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Hacktreks Travel

Hacktreks 2

First Chapters

Angel the Hippo
Emma Segus

The 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 on fire.

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 with email.
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


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