Harv In Africa

Harveys journal around Africa

Saying goodbye
harvinafrica
Well I'm at Nairobi airport at gate 14 waiting for my 23:30 flight (BA 64) and feeling very tired, stressed, distraught and really quite low. There seems to be nothing wrong with the flight at the moment, so that is something good at least - but the journey here was like a nightmare - and I don't wish to sound like I am exaggerating.
Let me explain.

Last night was quite a night. It was the last night drinking with the remainder of the truck and spirits were quite high (as well as a different kind of spirit being consumed in large quantities). It was a fantastic night - ending up being quite a marathon session with 4 of us finally turning in at 04:15 and VERY drunk.
This wasn't so bad though given that it was impossible to give our bodies chance to be hung-over as we all had to be up for 06:00 anyway (well I didn't, but I wanted to see them all off as the truck left). Fantastic night and very glad I did it, but did mean that the rest of the day was a write-off, mainly consisting of me drifting in and out of slumber in the lounge interspersed with the occasional conversation with other people from other tour groups outside when I needed air.
My Taxi arrived and saying goodbye to Nick was sad as he was genuinely the last person of the truck I was to see before getting back home.
Then begun my nightmare.
My cab drivers name was affectionately called 'Smiley' by those that know him. It is obvious from the first second if you were ever to meet the man too - white teeth a plenty. Friendly as too - he is full of conversation with a happy outlook to life, so he really makes one feel comfortable. It is a real shame the same cannot be said about his driving though, and combined with the streets of Nairobi (of which I am informed is usually worse than what we had) - I am just glad to be here in one piece.

He was late by 30 mins - which I didn't mind too much, as I deliberately gave myself plenty of spare time to factor this in.
I first knew that something was wrong though when he claimed that he was late due to problems with his 'full beam' on his car. He wasn't kidding either - the cars highlights were permanently stuck on full beam regardless of what setting he had the cars lights on.
I thought this may be a problem on the way to the airport as the journey was a good 45 minutes to the airport meaning that he would very likely be annoying a fair few people on the road on the way there. Little did I suspect that Smiley figured that the best way to drive the car (and indeed the best way not to annoy the oncoming drivers on the other side of the road) was to have the lights off completely.
At 19:30 at night.
In the pitch black.
On unlit roads.
Needless to say this made one of us quite uneasy and given that Smiley was laughing most of the time whilst doing 30km/h in the dark - it's safe to say it wasn't him.
Under much protest and a fair amount of panicking on my behalf I insisted that he turn the lights back on - in time too I might add as when he did, not 5 seconds later there was a couple walking along the side of the road that moved out of the way only after seeing his headlights.
Smiley was obviously still worried that he would be irritating oncoming traffic and people in front of him, so he then decided to try and fix his lights whilst driving by turning them off and on - constantly and repetitively for pretty much the entire journey thereafter with much futility I might add as no matter what he did, no matter how many hundreds of times that he did this, it still ended up with the same result - full beam head lights.
I guess I told myself at this point just to get used to it since he was obviously still quite happy with himself that he was doing this.
I thought maybe I could try and sleep at this point but my half-shut eyelids seemed to turn in to wide-eyes along with small bursts of adrenaline as there seemed to be more and more people in the road as the journey to the airport went on.
This turned out to be the least of my worries though as people were no longer just close to the road - it seemed as though at times they were choosing to wait until the last second before deciding to cross the road just as he was about to pass them - still smiling and laughing he didn't seem deterred.
I think maybe his way of dealing with this was to drive as close to the cars in front as possible, so that maybe they would be the ones to drive in to people instead (don't forget that he is still rapidly turning his lights on and off at the same time as well which must have been confusing cars directly in front somewhat). Maybe he thought that driving as close to the car in front as possible wasn't a challenge enough because he would also insist on leaving using the brakes as late as possible so as to give a sudden stop every time we came to some speed humps.
I don't think I was smiling with him now from this point and had also given up all hope of getting some Z's. Maybe it was just me but it also felt like his happy laugh had suddenly become more maniacal as we entered on to the motorway.
Then something occurred that completely chilled me to the bone, and something that I was not ready for woke me up to ALL the dangers that I had just experienced and am retelling now.
Cars in front seemed to be slowing down suddenly and swerving around something in the near-side lane. Smiley had to swerve too to avoid the car that was swerving away from what was lying in the middle of the inside lane of the motorway. It was then I noticed that this was a person laying face down and motionless as we drove by at about 30km/h. This hit me like a brick and I panicked a bit, but at the same time maintaining my composure to calmly plead Smiley to stop the car by pulling over so that we could help. Smiley drove on explaining to me that the police would sort it out. This immediately annoyed me as there WERE no police there and all there was, was people driving their cars, swerving round and driving on doing nothing like us. He didn't seem to understand the importance of what I was suggesting and started comparing the English police to that of Nairobi. By this point, we were a good 100 meters and plenty of traffic between us and this poor person and I realised that there was no turning back now. This left me quite upset as I know for a fact that if I were in the driving seat I would have stopped long ago and be making every effort to slow down traffic whilst someone else pulled the person to safety (or vice versa).
This really shook me up and made me quite upset. I think Smiley picked up on this as he wasn't really smiling or laughing anymore.
Just to rub this event in even more, the remaining 15 minutes of the journey consisted of 3 more separate traffic accidents that had obviously just happened - and consisting of vehicles on the side of the road and hazard lights everywhere.
I am obviously here safe in the airport, and if you are reading this on my online journal then this also means I am home safe too as that will be the next opportunity I have to upload this story - but it really has woke me up to the complete lack of respect and disregard for peoples’ lives and safety over here on the roads. I can see why at no point our truck used these motorways in Africa.
My plane leaves in an hour and I need to wind down a bit more before I get on that plane.
I am looking forward to getting back now.
I also don't want this to be my last entry either, as although this was an experience that needs to be put down in this journal - it would be unfair to use this as the last entry to sum this continent up. 10 weeks of amazing, eye-opening and unforgettable experiences should not be tainted by a 45 minute cab ride.
I will type more soon when I have gathered my thoughts more about the last 3 months.

