Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Transition time

Duduzile left this morning to fly home to Johannesburg. Mama Gladys and I were there to say goodbye with many hugs. While I hope to see Dudu at next year’s meetings, Gladys is completing her term as clerk of the Africa Section and has been replaced by David Bucura of Rwanda. Dilarwar left after breakfast, so that leaves just three of us at Savelberg retreat centre.

The others left for the airport after our meeting closed yesterday. So there is time to enjoy the bird calls, the gardens and watch the occasional wildlife. We were surprised by a couple of very large monkeys with white whiskers, jumping among tree branches.

It was a relief to see the big monkeys – a reminder that wildlife is here, even in the city. My only previous experience of East Africa was in Arusha, Tanzania, and I had expected Kenya to be similar, with baboons at the roadside and larger animals all around. I knew the towns would be a bit more developed, but I expected similar countryside.

I was mistaken. Kenya – the parts I have been in at least – has been intensively farmed for more than a century and that does not make a hospitable place for wild animals. It’s good to see such healthy and juicy potatoes and carrots on sale at the side of the road, and great that there is such a variety of vegetables available, but tough on the antelope, zebras, gazelles and warthogs.

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