Today was a day of celebration.A celebration of Gods beautiful creation.
Dawn crossing the river Nile and meeting hippopotamus,and more hippos .No wonder the German name is Nile Horse.These wonderful creatures abide in abundance here. It was a day for observing .
Safari vans are strange environments and need a strong team of lookouts.Only the human will pose and we wanted to observe and be surprised by the diversity of nature.But one surprise was the human diversity.The keen ‘through the camera lens ‘spotter, the silent,the experienced and the sleepy snoozers,were all part of our team.I wanted uniformity of lookouts but humans offer diversity too and it made no difference to a wonderful stage of wild creatures who did not disappoint.Almost too many to mention, all things bright and beautiful ,strange and majestic ,the Lord God made them all.Crocodile and elephants,leopard and hyena,fish and kingfishers,warthogs and monkeys ,cliffs and waterfalls. Some humans wondered why the diversity,some explained ‘survival of the fittest’ .Diversity of worldview and lack of thought of whom to praise for the staggering beauty of trim ,fit,birds and animals was apparent in our diverse humans. Species watching and mining out worldview and.sharing our own are part of our daily task in communication.We laughed together over supper in the evening at our own need for a little bit of people watching.
But back to the day of nature .
And the mighty Nile reduced to a gushing waterfall width of seven metres before spreading to the descending majestic waters lined by papyrus reeds of Ancient Egypt.
And the flies.Barely a bother today
but a great contributor to the wealth of today.After Mr and Mrs Baker ,discovered the falls for the Royal Geographic Society,it was not long before the helpful locals were struck down by Sleeping sickness .Some were eventually evacuated from the area and some were left to die. With the humans reduced to exiles the animals could flourish and a game reserve and national park was formed. The carrier of disease was the Tstse fly . We owe the abundance of Gods creation in part, to activity of the fly. As I write I can hear a fly .Do not underestimate the smallest of creatures or dismiss the stranger who’s human.
It’s Mr and Mrs this week,with work turning to holiday and visits to Albert Nile and Victoria Nile,Lake Victoria and Lake Albert.
It’s strange dipping into tourist role and seeing other Muzungos.It’s great having even a short spouse sharing time.So we passed sugar cane and papaya,tea and papyrus growing commercially and limiting the preserved rainforest. Commercial necessity giving a nod to nature.
And then we entered tourist world.A strange dance of charm and mistrust,generosity and disappointment, meanness and ‘who cares ? It’s a holiday’ and elation and disbelief. Strangers become contract partners. The luggage a supposition is that the last person looking vaguely like this one has already set the unbreakable rules of engagement. And as that happens a strange bilateral hint of unspoken dissatisfaction smoulders. Unspoken lest the tourist has suspicions aroused ,lest the tourist closes the wallet, less the tourist spoils the holiday atmosphere,less the local doesn’t deliver.
But these sentiments were barely a factor in our paddle to Jinja’s source of the Nile .We were treated to sights of otter,large lizards,kingfishers,monkeys,fish and a myriad of colourful birds. They circle the bubbling water that breaks out of the ground and kisses the outlet of Lake Victoria on it’s way to make power.Power,after tourism as the second,no,third after fishing, use of the Nile waters before it’s many life giving roles on it’s 4000 mile journey.
And so the Victoria Nile parts the silt and the rocks and thunders down into Lake Albert.And tourism embraces the narrowest Nile and the wonder of tourists pays respect to the possession of nature.
And in the relaxation camp ,maybe a hippo or a warthog will come by and add value to the moment of the tourist.Random bonanza for a cluster of foreign passer bys and justifying the special Muzungo prices.No exchange for nature that just passes by.Our forests are cleared ,our mountains are bare and our nature is squeezed. May the conservation work of nature flourish wherever it is and the tariffs paid back into nature.The love and the loathing of tourism.
7th February 2015
Yesterday the Queen of the Commonwealth and head of state of the UK commemorated 63 years on the throne. By necessity as a hereditary monach, also remembering a parental death.
The last one to hold the head of state office for so long was also an Empress and oversaw an era of adventure and discovery. Exploration of the Nile and it’s headwaters was a race against rainforest, disease, men and a passion of some of Queen Victoria’s subjects.
Strolling around a tiny part of this great lake with a balmy dust free breeze is a lot easier in this Elizabethan era.But worth the contemplation that some of this water makes it through jungle and rainforest desert and city to the Mediterranean