End of the road.
harvinafrica
Sitting in Karen Camp - the last of all the campsites I will be staying at in Africa. There is only myself, Holz and Craig here for today and most of tomorrow as the rest were dropped off so that they could make their way to and around the Maasai Mara - the continuation of the Serengeti. You may wonder why we three have decided not to do this, but I have good reasons - and although I may miss a few things in the way of the wild animals that Africa has to offer, I have seen them before and I do have to watch the amount I am spending now these days. The trip around the Maasai Mara is very expensive and is only for a days worth of game driving - something I really am not interested in at the moment. Granted, it does mean that I am going to be here at Karen camp doing nothing for a few days - but like the last few days, I am actually enjoying this small wind-down before heading back home - it gives me time to reflect.
I sat with Josh in the cab from dropping everyone else off to Karen camp today (the last drive in Peeky our truck). It was thoroughly enjoyable and made me look back on the last 65 days of driving in the back with everyone else. As usual too - it was real fun chatting with Josh. He admitted that in the 9 years he has been a driver for tour companies, our group was 1 of 2 groups he has ever had that he felt truly happy spending time with. Too many times groups have formed their own little 'sub'-groups that exclude everyone else around them. Not ours - and we decided from the start that we would never do that. In the start it was myself, Jo, Vru, Nick, Holz and Craig - and we all made a pact that when new people joined in Livingston, we would never exclude anybody that joined, something that continued on until the end of the trip. Josh says that this was evident as he viewed us 8 as the 'foundations' of this tour and our friendly and accepting attitude to everyone else joining us has carried on. I hope for Joshes sake that this continues on for him when he drives back down to Cape Town and beyond.
I am actually sitting with Josh here in the bar and typing this, so given I have a fair amount of time here - I am gonna do what is important and chat with him instead of typing this.
Type later.

