Tuesday 7th of November – Reggae
In ZCP camp, we are blessed with the presence of Jukato. He is a handyman and lives up to that title like no one else. He is a bright, happy and kind soul that lights up everyone’s day with his humour and creative solutions to our 99 problems. Another thing I often appreciate about Jukato is his music choice (I say often, not always).
The thing is, in my opinion, that the general Zambian music taste is not superduper. There is a lot of gospel, alternated with the most horrible rap songs and songs that just contain one repetitive sentence such as; (the hit of the moment): “Love you! I will always love you. I will always looooove yoooouuuu”. It gets quite annoying, especially when blaring out of little phones and speakers that have a skewed distortion:sound ratio.
But Jukato… Jukato likes reggae. That, I appreciate. He likes Bob Marley and there is one song that he always sings along to: Redemption Song. Just now I was in the shower and heard music from ‘the other side’ (the other bathroom, divided by a ‘matete’ wall). When Redemption Song came on both Jukato and I both started singing along without hesitating. Together, while each enjoying a warm shower on a rainy evening, we sang a beautiful bush-bathroom duet. I think it sounded pretty awesome.
Thursday 9th of November – 1 in so many million
‘The odds of being struck by lightning are 1 in so many million’. But how is that when someone is in the middle of a plain? With all kinds of gear? And an antenna in the air? Does that make it 1 in, just a random number, 20?
‘When you’re in a car, you are safe, because you’re standing on rubber tyres and lighting can’t ground. But does that mean you won’t get struck? Or do you just not feel it? And how is that on a motorbike? Lightning striking your head can’t be good, right? Even if it can’t ‘ground’? Or will it just not strike? What if I put my foot on the ground to correct for swerving and are hit then? Will I die? No because the soles of my shoes are rubber too… Or… Are they? And what if I put the bike on the stand? And stand on the bike? With an antenna in my hand?
‘Lightning strikes the highest point in the landscape.’ Is that me? Or is a wildebeest higher? Why are wildebeest never struck? Or zebra’s? They have big ears? Maybe we just never see that? Should I drive in the (now still dry) river? Will I even get home like that?
Just some questions crossing my mind when a good thunderstorm surprises me in the middle of the plains, a few kilometres from home. On the plains, standing on a bike, with an antenna high up in the air, I kind of feel like a lightning rod. And although the chances of being struck are teenytiny, they must be a lot bigger when defying fate like this. It surely won’t be the first time and I will get used to it. But I don’t like it.
Friday 10th of November – Important ethics
I want to get some frustration off my chest, dear reader, starting with the following request: Please don’t touch wild animals. Ever. No matter how relaxed or sad they seem or how many ‘other people do it’. They are not pets, control your emotions and urges. Don’t think ‘it’s cute’ but rather think about the stress you inflict by touching them, picking them up and have them smell your human scent that they have learned to fear and avoid by years of imprinting. Stress that can cause an early death.
Should you come across an animal used as (tourist) attraction or one that is injured, malnourished and/or distressed, then please seek advice from an expert before taking any action that interferes with its natural behaviour and being. Take time to assess the situation. Is the animal touched out of free will or is it caged, chained, drugged, held or otherwise made immobile? Animal ‘seems ok’ with being touched? Remember that animals do not ‘smile’ or are ‘happy’ or ‘choose to come to you’, despite what its ‘caretaker’ might say.
Is the animal in trouble? Is the cause natural or human inflicted? Can it be monitored before deciding on actions? What do experts say? It doesn’t matter where, when or what, always ask (and honestly answer!) those questions before deciding to interfere with natural behaviour. Together with the expert, decide on a course of action. Keep in mind that even IF the animal is in danger and even IF you manage to ‘save’ it, the risk of death or spending the rest of its life in unnatural circumstances is high. Remember that no wild animal will enjoy you touching it, as much as it may seem so, nor will it aid to its conservation. An organisation/person that lets you encounter or touch wild animals does not act in the best interest of the species but merely uses it as a cashcow, and guess what? Your money won’t go towards conservation, it’ll go into someone’s chest-pocket.
Is the animal’s distress caused by something natural? Then please keep your human emotions in check and let nature take its course. Walk away, do not look into the cute eyes, trust that nature will sort itself out. Yes, it’s difficult, but that’s nature. And obviously, a perfectly healthy wild animal should be left alone, untouched, in ALL circumstances (no, that quick selfie or touch is not ok!).
Please, if you ever find an animal anywhere, or if you are unsure or if there’s anything that makes you want to touch it: Contact an expert; a vet or a professional rehabilitation centre. Don’t know one? Contact me. Not an expert, but I can refer you to one. OK? Promise? Alright, rant over.