• Marilyn Saltzman

Sept.21 – Wildlife to Village Life

In the morning and again in the evening, we decided to try our luck and search for one of only eight rhinos that are in the sanctuary at Mvuu. We knew the chances were slim, but it was a nice opportunity to see another part of the park. We didn’t have to set an alarm at Mvuu, a wake up call came in the form of basses – the hippos – and sopranos – the ibis.

Alas, we never saw the black rhinos, but were rewarded with some new animals – a roan antelope, Sharpe’s grysbok, hartebeest and Orbeck’s eagle as well as a new variety of zebra (Burchell’s}, which is all black and white while some varieties have brown on their bodies. We got to see one zebra nursing her newborn. Did you know that all parts of the zebra but the nose and hoofs, have stripes?

At the watering hole, a large elephant came within six feet of our Jeep, flapped his ears and snorted at us. It was a bit of a scary moment, but we had trust in McCloud

In the middle of the day, we visited Ndobjvu Village, where the preschoolers are already learning English and treated us to a rousing rendition of the ABC song. We toured one of the homes, made of local brick. In the courtyard, there was a “kitchen” (metal pot on a raised platform on top of a wood fire); a chicken house; a goat house; a separate, small building with one bedroom for the kids to sleep in; and another small building with the parents’ bedroom and a living area lined with onions and potatoes that the family had farmed.  There was also the small “outhouse” building.  Afterwards we visited the traditional healer (from whom we bought good luck bracelets –a 1-inch cylinder of tree root and a 1-inch cylinder of porcupine quill), the villagers taught us how to grind maize to music and entertained us with song and dance. Judy and I joined in.

The staple food is Nsima, kind of like polenta, made of ground corn.  After helping grind some corn at the village, we were curious about it, and the lodge kitchen graciously prepared some for us with dinner.

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