This was a rest day so six intrepid members of the team set off on a day-long safari drive. Nothing particularly eventful happened … except … a baboon got into the bus with just Steve on it and tried to steal his lunch. A stand-off developed and Steve had to use all his Tutor’s negotiating skills, and his six languages, to try and retrieve the situation. Having been out-manoeuvred by the baboon (not a Ghostly Baboon this time, eh Steve?) he left the bus and Phil promptly slammed the door on the baboon, much to JB’s consternation. But he’s a wily old monkey (Phil, that is) and the baboon excited through the roof window empty-handed.
And then the battery went flat and the team had to exit and push-start the bus. Nothing wrong with that … except … it was lion country. Sam, the guide, made the helpful comment that he’d seen lions there just the other day. Fortunately none appeared today and having got it started, unscathed, the trip included a visit to spectacular falls, after which everyone returned in one piece full of tales of giraffes, hippos, Crested Cranes and a herd of elephants, all accompanied by an extensive collection of photos and videos.
The Crested Crane (or Crowned Crane) is the national bird of Uganda and appears on the flag. The Ugandan national football team is called the Cranes. Its more common cousin, the Marabou Stork, is a massive bird which we often see flying overhead during our coaching sessions. It is said to have the widest wingspan of any bird, though the condor and pelican might give an argument to that. Storks are scavengers and on one of our regular trips we saw half a dozen of these giant birds standing on and around a skip. Intriguingly, I also saw one of these wonderful creatures flying low over a field and in its beak it had a folded blanket from which you could see a tiny head poking out of one end and two tiny feet out of the other.
Tomorrow we resume coaching a new set of teachers as we begin the last leg of our tour.
A second poet has emerged in the team: this is a Uganda Stanza from Phil:
I will miss the little boy
In the badly torn shirt
Held together by poor stitching
And red-brown dirt.
He kept wicket – nothing passed
Either bouncing off a rock
Or bowling, pretty fast
His batting wasn’t good
But suddenly he twigged
Changed his stance
With tuning tweaked
A pull, a smash
To help his team win
His teammates jump high
With an enormous din.