Monday, March 14, 2011

Pangolin and Genets...

Most of you know, I love animals. God has given me some amazing opportunities to view wildlife here and actually interact with it. One of my friends here, Veronica, has taken in some baby Genets. Genets are nocturnal wild cats. They were in a tree that was cut down by a local and Veronica is raising them until they are old enough to hunt and find food on their own and then she will release them back into the wild at a conservation camp. I have been able to hold and play with these beautiful cats.
Then today, a man came to my house trying to sell me something, a Pangolin. I knew it was some kind of animal, but not what type of animal. He wanted me to buy it for about $6,500. I told him to bring it because I was curious what type of animal it was. After he left to go get it, I called Veronica, because she knows animals like this. She said that it was highly illegal to sell these animals. She said that when he brought the animal to my house, pretend I am interested and she would send guys from the department of argiculture to my house to confiscate the animal. So that is what I did. He brought the poor thing tied into 2 burlap sacks and then put into a duffle bag. The four guys from department of Agriculture took him and the Pangolin back to their office. Apparently, you receive a huge fine for this type of thing and if you can't pay it, you stay in jail until you pay it. However, this guy just got a stern warning not to do it again and was released. Most people could never afford to pay the fines, so they often just get away with it. But the Pangolin will be released at a conservation camp. The Pangolin is an amazing animal, like nothing I've ever seen before. He is covered with plate like scales and eats ants and termites with a long sticky tongue like an anteater. Here are some pictures of these animals.

Veronica gave it some termites to eat.

The guy who tried to sell me the Pangolin said that if I took it back to the States, I could get about $20,000 for it. If any of you are interested in paying me that much for one of these, I'll see what I can do:)
When they are scared or sense danger, they curl up into a ball, completely covered by these plates.

Here is one of the Genets. They are only about 6 or 8 weeks old.

Their fur is so soft. They have the most amazing tail.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

An unforgettable story (reader discretion advised)...

For our Chiyao language classes, we have been telling stories and recording them and then listening to them and translating them. I tell a simple story about my life or my childhood and then my language helper, Beatriz, tells one about her life. It has been very interesting. Well the other day we went to her house and her mom told us a story about her life during the Portuguese/Mozambique war, when they were fighting for independence. We recorded her story in Chiyao and then with the help of Beatriz translated it into Portuguese and now into English for you all to read. It is an incredibly tragic story that depicts life here during the time of war and all that the people faced during this time. This is her and her story:

During the time of the colonial war against the Portuguese, I had my first child, a boy. We ran away into the forest because of the war. When we lived in the forest, we built homes out of grass. The sides of the house, the roof, everything was made of grass. During the second year of the war, some lions appeared where we were living. Goats and other animals slept outside the houses and us people would sleep inside the houses. When one lion appeared, he hit my house where I and my child were sleeping. I tried to scream, but no one heard me. At this place, there were many people, but no one could hear me. That lion ripped my house and came inside until he was able to take my child. I left the house to call help, "come here and see, a lion came and took my son." When people came and saw me, they found me wounded badly and my whole body covered in blood. After, the people began to scream, and many more people appeared. When they arrived they didn't find the lion. He took my son and ate him. There in the forest, where we lived, was only his head. The people found the head and they brought it back to me to bury. The lion returned a second time to take the mother of the child (me), but he found the place full of people screaming, and he ran away. This happened during the time of the war. During this year, we left for Malawi because we were afraid of the war of guns and the war of lions. There in Malawi, I gave birth to 5 more children. I then returned to Mozambique and had 7 more children. After this, I lost my husband. This is when I began to live with my children.

Here are some of the scars from the lion that attacked her. She also has many scars on her legs that she showed us, but we didn't feel comfortable taking pictures of.

This is me, Beatriz, and her mom. I look like a giant compared to them. They are both so small. Beatriz is 5th or 6th in line of the children and her mom gave birth to 14 children in all.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Likoma Island...

We spent the past weekend on Likoma Island. It is actually an Island owned by Malawi, but is only 6 kilometers off the shore off Mozambique. We boated across and stayed one night on the Island. It was very beautiful and relaxing, and we had a nice time with friends.

We went with some friends of ours, Jan and Bonnie and their son, Joseph. They also have a daughter, Deborah. Jan is from the Netherlands and Bonnie is from the States.

Keith and Bronwyn. They are from South Africa, and have a daughter, Zoe.
This is Hugo and Esti and their son, Samuel. They are from South Africa as well.

This is where we stayed on the Island. It was beautiful from the outside, but the inside wasn't so great.

This is a view from the chalets.

After a rather large scorpion ran across my foot in the shower, we found this guy under the bed Karis was sleeping in. It is a centipede that has a nasty bite!

This is called a water scorpion, but is relatively harmless, but very scarey looking. We found him in our closet.

Relaxing on the beach!
We boated around the entire Island. It is about 18 square kilometers. The Island is pretty much empty, except for a few lodges and villages. This was one lodge that was beautiful.

Another Chalet.

This was the very tip of the Island, just a big bunch of rocks. It was interesting how diverse the landscape was for such a small Island.

We stopped to get some fuel for the boat and we were instantly surrounded (an unexpected stop at the zoo).

This little girl watched us the whole time, but wouldn't come near us.