I am so glad everything worked out over here in this continent. I am sad to leave, but looking forward to getting back too. I could very well have traveled for longer, but as expected - financial reasons dictate otherwise. Besides - aside from the fact that I miss my family, my friends and the comfort of my bed, I need to get back to looking for work. Too much holiday I think can numb ones senses unless one truly deserves it, and I most certainly do not at the moment. I have far too much to give to society yet before soaking up the taste of freedom from responsibility. Working out here IS an option and I have toyed with the idea. There are several paths I could go down to make a living here, and unlike in London I can actually make a big difference over here in whatever I would choose to do, and I firmly believe that. Although I am still not dismissing it by flying home in a few days, right now is not the time and it may be that Kenya is not the place either. Africa and its people are both beautiful and have so much to offer (not just by making a living, but by allowing a person to be themselves without conforming to what people around you want you to be), and any preconceptions of this country of anyone who has not visited this continent would most likely be wrong. Needless to say - I will be very sorry if I never return here.
I will miss everything about this tour, and I know even more so when it is all gone.

Good internet at last!
harvinafrica
Now sitting in a cafe in Kenya in what feels like the middle of nowhere - and the internet here is blisteringly fast.
As a consequence - you should see a whole load of new photos for you to look at - please feel free to browse them and look back at a few of my previous entries too. There is important stuff there that i will be acting on when i get back too.

See you all in a week or so.

No entry for days…
harvinafrica
It's occurred to me that I have not written for a very long time. Last entry was on the 2nd December, so it has been a full 4 days since writing - the longest I have gone without writing for the entire trip. This hasn't been due to there not being anything to do - in fact (as it should be) exactly the opposite. So much has happened over the last few days and it has all ended off with 7 people leaving the tour after their time has ended on this trip. I shall go in to who left and what it means to me in a bit.
First, I feel the need to go through in chronological order the events leading from the last entry up to me typing this from the bar in Jinja 'Nile river explorers' camp site.
Since visiting the Pygmy village, we travelled back again to the camp site we stayed at before called 'Red Chilies’. This is a pretty good camp site base with good facilities, but none of us really had chance to use them at this point given that on this Thursday, we had planned to go out for a 'bad taste' party in town around Kampala. The idea for this was to dress up in clothes that were as 'bad taste' as possible before heading to a night club. The attire for this was already bought from a market in Rwanda a few days previously, and needless to say we all looked atrociously funny. It was a good night - and although I left with a few other people relatively early (midnight), we continued the session that evening under the stars with a fair amount of Vodka.
The next day on Friday the 4th consisted of being really quite hung-over, but struggling through the truck journey to the camp site we are at the moment and getting to the source of the Nile. Although it was nice to be there (I say nice with the more modern mediocre meaning of the word), it was very much a tourist trap and wasn't really anything special, although I must say - being hung-over didn't help I guess. The rest of the day consisted of recovering really - drifting in and out of much needed sleeps as well as an alcohol-free early night (well I am allowed one this trip aren't I?).
Saturday the 5th and this was a truly excellent day and was thoroughly enjoyable. It is a shame that Tucan seem to focus soo much on game drives on this continent and not more of what we did on Saturday - I’ll explain. In 1999, an Aussie truck driver working for a tour company set up a charitable organisation called 'softpower'. This organisation is committed to helping develop an education, health and communication services and community for less privileged kids in the Ugandan area as well as expanding to helping educate adults for basic skills to help them support their children. This organisation relies on outside help from passengers like us to come and help out the development of this ongoing project by doing simple tasks like renovating buildings in areas so that kids can come and learn in suitable environments. This includes the basics of making the bricks to build the buildings, plastering, painting and cleaning. We all partook in some painting of buildings about 20 minutes drive away from our camp. It was a truly fantastic experience - one that I will cherish forever. The very kids that would be using these buildings as their schools were all there and were all so happy that we were all there. Painting took a long time as we all spent so long playing with the kids - splashing them with paint and trying to catch them on the nose with our brushes before they ran away screaming happily. I enjoyed myself so much that the 2 hours we spent painting disappeared in a flash. It felt so good to do something for a community and be thanked in such a pleasant and happy way. Unfortunately, both Shaun and Michelle had to leave us today as their plane was booked to leave later that day. The two were a really great couple and will be missed by all. They were 2 years in to their journey after having travelled a lot of the planet and added so much to the rest of us on this journey.

