Wednesday, January 4, 2012

time to go again

I’m always a little sad during my last few days of a Harnas trip. Tuesday night at dinner, I suddenly started crying over my food. No explanation to Johannes, my server, needed. He just gave me a hug and said he understood. He’s seen it a hundred times before with guests and volunteers alike. He just said, “I will look forward to the day when you return to Harnas.” That made me cry more.

I try to make the most of my last days. On Tuesday afternoon I took a walk with several volunteers that I especially like and three baboons that I’m fairly fond of. We walked through the bush while the baboons ate berries, explored, and took a ride on our heads—as in this picture. Sometimes they were sweet, giving kisses, and a couple of times they took a ride on their mood swings and tried to bite us. Generally, we forgive them for the latter. They’re baboons, after all, and live a manic life.

Today, walking across the lapa lawn, I saw a strange sight: a baby crocodile—about two feet from head to toe—was trying to get INTO the adult croc enclosure and had gotten his head, front legs and part of his belly through the chain link fence and then gotten stuck. The big croc—nine feet in length and scary--had his long mouth around the head of the baby croc, pulling him through. He could have beheaded the baby with ease, but seemed to be trying to HELP the youngster. Apparently the little one had gotten out of the baby pen and decided to join the two adults. Odd situation. What was actually happening here?

Of course I called for help. Gabriel, one of the bartenders, came running and we tried to decide what to do. I grabbed the tail of the baby and pulled him back—out of the mouth of the adult—and then Gabriel picked him up by the tail (brave man—flashing teeth and anger emanating from the little one) and carried him back to the baby pond and deposited him there with his siblings. Then we looked at each other and laughed. You just never know at Harnas what will happen. Rescue a baby croc? Just part of the morning routine.

This afternoon I visited my new love, Atheno, and asked a volunteer to take some pictures of the two of us cuddling. This picture is my favorite. I’m going to miss this boy. Just how do you tell an animal that you have to leave—to go back to work to make money so you can visit again? I’m sure I don’t know.

My heart breaks every time I leave Harnas. Tomorrow morning I begin the return. Thanks for taking this journey with me again. I appreciate all my readers and especially the ones who leave comments. Until the next time—B


  1. my poor Babsi, the HARNAS-bye-bye's are the most dolorous moments and nothing can help.
    LOVE, Cornelia + Willi

  2. Parting truly is such sweet sorrow, but take comfort with thoughts of your return. You WILL go back one day! Safe travels, B. :)