My free day (memorable quotes, carrots et al.)

I have a free weekend every two: I work one (saturday and sunday) and I rest the other.

This weekend is my free weekend, and I did not go into Windhoek like I did the last free weekend I had, because of technical difficulties and thoughts about money (more because of the first problem though!). Anyway I’m here at the farm and not going anywhere.
The main problem when you stay on the farm on your off days is that often you get caught up in work anyway: “would you mind..?” “Since you’re here, could you..?” “Do you know where…?” etc. Annoying….but somewhat inevitable. Also because what do you do on your weekend off, here?

Well. Yesterday (when I realized I was going nowhere) I  thought to myself “awesome! I’ll get up late, I’ll sunbathe (so as to get the rest of my body the same colour as my arms and face!!), read my book (“The weed that strings the hangman’s bag”. I just wrote that because I love the title and it took me a day to learn how to say it!), add photos to facebook and write on my blog about the (I could write lots of things here: the fire, the volunteers, legendary quotes on the farm, the new television..).”

This morning I woke up at 7.15. For no real reason, other than months of waking up at 6.20 evidently got to my physiological system and now I just wake up early because I’m used to it. I didn’t get up. I got my book and started reading. A very short while later Elzette (with whom I share a room) got up and left (for who knows where!). I turned the computer on and added photos to facebook. I chatted with a friend. I checked the time: 9.00
I got up, donned my pygiama shorts and a vest, got my towel and sat just outside the room with a book, sudoku and sunglasses to tan. I stayed there until 11, then, having missed muffin break, the man that controls my stomach went up to the man that controls my brain, shouted at him (he does that often) took control of the central commands and made me wash and get dressed to go to the kitchen to get some food.

I walked up to foodprep (the area where we make food for the animals) and saw that some volunteers and Cila were getting ready for carnivore feed: loading the pickup with chunks of meat, water etc. I talk to one volunteer, that mentions that another one has been bitten by one of the meerkats (not surprising – I had seen the bitten trying to stroke one of the bitees just yesterday). Then a tour car drives up and unloads three tourists: one male and two females. I greet them and ask if they’re new volunteers (even though you can plainly see they’re not, and I am desperately hoping they’re not!). They say no, and the male’s eyes fall onto a box of thick slabs of meat. He looks at me and says:

“Are you feeding the baboons?”

I look at him. Look at the meat. Look at him again. Think: “Whaaaaaat?” Smile and say “No…the baboons don’t eat chunks of meat. This is for the carnivores: leopards, cheetahs, lions – ” I am then interrupted by one of the females who has seen the meerkats and who suddenly exclaims

“OOOOOOOOOOoooooooh they’re soooooo cuuuuute! Are they meerkats??? Are they mammals or reptiles???”

My eyes bulge out, my tongue freezes (thank god), I turn to the nearest volunteer and say: “It’s my day off. I’m going to get my muffin” And quickly walk away, towards the kitchen. On  the way I stop to check on the baby goose that was born earlier this week, who has one angry mother and one angry father that protect it extremely well and Norma(n) who is currently proving to be a model mum, sitting on her one egg and never moving. She’s a very very tame goose, called Norman previously … but now called Norma(n) because she is so obviously a female. She made her perfect nest and has been sitting on her egg since ..tuesday I think. She’s being a really good mother but I think she misses being with people, so I (among others) pass by frequently to talk to her (and does she talk!) and keep her company. At the kitchen I got my muffin (with cereal inside and icing ontop..yum!) and talked to Damien-Ray (his real name is Ray but I called him Damien from his first day, so..) and Hillary (his wife) who are leaving today. I went the long way round back to my room so I could see if Samira (the really old cheetah that purrs) was at the gate of her enclosure. She was and I stayed with her a few minutes, rubbing her ears and complimenting her huge eyes. The long way passes also close to the vegetable garden, in which some volunteers were working. I saw that they were hoeing the carrot patch to put (who knows what) in and that there were alot of baby carrots about to be given to rabbits and baboons, so I grabbed and handful for myself. They’re really good! They are now in a glass on my bedside table and I’m eating them like candy. Nearly at my room I stopped by the adult baboon enclosure and said hello to Geoffery and give him a rock to hold. Geoffrey is here after a childhood of abuse at a workers’ yard in Windhoek, where he was beaten and used as an ashtray to put out cigarettes. Whenever he sees someone he comes up, all friendly, but then has to hold something – if he doesn’t have a stone he’ll hold his leg…so I always pass hima  stone then talk to him a few minutes.
I got to my room, tea and carrots in hand, and dodged the rock martins (that made a nest and now have nestling right over our room door) to get in: they tend to mob (fly really low and screech) people that pass too close.

It was a long morning. And now I’m writing in the blog about nothing in particular (nothing I had planned on writing) about my non-working morning…just to let you knwo what it’s like to live here! Are you bored?

 PS – I didn’t get suntanned. I got positively scorched!

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