Tuesday (15-05) – Go shorty…
… It’s your birthday! My birthday that is. The 25th of my life to be exact.
There is no party but definitely some birthday love. Daan is very sweet, decorates my tent and has some presents for me, imported all the way from Holland. Noeline and Tjaart come around for a cheeky afternoon drink. They also bring a present: fresh spinach ravioli from the lodge. Always a good present, even better when you’re seriously running out of tasty food in camp. All day I’m showered with sweet birthday messages and calls from family and friends.
In the evening Daan and I make pizza and brownies and eat so much that we almost roll back to camp, although the bottle of wine we drink might have something to do with that too.
Friday and the rest of the week - FRIENDS
They are here!! Literally scrambling out of the car after the long journey. For months we have been talking about this, while they were still busy travelling Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and (since 2 days ago) Zambia. Yesterday they arrived in Mongu and today Daan picked them up.
One of them is my long-time friend Amber, whom I met in highschool at only 13 years old and remained partner in crime throughout the highschool years. Despite going our separate ways and not seeing each other daily afterwards, the bond has remained strong and what’s even more special: Daan and I visited her in Zanzibar in January and now she is visiting us. She has brought along her 2 travelbuddies Lisanne and Judith, 2 awesome girls whom I have met a few times.
After unpacking, settling in, dinner and a beer or two, they announce a secret mission which results in them giving me a lovely belated birthday present; a selfmade game (after a game they like to play but couldn’t find readymade) and a cake with candles, it’s awesome. We sit around for a little longer, while sharing the cake with one fork and then go to bed for an early night.
We go out in the field pretty much every morning and see cool things daily (as one can expect in Liuwa). The first morning we find some hyenas on a kill, a following morning we find the lions on a zebra kill. We do a den visit and it turns out that a car surrounded by hyenas big and small is all that is needed to convince them that hyenas are the cutest (cubs) and coolest animals ever. Every day brings along more hyenas and all the big and small animals and displays of nature Liuwa has to offer and to top it all off, we follow a cheetah on the last day.
The evenings are filled with sundowners, dinners, laughter, long conversations and games. Sometimes it’s just the 5 of us, sometimes the entire team joins in. On the last evening we have a braai on the plains.
On Friday, exactly a week after arrival, Daan and I bring them back to Mongu where they board the bus to Lusaka the next day and I discover once more that goodbyes are the f**king worst.
It’s difficult to describe how nice it was to have friends, and especially these friends, around. There have been laughs, endless conversations, fairytales, many questions, answers, games and they helped out with fieldwork too. For me it was special to show people I know from the Netherlands and a long-time friend what we do and what life is like in Liuwa. Also, the past few weeks have been difficult sometimes and to have them around was like a breath of fresh air.
It’s fair to say that not only myself but the entire team loved having them here. The only problem is that we now miss them and their bubbliness again.
More photos will follow, if internet cooperates ;)