – and despite fears they avoid tents etc as they perceive them as large solid objects. This one was a stubborn old bugger and just took a bit longer to respond than normal. But it was very large and very close. As an aside all the stuff you see on TV about campfires keeping away animals is utter rubbish both hippos and elephants take no notice of them what so ever and i understand thats true for just about everything else – lions included
We decided we would drop off some sacks of maize to the orphanage,as it’s very expensive right now and also in short supply. Having done so they asked us to come back and meet the children.
We duely obliged and arrived there early in the morning to be greeted by the local women singing and dancing,the orphanage committee,the village head man,elders and many children. The Malawians, being very polite placed us on chairs to watch the dancing, I was made to join in with the women’s dance and after some excruciatingly bad dancing from me ,assured them Michael was the better women(sorry man) for the job,as we know how he loves a good dance,even if it is only 9:00 in the morning. The women seemed very excited by this and a crazy lady named Justina took him in hand and they danced like things possessed (reminding me somewhat of him and Diana at one of our parties!!)
After the singing and dancing the children,along with their teacher,spoke in some very good English,given that most of them are only three or four,they all stood up and pointed to eyes ,ears, nose, etc,some simply too shy to perform,but all just gorgeous.
We were thanked by the committee,who would be sharing the maize out according,to those most in need. Michael made a small speech and we assured them we would return,when back from South Africa. We mentioned that Katie might be able to have some fund-raising events at the school where she teaches, maybe a cake making day or the like, so……..no pressure there Katie!!
We left their sweet smiling faces,after what had been a really lovely morning.
The night-watch-man here, Pattison,who again we thought was about sixty,turns out to be seventy -three,became a grand-father for the fifth time,so we promised him a lift to the hospital in Rumphi,to visit baby,mother ,wife,in-laws etc,etc. This all turned into quite a fiasco,in typical African stylee,but that’s another story!
Cutting the story short he was so grateful for the lift(s) he invited us to come and meet his wife and family,whereupon they gave us two large bags of Ground nuts(monkey nuts) and a Chicken,complete with feathers and still flapping! Having tied its legs together we drove home.The worker’s at the camp here then, very kindly offered to slaughter and cook it for us,so we provided the beers and ingredients and we all tucked in and had quite a little party! Earlier, after we had shelled the bags of nuts these were roasted with salt on the fire and eaten as a starter,they went down a treat with the cold beer,which to these guy’s was something of a novelty(being cold I mean)
Heading back up to Nyika next week to visit Geoff&Patsy,before our departure to Cape Town,getting very excited about being on the move again.