Today has been quite different by contrast.

We lost 5 more people this afternoon as their trip came to an end and they needed to leave for Kampala to go their separate ways. This meant that Vrushali, Alicia, Anna R (from England), Anna N (from New Zealand) and Jo were leaving us.
I will miss every single one of them - every part of each person is genuinely good, kind and happy and a real pleasure to travel with. Alicia continues her travels in Egypt, Anna R goes back to England, Anna N is going back home to New Zealand and Vru and Jo go back together to Australia.

Myself and Jo had become quite close throughout the trip - closer as the weeks went by, so saying goodbye was very difficult for both of us. Jo lives in Australia, and as the majority of people reading this will know, my home is in England, so we both knew that this goodbye was not an 'au revior'. We spent the day together by hiring out some mountain bikes and touring this area and following our noses. It was a perfect time, but it was a little tainted as both of us knew that the minutes were counting down.

So here I am - left typing this in the bar amongst the remaining passengers for this tour with a week left of my time here in Africa. Aside from feeling a little low for obvious reasons, I am still with very good and kind people that are all here to make me feel good, whether it be directly or indirectly.

One more beer please bartender! This one is for good times (and one particular person) been and gone...

Ugandan Pygmy village
harvinafrica
Just in the middle of visiting the Pygmy village in the middle of Lake Bunyonyi. It is much more of an eye opener than I thought it would be. It seems that the 400 people living here are in much more poverty than is let on to us after chatting in depth to our guide Francis.
A little history for you: The pygmies are quite well known as being smaller than the usual height, and although this is true, it isn't that obvious. They are a particular tribe of people that were 'bush people'. That is to say that they were people indigenous to parts of Uganda, the Congo and Rwanda and were self sustained in that they lived in the forest areas of each respective country. As tourism became more widespread and more prevalent in Uganda, in May 2008 the Ugandan minister for Tourism instructed the Pygmies to vacate the area in which their tribe had always lived for generations to make way for development and conservation efforts - specifically so that the country could make more money from the tourism that this would attract. The Pygmies were forced out of their land by the Ugandan military and as 'compensation' were given a very small plot of land where we visited today in Lake Bunyonyi. This would be fine, but this plot of land is only really big enough to house these people - and with no fertile land that they own, they have no way of self-sustaining themselves. This created resentment for the people living close to them as the Pygmies would have no choice but to beg for food. If you look at the photos I took of the land leading up to the Pygmy village, you will see that the land here is hugely fertile and providing the indigenous people with all that they need, but they refuse to share anything with the Pygmies.
This is where we (as tourists) come in again. Francis (our guide) single handedly has set up this excursion of getting us to pay money for this day. This day includes the boat ride across the lake, a hike to see the Pygmy people and then diner at a very exquisite place to sit, eat, drink and relax (where I am now), followed by the river cruise back. I don't really know how much this costs since this excursion is included as part of the package in the tour, but Francis makes sure that the money that doesn't go towards paying for the wages, transport and food goes straight to the Pygmy people.
You can see the situation here now I think. These people were forced out of their homes, given barely enough just to have shelter, but not enough to live on. Tourism caused the plight of these people, but the sad irony is (and thanks to Francis only), tourism is the only thing putting food in to these people’s mouths. I feel really strongly about this given that these people do not have a good quality of life, and the sole reason for this is in no way their fault. This was really evident at the end of our 45 minute hike there. All the way there, we were called at by smiling happy kids shouting 'how are you?' at the top of their voice, and surrounded by busy adults working hard at collecting food for themselves and their family. They all had new, clean clothes and all looked extremely healthy as well as (so I am informed by Francis) access to education and a health-care centre as well as the hospital in nearby Kabale. When we arrived at a patch of land that was given to 52 Pygmy people - we walked in to it for 2 minutes before we were at the centre of it. Understand that although this is called a 'village', it is far from what most people would think of what a village is. It is enough land for them to have built houses using mud, bamboo and straw from the surrounding area and that is it. The people are not smiling, they are not as happy, and they are obviously not as healthy as they should be. For example, kids have huge bellies - a prime example of what happens when malnutrition sets in. These people were all obviously lacking in energy as well as morale and what they all did was to sing and dance for all of us for a good 10 minutes. I joined in for 2 minutes and given that I am now an ex-smoker for well over a year (so should be quite fit) even I was puffed out trying to do what they were doing. Once we left, Francis told me that he gave the Pygmy elders the money so that they could go to the market to buy food and clothes for the people.
Seriously, without Francis, these people would have no hope at all. It is a disgrace. To be honest, although initially I was quick to blame tourism (i.e. people like me) - I don't think that is the problem. Tourism did not push these people out - it is the greed of the Ugandan government that takes vast quantities of cash at the expense of its local people. The thing is too - is that unless something is done for these people soon (in the way of the Ugandan government helping these people by giving them proper compensation of fertile land for them to sustain themselves), this will always be the case and they will always rely on aid coming from tourism. It's unfair.
Francis has a long term plan of trying to get enough money to build not only a health centre for these people, but also a school to educate them more. He needs money and help from the government, but to do that, he needs to get their attention by making as many people as possible visit the Pygmy people (not just for the quick cash it gives them), but the more the word is spread of the poverty these people live in, the more likely the Ugandan government is likely to do something about it.
I requested Francis to give me more information about this when we get back to Kabale, so that at the very least I can keep an eye on the progress of Francis's plan.

