Monday, March 16, 2009

Sunday, March 15, 2009; a day of rest?

At 6 am, I am pulled into consciousness out of that languid, delicious cocoon between deep sleep and wakefulness, by the throbbing bass of some hip hop music. It does not last more than 15 minutes but it has done the trick. I slowly get up and get ready to go out. It is sunny although it seemed to have rained much of the night. I decide to start as early as I can because after the rain, the humidity will be high.

I am out at 7:45 and it is beautiful. The rain drops on the leaves and grasses glisten like tiny jewels in the early sun. The sandy strip that passes for road is freshly pockmarked with the rain filled holes, stating clearly to the drivers, “Today, you can see me”. They are made tolerable by the occasional ‘lake’ in the road and challenging ‘oceans’ that dominate the whole road and need to be carefully circumnavigated or forded. The non-paved roads appear to be organic. They widen as the trail gets too rough with potholes and the width of the seemingly designated strip will allow. In some wide areas, a whole new lane grows like a new dendrite connector offering a shortcut along the neural highway when a particular stretch of sand road becomes too much with its potholes, lakes and washboard.

As I come to a very messy part a combination of potholes and lakes, I stand aside to let a car through and do not move. The driver is concerned and asks if I am all right, ready to offer assistance. I smile, thank him and say I am out walking. Later, another offers me a ride.

I wander towards a main intersection and a busload of high school students goes by with all of them siing harmaoniously in celebration of their outing. Later in the day when returning, a pick up goes by with a 5 - 6 year old boy in the back singing "Hallelujah".

I wander through the Maun Senior Secondary School Campus. It must be 50 acres, has residences, science lab buildings, classrooms, many well used playing fields and more. Notably, I see several signs that direct attention to the unspoken – HIV/AIDS. One says ‘Stay Alive “ flanked by 2 red AIDS ribbons and the second is explicit in listing modes of transmission i.e. unprotected intercourse [sic], mother to child and contaminated blood.

I make my way down the road to the ‘old bridge’, one lane across the Thamalakane River and start to walk along the river plain toward the new two lane bridge where I was yesterday. I marvel at the ubiquitous goats getting up on hindquarters to eat the delicate leaves of the acacia tree in spite of its armor of 4 – 5 centimeter inflexible, very sharp thorns. Near the water to my left are the tall river grasses, some papyrus like; birds are feeding in the seedy grasses and singing everywhere; mourning doves rise up in small flocks as I approach. As I move along, I hear a woman’s voice wafting sweetly out of the grass but I can see no one. I see beetles that are about 3-4 centimeters wide and 5-6 cm. long. Their pincers and mandibles are the fodder of fright when blown up a million times for the B grade horror movies of yesterday.

Here and there are Termite Towers, standing high above their surroundings up to 10 feet high, very noticeable, not unlike the Trump variety we are more familiar with. These I have seen them all around Maun, but these by the river are the tallest. I cross an ant freeway and follow it along to see where they are all going with such purpose, not distractible in their vigor. I trace it to a small opening in the ground where they appear to hand over whatever they are carrying and then turn around heading back down their freeway in the opposite direction.

A bright, lime green chameleon crosses my path heading for the bright grass and does its two legged back and forth shuffle, all the while keeping its pivoting eye socket and ball trained on me. Ahead, sitting in the reeds over the water is an egret flock, looking like a garden of white blooms gently moving with the breeze. I am taking some photos and a man passing by tells me there is a much better view two hundred yards ahead. I thank him and move on to the better perspective.

It is getting hot. The humidity is high and fortunately there is a steady breeze to keep it tolerable. I pass a couple of cars of young men parked in the shade of several trees next to a soccer pitch, listening to music and a raucous football game announcer. I head towards my cooler shelter, getting there at 11:30 for a shower and blogging. As I type this, thunder is rolling ominously in the distance, and slowly coming closer. The wind is stirring the trees. As the heat builds, relief is in the making. With great, furious drum rolls, the rain pours.


  1. That was beautiful. So poetic! Thanks for taking me there.

  2. I love your photos. I saw similar ant hills in Mali last year, amazing structures that shoot out of the ground. Loved the ant highway story!