Friday, July 30, 2010


Today's Friday (7:25 pm) and we just finished dinner. Spent the morning painting the lion enclosures and Luke the huge adult male lion did not appreciate me being near his enclosure with paint. But his enclosure looks much better now, with fresh green paint. I think I got more paint on the enclosure than I did myself, but it's probably a close call.

While painting, there were busloads of local schoolchildren who were on a tour to view the elephants. I'm not sure which fascinted them more - the lions or the people (us) painting the enclosures. Several of them came up and wanted to hold my hand, which was really cute. Then a bunch of boys crowded around, wanting me to high five them and slap their hands. It was pretty funny and they were all very cute, screaming and waving goodbye when we left. I felt so badly for one little girl (probably about 4 years old) who was posing to have her photo taken in front of Luke's enclosure when suddenly Luke charged and reared up against the fence, growling. She was scared half to death (can't say I blame her), but the lion handlers talked to her and reassured her enough to get her photo taken. Once the photo was successfully taken, she happily skipped off and it was clear she was very proud of herself.

After painting the enclosures, I had cub sitting duty. I got some great videos and pics of the cubs and a few of me bottle feeding them. Those little babies are just too damn cute. I'd post pics, but I'm not on the computer that allows uploads, so no pics with today's post. But I have the morning session tomorrow off (6:30 am to 8:00 am), so hopefully I can post some more pics then.

I came up with what I thought was a pretty cool idea. On my way here to Africa, I bought a soccer ball for my nephew Phillip. It's a really cool looking ball, with the Italian team's logo. According to the salesman at the store where I bought the ball, the Italian team is one of the best and consistently ranks high. I only mention this because I know absolutely nothing about soccer. Anyway, I've lugged this ball around with me and wanted to figure out something cool to do with it. So, yesterday after my elephant ride with Amai, I got some photos of her kicking and throwing the ball into the air. I plan to frame the photos of Amai with the soccer ball and give those to Phillip w/the ball. He'll be the only kid at his school with a soccer ball that's been kicked around with by an African elephant! With the photos to prove it, too. How cool is that?

Tomorrow (Saturday) is my last full day at the reserve, then Sunday morning we leave for Bulawayo to spend the night at the lodge. Then Monday morning I'll catch the 11:00 am flight back to the States, arriving in Dallas sometime Tuesday.

A visit to the orphanage is in store for tomorrow, followed by a lion walk and elephant ride. I've gathered up a bag of stuff to take to the orphanage after talking to a missionary this morning around the leftover campfire from last night. He said they really appreciate (and need) any kind of toiletries (lotions, soaps, etc.) so I've gathered up what I can. Apparently we'll have time to also visit the market before heading back to camp.

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