Category Archives: Conservation & Activism

Zumba Like a Giraffe!

Ingonyama performing in the dining hall at Antelope Park

The members of Ingonyama hail from Dete, Zimbabwe, which is near Hwange National Park, and have been friends since childhood, having grown up together in an orphanage. They started out performing at lodges near Hwange and also at Victoria Falls and use their talents and sense of humor to help educate school children about problems in the country such as HIV/AIDS and wildlife conservation, and they work closely with youth camps at Painted Dog Conservation near their hometown.

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The Naughty Look (Part Deux)

Sunrise outside our river tent (06 Sept 2011)

It’s 5:45am, my watch keeps reminding me with its incessant flashing and chirping. But I’m already awake and have been for some time. It’s hard to sleep through the excitement of hearing several dozen lions roaring through the night. Even though the BPG is two-and-a-half kilometers away, it sounds as if Big Boy and his gang are right outside the tent flap.

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The Naughty Look

Paza's paw

“Lions can sometimes give you a certain look when you’re out with them. We call it ‘the naughty look.’ They focus on you intensely, ears back, pupils narrowed. It’s difficult to describe what that look is, exactly; but believe me, you’ll know it if you get it."

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Paradise in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is a beautiful country, but what we observe as we ride through the capital of Harare and then throughout the four hour bus ride to Gweru, the country appears tired and neglected. Stripped and burned out cars on the side of the road, litter everywhere, the landscape blackened from frequent fires, and little wildlife. In addition to the crammed buses and trucks shuttling people to and from their destinations, there are people walking along the road everywhere, and in the middle of nowhere. Women with babies on their backs and bags of maize meal on their heads, men and women carrying overstuffed luggage, people sitting alongside the road selling small amounts of fruit or vegetables. You can't help but wonder where these people come from and where they are trying to get to as you drive through the countryside. Maybe they're trying to get to the nearest town, maybe to family, to work, to school, to a medical clinic. It just feels like wherever they're trying to go, it's going to be a very long and rough journey.

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Harare State of Mind

When we land in Harare it's four in the afternoon on a hot, sunny Sunday - 40 hours since we've left Seattle. The airport looks well-worn and disheveled, with its immigration officers in a similar state of adornment: thread bare uniforms, name tags missing but for the pinholes left behind to mark their absence, epaulets hanging haphazardly, expressions drifting disinterestedly. Queued up to pay for our entry visa we wait. And wait. And wait some more. Welcome to Zim.

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