Rwanda Memorial Centre
harvinafrica
Earlyish start this morning in order to get to the Rwanda genocide museum. For those that don't know, the Rwanda genocide was something that happened very recently and claimed the lives of almost a million Rwandan men, women and children in the space of only 100 days. It is a very sad moment in history that is very depressing to think about. The fight was between two groups of people called the 'Hutu' and the 'Tutsi'. These groups of people do not have any religious differences, they do not have any political differences, they don't look different, and they speak the same language and share exactly the same history. They are the same - but were labeled differently by a western society. Originally the Germans occupied Rwanda until the end of the second world war, after which point, control was handed over to the Belgians and had governmental control of the country. The Belgians legislated that the people who owned 10 cows or more were a more 'superior' people and labeled them 'Tutsi' and labeled the other members of Rwandan society that had less than 10 cows 'Hutu'. It was about a 20/80 split respectively. Those people who were labeled 'Tutsi' were given preference when given jobs and were supported more by the government. This created a lot of resentment by the people labeled as 'Hutu'. Things got worse when Rwanda became independent of Belgium in 1962 and then even more so when around the early 90's the Belgian government became less involved in the politics of the country and the majority of the Hutu people started to revolt. This led to all Hutus feeling that they needed to 'exterminate' the Tutsi people. Hundreds of thousands of people died in the first few weeks as people took to the streets with Machetes, butchering anyone who they knew were 'Tutsi'. To make matters worse, the Belgian government refused to take any responsibility and even the UN that came in as peacekeepers eventually left the country whilst the violence was getting worse. The death toll eventually reached around 1 million in Rwanda and 5 million including the surrounding areas in the Congo too. It is truly horrific what happened and I hope to get more of an insight in to the events surrounding this tragedy at the museum. Photos are not permitted in this museum, so you will have to rely on my journal entry regarding this museum once it has been visited.

