sound of horse hooves trotting down a cobble stoned road came to mind
as my ears became accustomed to the noisy fan in our room. Even with
the fan on the air was suffocating and my skin felt sticky. My mind
began to wander back to a safari we enjoyed in Mana Pools, Zimbabwe.
Our guide Englebert had shared with us a wonderful story about why the
hippo yawns and spreads its dung with the tail.
"Once upon a time there was a hippo named Angel. He loved to roam
the undulating plains of Africa, indulging in its majestic beauty.
Gregarious and convivial he made friends from the enormous sand rippled
dunes of Namibia to the sub tropical forests of Mozambiqe. It was all
so perfect until one unexpected day Angel became very sick. Incapable
of looking after himself, Angels friends came from all over the continent
to build him an enormous nest with manure and hay to mollify his suffering.
Discernibly his condition became worse so collectively his friends agreed
to call upon fire for help.
In the beginning of time the River God Yami Yami had presented all the
animals with the choice of their own partners in nature. The fish chose
water, the termites chose earth, the birds chose wind and the hippo
chose fire. But when fire arrived it inadvertently set poor Angels bed
What a sight to see as two tons of blazing hippo went charging for the
river. The water bubbled and boiled around him as he soothed his scorched
body. Hopelessly Angel was confined to the river for the sun was too
harsh on his now sensitive skin. After a few days of simmering the River
God Yami Yami came down to ask Angel why he was in the river. Angel
explained that fire was his enemy and the river his savior. He begged
Yami Yami to let him live in the river. Yami Yami pondered this request,
but then agreed with one condition. It was blatantly obvious how much
Angel could eat and Yami Yami was worried the fish wouldn't last long
in the river if the hippo were to eat them. So he made Angel promise
to graze the land at night for his food and leave the fish be. And everyday
he must open his mouth wide so the river God could see there were no
fish in it and he must also spread his dung with his tail so that Yami
Yami could see there were no fish bones".
I just thought that was a nice story to share with you all. I know its
been a while since my last email. We have been travelling through some
very rural areas that don't even have electricity let alone a computer
But we are safe and nothing tragic has happened other than our trip
is coming to an end. Three months just seem to slip by and now it's
back to reality. I am sad to say "Good bye" to Africa but
happy to say "Hello" to a hot bath, clean toilets, tasty food,
and a bottle of really good red wine! And maybe a box of expensive chocolate
to finish it off!
© Emma Seguss May 2003
all rights reserved