Catching frogs by moonlight, Thanksgiving, sleeping beneath the stars, abseiling and falling out of a tree

Barefoot in a marsh, the moon practically full, head cocked for chirps and looking around slowly for any hint of movement–frog hunting in Africa. Surprisingly no mosquito bites and home with three frogs and a water scorpion (all released to their homes the following day). Success and such a great way to start a busy week. Especially after an interesting town day (“Are you Afrikaans?” “No” “Didn’t think so, even though apartheid is over, an Afrikaans wouldn’t be walking with a Chinese women.” um excuse me?)

The mist rolled in as four of the roomies rolled out, leaving me with John and Ben for three quiet days of rain and mist and cold (although nothing compared to what I’ve heard from home!). So three glorious days of lighting a fire, doing little work and staying warm as well as enjoying the peacefulness of a nearly empty barn.

Even though I happen to be the only American currently at Lajuma, we celebrated a late Thanksgiving on Saturday. The skies finally cleared allowing us to go swimming before food preparations (made a crumble and provided some sausages and lamb). With the Thanksgiving braai, 13 of us gathered around a fire, we said what we were thankful for and ate yummy yummy food–although no turkey. Later that night, John and I pulled out the mattresses into the barn yard and slept beneath the open sky and stars, listening to the cries of bushbabies. Only at dawn, did Ben remind us of the leopards that happen to roam about (second highest density outside of Kruger) –although I’m starting to doubt this having never seen one!

We ended the week by abseiling down the Lajuma cliffs, John first followed by Anja and Demis and lastly me. The rope barely long enough (60 m) to reach the bottom. We then climbed a tree at dusk, all four of us sitting in a fig happily. Trying to climb one of the branches, I heard a loud crack and fell on my back with the branch on top and sticky white sap dripping. Luckily some horse scat and grass softened the fall and thus ending the day with us trekking back.

Today began with another sad departure of the Dutch girls (Lieske and Marjolein) from Bush camp. Goodbyes are getting harder.

(First 2 photos taken by John)

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