An experience I found distressing, but very glad I had.
I found my visit to this museum quite difficult and it has left me feeling very confused. I understood all the words that were written on the wall - all carefully laid out so as to give a chronological record of the events leading up to, and after the genocide, but I still can't get my head round the violence and bloodshed that occurred 15 years ago. Trying to put myself in to the same position as someone living in this country 15 years ago does not help either - it still puzzles me how a country and its people could be so violent and cold-blooded to do such things. There were various points round the museum where we were given an insight via video of people who were victims of the atrocities, and although it helped me understand the pain and suffering of those victims, I still am no closer to understanding the minds of those people that caused the atrocities. How does one get to grips with the thought of being friends with your neighbour one day and then slashing them and their families to death with machetes the next simply because of a label a government has given them? I am so confused. The whole experience has left me feeling quite uneasy with what humanity is and quite upset at the thought that this sort of thing has happened so often around the entire planet over such a long period of civilisation and judging by how nothing much has changed over the last 100 years, is so likely to happen again. Rwanda is such a beautiful country with smiling happy people that it is difficult to believe that so many people here have had to endure almost a lifetime of pain and suffering all because of a meaningless label.
We are on our way to the Ugandan border now, and although Uganda and Kenya have been my favourite counties by far of all that I have visited and am looking forward to going back - it will be with a heavy heart that I say goodbye to Rwanda. It is truly incredible how an entire country can go through so much and yet be at peace so soon after such a tragedy. It is the sign of our times that needs to be learnt by all that have yet to experience murder on such an epic scale - this country and its people could teach a lot in the way of understanding and forgiveness that I think very few people could truly grasp.
I don't think I want to type any more today - I can't think of much else than what I have seen over the last 3 hours and writing about it doesn't help me understand it any better either, so I will leave this until tomorrow.

Back down again.
harvinafrica
One last day here in this camp-site and thn back along the same route again through Rwanda, Uganda and then Kenya.
We have lunch today followed by more relaxing. It seems that getting up early to do lots of things has calmed down somewhat and we seem to have more time to ourselves to do our own thing. No bad thing at all since I am starting to flake a bit these days too. 10 weeks is definately long enough. Sitting in another internet cafe at the moment with atrocious internet. Not only that - for the umpteenth time this trip, both my phone memory card and my camera memory card has been infected with a virus. It' no massive deal as i know exactly what he vius is and what it does as well as how to clear it - it's just a huge inconvenience. Beter get cracking on that now - type again soon.

Gorillas in Rwanda
harvinafrica
Just back from being with the gorillas, and it was a truly awesome experience. Part of me feels sad though, as this pretty much signifies he end of the trip from here. There is a few weeks left in this continent and a few things left to do before getting to Nairobi for the flight out back to the UK, but I doubt nothing will compare to the experience of walking alongside those gorillas.
My feet have got a lot worse. They are permanently itchy now - all over and often to the point of being painful. I am using lots of cream and plenty of anti-histamine. Hopefully they will do the trick.
Once again, there seems to be a massive drop in internet availability of late, so this won't be got for a while yet, let alone seeing many more new pictures, but suffice to say that the day I get home to my 8MB internet connection - everything will be uploaded by then.
I really wish I could write more about what it was like being with the gorillas, but it seemed to all go past so quickly. We were not allowed more than 1 hour with them for conservation reasons - but that hour really felt like 5 minutes to me. I don't think I had chance to really take in what was happening there and then, and I am still in a little bit of a daze as to how they should make me feel.
Think I might have a quick 30 min snooze and then make my way to the bar to chat with the others again that went.

Rwanda
harvinafrica
Crossed the border in to Rwanda a few hours ago now. We have entered this country for pretty much one reason - and a big reason at that. At last 16 members of this truck are about to do what we have all been waiting for all this time. We are all about to see the Gorillas within the next 24 hours.
There are 5 families of Gorillas left in these parts of Africa, and I am really looking forward to seeing them. Its a shame though - we have been in this truck for about 12 hours today, and it seems that I have left it to the last minute to make a journal entry as we are due to be in our campsite in the next 5 minutes.
Sorry about that - looks like this is going to be a short entry, but needless to say I am very excited to be here.
I will make more of an effort to write about the gorillas though once I see them.

I didn't mention but the truck was bogged down in mud for an hour and a half earlier today from 06:00 to 07:30. Was quite some effort to get it out again, but we did it. Did mean that everyone got very muddy, sweaty and bitten. No one more than myself in the bite department. I count at least 20 per foot from the calf down. Really not nice.
Writing this from a dorm room bed about to get some sleep so as to get up for 05:15 and head out to see them.
There are 8 of us in this room, and it seems I have to share it with 7 girls.
For 3 days.
They are all single too.
Torture.

Goats to the slaughter
harvinafrica
Another day of just relaxing. Most people have gone off on a game drive this morning round the Queen Elizabeth II national park. 5 of us including myself have stayed behind all for exactly the same reason of just being a little tired of the same game drives all the time. I am glad I did too - we will all be having a mutton BBQ later and I specifically requested that I could watch the goat be slaughtered, as this is something that I have never seen (being born and raised a city boy). To make sure that I don't offend anyone with the pictures I took of this, when I upload the photos of this I will create a separate gallery within Uganda in order to make sure people don't see the slaughtering by accident. I witnessed all of it - from a goat being alive and relatively happy being tied to a tree, then having its throat cut, hung up, skinned and then disemboweled. At no point did I feel ill during any of this (the sight of blood doesn't bother me), but the moment it had its throat cut and the 3 or 4 minutes after was a little upsetting. For those people who would rather not see me go in to detail, I advise skipping to the next paragraph... The goat seemed to be quite co-operative when keeping it under control, but the moment the knife went through its throat - cutting in to the jugular veins and through the windpipe - the goat was obviously in quite some distress, but for longer than I thought I would. It was obvious that the goat was still alive as it was still trying to breathe for a good few minutes but the sheer amount of blood and awkward positioning of its head in relation to its body meant that it was quite disturbing to watch. I can actually remember the last gasp it took, since I really wanted it to die as soon as possible, and to hear an obvious gasp a good 3-4 minutes after it began was not a nice thing to witness. It was only after it was hung up and no movement was happening anymore did I start to feel a little more desensitised to it. The skinning was next and this seemed to look really easy - but what was interesting for me was how and where to start for this as I had no idea before. Once this was done, the next step was to get its insides out. Although this seemed like a delicate process, I could see that it was really no more difficult than cutting open a bag and taking out what you need and discarding the rest. The bladder and intestines were dealt with in a very careful manner not to get too much goat waste everywhere, but once they were out - it was easy to identify the different body parts like the heart, liver, kidneys, etc. And that was it! I am very glad I witnessed this - much better than a game drive and I feel a bit less naive to what animals look like when they are being prepared to being eaten. I think city folk are all too used to thinking of pigs as rashers and cows as steaks (ignoring the fact that these animals are killed with impunity before being wrapped in plastic).
I will look forward to tucking in to this mutton later.

Well as I said earlier, I will make sure it is safe for you to read from here. The BBQ is later and I will take some more photos of the final product - marinated, cooked and looking good to an average meat-eater!

Some other amazing news from the truck... Holz and Craig (a couple traveling together from the start with me and 3 others) have found in the last few days that Holz is pregnant! Both of them are happy, but obviously quite apprehensive as to what the future may bring as although they are both happy together and will make excellent parents, they weren't expecting this event in their life to happen so soon. Nevertheless, they are both very happy and making plans. Craig mentioned (as a joke) that they may call the baby Mia - Made In Africa!

Talking of which, Holz mentioned that her dad was making proper use of my web-site to keep track of what was going on using my blog, the pictures and apparently by using Google Earth. Therefore - in order to help you find exactly where we are now, here are the GPS co-ordinates for you:
0.137124S 29.893644E
Using these, you should see a number of thatched-roofed houses (the chalets here) and a building with a corrugated iron roof. I am typing next to that building since the truck is parked right next to that as it is the kitchen.
I hope everyone reading is well.
We are all off to see the Gorillas in just a few days, so I really can't wait.

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